Best Perfumes for Winter

For a lot of us, it’s WINTER!  Gorgeous snowfall, followed by ice storms and subzero temps, pipes busting and sidewalks-cum-ice rinks.  Oh, yes.  Glorious Winter!  In the midst of all that bounteous, shivering beauty, wrapped in layers of fleece and wool and red noses and chapped lips, there’s the question:  What Perfumes to Wear?  One minute you’re wrapped up like the Michelin Man and the next you’re in some 78-degree oven of an office.   It’s a SPESHUL time of year!

But there are some really lovely perfumes that blossom in the subzeroes…..some are lush and some are perversely counterintuitive!  Here, without further crabbing erm, ado, is the Posse list for Best Perfumes for Winter!





Musette:  You know I wrote that intro, of course.  In the Posse pantheon, there is no one who hates Winter more than I do.  That I still live in the Midwest is a testament to my unerring stupidity – but it does make for some interesting perfume discoveries.

Shattered Glass:  awhile back (last winter, maybe?) I wrote a post about the gorgeousness of aldehydes in winter – the sparklier, the better!!  My two favorites, Chanel No 5 perfume and Gold extrait, have now been joined by Gold’s sister, Dia (in extrait).   Worn inside, they are lovely but if you really want to see a prism of gorgeousness, wear them OUTSIDE, in freezing temps!   It’s almost worth getting frostbite for!

Snoozy Beauties:  Come winter, I make like a bear.  It’s dark?  I’m showered (do bears shower?) and in bed.  Can’t help it.  It’s the only place I feel safe from the Cold Monster.  I usually snuggle into the reading pillow and snooze (one of my favorites is Mexico Houses of the Pacific  “read it to me again, Mommy!  Tell me about the mythical people who fly away to hot, sunny climes”  Bedtime is also when I do a lot of testing of the ‘snugglies’, which is a lot of fun.  You know of my love for Epic, especially the afterparty,  but I also love suede-y scents for this time of year.  Daim Blonde – Lawdamussy but it’s gorgeous.  Wearing it at night, in bed, allows me to really focus on it – if I wear it during the day it takes over my focus and costs me money! LOL!  Chanel Cuir de Russie parfum over Diptyque Creme Riche – the rose in the cream rounds out the leather in the CdR, rendering it insanely perfect.  Or, mo’ betta perfect, as it’s already perfect.

Wacky-but-Wow!:  This is the time for (drumroll, please) IRIS!  Yeth!  That rooty wonder, that gets a bit oily in summer, just…..perfection in Winter.  Who knew??? My favorites right now:  Iris 39 (the body lotion is gorgeous, too) and Ramon Monegal Impossible Iris.   Perfect for daytime and they transition well from warm inside-to-freezing outside and back again.  Xerjoff and Mythique, two of my other faves, seem to do better in early Spring.


From Tom (ohhhh, how jeally am I?)

Winter hasn’t been especially wintery here in SoCal- as a matter of fact it’s been in the mid 70’s here and fry as a bone. So I’ve been reaching for some summery classics recently- ones like Eau de Sud, the often overlooked Annick Goutal that I love, and Eau Sauvage a classic that I have an ancient and beloved bottle of (I am almost afraid to smell what they’re selling these days under the new rules about what you can and can’t use in perfumes.) At night when the temps plummet into the high fifties I’ve been dabbing myself with Musc Kublai Kahn, or another old favorite, Rahat Loukoum. Sometimes the old favorites are the best..


Gorgeous Portia is enjoying Summer, But she has fond Winter memories!

Last year I most wore:
Ambre Ceruleen by Huitieme Art because it’s soft, warm, lavish and easy. The most softly caramel type amber that could also be a fuzzy blanket
Vanille by Mona di Orio and it is comfortable beyond belief, like a favourite pair of old jeans or a polo shirt that you know suits you. Vanille is a boozy citrus/amber/woods dream
L’Heure Convoiteé II Cartier is a crisp and watery vase full of powdery carnations. It seems counter intuitive to wear something like this but it is gorgeous in the sub zeros.
Lys Soleia by Guerlain as a reminder of summer, its musk/fruits/white flowers all combine to make me feel warm and happy
Sun by Jil Sander with the lovely jasmine overload over the top of a thousand resins and plumped up by a fun bouquet is a great mood lifter, and smells fabulous for mext to nothing

I also wear more moisturiser in winter and love Keihl’s Original Musk Lotion, Amouage Gold & Dia Body Lotions and Vivienne Weswood’s Boudoir Body Lotion all got loads of wear under my pretties (which I read as ‘panties’!  Musette needs some new eyewear).


Lovely Ann has some fabulous choices!

Laboratorio Olfattivo Alambar: Not sure when it debuted, but it’s new to me, and I am grooving on this smooth, smooth amber that’s not complicated, just easy wearing and oh-so yummy.  A little cinnamon, a little cocoa, a little vanilla add to its allure, but it’s so well-blended that its unlikely to turn off those who hate gourmand scents. I’m wearing it from a dab sample and can’t wait to get my hands on more and try it sprayed.

Trayee: It’s been around a while, but is still pretty wonderful, especially for winter. Neela Vermeire’s creation is incense done just right, softly spiced, yet with a little twist to let you know that this hails from India, baby.

Comme des Garcons Blue Encens: This is incense on ice that I’ll be tempted to spray year-round. I love its comforting yet interesting vibe. It really does have that hot/cold dynamic going on, with the warm incense and the chilly spice of cardamom, pepper, and something else in the notes lending a cool sheen (the artemisia, perhaps?).


What are you wearing this Winter?  What kind of Winter are you having?  Is it even Winter where you are (shhhh!)


For more Winter Perfume Fabulosity, head on over to Grain de Musc, Now Smell This, The Non Blonde, Bois de Jasmin

  • Lizzy says:

    Here in NorCal we had a wintry blast early in December (overwatered yards that spilled over onto sidewalks and into gutters made ice slicks everywhere and I had to pick my way along VERY CAREFULLY) and then…nothing below mid-60s during the day or upper 30s at night all January. Sometimes even 70. Scarcely a kiss of rain anywhere. The news is calling it “extreme drought” and my city council has enacted water conservation measures–no watering the gardens during the work week–something we usually only see late summer!

    I’ve been leaning toward things that remind me of lush, wet places–INeKE Hothouse Flower and Briar Rose, Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille, Neela Vermiere Ashoka–interspersed with cozy comforts like Tom Ford Grey Vetiver and Ramon Monegal Cuirelle.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Lizzy! So sorry to hear about your severe drought conditions — that really is tough. We here in the South had a deep drought for several years with water restrictions, etc., so I know where you’re coming from. Luckily, the past two have been pretty wet and the ban has been lifted. I love your idea of lush, wet scents and you have some beauties. In fact, you’ve got me craving the Ineke and now I need to go dig up my little sample. 🙂 Hang in there!

  • AnnS says:

    Yeah – good luck! I won’t wear it for weeks at a time b/c I have so many frags, but when I want to wear it, I really want to wear it. The vintage perfume is to die for.

  • Jan Last says:

    After a month in Puerto Rico, it was really ugly climbing into my slightly tight winter clothes and (gasp!) cleaning off my windshield. The only good things about being back in the winter climate of Colorado are the winter scents. 1000 Flowers Reglisse Noir, Enchanted Forest, Coco and Caravelle Epicee. To name just a few. Nice.

    • Ann says:

      Welcome back, dear Jan! Glad you had a nice time in sunny Puerto Rico, but as you said, the cold weather does have some perfume joys at least. Enjoy your winter goodies and stay warm!

  • Martha says:

    I’ve been wearing vintage Coty Emeraude parfum de toilette A LOT. And, Mona di Orio Vanille. I guess I’ve been hitting the vanilla pretty hard. I do have some Amouage Gold Woman EDP so I think I’ll wear that tomorrow just see how it goes. Fortunately the temps haven’t been bad and tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be around 45F so I can live with that.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Martha! Woo-hoo, 45F — a regular heat wave after the single and minus digits, right? So glad you’re loving the Mona, and would love to hear how goes the Gold for you. We need Mals to jump in here with you — she is another Emeraude lover.

      • Martha says:

        Oh yeah, the MdO Vanille is a winner very time. I am sooo glad you introduced me to that fragrance. The FB was expensive, but I’ve never regretted buying it. Mals is the one I contacted to learn more about purchasing vintage Emeraude from eBay. Emeraude is something I wore in high school back in the 1970s and I hadn’t sniffed it since then. It is a lovely scent and very easy ( for me) to wear.

        • Ann says:

          Hi, Martha! Mals is sort of our Emeraude expert around here, so that was perfect. That Mona is great, isn’t it? I think it’s helped many a vanilla-hater come around to the note; seems like pretty much everyone likes it. Have a great weekend, enjoy your lovelies and stay warm!

  • AnnS says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Musette – I adore wearing No 5 in the dead of winter. I just don’t know why (cause I wear it year round too), but for me there is just something about that down time between Xmas and New Years that needs some sparkle – the aldehydes are cool, the florals are warmer, the richness of it, I don’t know. I just love it. Maybe because in the cold I can really put on much more than I would any other time of year… There was even more love this year as a lovely large bottle of the No 5 Huile Intense pour le Bain was under the tree….My other normal cold chasing favs are Chanel Coco, Bal a Versailles, TC Alahine, Amouage Memoir, Chanel Bois des Iles, and then vintage Vol de Nuit, whcih is especially good to wear while shoveling snow…Vol de Nuit *is* the smell of fresh falling snow! If I want a reminder of the summer, I’ll wear AG Songes edp which is rich and warm enough to be good – that super thick jasmine is great in the cold.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Ann — you have some lovely choices there, esp. like your Coco, Memoir and BdI. And must re-visit Vol de Nuit. BTW, your description of No. 5 makes me want to go back and try, try again to love it. You never know when the magic will strike.

      • AnnS says:

        Hi Ann! Magic struck for me backwards – I always had troubles with No 5 until I got some Eau Premier…then I got into No 5 from vintage perfume(you can get used bottles for a song on ebay and even if the top is off, the dry down will be delicious!), and now I pretty much wear any of the Sensua Elixir, vintage perfume, body cream, or Eau Premier. The Huile for the bath could be a fragrance in it’s own right. It took a few years for me to become full blown lover. Good luck!!

    • Millicent says:

      Alahine in cold weather counts as a “what do you appreciate now that you didn’t before?” scent for me. In hot weather the honey went straight to cat pee on me, and I hated it. In cold, though, I understand why people love it.

      • AnnS says:

        Alahine smells like pure sunshine to me! I get a huge juicy jasmine with the warm hot amber and incense. I’m glad you can wear it in the cold weather.

  • Suzy Q says:

    Musette, I hope you don’t have to go to the Peoria Y to shower again! I learned how to swim at that Y, by the way, as an adult.

    • Ann says:

      How cool is that, Suzy Q? It really is a small world. Hope you’re staying warm.

      • Suzy Q says:

        Oh yes, Ann, it is such a small world. I live in the south now but it’s been a cold winter. Our houses aren’t so well insulated, so those cold weather scents get a workout!

    • Musette says:

      are you still in Peoria? I was so disappointed to find out the pool was outside. I dunno what I was thinking – it’s a Y! – I was thinking hot tub, indoor pool, fluffy towels..erm, no.

      But they did have a hot shower! And you can bet I’mo trickle that water, the next deep freeze! LOL!


      • Suzy Q says:

        Musette, that was 20 years ago. The Y was downtown, the pool was inside, the locker room was dreary. If I lived near to you now, I’d be visiting, girlfriend’!!

  • Tena says:

    Here in Nova Scotia, we have gone from -24c to + 12 in a week, so frankly, I have given up and wear whatever I want. Today, I am testing my decant of SL Ambre Sultan, and I am in loooooove.

  • Tara C says:

    Definitely winter here… I am sitting in a cloud of Profumum Vanitas, a delicious winter gourmand. Been also hitting the Amouage Lyric, Epic and Memoir, plus FM Noir Epices and AG Encens Flamboyant/Ambre Fetiche pretty hard. And of course one of the very best, Absolue pour le Soir as well as Dior Mitzah. I am an oriental girl so this is my best time of year for perfume!

  • Solanace says:

    Great lists! It’s summer here but it’s pretty rainy/stormy, and I’ve been wearing a lot of Shalimar, Marron Chic and Rahat Loukoum. When it’s too warm for that, either Eau de Shalimar or Eau d’Hadrien.

  • Alison says:

    Great post! It has been colder than usual here in DC, woke up to 32 degrees this morning and went down to 3 during the Arctic Vortex. I have been alternating between Chanel No. 22 (a favorite for 40 years) and Montale’s Powder Flowers, which has a warm and wonderful powder/vanilla/musk aura to it. My 15 yo daughter loves MPF and it makes her especially huggilly when I wear it, added bonus!

    I have a large collection of cashmere sweaters that I buy off eBay and at consignment shops because I can’t wear wool, and I wear the worn-out ones as sleepwear. My sweater drawer smells divine, I hate to wash them . . . .

    • Musette says:

      I know what you mean – there’s something about accumulated scent on fabric, isn’t there? I have to wash my little knit robe today – and 🙁


  • Suzy Q says:

    Top 3 this winter:

    Prada Candy
    Havana Vanille aka Vanille Absolument

    My jackets and fleece smell of a strange brew of all three.

    Occasionally I wear No. 5 Eau Premiere, Infusion d’Iris edp and others but I keep returning to the Big Three!

  • Michelle says:

    It is WINTER here in Minnesota, has been and will be for at least 3 months on either end, if not more. But that fact does not affect what fragrance I apply. If I want to wear Diorissimo or Eau de whoever or whatever, dangit, I will. I pick what I’m going to wear like a 5 year old dresses herself, with no concern for silly practicalities like weather and appropriateness for the occasion.

  • Teri says:

    It can’t make up its mind if it’s winter or what here in Denver, so I have had to keep a more extensive arsenal of scents at the ready then I would usually be doing for January. That being said, I’ve discovered a (discontinued, of course, grrrr) beauty in Krizia’s Teatro A La Scala that puts me achingly in mind of the original Opium. It doesn’t smell exactly like Opium, but it’s close enough to make me tear up and feel sad in the best possible way. Luckily I happened upon a good-sized bottle, so my trip down nostalgia lane will last a while. On the lighter side, I’ve been wearing Micallef’s Vanilla Oud recently. I’m really not much of a vanilla person, but in the cold vanilla resonates for me if it isn’t too ‘drugstore-y’ and super sweet. In VO, the oud cuts the sweetness of the vanilla with the smokiness of the oud and strikes a balance that is just right for me. And of course on those super cold nights, I still enjoy cuddling up with my two all-time fav comfort scents – Belle en Rykiel and Max Mara’s original scent. Both are getting harder and harder to find, but I refuse not to spray them liberally when I need comfort and warmth. Something else will come along (hopefully!) when they disappear completely.

  • kelly cross says:

    Absolue Pour le Soir is great for winter…. incense, roses, honey and musk.

  • Elena says:

    Like Rosarita I’m wearing a ton of DK Gold (literally, 5 or 6 sprays!). It’s very easy to wear, and just cuddly enough. I wear a lot of Chanel 19 in warmer times, so that’s kind of my cold weather alternative. If I had more of it, I’d wear Musc Tonkin all the time, especially on those frigid nights. (Thanks to you guys for that, I won my little sample here!) It’s just wonderful. I also like Musc Ravageur to warm me up. I deeply regret giving away my bottle of Organza Indecence (the old cool bottle), I didn’t wear it much, but it would be perfect once in a while. I bet the person I gave it to never really wore it, too.

  • rosarita says:

    Musette, you know what kind of winter I’m having and I’m with you on the curling up in bed thing to escape it. I forgot about the aldehydes post but I did wear Arpege the other day and it smelled wonderful… otherwise it’s been Donna Karan Gold, Montale Black Aoud, Coco, Shalimar, Ambre Russe, all applied in eye watering portions. Oh, and Imaginary Authors Memoirs of a Trespasser – vanilla soaked wood fire, perfect under the down comforter. Ann, I have to try that CdG Blue Encens – your description is wonderful, and Portia, thanks to you I’m seeking all sorts of oils, lotions and potions, found a jar of YSL Nu body cream I forgot I had and it’s wonderful.

    • Ann says:

      Great choices there, lady! I, too, am loving that IA MoaT — it’s so comfy-cozy. And lucky you to have a jar of YSL Nu — now that’s a rare treat! Do try the Blue Encens when you get a chance. Hope your knee is doing well, take care and stay warm!

      • Musette says:

        she’s right around the (lake) corner from me. The only way she’s gonna be able to stay warm is if she moves! 😀

        • Ann says:

          Ha — I bet on many days of winter moving to a warmer clime sounds like the best idea ever!!

          • rosarita says:

            Sandals and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines run ads all the time this time of year – they know their target audience!

  • Lynley says:

    I dug out my sample of Mecca Balsam again today and forgot how delicious it is. It’s quite warm here but I can imagine it works great in the cold too. Last winter my new favourite was Ambre des Merveilles, MdO Vanille, and Guerlain Songe d’un Bois d’ete

  • Portia says:

    God Damnit!! I forgot MOHUR!! Hello crew, great faves as always. I’ll be joining you in the SUB ZEROs on Tuesday. Can’t wait.
    Portia xx

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I love, no, adore Amouage Epic, Lyric, Gold and Dia this time of year. But Mitsouko and no 22 get the biggest workout this time of year.