While summer calls for aquatic, fresh and citrus-spiked scents, winter calls for elegant and enveloping notes that leave an intoxicating trail. Many of life’s simple pleasures are best enjoyed in the winter season, and a deeper, purposely chosen, niche Eau de Parfum, is certainly one of them.
We asked Agence de Parfum‘s olfactory oracle, Michael Marzano about why rich oriental, oud, leather, wood and smoke characteristics reign supreme in winter.
What makes a fragrance last?
When the body is exposed to temperatures that induce shivering, blood supply moves from your skin to warm your internal organs, meaning a winter fragrance needs to offer greater projection.
The reduced body heat that results from the movement of blood struggles to disperse scents, meaning lighter fresher scents tend to fade quickly. This is why it’s essential to rotate your scents with the seasons. Such scents involve intense base notes, which arrive last and linger longest while slowing down the evaporation of the top and middle notes. With skin also becoming drier in winter and absorbing more oil, bolder ingredients carry on the skin for longer.
Using a neutral, non-scented body lotion will hydrate the skin, and allow fragrance oils a base to adhere to.
What ingredients are common in winter colognes for men?
Oud (Agarwood, Oudh, Agalocha, Aloeswood, or Eaglewood)
Oud is amongst the most common base notes in a winter fragrance due to its warm sweetness and woody, balsamic notes. It comes from the wood of the tropical Agar (Aquilaria) tree which is believed to have originated in the Assam region of India. When the wood of this tree gets infected with a parasitic mould called Phialophora parasitica, it reacts by producing a precious, dark, and fragrant resin.
Because the resin is only triggered by the mould, it is estimated that a total of 2 per cent of these trees produce it. Due to its rarity, high demand, and the difficulty of harvesting it, oud oil is perhaps the most expensive oil in the world. Naturally, those producers using real oud command higher prices for their perfumes – case in point – Amouage.
Oriental Resins – Frankincense, Myrrh, Rockrose
Oriental notes are rooted in the history of Eau de Parfum, capturing the notes of the orient, where merchants traded spices during the early days of fragrance creation. Ingredients like coumarin, frankincense, heliotrope, myrrh, rockrose, sandalwood, are classically used for an oriental profile and are seductive and sophisticated, with a warm, heavy richness.
Scented leather began rising to popularity in the 16th century, when tanners used to scent chamois with newly distilled essences of flowers and herbs and, as a final step, smeared it with civet and musk, to luxuriate their product. Today it holds similar connotations of luxury, wealth and sophistication, especially when employed in a winter fragrance.
While notes of leather are present in many masculine, evening and winter scents, there is no actual leather essence available for perfumers to utilise. Instead, the note is derived from a combination of essences and aroma materials such as quinolines, castoreum, birch tar, cade oil, labdanum and saffraleine.
Cedarwood (Morocco or Virginia)
Cedarwood is a soft, warm, woody note coming from either the Atlas Mountains (Morocco) or Virginia (US) and closely resembles pine trees. Often cedarwood is described as robust, spicy and dry in Eau de Parfum conjuring feelings of cosiness, again perfect for winter fragrances.
Creating a signature scent for yourself means sourcing something unique. In doing so you’ll need to shell out a bit more than your last bottle of Paco Rabanne and step away from the Tom Ford Tabacco Vanille. Below, you’ll find our best winter fragrances for men in 2020 that will ensure you’re a man worth remembering.
Amouage – Interlude Black Iris
Eight years after the launch of Interlude, comes Interlude Black Iris, a more sophisticated and subtle evolution of the bold original. It delivers a punch of zesty bergamot and rosemary top notes countered by notes of amber, frankincense – almost incense on dry down – into Orris and vanilla. Oud, leather, smoke and woody notes envelop your senses and add depth to long winter nights, dressed to impress.
$459 (Pre-Order) – libertineparfumerie.com.au
D.S. & Durga – Mississippi Medicine
Witchcraft, mysticism and sorcery have deep roots in the deep south, and this Eau de Parfum is inspired by the dark side of Mississippi’s ancient medicines. Woody, smoky, aromatic and entirely unique, this juice features notes of birch tar, incense, cyprus root and white spruce.
$280 – mecca.com.au
Floris – Vert Fougère
This fougère fragrance (a fragrance that has various citrus, herbaceous, green, floral and animalic notes, respectively) represents Floris’s journey of re-imaging of the classic style. Vert Fougère is a distinct and moody scent that champions a green, mossy character against velvety woody accords. top notes of grapefruit, lavender and hints of ginger arrive before cedarwood, amber and patchouli, drying down with lingering smoke. A long lasting and deeply intriguing fragrance for day or night.
$249 – libertineparfumerie.com.au
Santa Maria Novella – Tabacco Toscano
If you’re seeking something both warm yet light, this rich and airy scent is the pick for you. Housed in a display-worthy vintage flacon, this heritage brand can be traced back to the early 1200s, so it’s safe to say Santa Maria Novella knows a thing or two about fragrance. The tobacco-forward scent is dedicated to the world-famous Tuscan cigar made by Manifattura di Lucca in 1818 and blends vanilla, amber, malt, bergamot and jasmine for a soft and indulgent aroma.
$198 – libertineparfumerie.com.au
Creed – Green Irish Tweed
A classic and distinguished scent, Green Irish Tweed is one of Creed’s signature and best-selling fragrances. Reminiscent of a stroll through the lush and rolling hills of the Irish countryside, Green Irish Tweed is equal parts masculine, elegant and rugged at once. Rich and fresh thanks to notes of French verbena, Florentine iris, lemon verbena and violet leaves balancing ambergris and sandalwood, this sleek matte bottle looks as good as its juice smells.
$389 – creedperfume.com.au
Maison Margiela – Jazz Club
Is there anything more winter-weather appropriate than a warm, smokey club where cigars, whiskey, leather and soft jazz tunes are abundant? We think not. This ever-popular Replica Eau de Parfum by Maison Margiela is seemingly in agreeance. Designed to replicate a time and place, Jazz Club will make you smell like Brooklyn — think plush leather armchairs, a stiff drink and a cigar — for an entirely heady and intoxicating scent that’ll long outlast a night on the town.
$180 – mecca.com.au
L’Artisan Parfumeur – Couleur Vanille
L’Artisan Parfumeur is currently producing some of the most affordable, yet stunning niche fragrances on the market today. Couleur Vanille Eau de Parfum was launched in June of 2020 and aims to bottle the perfect winter’s day, sailing off the fabled island of Madagascar with notes of bergamot, immortelle and salty vanilla. Balsamic notes mingle with driftwood and musk transporting you to the seaside for sunset, completing a stunning all year round scent. Their orange blossom and tonka bean sensation, Histoire d’Orangers is the perfect spring transition.
$219 – libertineparfumerie.com.au
Amouage – Memoir Man
Amouage’s fougère fragrance Memoir Man is built around a central note of Absinthe and the result is as alluring and mysterious as the (in)famous spirit itself. Rich, silky and luxurious notes of vetiver, oakmoss, amber, tobacco and vanilla perfectly pair with bright, unexpected notes of basil, mint, rose, frankincense, and of course, Absinthe. Enigmatic and magnetic, this innovative fragrance oozes an entirely distinct and modern originality.
$459.00 – libertineparfumerie.com.au