It’s not often you hear someone say they love winter. Well, I am that guy. And it’s not because my midsection looks so much more forgiving under 3 layers of clothes. There is an array of scents that come through especially well this time of year. Think pine or the popularized by Diptyque Feu de Bois — earthy and smoky tones thrive against the backdrop of the cool, crisp air. My fragrance wardrobe also changes during the winter months as I take a break from my signature bright, zesty citrus notes. Lately, I’ve been enjoying a handful of scents that range from muted to sharp — all trigger a ‘you smell good’ from both friends and strangers.
On my personal taste and preferences: I stay away from Tobacco and Leather since neither smells good on me. Both tend to settle heavy and can actually be cloying. My application technique is traditional; I spray once behind each ear. Unless I’m wearing Oud, about which I am really finicky (definitely leaning toward lighter and cleaner vs. rich and dark). I spray Oud into the air two or three times and walk into the mist. It settles just right on the skin and clothing and lingers without being aggressive. Lastly, I believe if you can smell a fragrance on yourself, you have either applied too much or have selected the wrong scent for you. It is when I can’t smell what I’m wearing that I get the most compliments. Enjoy my current favorites below!
Gucci Mémoire d’une Odeur
The latest Gucci fragrance is inspired by the power of memories. Here’s mine: I got my first whiff of it while leaving the La Rinascente department store in Italy last summer. I wanted to return for a bottle but found it at the airport the next day instead. Since we raced through Malpensa almost missing the flight home, duty-free shopping was sadly not in the cards for me. When a bottle arrived only a week later as part of a PR mailer, I took it as beauty kismet. To me, this unique scent is earthy, herbal but also slightly green. The aromatic notes of Chamomile, Bitter Almond, and Jasmine are combined with warm Cedar and Musk. I tried it in the summer but find it does better on my skin during the cooler months. Currently, every scarf of mine smells like Mémoire d’une Odeur. And I love it. Longevity is great and the sillage subtle but noticeable. $95 (60ml) sephora.com
Krigler Monsieur Dada 18
The latest launch from Krigler is soft, airy, and just the right amount of spicy. Originally released in 1918 as an homage to the movement of Dadaism, the newly re-launched unisex version is the perfect blend of eccentric and sophisticated. It’s not often that I gravitate toward such gourmand notes but the elegant combination of Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Cardamom, and Green Orange is softened with White Musk, Cedarwood, and just a hint of Patchouli. The drydown is surprisingly white and thankfully, not the slightest bit creamy. It is absolutely brilliant for daytime and I can still smell it on my collar when I’m getting ready for bed. $285 (50ml) krigler.com
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud
Oud smells too sweet on me on warm days. In the winter, however, it is sharp, a bit spicy, and very clean. The Maison Francis Kurkdjian classic Oud (there are also satin, silk, cashmere, and velvet variations) is infused with Saffron, Cedar, and Patchouli while the namesake note’s purest and most expensive form finds its origin in Laos. The Saffron adds a prominent floral touch to a usually bold, in-your-face woodsy aroma. It’s one of the softer, brighter, more refined Oud fragrances I’ve learned to enjoy. Do I wear it during the day? Yes but I’m light-handed when I do. This is my favorite winter holiday party and evening scent when I’m going for intriguing yet approachable. Impressive longevity and sillage. $300 (70ml) neimanmarcus.com
Malin + Goetz Vetiver
As a self-proclaimed Malin + Goetz groupie dating back to the brand’s earliest days, it is no surprise that I have favorite fragrances from the range for every season. In the Spring, I am all about Bergamot. The latest launch of Stem quickly became a Summer staple. Every Fall a bottle of Cannabis moves front and center. And during the winter months, I reach for Vetiver as my ultimate casual go-to. It opens up with a burst of warm citrus, hovers in the middle with Iris and Bitter Orange, and dries down with an earthy combination of Vetiver and Amber. Unlike most scents that feature Vetiver as their star ingredient, the Malin + Goetz scent swerves past the predictable grassy, woodsy undertones and delivers a fresh and airy sensory experience. I do wish it lasted longer, but kudos to the travel friendly bottle, which often delivers a pre-happy hour refresh. $95 (50ml) nordstrom.com
Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli
This is the only gender specific fragrance in my collection. And while I normally stray from anything prominently woodsy, I’m among the biggest Neroli enthusiasts in the world. Give me all the Italian inspired orange notes — from zest through leaf and flower to bark and root. The notes of Bergamot, Orange Blossom, and Neroli are balanced with richer elements such as Cedar, Amber, and White Musk. I love the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino for the summer, but the Bvlgari creation has a denser drydown. It’s more herbal and earthy, a straightforward spicy citrus that wears equally well day and night. On my skin, it lasts all day. $113 (100ml) ulta.com