These gorgeously dark and heady fragrances are on our wish lists for Christmas.

Do you keep a ‘fragrance wardrobe’? A term coined in the beauty world, it encompasses the idea of changing your fragrance through the seasons, much like you do your clothes. While in the balmier months you might reach for something ripe with fruity tones or exotic florals, come winter things turn altogether darker and more sensual, with scents of leather, musk, oud, tobacco and sweeter, richer gourmand notes prevailing.

This season, we are seeing a rise in popularity of ‘nurturing scents’, as the world reaches for an olfactory comfort blanket – think cashmere accords, fireside smoky notes and warming spices. In other words: wintry heaven. Here are seven we absolutely love.

By the Fireplace, £87.10

Maison Margiela Replica

Maison Margiela’s Replica fragrance range has been created to recapture memories in one whiff. ‘By the Fireplace’ was created by the French perfume house to evoke the scents of a cosy fireside in a snowy French Alpine chalet. Contrasting the cold outside and warmth within, it features notes of pink pepper, clove, vanilla and chestnut accord. There might not be much apres-ski this year, but this may just take you back there.

Hywl, £90


Aesop’s botanical scent is a hybrid of its signature dark greens and spices. With all the trademark herbaceous aromas and smoky plumes, it’s wrapped up in aromatic spices and a woody heart of cypress. There’s a lingering vetiver, frankincense and moss base to give a grounding, earthy scent that envelopes and cocoons you in nature – just like a crispy, winter woodland walk.

Coromandel, £155


Created just four years ago but inspired by founder Coco Chanel’s Chinese lacquered screens in her private apartments, Coromandel is a beautifully heady scent. Richer and more decadent than a sparkly summer spritz, it gives neck-nuzzling warmth with white chocolate and vanilla, but stops short of being sickly thanks to a bouquet of jasmine, rose and patchouli and an initial zing of bitter orange and neroli. Complex, deep and decadent, this is a beautiful luxury winter scent that’s as cosy and cosseting as your favourite cashmere jumper.

Smudge, $65


Derived from 100 per cent natural botanical ingredients, Heretic perfumes are brilliantly bold. Smudge – inspired by the smudge stick used throughout history by various cultures to clear negative vibes – could perhaps be the fragrance that 2020 needs. With a mystical blend of woody herbs and intoxicating resins including clary sage, frankincense, labdanum, patchouli, Sichuan pepper and Tonka bean, it feels magically comforting and protecting in one enveloping spritz.

Bapteme du Feu, NOW £61.45

Serge Lutens

What better way to celebrate the autumn/winter season than with notes of gunpowder and gingerbread? An unlikely pairing perhaps, but on closer examination the sweet gourmand notes of the gingerbread balance perfectly with the smoke of the gunpowder. We love the accents of tangerine for a truly festive note.

Velvet Rose & Oud, £82

Jo Malone

A magnetic scent, this is one that is bound to fast become a ‘signature’ of its wearer, so memorable are the velvety notes of Damask rose, wrapped in smoky wood and delicious clove and praline. Almost edible yet dark and hypnotic, layer it with Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay for an even greater autumnal scent explosion.

Reine du Nuit, £235


A brand-new fragrance from Byredo – part of the ‘Night Veils’ trilogy of perfumes – Reine du Nuit is a perfect essence for those darker, wintery nights with bold florals and powdery incense, it is inspired by the ancient tradition of Eastern perfumes, with notes of patchouli, saffron and amber. A sensual, lingering scent that doesn’t go quietly into the night…

By Lydia Mansi
November 2020

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.