Top 10 Winter Fragrances 2008

Winter is my favorite time to wear perfume. Something about heavy, textured clothing, dinners by the fireplace with friends, and the stark lines of trees and rainy streets against the warm light coming from homes goes well with some of my favorite perfumes. Trimming the list to just ten scents was brutal (sorry Caron Nuit de Noël and Guerlain Mitsouko!), but here they are:

Caron Tabac Blond: Tabac Blond is my default cold weather scent, and a few mls of the Parfum are always in my purse. Its thick leather and smoked cigarette smell give Tabac Blond personality, but the tonka-laden Caron base gives it warmth and approachability. I love it enough to sometimes wonder if I could make a cocktail out of it. Maybe a spritz of Tabac Blond on a shot of bourbon?

Serge Lutens Chêne: I was sitting next to the fire at a friend’s house the other night, and I could smell the heat of the burning hardwood, but no smoke (her chimney draws well). Riding the heat was a suggestion of cumin and the feeling that a sip of scotch leaves as it goes down, just like in Chêne. To me, Chêne smells like winter warmth. I adore it.

Christian Dior Diorling: Sometimes I pull out a pair of high-heeled boots made with shiny nappa leather and a 1950s coat with a Balenciaga-esque design. I need a scent that is sophisticated, engrossing, and womanly. I want to be fearsome, and that’s when I choose Diorling. The combination of the leather top with a complex floral heart and chypré-ed base is just the ticket.

L’Artisan Dzing!: I probably get more compliments on Dzing! than on any other scent. Dzing! is a wacky perfume that smells like motor oil, caramel, and leather. On me it has a musky dry down that’s not in any other fragrance I own. Since Dzing! is so definitely a modern scent, it makes a nice balance with a vintage dress.

Fendi Theorema / Caron Alpona: What is it about orange that goes so well with winter? It must be the pyramids of Seville oranges and clementines stacked in the grocery stores this time of year. Theorema is a creamy orange scent, loaded with comfort. Alpona is almost a Victorian orange scent, reminding me of houses with lots of small, dark rooms and stuffed crows under glass domes. I like to wear Theorema during the day, then, as it fades, top it with a few dabs of Alpona Parfum.

Jean Patou Joy: Where I live it rains a lot in the winter. Most often the rain is soft enough that you don’t have to carry an umbrella, but you can smell the damp dirt and wet tree bark. Cool, rainy days are the perfect backdrop for the floral lushness and generosity of Joy Parfum (I’d save the brighter Eau de Toilette for spring).

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman: Ormonde Woman is another fragrance that goes well with dampness. Ormonde Woman smells grassy and loamy, almost like it was infused with truffles. Unlike Joy, it has little hint of flowers. Instead, Ormonde Woman makes you feel like you’re hiking through a landscape from the Lord of the Rings. I don’t know anything else that smells like it.

Rochas Femme: To me, Femme is the ultimate bombshell fragrance. It is a peachy, spicy, intimate chypre that screams Sweater Girl and demands a bear rug in front of the fireplace. I like to dab the Parfum strength of Femme because it’s softer than the Eau de Parfum and the cumin is a little gentler, too. But save Femme for winter. Wearing too much when it’s hot might qualify as assault with a deadly weapon.

Fabergé Tigress: When I was ten I used to dream of having a bedroom like the bottle in I Dream of Jeannie. If I could have had it decorated like the gold and orange, tiger-striped packaging for Tigress, I would have been in heaven. Tigress is a deliciously warm vanilla and amber fragrance with a floral heart. My kitschy vintage bottle — labeled “cologne extraordinaire” — makes me happy every time I splash some on. Plus, when people ask what I’m wearing, I can say, “Tigress!”

Guerlain Chamade: Finally the time comes in winter when daffodils start to puncture the dirt and camellias bloom. It’s still cold, but you know that spring is coming. That’s when I reach for Chamade. Chamade is otherworldly in its hyacinth and cassis gorgeousness. It’s fresh and gentle and haunting but still has enough body to stand up to a late winter rainstorm. The kicker? It’s supposedly Phyllis Diller’s signature scent.

For more winter favorites, please check out Bois de Jasmin :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume Smellin' Things :: Scentzilla.

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Parfums Raffy


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have been wondering about Tigress! The bottle is so nice… But Vanilla makes me nauseous just like most foody or fruity scents :( I do better with clean florals or deeper feminine scents.
    By the way, I found out what perfume my husband was remembering! He had the description right, but it was of the mini. It's Yves Rocher Ispahan and it's been discontinued for a while now, I think. I am going to get my mother in law a bottle–she'll be thrilled :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your Tabac Blonde “drink” comment reminds me of a dream I had once, in which I made a White Shoulders cocktail using blush wine, fresh fruit, and a jasmine liquor. (I'm pretty sure that doesn't really exist.) I woke up thinking that it might be a good idea to have a Sip-n-Sniff party with drinks inspired by classic scents. Who wouldn't want to walk around with a Chanel No. 5 fizz or an Angel martini?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I like the way you connect perfume to the smell of weather, fire, rain and drinks, to memories and roles…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Many favorites shared !

    Could we put the Tabac Blond on the aged single malt, you think ?

    It's been years since I smelled Diorling- but I'm inclined to second it- if memory doesn't fail me.

    Chamade is great any time- and I also love Nahema in the cold.

    Femme is my friend-

    Tigress was one of my first fragrances, I adored it !

    I find that most Carons do well in the cold- Infini, Bellodgia, Caron Pour Femme, Parfum Sacre-

    The hard part, is finding ONLY 10….

    [Thanks, A.]

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mrs. Williams,

    if ever you organize a party like that in real life, then I would love to be one of the guests :-)

  6. Anonymous says:

    nice list..i have some of these in my collection, too :) I have to think about what my top 10 have been.

    (MR, Amour, Josephine, Kenzo Oriental, Tom Ford Black Orchid (is it called black orchid?), i will have to add L (Lolita Lempicka), Opium, CoCo, Creed Santal, and just for a twist, my Bulgari Extreme) that was easier than I thought! Winter is a good time for fragrance, I find I need the comfort of them more.

  7. Anonymous says:

    To my shame, I am not familiar with Tigresse, but I just love everything else on your list. So want to wear Femme today!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree, winter is better for wearing perfume!!!! My top of the list will be Ambre Narguilé by Hermés, and I also love Douce Amére by Serge Lutens, Mandarine Mandarin by Serge Lutens, Rousse by Serge Lutens, Dzhongha by LÁrtisan, Dior Homme, Vetiver Tonka by Hermés, Bulgari Blv, Blue Agava and Cacao by Jo Malone and French Lover by Frederic Malle. …And many, many others…

  9. Anonymous says:

    I've been meaning to revisit my Tabac Blond sample–and really really want to try Theorema after hearing so much about it. Lovely encouragement in both those directions! :)

    My current winter favorite—Guerlain's Spiritueuse Double Vanille–works wonderfully on the dreary cold days….

  10. Anonymous says:

    Like M (but without her good reasons), I don't know what Tigress smells like (I should remedy that). But I love your list, and we share Tabac Blond and Diorling as faves.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Interesting. Can't comment on the scents I've never tried (Diorling, Tigress, Dzing!, Alpona ), but I love Tabac Blond and Chêne. Not so sure about the Ormonde Jayne. As for Femme, it's so funny: I wore it for at least two years, but stopped because it melded so much for my skin that neither I nor anyone else could smell it on me. Maybe I'm a natural bombshell. LOL! If only I'd known earlier in my life.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I do love the Tigress bottle, but it sounds like it might be best if you give the fragrance a pass. Maybe Joy and Chamade would be better.

    I wonder if the rest of your comment is meant for Robin? In any case, I'm happy to see anyone's mother-in-law happy!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I think your White Shoulders cocktail sounds pretty plausible, really. If we couldn't find jasmine liquor, we could always substitue jasmine tea…not a bad idea. I have a collection of old cocktail books, and one of them really does list a Chanel No. 5 martini.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! It's impossible not to do it. That's why I love perfume so much, I think.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I'm seeing a whole manual of perfume-inspired cocktails now!

    Carons really are great in the cold, aren't they? Especially the old ones. I had a drop of Pois de Senteur on the other day, and it was wonderful.

    I need to try Nahema, it's been too many years, and I remember really liking it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I know–doesn't the White Shoulders spritzer sound good?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I had a tough time whittling down the list. I could have easily come up with a top 20! I like your list a lot–I forgot about Kenzo Oriental. That's perfect for cold weather.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! I peeked at your list last night and adored how elegant it was. You are one classy babe.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Very nice list! Other than the Ambre Narguile, maybe, yours would be great just about any time of the year, too. (Note to self: must get Dior Homme.)

  20. Anonymous says:

    I still haven't tried the Spiriteuse Double Vanille, but everything I hear makes it sound irresistable. And do try Theorama if you get the chance!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Tigress is pretty obscure these days. My bottle came from the estate of two 90+ year old sisters who seemed to have had a pretty great life, if their wardrobes were any evidence.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I've always thought Femme smelled like the skin of a sexy woman, and now you're proving it!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I am very happy to see Diorling get the recognition it so deserves. When I blogged about it I was so crushed that I was nursing a small decant: need to get a full bottle soon.

    I also share your loves of Theorema, Alpona (isn't it fab? and I usually don't do Caron), Femme and Dzing! Those are all quite lovely, although perhaps I would put Alpona in a slightly warmer time of the year (spring?).

    The only one I don't know is Tigress.

    Nice article!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Helg, thank you! Diorling really is pretty fantastic. Tigress is an old drugstore scent that I don't think is officially discontinued–its parent company still lists it on its website–it's just hard to find. Where's your top 10 winter list?

  25. Anonymous says:

    The other day I found in a fine French food store, jasmin jelly…so a wonderful jasmin drink apart from tea must either be available already or in the making…:)

  26. Anonymous says:

    Phyllis Diller!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Irresistible, no?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hmm. I'll have to keep a lookout.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Great article, Angela. Sadly, I've only tried a few on your list, but you make them all sound wonderful. Since we've gotten snow, I have been wanting something to bring Spring to mind, and Chamade sounds ideal. I can't envision Phyllis Diller wearing it (something like Dzing! actually sounds more like her style, although I realize that the timing is wrong). I'm having fun imagining an ad campaign for Chamade featuring Phyllis and “Fang”.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Fabulous list, Angela! Thought you might like to know that Tigress is readily available on, though I have no idea if it's true to the original formula…they claim it's the same, but I've never smelled it and I'm sure it must be a reformulation.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Tha's good information! I bet the bottle isn't as great, though. I'll have to check it out.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Hey, maybe you should submit some variation of your ad campaign for Eau Faux!

    Dzing! definitely does sound more Phyllis Diller than Chamade, but there's something in the juxtaposition of the beauty of Chamade with the zaniness of Phyllis and her diaphonous caftans that really appeals to me.

  33. Anonymous says:
  34. Anonymous says:

    I love it!

  35. Anonymous says:

    This is my Top 10 Winter Fragrances or (fragrances that I would not wear in the heat of the summer):

    Youth Dew (especially at Christmas)




    Obsession Night

    Black Cashmere

    Hermes Eau de Merveilles (reminds me a lot of KL)


    L'Air du Temps


  36. Anonymous says:

    R, I could live happily with your list. It reminds me, too, that I need to smell KL again.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I just read the link to the article about Phyllis Diller, and it made me love her all over again. Today I'm doused in Theorama, but tomorrow it will be Chamade, in her honor.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I'll invite the whole crew. ;)

  39. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Angela, I love your list! Big fan of Bulgari Blv and French Lover, too…

    By the by, I have scanned (and recommended once to a friend) this site but have joined for the first time now. I love it here!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Someone else who feels my love for Dzing! It's so eccentric, I simply adore it. Best of all, the compliments I get come replete with bemused raised eyebrows. Huzzah!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Count me in!

  42. Anonymous says:

    In the real world, perfume lovers seem few and far between, so I really like being able to go online and connect with “my people”.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Dzing! is definitely on my “must always have at hand” list. I'm always surprised by the people who compliment me on it, too. A lot of times it's people who don't regularly wear perfume who like it best.

  44. Anonymous says:

    for the science files….

  45. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if depressed people also don't hear as well or feel as keenly? (The article linked above was about the link between depression and diminished sense of smell.)

  46. Anonymous says:

    Haven't been invited to do one.

    But you can mail me for my choices, if you like :-)(

  47. Anonymous says:

    Oh, lovely list, A! Is your Tigress bottle the one with the furry cap? Am I remembering that correctly? I think Faberge had another one out at the same time called Woodhue. They were in the same kind of bottle but W's cap was fake wood.

    I have recently received decants of Theorama and OJ Woman and love both. You described OJ Woman perfectly – I have to really smell it closely to catch all the nuances. My own winter list would include Chanel Coco, Moschino Femme, Rochas Absolu and Shalimar parfum, among others. I love Rochas Femme as well and will wear it tomorrow; can't wear Chamade for Phyliss Diller bcs I don't have any. Thanks for bringing up a mental picture of her, though! Caftan, cigarette holder, beads, wig – she had it all :).

  48. Anonymous says:

    Yep, furry cap! I have a sample of Woodhue that I should trot out for a try.

    Your list is terrific. Absolu is on my list to try. Is the Shalimar parfum a lot better than the EdP?

  49. Anonymous says:

    The problem with reading other people's lists is you forgot all the scents that should have gone on your list. Love it!

  50. Anonymous says:

    Fragrances that lend themselves to fall/winter are my favorite too, until I sniff the jaunty freshness that speaks of spring. How fickle, and yet fine all this is. So, for me, it's

    the cocoa-licious Serendipitous, it makes me long for the apres-ski fireplaces

    Shalimar parfum – because it's beautiful

    J'Laine's Patchouli – don't know why but I like it and at least don't feel swamped when it's colder outside, like in the low 60's.

    Ormonde's Frangipiani and the Philosokos promise that the rest of the year has its charms too.

  51. Anonymous says:

    I know just what you mean. Well, my top 10 favorites change all the time, anyway.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Nice selection of scents. I do have to admit that Frangipani isn't one I would have anticipated…but it sure does remind us that all year isn't winter, and that's a plus.

  53. Anonymous says:

    here 's my actual winter list

    Daim Blond

    En Avion

    Narcisse Noir

    Jardins Ottomans

    Seve Exquise

    Rahat Loukoum

    Iris Silver Mist




  54. Anonymous says:

    Nice list! I see you do like your Serge. I could live happily with your list.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Mrs. Williams, your comment makes me think of this little film, The History of Glamour, made by a game creator/writer/director named Theresa Duncan. It's a bit of social commentary, but in it, the characters have taken to drinking Chanel No. 5! It is a very thoughtful little piece…although sadly, Duncan recently took her own life. She also had a great blog called The Wit of the Staircase.

    You can watch here:

  56. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, P, for the story and link. As soon as I'm near a high-speed internet connection (I still use dial up, if you can believe it), I'm going to watch it.

  57. Anonymous says:

    thank you Angela, I also love Caron a lot and I could easily extend my top ten list with Lady Caron (strangely a very underrated scent), French CanCan and also Lisptick Rose by Frederic Malle.

    last year I wore Rose Barbare in the winter but I 'm not a Guerlain girl at all but this year it 's just not working for me, Samsara a great perfume is the quintessence of guerlinade I hate the most on my skin, the only Guerlain I wear is Mitsouko, but that 's my fall season perfume of course.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Too bad about the Guerlains! I like a lot of them, including Mitsouko. Samsara EdT is great in summer, I think, although I'm sure lots of people might feel overwhelmed by the sandalwood.

  59. Anonymous says:

    I have never heard of Diorling. Where is it sold and what are the top notes?

  60. Anonymous says:

    It's a floral leather chypre first released in the early 1960s. Diorling (along with another hard-to-find-Dior, Diorama) is sold in the main Dior boutique in Paris, at the Paris Bon Marche, and at the Roja Dove boutique in Harrods in London.

  61. Anonymous says:

    I think the sandalwood concentration and the vanillic spicyness notes are so enhanced it gives Samsara the most guerlinadesque character of all Guerlains. (certainly less in edt)

  62. Anonymous says:

    Diorling, isn 't it a leather chypre?

    Diorissimo or Die, fabulous username! a spring favorite of mine with Diorella (which I both own in vintage spray edt)

  63. Anonymous says:

    Thanks! Wow! There are so many different fragrances out there. I am a new poster and new to perfumery. Thanks for the info!

  64. Anonymous says:

    Brill list, thanks for sharing. I haven't tried Joy and Ormande Woman but am really interested when you say they remind you of wet grass tree bark, cos I really love green grassy notes, just wonder if there's other less-niche fragrances that you like and are of the same category?

  65. Anonymous says:

    Joy doesn't really remind me of wet grass etc., it just seems to go with the smell. Joy is more about roses and jasmine. It's just so lush and deep that I like it with rain.

    As for less-niche fragrances, there are a few old ones that are moody and dark forest-y and that are pretty inexpensive at online discounters. Jacomo Silences is a good example.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Samsara seems to have fallen out of favor, but I like it.

  67. Anonymous says:

    It sure can be overwhelming–all the perfume, that is. But it sure is fun exploring it. Have a good time!

  68. Anonymous says:

    Hello, Angela and everybody. I sure know what you mean about “my people.” It's the best feeling, being among men and women who have the same intensely meaningful relationship with their senses!! We are NOT freaks after all!

    For cold, dark, blustery weather, I love my Feminite du Bois. It's deep and resonant, cozy and scrumptiously cedarwoody — a real comfort scent with a lot of style.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Feminite du Bois is a terrific winter scent. Gosh, my winter top 10 could have gone on and on…

  70. Anonymous says:

    Would you all consider Chantal Thomass EDP a winter scent? I have it and wear it over a layer of Perlier Olivarium body products because it was given as a gift and I wanted to wear it, but over the Olivarium is the only way I can stand it. I am used to florals and am not used to wearing anything you can eat except honey :-). But, when layer the Chantal Thomass EDP over the Olivarium, I can smell the cranberry in it more (I think it has tomato in it, too). It smells “warmer” to me and more seductive, but not in a flowery way, if that makes any sense. Plus, I looove the bottle with the black garter around it.

    Again, still learning about fragrances. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

  71. Anonymous says:

    I know the Chantal Thomass bottle (and it is adorable), but I've never smelled it. But I believe that what ever you're happy wearing during the winter is a good winter scent, no matter what it is. For me, I bring out “bigger” scents in the winter, mostly because summer heat amplifies scent so much that some orientals, for instance, could trigger a migraine. But your body, climate, or taste might be completely different.

    Tomato? That sounds really intriguing! I love the smell of tomato plants.

  72. Anonymous says:

    I never would have put Joy on a Winter list; where I live, it snows a lot, and it is all about comfort and warmth.

    Joy is the quintessential spring or summer fragrance for this femme.

    Interesting list.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Joy parfum, not the EdT, is wonderful in the rain, I think. But I love the EdT this time of year.

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