Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2012

gourds and a mushroom

I have been known to change my mind. Still, as far as my love of autumnal perfumes goes, it seems I am as constant as the northern star. I kept thinking of fragrances to include in this post and then realizing, blast, I'd already listed them the last time I covered fall favorites for Now Smell This in 2009. A few of the previous ten are my all-time, all-year darlings, but the fall always casts them in a particularly poignant and profound light for me. As October starts, I often think of lines from John Cheever: "and who, after all these centuries, can describe the fineness of an autumn day?" (via The Stories of John Cheever). He gives it a shot anyway:

The clear and searching sweep of sun on the lawns was like a climax of the year's lights. Leaves were burning somewhere, and the smoke smelled, with all its ammoniac acidity, of beginnings. The boundless blue air was stretched over the zenith like the skin of a drum.

That ammoniac acidity has always given me pause — ammonia is alkaline, isn't it? — but the sky and the sun and the lawns are all perfectly right. And then, using his characteristic contrast of the ecstatic and the everyday, he deflates that golden description with: "It was the day to canvass for infectious hepatitis." Well, of course it was! For autumn is not only the season of reflection and melancholy, a time to moon about in cable-knit sweaters through the mists of the dying year. It is also a practical season, a time to make school lunches and Halloween costumes, to bustle along the sidewalks through gusty breezes on charitable errands. As Cheever wrote, beginnings are in the air.

So okay, you say... begin already, please! As I rounded up the usual suspects three years ago, the following list includes some of my favorite newer scents. (Surely my "Best of 2012" picks will be predictable enough to excuse a spoiler.) There are a few of my old standbys that got missed last time, too.

 Aedes de Venustas Signature: Rhubarb is a spring plant — isn't it? (My grasp on horticulture is even more tenuous than my understanding of chemistry.) A grating of tangy rhubarb is often used to offset the sweetness of pretty spring bouquets like Byredo La Tulipe and Hermessence Rose Ikebana. And yet, there is something about the alarming greenness of this Eau de Parfum, set against the flint gray of the vetiver incense at its base, which clearly says: "Fall". Much tarter and less woody than perfumer Bernard Duchaufour's previous run at the ruby stalk (Comme des Garçons Series 5, Sherbet: Rhubarb), Aedes de Venustas's rhubarb is amped up with tomato leaf and red currant to create a stark, vivid, virile fragrance. I like it very much and might have to buy a bottle for far, far too much money. 

Neela Vermeire Creations Trayee: This is another Duchaufour creation and it reminds me of L'Artisan Timbuktu, my last great favorite from his earlier period. Trayee is a powerfully dreamy fragrance, which shares Timbuktu's trick of conjuring swirling smoke. If I focus, I can pick out scents from the note list — ginger heat, piney green, some sourness from the patchouli and bitterness from the oakmoss, a little amber sweetness — but the impression at a distance is striking and abstract. Bonus: if somebody asks what that gorgeous smell is, you can truthfully report it's probably "ganja effects". I like to do this at work.

Hermès Concentré d’Orange Verte: This is the 2004 flanker to the 1979 Françoise Caron classic — still bitter-fresh, still green, still great. One of the few citruses with enough classic chypre backbone (oakmoss, patchouli) to stand up to cooler temperatures.

By Kilian Sweet Redemption: With the notable exception of L'Artisan's Fleur d'Oranger, I tend to ignore the lighter, lace-work orange blossom soliflores. A sure way to get me interested in a fragrance is to add some weird camphorous ingredients that will likely drive off the rest of your customers, and this is what perfumer Calice Becker has done with Sweet Redemption. The scent is certainly quite sweet and the floral opening is warmer and more conventionally pretty than in some darker orange blossom perfumes, like the recent L'Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l’Aube (Duchaufour again, created for Denyse Beaulieu) or my beloved Hermès 24, Faubourg. But something — the myrrh? the broom flower? the orange leaf absolute? — gives Sweet Redemption a vaguely bitter and mentholated radiance, a strange, cold smell some have called "moth balls". If it bothers you, don't stand close to me on the subway. 

Etat Libre d'Orange Encens et Bubblegum: Working a similar juxtaposition between girly sweet and austerely cool, Encens et Bubblegum is perhaps not a crowd pleaser. The average fun-lover will likely be put off by the peppery wisp of incense ash running throughout the thing and I know at least two serious perfumistas who found the rest —  a big, creamy peach-and-raspberry-tinged rose — "nauseating". It's worth conquering fruitphobia for the odd silly-solemn whole, though, especially as the sillage is beautiful in crisp weather; the impact in the air seems to suggest that perfumer Antoine Masiondieu was inspired by fleshier classics of the fruit-flowers-incense genre, like Guerlain Mitsouko or Parfums de Nicolaï Sacrebleu.

Arquiste Parfumeur Anima Dulcis: Speaking of the sacred and profane, I should mention Anima Dulcis by perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier, from Carlos Huber's new Arquiste line. In her review, Victoria at Bois de Jasmin wrote this veered into "chocolate incense territory", a very uncharted territory indeed. While this is definitely a gourmand perfume, the sweetness and richness is nicely balanced by bitter animalic notes and the roasted woodiness of the spices (chile, cinnamon). It seems a simple scent in some ways, but it must have been tricky to get the weight right: it is creamy and full-bodied, but not too heavy, somewhat in the manner of Fendi Theorema

Donna Karan Gold Eau de Parfum: Another Flores-Roux and Vasnier gem from 2006, sadly already discontinued, this burnished beauty is like an Old Master still-life of lilies: the white petals creamy in their last glory and already edged with rust, poised in brown-black varnish. The amber, equally dry and rich, makes the Eau de Parfum concentration ideal for fall.

Ys Uzac Podhadka: In my opinion, if you are going to be striding about the desolate heath, like the tragic hero/ine of a Brontë sister or Hardy novel, you had best do it in Christian Dior Eau Noire. But some find the immortelle in Eau Noire a bit much: somebody once described it to me as "curried lavender ice cream", which sounds like one of those Asian flavors that should not be a flavor. If you agree with that assessment, there are two good options: a) the lovely autumnal chypre of Annick Goutal Eau de Monsieur, just brushed with the maple sugar of immortelle;  b) even lower on the sweetness scale, the new Podhadka, mainly a blonde tobacco scent, fresh as mowed grass and light — unfortunately, so light that it is almost vanishingly faint on me. This is a sprayer, not a dabber.

Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile Eau de Parfum: I managed to buy a discounted limited edition version of this one, and though I am not a packaging hound, the violet box with cream silk interior and bottle decorated with orange-gold iris petals gives the whole thing the feel of a gift left by fall fairies, nestled in greenery in the middle of a sun-dappled glen. The impression is furthered by the fragrance itself, an earthy, yet delicate floral chypre.

Cire Trudon Roi Soleil: This is a room spray, but it seems a waste to use it merely to scent your house. Besides, whose home lives up to the inspiration for the fragrance, the Palace at Versailles? Meant to evoke the beeswaxed floors, manicured gardens and light from the golden chandeliers in the Mirror Gallery, this smells as plump and polished as a chestnut, and is a perfect personal fragrance for the last warm days of autumn.

Do add your own picks in the comments, and you can find more fall favorites at Bois de Jasmin :: Grain de Musc :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume-Smellin’ Things.

Note: top image is gourds [cropped] by muffet at flickr; some rights reserved.

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154 Comments

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  1. audreylicious says:

    Oooooh. Hmm. Some of the above I’ve never tried. I have to try the Aedes signature and Trayee.

    I recently purged a large hunk of my collection and am down to 40 bottles and 40 decants.Last night I was going through them and I had a pile of ‘must wear this fall’ perfumes. So, this year’s top 10:

    1. Bois 1920 Come La Luna : spicy, rich, unisex, long lasting.
    2. Bois 1920 La Vaniglia: spicy, rich, non-sweet vanilla, long lasting.
    3. Serge Lutens Filles En Aiguilles: a perennial fall favorite for me. Manages to smell clean, warm, and sexy at the same time.
    4. Profumi del Forte Versilia Vintage: starts as orange and wood, warms up to delicious musk with a hint of amber and citrus. A new love.
    5. Givenchy Indencence: I still own an older bottle of this. It’s delicious.
    6. Guerlain Apres L’Ondee: I know. Most people associate this with spring, but in the spring I don’t see this as a ‘warm up, we’re happy!’ kind of scent. On me it’s slightly melancholy and watery, and almost has a ‘dark’ vibe. So it’s fall for me.
    7. L’Artisan Safram Troublant: Saffron saffron saffron! Smells like gold silk and autumn walks.
    8. Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum Parfum de Soir: I love this deeper, richer version of Loukhoum. Some say baby powder, I say grown up candy. Straight up candied almond rose on my skin.
    9. Bruno Acampora Musc. Enough said.
    10. Amouage epic. Sexy spicy yet light….so gorgeous I almost fainted the first time I sniffed a vial. Love!

    Honorable mention: luxury: Fars (Xerjoff), cheap thrill: Omnia (Bulgari) of course there must be a Bond (Washington Square), and a love it/hate it/can’t stop wearing it: By Night, White (Profumi del Forte).

    • Erin says:

      A, sadly both the Trayee and the AdV Signature are quite expensive, but at least they smell that way and they come in attractive packaging. Give them a try, if you have a chance — if you like Epic, you may enjoy Trayee in particular.

      Great list! Love both Indencence and Omnia, and they’re ideal for fall – I considered Omnia for this post, actually. I always hold a special spot in my heart for Omnia, because it was the first scent I bought when it was released because I read a review at NST back in 2005.

    • SuddenlyInexplicably says:

      All I can say is this: I wish I had your collection!

      • audreylicious says:

        LOL! Thanks…..it’s constantly changing, but I now have rules: if I want to buy something pricey, I need to sell not-often-used bottles on ebay that I don’t wear much to afford the new bottles. Unfortunately/fortunately there are always new, amazing releases to love…..

        • Erin says:

          That’s a good strategy!

  2. zara says:

    I’d also add Etat Libre d’Orange Like This – mmmmh, pumpkin :) very fall-like for me

    • Erin says:

      I love pumpkin pie, but somehow Like This didn’t work for me the way I thought it might – glad it worked for you! (I love Tilda Swinton, though!) Perhaps I should just wear the Demeter Pumpkin Pie…

  3. Dilana says:

    I second both Donna Karan Gold (quick buy up the bottles while they are still heavily discounted on line, and before they sky rocket from old merchandise prices to rare vintage prices). Although I wear fragrance nearly every day to work, this is one of the only ones that I got compimented on.

    and Like This.A key note Osmanthus seems to turn to maple syrup on my skin. Somewhat annoying in the Spring, but absolutely perfect for the fall (and Thanksgiving dinner).

    Other fall favorites: Ormande Jayne Women, Atalier Cologne Blond Bois, Sege Lutens Daim Blond and Silver Iris; the killian Absinthe fragrance (I am blanking on which name it is);

    • Erin says:

      D, I believe you’re thinking of Kilian Taste of Heaven. Have you tried the solid of that one? I like it — the asbinthe is a bit tempered.

      I love the sillage from Gold. And another vote for Like This! Maybe I’ll have to re-try it again in this weather. Pumpkin does seem so fall-appropriate.

    • Haunani says:

      I love A Taste of Heaven, too. That solid sounds tempting!

      • Erin says:

        They’re so cute, too. I tend to get tricked into thinking the solids and travel refills are a good deal because they’re $100 or less and the FB of Kilian are so expensive.

        • Haunani says:

          Ah, same here. The only By Kilian I own is the travel set of A Taste of Heaven. Such a deal! ;-)

    • nozknoz says:

      LOVE Daim Blond – this is one of my fall favs, too, Dilana!

  4. egabbert says:

    Yesterday was the first really chilly day in Denver, and this morning I woke up to a dusting of (gasp) snow! So bring on the fall fragrances. Some of my favorites for this time of year are Agent Provocateur, Tabac Aurea, and Belle en Rykiel (my SOTM). Recent acquisitions I’m excited about wearing are Midnight in Paris and Theorema (SO happy I got this in the recent swap!). Also, I’ve got to get myself a bottle of Spicebomb sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ve got my decant of Tea for Two.

    • Erin says:

      SNOW?!? That *is* evil… unless you’re a skier, in Denver? Midnight in Paris and Theorema will definitely keep you warm, though — and what a great swap for the Fendi! It’s hard to find now.

  5. Kady says:

    Bottega Veneta – I find this actually wears fairly well in the summer, but I’m reaching for it much more frequently since the weather turned crisp. (Side note: my cat knocked a half-full 50ml bottle of BV off my bedside table onto the carpeted floor of my bedroom, and the bottle broke! I was surprised it could break from falling 2 feet onto carpet, but I guess it’s because the bottle is so bottom-heavy – it didn’t shatter, the neck of the bottle just broke right off. It must have landed upside down. Anyhow – just a PSA for any fellow BV-and-cat-lovers. My replacement bottle is safely inside the bedside table.)

    I’m also reaching for Dzing!, Hypnotic Poison, Cuir de Lancome, and Avignon regularly since fall kicked in.

    Also, I’m allowing myself one new full bottle a season these days, and for Fall 2012, it’s looking like a battle between Amber Ylang Ylang and Coco.

    • Erin says:

      I’m rooting for Coco. (EdP, especially…) And thanks for the PSA. I have a cat, but it’s my kids who have created the most breakage so far — I don’t need the cat contributing.

      I love Avignon, too, and I listed it for fall nights in one of my first lists for NST, but it requires commitment, that thing. Sillage and lasting power monster!

    • ojaddicte says:

      I’m with you on the BV. Somehow it seems right for cooler weather. I’m debating on springing for a FB of Cuir de Lancome…

      • Erin says:

        Cuir is great and can usually be had for a decent price.

  6. Petra says:

    Hello Erin!

    You’re right, ammonia does not acidify: NH3 + H2O react to NH4 + OH- (the dash should be high up), which is not an acid, due to the OHminus ions, but a base.

    Wikipedia says: One of the most characteristic properties of ammonia is its basicity.

    • Erin says:

      “Ammoniac acidity” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue easily, either. I know what he means, I think – “sharpness”, a penetrating odour – but Cheever usually has such a good ear. But maybe for me it’s the one clunky phrase that makes you love the whole, like in a Frank O’Hara or Stevie Smith poem.

      • Petra says:

        Hello!

        That’s artistic freedom: bases as well as acids are sharp to the nose, so we get the meaning. Poems which evoke some kind of memory or feeling in a reader by creating a special atmosphere tend to stick to our memories.

  7. Abyss says:

    I tend to do better with colder weather perfumes anyway so I usually feel spoilt for choice as soon as temperatures start to drop – Cuir de Russie (extrait), Bandit, Sycomore, Diorella, Ambre Narguile, Bottega Veneta, Patchouli 24, 31 Rue Cambon, Amouage Lyric & Jubilation 24, SL Bois de Violette just to name a few.

    However, I have a few specific autumn favourites that almost never get worn at any other time of the year – Ormonde Jayne Woman (crisp autumn day in a bottle), Mitsouko, Lubin Idole, Etro Shaal Nur and Messe de Minuit. Somehow, if the leaves aren’t yellow, these things just don’t smell right.

    • Erin says:

      Ahh, we are FTs. Ormonde Woman, Sycomore and Shaal Nur were on my 2009 list, and I considered Messe de Minuit, too (if only they hadn’t screwed around with it recently.) 31 Rue Cambon and Lyric Woman are all-year faves for me, as well.

    • Haunani says:

      Shaal Nur is a year-round top favorite for me, but I think I appreciate it most in the fall.

  8. EasilyEnabled says:

    Timbuktu sounds divine. I am also intrigued by Safram Troublant . Both sound like must tries. And so the 4th quarter damage begins…

    • Erin says:

      I love, love Timbuktu but it would a close race with Trayee. Think I’ll just have to own them both! That fourth quarter is a killer: so many good things to sample and buy in the fall.

      • EasilyEnabled says:

        I really like myrrh, but the priceiness of Trayee and the ginger note are making me a bit squirrely. No sample of the Trayee from Luckyscent is offered for sale. / sigh

        • Erin says:

          Trayee’s definitely not cheap, no. The Timbuktu would make a good cheaper substitute: they don’t smell very similar, but they’re in the same spirit — and both very radiant.

          • Haunani says:

            I love both, but I prefer Timbuktu. The Neela Vermeire I really want to get in FB is Bombay Bling. Wow!

          • Erin says:

            The nice thing about the line is everybody seems to find one of the three to appreciate. I know some real Mohur fans, too.

          • Haunani says:

            I’m a Mohur fan, too. They’re all wonderful, really.

        • Rappleyea says:

          Annick Goutal’s Myrrhe Ardente is a wonderful myrrh and is quite reasonably priced.

          Trayee was sort of loud and neon on my skin, so I will say that I don’t think they compare as scents.

          • EasilyEnabled says:

            I feel a blind buy coming on. Thanks for the heads up!

  9. ggperfume says:

    Thanks for all those new-to-me recommendations, Erin! It’s not quite fall weather here, but it’s getting there (and am I glad after October began with 100F/40C temperatures). I’m looking forward eagerly to Plus que Jamais and Bottega Veneta.

    • Erin says:

      Ah, Plus Que Jamais — what a lovely autumnal scent. There’s something very wistful about it. Stay cool, GG. (40C? Blech. I live for a good, crisp breeze, which is probably why this is my favorite season.)

      • ggperfume says:

        I rather like Luca Turin’s characterization of PqJ as “disillusioned chypre”. Happily, I was able yesterday to wear it for the first time this fall, and look forward to more cool weather for it and BV – and (how could I forget?) Folie de Rose and Bois de Paradis as fall moves more definitely toward winter.

  10. Ariel says:

    Oooh! I found some new fall perfumes to sample, thanks!

    My current fall rotation:
    1. L’Artisan Tea for Two
    2. L’Artisan Dzing!
    3. Parfums d’Imperfiction O Alquimista
    4. Parfums d’Imperfiction Eleven Minutes
    5. Norma Kamali Olive You
    6. Guerlain Spirituese Double Vanille
    …with splashes of Etro Shaal Nur, Voluspa Crisp Champagne, and Slumberhouse Pear and Olive on the warmer sunny days.

    • Erin says:

      And you have returned the favour, because there are a few on that list I don’t know much about, that sound wonderful: Kamali Olive You (salty olive!), the Imperfictions, Voulpsa Crisp Champagne and the Slumberhouse. Need to check those out…

      • Ariel says:

        Unfortunately, I am currently going mad trying to find the Imperfictions in FB (or even more decants) as my decants will soon be gone.

        • Erin says:

          I know the feeling. I have so much perfume, but I hate to see a decant draining when I don’t know how to get more…

  11. lucasai says:

    I think that this fall I will mostly rely on samples. Don’t have any particular bottle of scent that can be treated as autumny, or, well, Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee seems suitable, so one bottle.

    From samples I will use Histoires de Parfums Rosam, 1969 and L’Olympia Music-Hall Le Parfum, L’Artisan Voleur de Rose, Safran Troublant, SL Un Bois Vanille and many more I guess.

    • Erin says:

      I can see HdP 1969 being very nice in the weather we’re having here. (What’s yours like?) I didn’t include a Serge Lutens on my list, because there are so many that work for autumn! Un Bois Vanille would be great, and Feminite du Bois, Bois de Violette, Santal Blanc, Boxeuses, El Attarine, etc. etc. ….

      • lucasai says:

        It’s getting colder day by day and also quite windy recently. Cuddling in 1969 would be great now. Chocolate and peach veil surely can keep bad mood away.

        • Erin says:

          I don’t remember a lot of chocolate in 1969, but it’s been a long time since I smelled it. You certainly make it sound cozy — and appetizing!

          • lucasai says:

            It’s not filled with chocolate but there’s enough to notice it’s presence.

    • audreylicious says:

      OOOO! 1969…..I forgot about that one! Have to go dig out my mini bottle. Love it, thanks for reminder!

      • lucasai says:

        I only have a 2ml sample of 1969. Can’t afford full bottle, but I might buy more samples to have those 10ml at least.

    • EasilyEnabled says:

      Love your blog BTW.

  12. Rappleyea says:

    Very interesting list, Erin! You’re a day early for me – temps in the 80’s today, but plummeting tonight/tomorrow. I’m still in my warm weather scents.

    But looking forward to:
    Mitsouko
    Patch 24
    Bois d’Armenie (do you see the smoke theme?)
    Forest Walk
    Myrrhe Ardente
    Incense Pure
    Voleur de Roses
    Cosmic
    Cuir de Russie.

    And then there are others like Vol de Nuit parfum, Samsara and Champagne de Bois that I pretty much wear all year long.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Oh, and I’ll see you John Cheever and raise you one Mary Oliver:

      Last Days, By Mary Oliver
      Things are
      changing; things are starting to
      spin, snap, fly off into
      the blue sleeve of the long
      afternoon. Oh and ooh
      come whistling out of the perished mouth
      of the grass, as things
      turn soft, boil back
      into substance and hue. As everything,
      forgetting its own enchantment, whispers:
      I too love oblivion why not it is full
      of second chances. Now,
      hiss the bright curls of the leaves, Now!
      booms the muscle of the wind.

      • ami says:

        oh, thank you so much Rapple for the poem, love this!

        • Rappleyea says:

          You are very welcome, Ami. :-)

      • Erin says:

        Oh, I love Mary Oliver, but had forgotten this one. The hissing bright curls of leaves is so good, thank you.

      • Haunani says:

        Nice poem! I do like the Cheever description, too, for the concept of fall as a time of beginnings. I don’t get the melancholy thing in fall, just the excitement. Until winter rolls around, that is. :-)

        • Erin says:

          I find it a very energetic time, too, usually.

        • Rappleyea says:

          Both of the poems spoke of new beginnings, second chances. Interesting… Fall as going inward, gestation before the rebirth of Spring.

          You know how much I love Winter, aka basketball season! lol!

      • farouche says:

        Love Mary Oliver’s poetry…also Jane Kenyon’s :)

    • Erin says:

      I’ve got to get myself some Forest Walk, thanks for reminding me. And Cosmic is lovely. Another similar one I enjoy in the old-fashioned proper plum chypre genre is Acqua di Parma Profumo.

      • Rappleyea says:

        Erin, I’ll be happy to send you some, if you’d like. Email me at rappleyea11 at yahoo dot com.

  13. Erin, I could definitely sign on for all of your choices (we’ve got Anima Dulcis in common). If I didn’t have Séville à l’aube I’d definitely be hankering for Sweet redemption (mothballs? bring’em on) which I truly love. And so many of the choices mentioned in the comments are things I could’ve picked!

    • Erin says:

      Feeling’s mutual, D, as I think I first lemmed Anima Dulcis when I read your Top Ten of Summer. One of my good fragrance buddies, who is a SA, did a “perfume colour consult” on me lately, and when I thought about it, I realized he was pretty dead-on for my favorites: he said I was white and off-white, with deep green and a bit of brown. So you know your Mito reviews are driving me crazy! I need to get a sample of that one, too. Looking forward to your H & G Candour post, too…

  14. ami says:

    we have a really nice fall so far, not just jumping to winter from summer such as in many recent years. what I like to wear most this year for fall:
    – 31 Rue Cambone
    – Shalimar
    – XIII La Treizième Heure
    – Roja Dove Unspoken
    – Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris
    – Guerlain Derby
    – Cuir de Russie

    • Erin says:

      Derby! Very fall. I had been thinking of Guerlain classics for autumn and just came up with Mitsouko and Vol de Nuit, but I’d forgotten about Plus Que Jamais and Derby. Habit Rouge briefly flitted across my mind, but then escaped before I wrote the post. It’s a good season for Guerlain — rather like spring.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Great list! I almost put Unspoken on my list, but I’ve worn it all summer. I’m lemming a bottle of XIII.

    • Haunani says:

      Love Derby! My husband and I need a bottle to share.

  15. Love your choices. I adore Anima Dulcis, and it was one I wasn’t too sure of at first! Happy Fall!

    • Erin says:

      I was worried about the Anima Dulcis, too, as I’m wary of chocolate… but it’s lovely. Liking your Lyric pick — and the prognasticating Kilian!

  16. Thalia says:

    I adore fall, and I adore fall perfumes. My choices are not particularly pricy or surprising, but among bottles I actually own I like Cabochard, Yves Rocher Voile d’Ambre, vintage Magie Noire (I think it’s the vintage version, anyway; bought at a rummage sale), and Theorema in the autumn.

    • Thalia says:

      Oh, and I forgot Knowing! More for winter, but it works at night in the fall too.

      • Erin says:

        I almost included Knowing on my list, but I’d added it last year around the same season for my bay leaf post. Great stuff.

    • Erin says:

      Non-pricey is good!! I really like all four of your choices. Theorema’s coming up a lot. Love vintage Magie Noire, a very witchy scent…

  17. ladymurasaki says:

    My choices for fall;

    Tauer Une Rose Chypree
    Chanel Cuir de Russie
    Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille
    Caron Tabac Blond
    Annick Goutal Songes
    Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire

    I would wear most of these in winter as well.

    I’m currently looking to buy another leather scent and the strongest contender at the moment is Serge Lutens Boxeuses. Still waiting for other leather scent samples to arrive before I make a choice, but when I do, it’ll be added to the list for autumn/winter.

    • Erin says:

      I really like Boxeuses. At first, I thought: what’s the big deal? But it’s a scent that unfurls for hours. I love a long development.

  18. Salamandra says:

    Totally agree: Neela Vermeire’s line is wonderful ; and Trayee is a beauty.
    Haven’t tried Arquiste yet, currently in the research stage with this line, and judging by the feedback it worth trying, Anima Dulcis in particular (Theorema is my winter love from its 1st release back in 98).
    I’m third-ing Like This (my recent acquisition!) – as it’s an absolute treasure for the days of Indian summer. I keep almost reaching for it every morning but then end up wearing something else (Shiloh yesterday, Idole today). I think it might be that ‘save the best for last’ psychological effect playing with me, keeping me looking forward to a day Like This.
    Another one mentioned here is Voleur de Roses, my later autumn love : I’ve been considering and almost went for it but then thought it’s not that cool yet here in TO, so I‘ll wait for a next week when it supposedly gets much cooler, down to ~10C; that’s when it’ll be perfect.

    • Erin says:

      You’re in Toronto?! Being a Torontonian myself, that’s the only T.O. I can think of. Cool! If you are, Holt’s in Yorkville has Arquiste testers now…

      Completely agree on Voleur de Roses, btw, which is great for transitional times, or stormy/breezy weather.

      • Salamandra says:

        Yes, I am a Torontonian and love it.  Always suspected NST enjoys a very strong Canadian following, I hope I’m right. :)

        Yorkville Holt’s has Arquiste testers? That’s great news!
        Last weekend was in Yorkville and at Holt’s; stopped at Malle and got me a sample of POTL – ended up being more than impressed. It seems my skin really likes the darker rose (nod to Voleur De Roses!), the darker- the better; Saturnine rose, I call it.

        ….now have to find time to visit those testers. …what if I like the contents? …perfumista’s life is tough, what can I say…

  19. odonata9 says:

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned CBIHP Burning Leaves yet! That one makes me very happy. I live in San Diego now, so we don’t get a real fall with leaves and all (there are seasons here, just 2 instead of 4: hot and dry or cool and a little rainy) so I do miss the smell of the decaying leaves on the ground. This gives a taste of that. We’ve had a very hot late summer here so I haven’t even brought out my cooler weather fragrances. Plus we just moved and I haven’t figured out my perfumes will go now, so I keep forgetting to wear it – the horror!

    • odonata9 says:

      And great list! I am dying to try that Aedes – I love rhubarb and have yet to smell any of the rhubarb-y scents (Mrs. Meyers hand soap is amazingly close though!). I’m also very curious about that Anima Dulcis. Other fall faves are Organza Indecence and Coromandel, and all my vanillas.

      • Salamandra says:

        Aedes: I remember liking very much. After my last year summer trip to NY (and visiting Aedes) I was so tempted to get a FB of it, if they only shipped it to Canada (they don’t ). My sunglasses case was so beautifully fragrant for the longest time so I kept sniffing it each time I got the glasses out. Good stuff!

        • Erin says:

          I’m going to visit Aedes next week – going to NYC – and since it appears you *are* a Torontonian, I can slip you a decant if we meet! I’m pretty set on getting a bottle.

          • Salamandra says:

            That would be super extra nice.
            What do I need to do to make it happen?
            I keep in mind of having a bottle of it too some day; with all my recent additions a split sounds more realistic. I was too ashamed to participate in the latest damage poll….

            All these new and ex-loves keep coming at you. … it’s so distracting to set your priorities and keep them. My latest “priority” is Mona Di Orio. Oud is so awesome, it sings for me! Her line actually has a couple of very good ones; her Oud is very suitable for this time of the year.

          • Erin says:

            Do you ever go to the Toronto fragrance meet-ups organized by Daniel Joffe? I’m always at those; send me your email at erin at nstperfume dot com if you’d like to be added to the invite list. Or we could go out for coffee/tea?

      • Erin says:

        I think you’d like the Aedes. And Coromandel! Very fall fragrance, that one.

    • odonata9 says:

      And how could I forget Chene – probably my favorite fragrance, perfect for fall!

      • Erin says:

        Agreed! I have a bell jar. I forgot it on my Serge Lutens list above in the comments. Don’t know how I could have done that…

    • Erin says:

      Unfortunately, CB IHP Burning Leaves is one of those many, many smoky scents that just smells like barbequed bratwurst to me. I can’t get rid of the mental association. I mean, I like bratwurst, but I went to university in a town known for Oktoberfest, and I have no desire to smell like that. But fall is otherwise CB IHP time for me: I love Violet Empire (on the 2009 list), (2nd) Cumming, Wild Hunt (which I notice he doesn’t sell anymore – shame)….

  20. Dzingnut says:

    I’ve just started to bust out some of the fragrances I wear only in cooler or cold weather …
    Hermes Amazone
    Dzonghka
    Dzing (duh)
    Like This
    31 rue Cambon
    Plus some of the very sweet florals that I love, but find too overpowering in warmer or humid air …
    No. 22
    Cristalle EDP
    I am also having long internal discussions during my commuter train rides as to whether I like orange, yellow, or red the best , based on the changing leaves. So far, yellow is winning!

    • Salamandra says:

      Hi, great choices.
      Dzonghka and Dzing are definitely all those colours you’ve been discussing with your inner self.
      Just as my dad used to say every time I caught him thinking aloud: It’s always nice to talk to a good person especially if this person is yourself.

      thanks for reminding of Dzonghka , my first L’AP love and purchase; still love it .
      another one is Passage D’Enfer
      Have to revisit Dzing. The last time I’ve smell it was too weird; may be not so much now.

    • Merlin says:

      Its getting sweltering-ly hot, here on the other side of the world and I’v been wondering whether Dzongkha would be a good scent for summer. I’m quite into vetiver at the moment and the iris seems to make it uplifting-ly floral…

      • Salamandra says:

        Hello Merlin!
        If I may suggest (I know your question was to Dzing (?), still I hope you both forgive me):
        On Dzongkha – it’s such a Himalayan scent to me, very ethnic and very cosmopolitan at the same time; it translates into that cool Himalayan weather, never too hot or humid, very “high up” in altitude. I would imagine a Buddhist temple down at the foots of Himalayas would smell quite different, much “thicker”, much more Indian. It would not be called Dzongkha then though.

        On Vetiver and a hot weather: if I may suggest Sycomore: it’s an amazing vetiver! I’ve worn it during last winter vacation down in Caribbean and was absolutely swooned by it each time. Sycomore was PERFECT on me even in a hot humid weather. If you decide to try it please do report back.

        • Salamandra says:

          Oops!: “….Himalayas SMELLING quite different….” , that is.

        • Merlin says:

          Salamandra, anyone with helpful suggestions is of course welcome to reply to a post! (I did actually intend the question for both of you.) I have tried Sycamore – but some time back – I definitely need to revisit…

    • Erin says:

      Love your train ride debates! Those would be my three horses, too, but so hard to choose: I think I might pick orange for the win (though not necessarily just in regards to leaves, where red and yellow are touch to beat).

      • Erin says:

        Argh, sorry “tough to beat”.

  21. AnnS says:

    Hi Erin! It’s so much fun to read everyone’s fall lists. It’s my favorite fragrance time of year. This year, my fav’s for fall are Teo Cabanel’s Alahine – warm & sunny at the same time; Chanel Coco – fabulous!; Guerlain Mitsouko any way it comes b/c it is perfection; Caron Parfum Sacre, so warm and sensual!; Ormonde Jayne Tolu (now I think I need a FB); and my new fav: Hermes vintage Amazone edt which smells exactly like a sun aged meadow and falling leaves. But there are so many good ones for this time of year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Erin says:

      Hi Anne! Agreed, it’s a wonderful time of year for fragrance. There were so many I left off the list: AdP Profumo, Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cherie, Diptyque Eau Lente, Knowing, HdP Noir Patchouli, Chanel Egoiste, Omnia, etc. etc. .. it goes on and on and on. Haven’t even tried that new Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Jessica reviewed, which sounds lovely for fall.

  22. bluepinegrove says:

    Whine. They’re all so expensive! And this post arrives just on the tail of the last damage poll. Maybe I’ll stick with what I have, and just remark on how they’re all different with the seasonal change. It’s actually astounding to me how different and appropriate L’Ombre dans L’Eau smells this week!

    • Haunani says:

      I’m ashamed to say that I’ve ignored the last two damage polls.

      • Erin says:

        I’m planning to ignore the next one, as I’m going to NYC for Sniffapalooza next week. Look out, credit cards.

      • Robin says:

        Donatella is watching, guys. Just saying.

        • Haunani says:

          Ha! :-)

        • ami says:

          yeah, we should personalize our credit cards,with the image Donatelly watching us, LOL

    • Erin says:

      You know, the other post I’ve been working on lately is an “At the discounters” list. Strangely, a few of them could be on either list, fall or discounted: (spoiler alert) Paco Rabanne PH, Lolita Lempicka, Fendi Asja (which showed up on March’s list at Perfume Posse). But this particular ten are mostly killer expensive, it’s true. You could try Gold or Concentre d’Orange Verte. I also entirely improve of enjoying what you have!

    • Rappleyea says:

      You’ve got the right idea – it’s better not to be stuck in a rut of thinking of certain perfumes only in a particular season.

  23. Salamandra says:

    the pumpkin picture is amazing.
    made me want to go buy one(s) like that for the Thanksgiving table this weekend.

    • Erin says:

      Robin gave me a choice of images, but I knew I must have the gourds. (I even love the word “gourds”.)

      • Salamandra says:

        Gourds, of course! silly me.
        Their shapes would make a very nice jewelry, made of yellow metals, of course.

  24. Haunani says:

    Erin, I read your post eagerly. Isn’t this a great time of year for perfume people?! I am completely in love with that new Aedes de Venustas, too. The interplay of the tart rhubarb and incense is just perfection, to my nose. I want a bottle. Let’s see… my choices for this fall…

    Serge Lutens de Profundis (HG-level love, for me; chrysanthemums!)
    Aedes de Venustas Signature (as discussed above)
    Caron L’Accord Code 119 (finally, a patchouli to adore, and blackberries!)
    Annayake Tsukimi (a beautiful and spicy autumnal blend, discovered thanks to another perfumista)
    Tom Ford Moss Breches (honey and moss; so warm and cushy)
    Serge Lutens Chene (somehow so familiar; takes my breath away)
    Etro Shaal Nur (forever and always)
    Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel (reminds me of the Northern California coast on a blustery fall day)
    By Kilian A Taste of Heaven (such a scrumptious drydown!)
    Balmain Jolie Madame (a just-right chypre, for me; I love violets in the fall)

    • Erin says:

      Jolie Madame!! How could I have forgotten it?!? I love those raisin-y notes, blended into the violets and the crisp, earthyness of the base. Fine list, you have there.

  25. raymond says:

    Tabac Aurea by Sonoma Scent Studio is perfect for the fall! And i just purchased Costume National 21, which is very nice. I’ll also break out Chergui, Chypre Rouge, Daim Blonde, Frapin 1270, Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur, New Haarlem, Rose 31 and Tom of Finland.

    • Erin says:

      I own Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur and so enjoy the restful, smooth quality of it. I tend to think of it as a winter scent – maybe because of the birch? or the effect of the LT review from Perfumes: the Guide? – but it is quite quiet for cold weather and I could see how it work for fall. Need to finally try that SSS Tabac Aurea…

  26. farouche says:

    Right now I’m enjoying Keiko Mecheri’s Canyon Dreams, part of her Bespoke Collection and so expensive that only a decant makes sense. Also by Mecheri I like Ume, a dark plum fragrance, and Loukhoum Poudree, my favorite of the three Loukhoums. Also on my fall favorites list are Safran Troublant, vintage Tabac Blond, Jo Malone’s Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, and Agent Provacateur. I agree with others that fall and fall fragrances are the most beautiful.

    • Erin says:

      I might buy something for the name “Canyon Dreams” alone — so evocative. I have a decant of Ume somewhere arond here, hmm… *goes to root it out*

  27. austenfan says:

    I’m still denying that autumn has arrived. Having just returned from 2 weeks in the South of France I can’t quite cope with the fact that summer is really over here in the North.
    I’ve also got a LE bottle of Iris Nobile that I got at a discount 2 years ago. I tend to wear that iris in summer more than in autumn though.
    I have started wearing my rootier irises again. Love Carottes, Hiris and ISM.
    Aromatics Elixir is another one I enjoy less in the warmer weather but seems to suit the colder weather well.
    And it does seem particularly silly that Gold was discontinued it being such a great and wearable fragrance.
    ELDO Rien, Goutal MPCPC and Heure Exquise do well in the rain.

    • Erin says:

      I love autumn, but would deny I was home at *any* time of year, had I just been in the south of France. Welcome home — I guess?!

      Did you get the Iris Nobile EdP? Cool that we ended up with the same lovely discounted LE. I also got the radically discounted Carottes – love that one…or rather “heart” it, though I tend to think of it for spring. (It was on my spring list, I think.) I think yours is the first mention of Goutal MPC par Camille — thought I’d really get it for leaving that one off the list, it seemed to find lots of fans (including me.)

      • austenfan says:

        Yeah I got the EDP. Escentual had them on sale a while ago and based on Victoria’s review at BdJ I blind bought it. Haven’t a single regret about it. It is gorgeous, and one of my gorgeous scents that I will actually wear.
        Carottes was also bought at a discount. It’s a lovely fun fragrance that I imagine will get quite a lot of wear. My favourite of that trio is still Vamp though.
        Sorry to hear you had so much illness in your family in the past few months but glad that the worst seems to be behind you. That kind of thing is so exhausting.
        And glad to hear that you are still wearing Nicolaï pour Homme. Today I am wearing her Maharadjah.

        • Erin says:

          Thanks for your kind words; as far as my family goes, all’s well that ends well, I’m figuring, and enjoying a little rest now.

          Love Maharadjah, too – so roasted and warm! You know, I wear the Acqua di Parma often, too, as it wears rather lightly on me (in addition to wearing beautifully.) So many of my favorites sit rather neglected while I’m testing other things that it’s nice to have a few that get a regular work-out.

  28. Merlin says:

    I’m going through a vetiver phase right now and I was thinking Encre Noir would make a nice Autumn scent due to the dark slightly sweet woody background. That being said I am still enjoying it now, though we are moving into a hot hot summer here in South Africa. Oh, and another nice Autumn scent would be Evening Edged with Gold: though the osmanthus is, as always, rather delicate, the saffron and other notes make this a very rich, deep perfume. In fact I tend to reserve it for evening wear.

    • Erin says:

      Even the name “Evening Edged with Gold” sounds so autumnal, doesn’t it? Althought your experience of autumn is obviously quite different from ours in the Northern hemisphere…

  29. TexasSnow says:

    I’m wearing Etro Ambra today, and will also put Rosine’s Rose Poussiere and Chanel Bois d’Iles back into duty. After all, it only got up into the 80s today ! Fall has arrived in Texas.

    • 50_Roses says:

      Here is Texas, we have six seasons–pre-summer, early summer, mid summer, late summer, post-summer, and notsummer. Right now we are somewhere between late summer and post-summer. I can’t really think about it being fall until the temps drop below 80.

    • Erin says:

      I can never remember whether it’s the Etro Ambra or Patchouli that I like. And Bois des Iles! Such a fall scent, so golden and green. and yet, I can never get over mostly wearing it in the winter, for that hit of gingerbread.

  30. edsann says:

    My greatest yearn for autumn is hedera helix. It reminds me of a day in the garden, planting bulbs, dirt under my fingernails. But I dither. I can’t tell from my tiny sample if the solid perfume lasts.

    • Erin says:

      I didn’t now the Hedera Helix – is it the Roxana Illuminated one? Such a cute solid – the oval ones look like a nut on the inside! – and the notes sound lovely.

      • Erin says:

        Ack! I “didn’t know”, of course.

  31. hajusuuri says:

    I don’t have a specific line-up just yet; however, based on what I have, it will likely include, among others:

    – SL Iris Silver Mist
    – Prada Candy
    – Kelly Caleche (this is a year-rounder for me)
    – Ormonde Jayne Woman
    – Aedes de Venustas Signature EDP
    – L’AP Seville a l’Aube (this could be a year-rounder but I just got it so..)
    — Assorted SSS and Tauer samples

    I have a number of items received via swap that will likely make it to this list as well once I’ve tried them.

    • hajusuuri says:

      I left out the newest member of the family!

      Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne

      • Erin says:

        Oh good, another vote to add to Jessica’s. I haven’t paid much attention to Jo Malone for years, but it looks like this one might be worth seeking out. Loved the ad…

      • Haunani says:

        That combo sounds nice for fall. I’ll have to try that Jo Malone next time I’m in an actual store!

    • lucasai says:

      Those are some great choices for autumn.

      • hajusuuri says:

        Autumn is my favorite season. The leaves around here have turned and I am absolutely digging the orange, green, brown, yellow and gold gorgeousness.

        Thanks to you, I may end up adding at least one more to this list. I tried the Amouage Interlude Man today and while I liked it, it ended up being a little too spicy and peppery for me. Given your Interlude Woman review, I already know I will like it and have ordered a 3mL decant/sample from Surrender to Chance!

    • Erin says:

      Iris Silver Mist! How could I have forgotten to leave that off the Serge Fall Faves list in the comments above?! It looks like Fall is Serge’s season.

      • hajusuuri says:

        SL ISM is love….of course with all the buzz about Une Voix Noire, I will have to investigate that too! …. and the Diptyque Volutes …. and ELDO Like This…

  32. nozknoz says:

    Fall is my favorite perfume season. I love 90% of the many fall favs listed above, and more. For one thing, it’s the ideal time of the year for one of my fav Guerlains, Vol de Nuit, and for my vintage Lanvins.

    I guess I can add PdE Cuir Ottoman, MPG Racine, Etro Gomma, L’AP Vanille Absolutement (former Havana Vanila) and Frapin 1697 Absolue (so delicious!).

    My most new fall purchase is Nobile 1942 Ambra Nobile, which I tried and loved after The Non-Blonde reviewed it. I think I’ve finally found the amber for me!

    • Rappleyea says:

      Oh dear… I love Nobile 1942; I’m definitely going to have to try the amber. Thanks for the rec (or enabling, depending on how you look at it ;-) !

    • Erin says:

      Racine is a lovely vetiver, and so often forgotten when you’re not in a Basenotes forum! I’d kind of lost track of those Nobile 1942s. There was one I liked, but there were so many of them for a while. You and I often have similar taste, I think, nz, so I should try the amber… but am surprised it came from the Non-Blonde. Always read G’s reviews and really admire her, but we tend to be EFT (except for our mutual love of Tauer L’air du desert marocain).

  33. donnie says:

    Fall? I’ll start wearing Eloge du Traitre again but that’s about as smoky as I get. And Nicolai pour Homme, thank you, Erin. And sometimes the AdP Colonia Assoluta. And maybe the HdP 1725, because it seems to be really good. I will for sure try the Aedes, and I will lament the price for the Trayee. (tough to wear while doctoring, anyway, as I’m not in a medical marijuana state.)
    Thank you, indeed. Erin, it is great to hear from you again. I, for one, have been waiting to see a new post from you. Now that it’s here, I realize that, in the familiar way, it’s going to require some work, rereading, sampling, and pursuing your footnotes. That should be fun. Your lists are murder, in a good way of course.
    I’ll get to work on the list. I’ll be ready for another one soon, right?

    • Erin says:

      I’m, of course, wearing the Nicolai PH today and thought of you, so I’m so glad to see a comment from you. Sorry for the research work, and thank you for the warm welcome back! I do hope to be here more often now. Last six months = work, kids, life… My two-y.o. was hospitalized twice with illness in the spring, and my young-ish, pretty fit dad had a near-fatal MI at home in June, followed by weeks of coma, so perfume went out the window for a while. We’re all miraculously well now, so my family have a lot to be thankful for this (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend…

      …thanks to modern medicine! Thanks for reminding me you’re a doc. I work with resident MDs in a hospital, too, actually, and it’s true that ganja effects don’t seem to be the drug of choice, (Harold &) Kumar, withstanding. ;)

      • donnie says:

        Gosh. I certainly hope everyone is better, or getting there. I’ll wear the PH today, then, and wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

        • Erin says:

          Thanks, d! Hope you are well, too.

  34. Salamandra says:

    Hey! What about the autumn scent for men?
    There were some excellent suggestions though; still I think we must expand the selection!

    • donnie says:

      Dear Salamandra,
      One reason to welcome Erin back is that she’s a fount of info about fragrance for men. Read closely, check her older posts, and follow the links. You will find something interesting to try.

    • Erin says:

      Sorry for the late reply! I’m definitely a fount of *something*, though I’m never sure it’s useful info. But, in addition to the aforementioned AG Eau de Monsieur and Eau Noire, there are quite a few great men’s scents that come to mind for autumn: off the top of my head, there’s Grey Flannel, Hermes Equipage, Donna Karan Fuel for Men (equally good for winter), Caron Yatagan and the original Third Man, Guerlain L’Instant PH, Divine L’homme de coeur, YSL M7, the new Atelier Cologne Vetiver Fatale, Leonard PH (blast from the past!), and Chanel Egoiste (again maybe a bit heavy, so perhaps a winter possibility instead).

  35. cath says:

    As the temperatures are at last dropping below 30 C here I’m slowly changing my bottles. Summer scents go back in the basket, warmer scents get the front row place in my cabinet.
    Some of my favourites for Fall are Coromandel, Daim Blond, and Ylang Vanille by Guerlain.
    I got a few samples of leather scents on their way : ambre russe, Cuir ottoman and osmanthus interdite from Parfum d’Empire. I think they will do great as Fall scents.

    • Erin says:

      I also forget about Ylang Vanille – that was a nice one. I see Coromandel coming up a lot; wish I could wear that one, it’s quite striking, but I find it doesn’t suit me somehow.

      The Parfums d’Empires *are* kind of fall-like. Fougere Bengale is sort of autumnal, too, and, though citrus-y Azemour d’Orangers is also chypre enough to stand up to crisper temperatures. I think the new Musk Tonkin looks promising for this time of year, as well.

  36. Nile Goddess says:

    Miracle used to be an early autumn fragrance but they have reformulated the ginger out. If I could find a ginger, chili, nutmeg and smoky cedar I’d be in heaven.

    Now it’s Dolce Vita time :-) nothing warms quite like it.

    • Erin says:

      I gave away my adorable little bottle of the original Dolce Vita, because I never wore it and wanted it to go to a less neglectful home, but this is the only time of year when I really do miss it.

  37. Andreea says:

    Well I tend to use more floral and fruity stuff to enhance my mood. So I switch to fig and light rose (ROse Ikebana is great).

    Since I am pregnant I have limited my favourite scents quite a lot – I stick to everything rose-y and light. If I could wish for something: Kelly Caleche as extrait, Rose Ikebana in a huge bucket;.) and Eau Suave.
    All rose!

    • Erin says:

      Congratulations and good luck with your wee one! Love, love Rose Ikebana, though it tends to be a spring scent for me. Eau Sauve seems like it has enough backbone to stand up to an October breeze, though.

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