Under the radar: Best go-to scents for late fall and winter

OK, let’s face it. Autumn is full-on, winter won’t be far behind and the holiday crush will be here before we know it, and 101 (or more) things will be vying for our every waking minute. So reach for your old faithful fragrances, your go-to scents that smell good, and even better, make you feel good this time or year, without being fussy or demanding.

What’s that scent you grab without a second thought, when you’re tired of exploring new scents or you’re just not up to getting a vial or split of the latest thing? Especially on those hectic days when there seems to be little to no time to thoroughly test something new.

EBP 2 go-to-scents 3No surprise that I tend to opt for cozy and snuggly, as many of you here in the Northern Hemisphere do this time of year. My favorite go-to fragrances for fall and winter include the angora-soft warmth of Costes 2, the slightly sexy and mysterious Byredo’s Gypsy Water (waves to Portia who had a fabulous review of it last month), L’Artisan’s sadly discontinued Tea for Two, and as I’ve mentioned before, Tom Ford’s Shanghai Lily: a versatile beauty that I’m finding works well in almost any situation.

For great date night go-to scents, I can’t go wrong with Chanel’s Coromandel or the original Coco. They are so gorgeously dependable and have a bit more va-va-room to them. I know I will feel wonderful wearing either one, although I do try to apply these with a lighter touch.

And a bonus: Any lingering traces of the above scents just before bedtime can’t help but bring sweet dreams.

What are your favorite standbys, your most reached for go-to scents? I know you all will mention some great ones that I forgot, and also will have some new ones for us to try.

90 Comments
CarolynC November 24, 2013

Tend to reach for spice/smoke/incense this time of year...I've been wafting Bond Silver Factory, Theorema, Tea for Two, and Chergui recently.

Johnnie November 19, 2013

Hey Ann This just amazing. Today I decided to give a try for myself. I put on a tiny amount of Yves St. Laurent Opium because I like the name and I had a dental appointment followed by a car appointment. My dental tech said, if you don't mind me saying, whatever you have on smells really nice. I told her what it was, and she said, why not as long as you like it. I agree, it is really intoxicating. So cool.

malsnano86 November 19, 2013

It's getting chillier here in the mountains of Virginia - I've been wearing Parfum Sacre a good bit in this weather, as well as Memoir Woman and Black Cashmere. Tabac Aurea is another fall favorite, and Organza Indecence (sadly, i have misplaced my decant and must find it!). Shalimar Light and vintage Emeraude (which share some DNA, definitely) are a couple more I love for chilly weather, and I need to get my beloved Alahine out soon too.

Dina C. November 19, 2013

Ann, Here's my better late than never comment on your post. I'm gonna sound like a copycat because I love a lot of the same scents that everyone else does. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, so I have an embarrassment of riches during this time. I've been reaching for: LouLou, Bois des Iles, Sycomore, Cuir de Russie, L'Ambre des Merveilles, Mitsouko, Bulgari Red Tea, Bottega Veneta, and Premier Figuier Extreme. I've also thrown a couple of lighter year-round things into the mix like No. 19 edp, and Paestum Rose. Our weather is still very changeable around here, so I go with the flow. :-)

Catherine November 19, 2013

In cold weather, some of my favorites are: TF Tabacco Vanille and Santal Blush, Diptyque 34 St. Germain, Tauer L'Air du Desert Marocain, Serge Lutens Santal Majascule and Jeux de Peau, HdP Ambre 114, and L'Occitane Labdanum. Actually, I haven't worn Tea for Two in quite a while too and I think that needs to be rectified ASAP. :)

Sherri November 19, 2013

SDV has been getting alot of wear lately. It appeals to everyone and is great in the cooler weather. Mancera Roses Vanille is the other one I'm cray cray for. I think it's my favorite purchase of 2013--gets lots of compliments, too!

Jennifer Counts November 18, 2013

Chergui has been a fall go-to for me, though I found that it worked better than I expected in heat too. Others this fall are Dune and Rossy de Palma. I also just got a sample of HdP 1740 Marquis de Sade from a very kind perfume fairy, and I'm loving it.

Gwen November 18, 2013

A fabulous fairy godmother just sent me some vintage Lucien Lelong "Indiscret" and I think I'm in love. It reminds me of Guerlain Vol de Nuit warmed up with cloves. I can't stop snorfeling myself!

Mary P. November 18, 2013

So many great fragrances being mentioned here! My list, my list, my ever growing list!.....

Liz K November 18, 2013

No. 5 and Bvlgari Red Tea (both worn year round), Mitsouko, Love and Tears, Aromatics Elixir, Stella, Kyoto, and Avignon. It is still warm-ish here (ok, yesterday was frickin' hot. 89* F is a bit much even for here) so I have to keep cozy scents pretty light. I have also been wearing the heck out of Vanilla Insensee since I have a tiny splash bottle in my purse and it is the most inoffensive scent ever. I think I need to go on a sample binge again as I am finding myself praising the same bunch over and over.

Elizabeth Watson November 18, 2013

Oh, another fan of Tea for Two! I love that one also; scored a big bottle of it recently. Take note, swappers, at swap time! ;-)

mim November 18, 2013

My go-tos this fall: Tea for Two also, KM Genie des Bois, lots of ambers like Ambre Sultan and L'Ombre Fauve, Bois Blond, OJ Woman, Safran Troublant, Botrytis, Parfum Sacre, LDDM, Caron Pour Homme. Actually these are my year-round go to comfortable scents. They're very me and easy to wear.

Elizabeth Watson November 18, 2013

For this time in New England, when the leaves are (mostly) off the trees but no snow yet: DK Black Cashmere, vintage Samsara, Indult Isvaraya (sp?), CB Patchouli Empire, Magie Noire--any of these. :-)

AnnieA November 18, 2013

Cuir de Lancôme never fails in the cooler months, and no matter how rough a day it is EL jasmine White Moss will rise above it.

Elia November 18, 2013

When I don't want to think I reach for Blue Sugar by Aquolina. It's sweet and comforting and works well in most situations. I've mentioned Chergui for a travelling scent in another post, and it could be another to wear more often blindly, although not as easy a wear. In warmer weather I used to reach for Oscar for Men often, because a blast of herbs is refreshing. And though I've not yet purchased more than a sample of Rose 31, it is one of the very few samples I have burned through, because it fits me well, and it feels special, every time.

Audrey November 18, 2013

By night. Not by bight....

Audrey November 18, 2013

I second Roma Imperiale.....it gets sprayed on my scarves regularly. I also reach for their By Bight: White, Le Labo Gaiac 10 (day) or Vanille 44 (night), MDCI Amber Topkapi, and Chanel Eau Premiere or Rue Cambon. Also, Le Labo Jasmin in the summer!!

Johnnie November 18, 2013

I just recieved my first 10 samplers from Surrender to Chance and opened Black Cashmere, this is great fun and I am a married male. So I don't have a go-to scent, however the thought just occured to me that these would make such great stocking stuffers for my daughter and many others. A crazy fiction book called Perfume got me started on this hobby.

rickyrebarco November 18, 2013

I go for my comfort scents, the ambers and spices. Lutens' Chergui, Lutens Ambre Sultan and the wonderful MPG Ambre Precieiuse. Also my fave fall Chanels, Sycomore, Coco Noir and Bois des Isles. Like a warm spicy blanket! And can you believe I just discovered Organza Indecence? It's the perfect fall scent.

Lynley November 18, 2013

Hi Ann! Hi all! My cool weather go to scents include Organza Indecence (its summer here now but i got a fb of the re-issue a few months ago and am missing it already now that its so hot!!), Hermes Ambre des Merveilles, Cuir d'Lancome, Chergui, and Amber Orient. I love MdO Vanille and would apply lavishly if i had a fb... Special occasions call for Lyric or Epic. And, strangely enough, I find that I wear Odalisque more in cool weather.

Portia November 18, 2013

Hey there Ann, Neela Vermeire's Mohur and Liberte by Cacharel have been seeing quite a bit of action in our weird spring weather in Sydney. It's wet and cold now. Great post, Portia xx

Jackie b November 18, 2013

I find myself reaching for Bottega Veneta when I can't be bothered analysing how I feel. I have already bought the larger size. It is spring here but the scent is dry enough to work. I am seconding Epic, lotion and spray which is my date night perfume, but Trayee seems to be popular too, must try it!

Caroline November 18, 2013

hmm, must investigate Costes 2. I've got a bit of perfume ennui: yesterday I wore Tubereuse Criminelle (a small spritz!), and it wound up getting on my nerves, which hasn't happened before. Much as I adore the fall, it seems to be a challenging scent season. Is Ms Musette ok? There were some wicked tornadoes in her neck of the woods today.

Ncmyers November 18, 2013

Just got a decant of By Killian's Rose Oud and it's all I want to wear! Starts off sorta musty but then it turns sweet and rich but also sheer. And the contrast makes it that much more delightful. Always appropriate too! Calice Becker does it again.

FeralJasmine November 18, 2013

Hi dear Ann, I am loving my ambers and spices right now. First, I would wear all Trayee all the time if I could afford to. It is rich and complex and luscious and even my perfume-phobic work buddies like it. But it has to be reserved for special treats, and my constantly grabbed fragrances right now are Mona's Vanille and an Arabian fragrance called Kalemat, a light but wonderfully vanillic spiced amber. There was a review of it on A Kafkaesque Life that induced a bunch of us to buy it, and it is much lighter than I expected but is a lovely thing indeed, perfectly suited to my mood and the cool weather.

Foxbins November 18, 2013

My "what to grab without thinking" scent in cooler weather is always Bois des Iles. Coming in second is Carner Barcelona D600, followed by Teo Cabanel's Alahine. I seem to crave the spicier warmth of woods, vanilla, or amber in the fall. I will have to try Shanghai Lily as well--it sounds lovely!

eldarwen22 November 18, 2013

This time of year, I can't stop wearing Amouage Epic or Lyric, Cuir de Russie or Mitsouko this time of year. Right now, I"m gunning for Amazon gift cards to get the Amouage bath stuff. I got 15ml of the Gold, Epic, and Reflection body creams. Holy crap, not only do they smell fabulous, they are great on my dry ass skin.

Mary P. November 18, 2013

You have named four of my favorites - Costes 2, Coco, Coromandel and Sahara Noir. I've not tried MdO's Ambre, but it it's as good as her vanilla I'm sure I'd love that too! One of my favorite amber's is Laboratorio Olfattivo Alambar, so luscious......

wefadetogray November 17, 2013

I am reaching for Kenzo L'Elephant, Tonkamande (PG), Sahara Noir (TF) and MdO's Ambre non stop, day or night. I dont think I have date or night scents. I need to try Shanghai Lily; you make it sound so delicious and tempting.