When it comes to finding the best winter perfume, I'd like to think I'm in a strong position to make informed purchasing suggestions. I have dedicated my career as a beauty editor to finding the best perfumes out there—from floral fragrances to woody scents. In order to do this, I spend hours every day smelling different scents and decoding the aspects which make each one unique. As a result, I have acquired quite the collection of perfumes. From the most luxurious fragrances to niche scents, my fragrance collection is vast—meaning I more or less wear a different scent every day of the month.
For me, the sign of a great perfume is that it garners compliments and interest from other people. So, while I have my list of the winter fragrances I personally deem to be the best, I decided to take things one step further this season in order to give you the most unbiased edit that I could. Since the weather turned cold back in late November, I have been wearing a wide selection of wintery perfumes and making note of the ones that received the most compliments, intrigue and 'What perfume are you wearing?' questions. So, here it goes, these are the 10 winter perfumes that other people seem to be infatuated by.
1. Chanel Les Eaux Paris-Édimbourg
Chanel Les Eaux Paris-Édimbourg Eau de Toilette
Whenever I spritz this perfume it's virtually guaranteed that somebody is going to ask after it. On first spray it is fizzy, sweet and citrusy on the nose—like one of those Refresher sweets that used to come in party bags when you were little. Once it settles, however, it becomes wilder. Like stumbling across a crystalline lake while rambling through the Scottish highlands, with twigs and berries crunching underfoot. It is fresh, sense-clearing and totally moreish. Paris-Édimbourg isn't the longest-lasting perfume on this list, but it makes for the perfect daily winter scent nonetheless.
3. Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille
Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille Eau de Parfum
I will never forget the day that a waitress chased me out of a restaurant in Bruges to ask after this perfume. She told me that the whole team had been gathered in the cloakroom trying to locate the coat that smelled so good. When she realised it was mine, she chased me down the street so that she could take a photo of the bottle. It's worth saying now: if you don't like vanilla perfumes this one won't be for you. However, if you are drawn to the sweet, spicy, creaminess of vanilla, then you're in for a treat. Un Bois Vanille is, hands down, the best vanilla perfume on planet Earth. It is warm and delectable, like runny syrup, but has a subtle spiciness that keeps it firmly in the realms of luxury.
3. Sunspel Oak Wood
Sunspel Oak Wood Eau de Parfum
I'm saddened to admit that this fragrance is the most affordable on the list, and at £80 a bottle that isn't great. It's clear, however, that when it comes to winter perfumes people want something that is deep, unique and expensive-smelling—and Oak Wood is all of those things. Predominantly, it is woody but in a way that is reminiscent of a freshly cut tree rather than a crackling fire place. However, there is also an element of moss and spiciness that makes it deep and inviting. If you're after a spicy, woody perfume that doesn't induce headaches and instead dances over the skin delicately, this one is for you.
4. Malin + Goetz Dark Rum
Malin+ Goetz Dark Rum Eau de Parfum
While the name 'Dark Rum' might sound next-level spicy, Malin + Goetz have actually produced a perfume that is warm and sandy—reminiscent of Caribbean beaches thanks to a water-like freshness that ribbons its way through every note. This perfume has a wearable lightness to it that keeps people totally captivated. When I wore this a few weeks ago for a walk with friends, one of my girlfriends bought it on the spot and her husband insisted they share the bottle once it arrives. It is, without a doubt, the most versatile winter perfume I have ever come across.
5. Ex Nihilo Honoré Delights
Ex Nihilo Honoré Delights Eau de Parfum
As one of the most expensive perfumes on this list, I can assure you this one smells every bit as special as the price would suggest. Honoré Delights is like stepping foot into the restaurant at the Ritz in Paris first thing in the morning, when all of the croissants and pain au chocolat are fresh out of the oven. And it must be the Ritz and the Ritz only, because this perfume is dripping in wealth. It's the sort of perfume that makes you want to nuzzle your nose into someone's neck and smell it all day long.
6. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Gold
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Gold Eau de Parfum
I like to think of this perfume as a gold-drenched pod of vanilla. It is, at its heart, a truly delectable spicy vanilla perfume, with all of the cosy, warming vibes you'd expect. However, with added musks and nutmeg, it has an edge that smells as though it's already been worn—like smelling the perfume on the collar of a shirt the next the morning. There's something nostalgic about it, like a bottled memory you totally forgot about. And I think that's what draws people to this one so much whenever I where it. Just last week someone asked after it at a party, and when I mentioned the name of it she replied: "I don't know it, but it smells really familiar." Gentle Fluidity Gold is a comforting sense of familiarity you just want to douse yourself in.
7. Commodity Milk Expressive
Commodity Milk Expressive Eau de Parfum
Commodity's Milk Expressive is the fragrance equivalent of cosying up on the sofa under a luxurious cashmere blanket and wrapping your hands around a warm mug of tea after cleaning your house top to bottom—it is that moment of unparalleled joy and contentment in a bottle. It smells, unsurprisingly, like milk. Not like putting your nose to the carton, of course, but instead like a jug of sweetened cream you might pour over a dessert. It has that skin-like serenity that makes it impossibly comforting.
8. Dior Gris Dior
Dior Gris Dior Eau de Parfum
The beauty of Gris Dior is in the fact it is one of the least polarising perfumes I have ever smelled. Created to resemble the colour grey—the in between of black and white—it walks the fragrance middle line expertly. Not too floral, but just floral enough. Not too powdered, but definitely dusted. Not sweet, but far from woody. It is, in my opinion, a Goldilocks perfume. The best way I can describe the smell? A skin-like Parma Violet, but one that oozes luxury and expense. You'll know what I mean when you smell it.
9. Argentum Sage
Argentum Sage Eau de Parfum
I'll admit, although I adore this fragrance with all of my heart I have been surprised by just how much attention it has won me. Not because it isn't absolutely beautiful, but because it isn't the strongest scent in my collection. Unlike most eau de parfums, Argentum fragrances are spritzed onto skin and rubbed in. Created without alcohol, the consistency is milky and melts into the skin to create a long-lasting, skin-like scent. This one, Sage, is earthy, powdery and deep—like sticking your nose into a bouquet of grasses, foliage and herbs.
10. Initio Narcotic Delight
Initio Narcotic Delight Eau de Parfum
I know the price tag of this one is eye-wateringly high, but if you are into niche perfumery and have the money to spend I urge you to look into this perfume. It is sweet, creamy and delectable, not too dissimilarly from the aforementioned Ex Nihilo Honré Delights, but it has a deeper spiciness that makes it totally intoxicating. On first spray, the deep juiciness of cherry hits you like a plume of smoke, while spicy pepper tickles the nose. What your left with is a warm, spicy smokiness that dances over the skin like a hypnotising potion that's awaiting its next victim.
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Shannon Lawlor is the Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. With nearly a decade of experience working for some of the beauty industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear, Glamour UK, Stylist and Refinery29, Shannon’s aim is to make the conversation around beauty as open, relatable and honest as possible. As a self-confessed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for hard-working perfumes, fool-proof make-up products and does-it-all skincare.
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