One of the few reasons to celebrate winter – unless you happen to, like myself, actually prefer the cold – is the chance to wear of an entirely new armoury of fragrances perfectly for the frosty weather due to their heavier, richer notes. While the heat of summer tends to demand the cleaner, crisper notes of citrus, winter is ideal for fragrances that have a little bit more power and projection.
The glowing ambience of amber, the punch of patchouli or oud and feral growl of what’s commonly known as animalics (those synthetics that mimic the traditional organic materials such as civet and musks) as well as boozy notes of rum, vanilla and even birch tar for its similarities to leather and sweetness of peat – these are the sort of ingredients that create the kind of aroma that’s as fortifying as a 25-year old whiskey while wearing a vicuna knit.
To put it simply – it’s the perfect time of year to get a little raunchier when it comes to your fragrance of the day.
TOM FORD OUD WOOD $385. SHOP NOW
Tom Ford may have first released Oud Wood back in 2007 but it remains one of the most sensual takes on the agarwood resin available today. True oud has a skank to it that has been balanced by Ford with the smoky sweetness of cardamom and sandalwood, resting on a base of vetiver and tonka bean. It’s the kind of fragrance you’re inclined to leave your top button undone to appreciate better.
ROJA DOVE APEX $519. SHOP NOW
The latest fragrance from luxury British perfumer Roja Dove does two things: firstly, it pays homage to the classic men’s fragrances of the ’80s, back when it was de jour for notes listings to be long complex beasts when fragrances had layers and evolved almost by the hour. Opening notes of citrus lift up the rich leathers, tobacco and woody notes before drifting into smooth resin and rum territory. Second, it delivers a philosophical message wrapped within the most primal of senses – our sense of smell. Each bottle of Apex comes with a card featuring an apex predator that inspired the creation of the fragrance and comes with a specific message or lesson. Which one comes with your bottle is up to fate…
GOLDFIELD AND BANKS PURPLE SUEDE $310. SHOP NOW
Saddle leather, wood and the rich sweetness of Tasmanian lavender – Australian brand Goldfield and Banks has somehow managed to create a fragrance that smells like a tannery moonlighting as a florist. In short: incredible. The medicinal, calming lavender balances out perfectly the more brutalist notes of civet, leatherwood and oud.
P FRAPIN & CIE 1270 EXTREME $295. SHOP NOW
A modern update to the best-selling 1270, this new version adds a bigger punch of pineapple to the delicious spices and dried fruits of the original. While still retaining that warm glow in the dry down, the freshness of the opening is brighter. The perfect scent for the office before settling in for something much more intimate in the evening.
GUCCI GUILTY PARFUM POUR HOMME $145. SHOP NOW
This latest addition to the Guilty Universe is perhaps the most cerebral offering of the bunch. While lighter, more refined than the traditional Gucci Guilty with fresh notes of juniper and lavender , it develops into something far richer and more complex courtesy of Spanish labdanum, nutmeg and dry wood notes. Compelling and a modern classic.
PACO RABANNE 1 MILLION ELIXIR $170. SHOP NOW
The best-selling 1 Million by Spanish designer brand Paco Rabanne has been given a new interpretation in elixir form. Damask rose and vanilla are in overdose, with apple and cedarwood book ending the heady sweetness. What stops it veering too far into gourmand territory is the herbal bitterness of davana and wet mossiness of patchouli.
VYRAO MAGNETIC 70 $267. SHOP NOW
Inspired by the energetic philosophy of Reiki and founded by Australian fashion legend Yasmin Sewell, Vyrao is a way of wearing fragrance to influence the day and attract the things you need. Magnetic 70 – and this author’s favourite – is both austere and meditative, like incense in an empty church. Featuring notes of frankincense, peppery angelica, juniper and vetiver it’s dryer than a martini and just as invigorating. In short – a masterpiece.