Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2008

Fall? Bah, humbug. I'm a summer person. The best thing I can say about fall is that at least it isn't winter yet. Here are some of the fragrances I like to wear while counting the days until spring...

CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves: I can't think of any other scent that so perfectly captures what fall ought to smell like. As I said when I reviewed it, it is "calming and invigorating at the same time", and it layers beautifully with all kinds of other things. To stick with the autumn theme, layer it with Gathering Apples (from the same brand).

L'Artisan Navegar: I think of Navegar as the fall version of L'Eau de L'Artisan — take out the seaweed, add some spices, voilà. It's too lightweight to qualify as a winter scent, but in the early, crisp days of fall when you can still get away with a light jacket, it's just right. Another spicy cologne to carry you into fall: Diptyque L'Eau de L'Eau.

Bvlgari Omnia: In the same seasonal category as Navegar — sheer but spicy, perfect for those early days when it's not yet cold enough for Donna Karan Black Cashmere. That is, assuming you're one of those lucky people that can smell Omnia at all. If you're not, you'll spray it on and wonder where it went.

Diptyque Tam Dao: Is the glut of information fueling your election anxiety disorder? Spray on some soothing Tam Dao. Oh, and stop looking at the polls. It will all be over soon.

Kenzo Amour: Tam Dao didn't work? Spray on some Kenzo Amour. Still freaking out? Did you try layering them? Well then, sorry, there's nothing we can do for you. Apparently you need to go camping.

Estee Lauder Sensuous: Yeah, yeah, I know. Many of you hate it. Angela found it dull, and she's got plenty of company. I can't make a case for Sensuous as an edgy scent, it's true, but I prefer to think of it as "easy to wear". I reach for it at night when I'm too tired for edgy.

Costume National 21: I was thinking about Lubin Idole the other day. Anyone else remember when Idole launched back in late 2005? It wasn't that long ago, but the perfume world was very different then. Idole was a niche scent from a brand that had been off the market long enough that your average perfumista had never heard of it. Yet Idole generated lots of buzz, and the buzz lingered long after the launch. I don't see that happening very often these days in the niche sector unless the scent is from one of the older, better known cult brands, like Frederic Malle or Serge Lutens, and even then, the buzz just doesn't seem to last as long as it used to — there's too much new product to bother with what came out last week. It's sad, because the cream doesn't always have time to rise to the top. I thought Costume National 21 was a great scent — a sort of niche snob's version of Kenzo Amour — that deserved more attention than it got.

Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras: Speaking of Frederic Malle, he's got a new one out, and it's pretty darned good. I'll review it next week. It's a skin scent in both conceptual and practical terms, and you could probably wear it any time of the year, but it has enough earthy warmth to stand up to the cold.

Caron Aimez Moi: Licorice + violet candy. Sometimes you want a little candy, no? This is a great scent, albeit one that can feel too heavy in warmer weather. Aimez Moi is over 10 years old now, and it tends to get forgotten, in fact, I tend to forget about it myself. Then every so often I come across it in my perfume cabinet, spray some on, and remember why I love it. Best of all, it can be had for under $50.

Pacifica Tibetan Mountain Temple: If the under $50 category is still potentially too rich for your blood, check out Pacifica's nifty $8.95 solids. The Tibetan Mountain Temple is warm and spicy, and perfect for chilly weather.

Want more? Check out the Top 10 lists at Bois de Jasmin, Perfume PossePerfume-Smellin' Things and Scentzilla.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I love licorice and violet candy, I'll have to try Aimez-Moi.
    I'm also trying to get my hands on Diptyque's L'Eau de L'Eau and Tam Dao.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All worth trying…that Diptyque cologne collection doesn't seem to have gotten much attention online either.

  3. Anonymous says:

    did i miss the top 10 fall for men?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I always love these lists, Robin, thanks! I'm a summer person too, but I've been eager to get back into some cooler-weather scents (and it's relative here in Calif. anyway, but I can't WAIT for the rains to finally start). You make Aimez Moi sound really good; speaking of licorice, I'm sampling Brin de Reglisse again tonight and I think a decant would be perfect for fall/winter.

    After lemming it forever, I recently got a decant of Tam Dao and like the lemony-woody zing, but am very disappointed in the lasting power. However, oh la la… I finally found the sandalwood of my dreams and now need a bottle of Villoresi Sandalo! Other faves right now for crisp, chilly days are Chêne and Mechant Loup.

    I've been wanting to try CN21 for months now, thanks for another reminder. Have a great weekend.

  5. Anonymous says:

    …it will soon get some attention at least for the german area as I fell in love with Diptyque.

    My fallscent, and there is only one: The Monsungarden :-)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Robin: I love peeking through these lists and I hopelessly love autumn. Nothing like burning red and yellow trees, crystal blue skies and the smell of hot chestnuts under the dome (in Milan) can make me feel so happy and nostaligic at the same time. So L'AP eau de Navegar and CBIHP burning leaves seem to me very appealing.
    BTW, I just smelled a wax sample of SL's El Attarine, could someone tell me how it compares with teh real deal? Are the spices very strong and prominent also in the EdP? I love the golden drydown. It seems perfect for the foggy or crispy autumn days..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, you prompted me to try Aimez-Moi again as I don't recall liking it first time round when I did a big Caron blitz in Paris. It's a little sweet but in a wistful way. I think I am ready for this one now!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don't know monsungarden?

  9. Anonymous says:

    We don't do them by gender. A number of the scents listed above are unisex, or, take a look at last year's top 10 which Kevin wrote:

  10. Anonymous says:

    I'm curious to hear what you think of Aimez Moi. It's arguably more conventionally feminine than anything else on the list — and certainly more so than Brin de Reglisse.

    It's true, Tam Dao doesn't last. Ah well. Chene & Mechant Loup both great for fall too. I don't think I liked the LV but have to go look it up!

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is a little sweet. In hot weather, it seems VERY sweet to me, and too heavy. I wore it over the weekend and it was really, really nice.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There is something about licorice and anise that says “autumn!” to me, too. Maybe not Guerlain's Anisia Bella (very fresh, more of a springtime anise), but definitely Yohji Homme and Lempicka Au Masculin. If Aimez-Moi smells of violet candy, how does it compare to Apres L'Ondee, which is the most violet-pastille scent I've ever smelled?
    My fall mainstay above all others is Yves Rocher's Homme Millennaire, which is autumn, distilled into a bottle; dark pungent earth and crunchy leaves underfoot, spicy and a little incensey (the barest suggestion of burning leaves), woody and overall perfect. I can't believe they discontinued it, those idiots.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I was excited to see some…anti-favorites on your list, R :-) Because there is comfort in knowing that some things, like us being EFTs, never change :-))) Happy Halloween!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh, lovely list! I am pleased yet unsurprised to see we list several of the same scents (how do people fail to see the love in KenzoAmour? :-) ) Costume National 21 is also one of the types of frags you and I really like … and I just dug out my brand new bottle of Idole, having finally worked through a decant, a minor miracle of its own.
    Finally, while I do not have the solid, a bar of Tibetan Mtn Temple (from Rodmans) sits in my powder room right now, making everything wonderful. Before that: Mediterranean Fig, a staple here.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Zazie, I can't say how close they are because I didn't smell Attarine in the wax form, but my past experience is that they're like a snapshot — you don't get the full idea of the scent until you try it on skin. But yes, the spices are prominent in the EdP.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Apres L'Ondee is wistful and delicate, Aimez Moi has nothing wistful about it to me — it's cheerful and somewhat loud.

  17. Anonymous says:

    LOL — yes, it makes the world seem like a safe, stable place, doesn't it? Happy Halloween to you too!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Burning leaves has to be on any fall list. Great choices. Agree on the Dans tes Bras, that think is just a little slice of fall crack.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I am curious, how does CBIHP Burning Leaves compare with SSS Fireside? I love Fireside, but now am wondering if I need a sample of Burning Leaves.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Love these seasonal lists, even if here in Chicago it seems like we really only have two — unbearably hot and unbearably cold. I'm with you on Sensuous — it's a cool weather comfort scent for me. But my real cool weather love is Chergui. I have a question about Burning Leaves — how does it compare with SSS's Fireside Intense, which I love? Are they different enough that there's room in my wardrobe for both?

  21. Anonymous says:

    M, have you tried the Amour Le Parfum yet? I keep saying I'm gonna go to the mall but then I don't. I swear that I'm going to buy that Tibetan Mountain Temple body butter though.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Burning Leaves is really perfect. I wish he'd do a set w/ different kinds of leaves…

  23. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to give such a dumb answer, but it smells like burning leaves instead of burning wood — has a kind of sugary maple smell, you know? I love Fireside too (the Intense version) and this one is quite different. Yes, you need a sample ;-)

  24. Anonymous says:

    On the Fireside vs. Burning Leaves, see above — yes, there's room for both, definitely! I do love Fireside Intense too. Burning Leaves is different, plus I think it's a better layering agent.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Laugh at me. I have such a terrible unsniffed track record that I refuse to order it online from Sephora (they finally have it up now, before it was on there but wasn't actually stocked). It's like a jinx — if I order it online it's almost destined to be a failure.

    But they don't have it in the store yet. I am trying to hold off for another week or two hoping they get it, but not sure I will be able to resist the Buy button…

  26. Anonymous says:

    Perfect list! I would just change one thing in it – Kenzo Amour would be replaced by Lolita Lempicka EdP! Licorice, aniseed, woods, and earthy tones.

  27. Anonymous says:

    NST: I am sorry, I meant Un Jardin apres la Mousson, this was a silly translation directly from german to english, I use to say “gardens” to the Hèrmes range” Un Jardin de…”

    The correct term would be “monsoon-garden”, there is also a spelling mistake.

    Sorry for my bad english, I do my very best to improve it.

    Have a nice “Erntedankfest” respectively Halloween!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Your list has got me thinking. There are some loves – Burning Leaves, Navegar (though this is summer for me – can't wear l'eau de l'art…); some I'm still yet to sniff – Costume National 21; and some I just can't bear (sadly, Dans tes Bras is there for me – a headachy mix of sweet powdered violets and Cumming with a sickly drydown – at least to me!). I also gave my Idole away a year or so ago – became unbearable to me. Funny, eh? I guess I sit somewhere between you and Marina on the scent spectrum…

  29. Anonymous says:

    Fall! Fall schmall! We got 13 inches of snow the other day…..

    My favs for fall are Coco Chanel, SSS Rose Musc, Donna Karan (1992), Lancome Magie Noir, Guerlain Vol de Nuit (which actually smells great when shoveling snow btw), and Guerlain Nahema. I'll add on the new PC Amber YY too for those “indian summer” days.

  30. Anonymous says:

    No — actually I think I should have figured that out. Your English is excellent, and sadly much better than my skills in any other language. I can hardly even speak Spanish, and I studied that for 13 years.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Won't laugh. I was tempted to order it w/ the free shipping myself, but chickened out. Hopefully it'll be there next week when I finally (?) make it to the mall.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Hey, but I gave you some licorice in the Aimez Moi ;-)

  33. Anonymous says:

    There was a time when Marina & I were totally at opposite ends, and most people were probably in the middle. We've come somewhat closer in tastes over the past few years.

    Great description of Dans Tes Bras, LOL…

  34. Anonymous says:

    I love Omnia for fall (luckily I can smell it); it's also a truly great fragrance for going to the theatre or the orchestra, since it stays so close and because there's a fifty-fifty chance the people around you won't even smell it anyway. Another good one for this time of year–when we in the midwest can wake up to a frost or to a beautifully warm, sunny day like today–is Terracotta by Guerlain. Sort of a light spice for the autumn days before it gets really cold.

  35. Anonymous says:

    13 inches of snow ?!? *faints*

    Gracious, I don't know what I'd do. 13 inches makes me mad even in January.

  36. Anonymous says:

    The only benefit was the magnificent mid-week “snow day” at home with pay…dreaming of the new frags I'd buy for winter!

  37. Anonymous says:

    This is really sad, R. Fall is my favorite season and my favorite time for spicier fragrances, but it's been so hot out here, I have completely lost my fragrance compass.

    Now that it's finally cooling off, I remember that YSL Nu, another “hidden” gem, is one of my favorite fragrances for Fall, along with POTL body cream, Chaos, Shalimar, Mitsouko, Angelique Noire and SDV. Dang, I sound like an ad for Guerlain…so sorry! I am also digging Vero Profumo Onda.

    On the other hand, I have been wearing Byredo Pulp for the past few days, and I love it! It's like the ripest fruit with a touch of coconut (must be the tiare flower) and praline. To be honest, it reminds me of a wonderfully blended, rich, non-synthetic version of the fruity scents they sell at B&BWs!


  38. Anonymous says:

    Tam Dao will do the trick, huh? How big a bottle do they make? ;-)

    I've been wearing CdG's Zagorsk quite a lot recently. Maybe it's the pine/birch forest smell, but it smells like fall to me.

  39. Anonymous says:

    “while counting the days until spring…” – it is a great name for a perfume, isn't it? I need something like that.
    Thanks for great tips!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Love the picture you chose for the column. Provenance?

  41. Anonymous says:

    Marina over at Perfume Smellin Things did the picture — you'll have to go ask her :-)

  42. Anonymous says:

    Ah, day off with pay is ok. Unless you have to shovel. Then it's not.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Bergere, that's a great scent, agreed. Have a decant somewhere.

  44. Anonymous says:

    HA — not big enough, no doubt. Zagorsk probably works just as well though.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I'm trying to feel sorry for you, but can't. Send that heat over here! Along w/ the Byredo Pulp!

  46. Anonymous says:

    I'd buy it!

  47. Anonymous says:

    Let's just think of it as a hard-core workout…how many calories is one and a half hours of heaving snow? I did discover, to my great amusement, that Vol de Nuit smells magnificently with cold fresh snow.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I've been waiting for this! Thanks, it confirms that some of my next-to-sample list is on target…and hints which should maybe move to the top :)

  49. Anonymous says:

    I love ten best lists–so fun! I am wearing Omnia, today, though it is a staple and gets worn a couple of times a month (same with Tibetan Mountain Temple).

    Noir Epices, Chergui, Patchouli 24, Dzing!, Yatagan, AG Ambre Fetiche, Eau de Shalimar (old formula), CB:IHP Burning Leaves, PG Coze, and CDG Palisander is what I have moved to the front for fall (along with the staples and the collection of new samples.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Lovely list! I'm very fond indeed of Burning Leaves and Kenzo Amour is one of my all time favourites. I may actually get through my pretty pink 30ml bottle and HAVE to buy the orange 50ml!! How cool is that. We've headed straight for winter here in the UK (snow in October!) so my list straddles the seasons with its inclusion of Bois des Iles, Chergui, Bois de Paradis, Organza Indecence, T42, Attrape Coeur, Kiki, Mitsouko, Sacrebleu and Jubilation XXV. Happy Hallowe'en!

  51. Anonymous says:

    I'll keep that in mind come January ;-)

  52. Anonymous says:

    Hope you'll find a winner!

  53. Anonymous says:

    Great list — with you on all of those except the Noir Epices, which I just cannot wear.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Hey, what about the new gold Amour? I'm dying to try that one. You've got a great list (yay Bois des Iles!), but what's T42??

  55. Anonymous says:

    L'Artisan Tea for Two, probably (or were you joking?). Love the list, R.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for the more affordable options, Robin ! This “lurker” sure appreciates it.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the list! This is my first fall as a burgeoning perfumista. I haven't smelled ANY of these – lol – I will never catch up. I will have to try Burning Leaves, for sure, and have Dans tes Bras in my TPC wish list.
    Yesterday, when it was the first truly dreary wet day I wore Kiehl's Rain Exquisite, sadly discontinued. Today since it is Hallowe'en, I will wear Opus Oils Voodoo, one of my favorites so far in the line, and though probably better for winter, how can I not want to smell like Marie Laveau on this spooky day?

  58. Anonymous says:

    Another vote for CdG Zagorsk (wearing it today), Ambre Fetiche, Encens Flamboyant, PG Coze, Chergui, Ambre Russe, Noir Epices, Onda, Rahat Loukhoum, and PG Ombre Fauve.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Your wish is my command!

    Check for a delivery within the next week or so.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I really love Costume National 21. I think I'll put it on tomorrow.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the list. The Caron Aimez Moi sounds delicious, and there are several others on the list that are new to me.

    I love fall, but have to work at not worrying about winter being right around the corner. I hate winter, even here in Northern California. One flake of snow is too many, IMO.

    This fall, I've been gravitating toward fragrances that I associate with yellow, gold, and orange. Things with ingredients like mandarin, saffron, bergamot, amber and ginger. Things like Safran Troublant, Divine Bergamote, Mauboussin, Theorema, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, etc.

    Did I say I love fall? I'm lovin' my fall fragrances, too! :-)

  62. Anonymous says:

    Hey, you're sending me hot weather! j/k, and something is coming to you soon too.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! Not joking, just stupid ;-)

  64. Anonymous says:

    We need them more than ever, don't we?

  65. Anonymous says:

    Well hey, I haven't smelled either of yours so we're even ;-)

  66. Anonymous says:

    Rahat Loukoum — another one I forget about. Great fall scent, and just dabbed some on.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Yay, glad it has another fan!

  68. Anonymous says:

    I almost included the Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, but then it seemed pointless since it's gone. Hope they'll bring it back, and hope you'll avoid snow, even one flake !

  69. Anonymous says:

    It rained for 5 minutes this morning – did you feel it? At least in LA. I really want Mechant Loup to be edgy enough to rock as a male's scent on my female self…but alas, I think it's really just a good comfort scent on a man. Am waiting for it to cool down to a true Autumn here in Cali for my PdE Ambre Russe…who doesn't love a boozy amber?

  70. Anonymous says:

    Used to work for Kiehl's – we recently brought back Forrest Rain, which is nothing like Exquisite…it's much more wet smelling… but you should stop in and give it a sniff anyway.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Thanks! I wish you a short winter, with lots of new warming fragrances to tell us about!

  72. Anonymous says:

    I am planning on smelling that next time I am near a Kiehl's.

    Everyone I know thought they were insane to discontinue Exquisite.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Summer person here too :o) *crosses fingers for a short winter, which, where I live, is quite unlikely…. winter can go on for 5 months *sigh*
    Anyway, loved the list and I agree on CN 21, I think it deserves more attention. I am also loving the new Bond Lexington Avenue, which I'll probably wear a lot this winter and the Guerlain Elixirs.
    Still have a lot of new stuff to try out, I've already given up on the idea of trying everything, it's impossible to keep up, but doing my best not to be out of the loop. How's testing on the TF Private Blends going? :o) Cannot wait to hear what you think about them!

  74. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Erin is right (thanks!) – I was being lazy ;-) I saw the gold Kenzo Amour when I made a quick visit to Nice in September but didn't cotton on, silly me. Getting very senior these days. Oh well it will be in the UK soon I hope (it sounds wonderful) and then yes, a pink bottle, an orange one and a gold – so pretty and I don't usually care all that much for bottles/packaging.

  75. Anonymous says:

    Come join me, where it NEVER snows! We do have the opposite issue where trying to not roast alive is a constant problem and the perfume ranges are a bit abysmal but you can't have everything! In Autumn, I ove Black Cashmere and Femininitie de bois but sometimes, autumn can be in the high 90s so I may have to resort to lighter scents.

  76. Anonymous says:

    I've just ordered samples of Coze, Ambre Russe and L'Ombre Fauve though I fear the latter may be too “bestial” – maybe I was subconsciously getting ready for winter!

  77. Anonymous says:

    I know what you mean about orange and amber coloured scents – I have also been wearing Divine Bergamote, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and Theorama.

    Oh, and you didn't see the post where I mentioned ordering samples, by the way….: – ) I said I was on the wagon!

  78. Anonymous says:

    I wish! I could never see snow again and be perfectly happy.

  79. Anonymous says:

    I'm almost done w/ the Private Blends. I do think they're nicely done, and when the onslaught of new stuff slows down I'll try to review a few.

  80. Anonymous says:

    No worries, I should have figured that one out!

  81. Anonymous says:

    I've been fairly impressed with the Pacific line lately. It's not that they're all great fragrances, but they're very nice. The quality of the line seems to have gone up a notch since they introduced perfumes in addition to soaps and candles. And when you take into account the price of those frags compared with similarly priced drugstore options, the Pacificas are generally far and away better quality choices. The Tibetan Mountain Temple is no exception. I happen to prefer their rather simple but pretty enough take on Fig better, but I think that has more to do with figgy goodness than any defect on the part of the TBT, heh.

  82. Anonymous says:

    I was just about the ask the same question when I read your question. I will have to check out Kevin to see if he is doing a Mens list. Some of these unisex ones I have never even heard of.

  83. Anonymous says:

    No, he isn't doing a list for this fall, and we never do separate men's & women's lists in any one season.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Katie, agree, they do a really good job for the price, and so many of the other lines that used to be on the same level have raised their prices. It's getting harder to find “cheap thrills” brands.

  85. Anonymous says:

    FYI – they have forrest rain at

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