This is 100% Robyn. You know why? Cos I LOVE PERFUME. And Emma likes perfume a normal amount. Emma doesn’t have seasonal perfumes. She just has a perfume. And a bloody nice one too. It’s Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, if you’re wondering. But just as I have many, many items of clothing for whichever metalogical/emotional/ceremonious happening might crop up, so too do I have a catalogue of fragrances to suit any occurrence. And we’re catapulting into winter, kids, so it’s time to get serious about laying off the summer scent and dashing on something altogether more autumnal. Here’s some of my very top favourite perfumes to add a little sparkle to the waterproof jacket and welly combo you’ll be stuck in for the next six months:
D.S & Durga – Mississippi Medicine
This D.S & Durga fragrance is without a doubt my absolute favourite for fall, ritualist and raw – it screams sex. Notes like red cedar, frankincense, black pine, incense and Spanish cade come together to create the most outstanding smoky, rich and utterly moreish perfume you can imagine. A lesson in the allure of narrative fragrance, this scent has a story to tell. It transports you to a pine forest in deepest Mississippi, which we can all agree if far preferable to Brexit Britain with an added edge of global pandemic.
Wear with: a white silk shirt, big old boots and a smile
Penhaligons – Halfeti Leather
If the florals of the original Halfeti feel too fresh as the night’s draw in, you’re going to love her toughened up cousin, Halfeti Leather. The base of Oud and Patchouli remains but it’s rounded off with notes like prune, cardamom, cumin and, of course, leather. I can only ever imagine this on Benicio del Toro – it’s deep, fruity but with some spice. There’s something of a little Christmassy about it but I’m not mad at that.
Wear with: a Vampire’s Wife velvet gown
Diptyque – Eau de Minthé
Created as a nod to the myth of the nymph Minthé who was (no shit) turned into the fragrant plant named after her, this perfume is a playful as it is unexpected. The combination of mint, geranium and patchouli will have you coming back to again and again as it’s complex, aromatic but also fresh. Absolutely perfect for people who find the idea of a heavy winter fragrance the very worst.
Wear with: an outfit bought entirely from Arket
Jusbox – 14 Hour Dream
Ok, so I was brought up on Pink Floyd so this was always going to be my jam. Combining sweet but spicy notes like saffron, vanilla flowers, ginger and sandalwood, it’s inspired by psychedelic underground rock and you can feel the vibe as soon as you spray. This warming, heady, almost fizzy fragrance also has plenty of heart from the wood and patchouli. It’s grown up but with an edge of blissed out bohemian.
Wear with: an embroidered suede jacket with pockets big enough for your tambourine
Byredo – Rose of No Man’s Land
Confession time: I used to douse myself in rose room spray. There’s a certain style of rose fragrance I can’t get enough of and it’s got to be ideally Moroccan and edging on Turkish Delight. Rose of No Man’s Land is just that. A grown up rose with pink pepper, Turkish rose and raspberry Blossom. It’s sweet and sexy and in no way cloying. Perfect if you’re after a winter floral with a little extra oomph.
Wear with: a leather jacket and jeans for an unexpected edge
Comme des Garçons – Avignon
I wear this perfume when I want to feel like Monica Bellucci (and extensive prosthetics, wig and bodysuit). It’s the most intense, recognisable and polarising fragrance I’ve ever owned. Want to smell like the inside of a church? Look no further. Roman chamomile, incense, patchouli, palisander and ambrette seeds all combine to cry out a catholic choral symphony. A one spray only, make-pregnant-ladies-gag, number but such a unique, warming, statement scent that it’s well worth the occasional heave.
Wear with: tailoring, always
Miller Harris – Feuilles de Tabac
If you want to go deep, deep, deep into robust, spicy and unapologetically punchy perfume territory then Miller Harris have got you covered. Feuilles de Tabac boasts big note after big note, from bergamot and sage to pimento berries and tobacco leaf. It’s a intense, dry fragrance that’s more warming than an hour next to a log burner. There’s a hint of sweetness in the base but the main thrust is all sepia-toned tobaccoey loveliness.
Wear with: a pipe?
Maya Njie – Tobak
Another tobacco fragrance because, well, I favour them and this is my perfume party, ok? Maya Njie is an OG olfactory orator. Using old photographs for reference, she looks to her Swedish and West African roots for inspiration. The result is perfume with real heart. Tobak blends tobacco leaf, vetiver, tonka, musk and leather for a soulful, sweet and sexy scent you’ll want to spray again and again.
Wear with: a silk slip dress
Special mention: Ffern Autumn 20
Now disclaimer: I cannot say I’ve smelled this fragrance as it comes as part of an incredible little subscription service and there’s a waiting list. BUT, I’ve read the notes and man, oh man, it sounds like heaven. Think bergamot rind, rose insparta, bay rum leaf and cognac oil. Ffern is a small batch, seasonal perfumer and the subscription element means once it’s gone, it’s gone. But worry not, they send you a tester, you don’t just commit to a bottle you’ve never had a sniff of so if you like a really exciting olfactory surprise, it might be just the brand for you.
Wear with: long socks and a fair isle jumper (so says Ffern themselves)
So there you have it, a whole host of fragrances you might want to check out when the clocks go back. Oh hang on, they did last night. There’s florals, fresh and my personal favourite, super impactful leathery, boozy smells and big woody scents that make you smell like a high-end woodcutter. Cos that’s what we’re all dreaming of, right? Fancy dress fragrance? Glad we’re on the same page.