As much as we invest in the quest to find our perfect signature scent, there's something to be said for those who allow their olfactory choices to evolve with the change in seasons. With the air crisp and cool, bright sun breaking through misty mornings, the crunch of freshly fallen leaves underfoot, and the heady aroma of distant burning bonfires, autumn is abound in enough sensory stimulation to inspire a change of fragrance.
In recent years, bespoke fragrance has seen a resurgence in popularity, and even mass marketed brands have taken heed, and in attempt to represent their individuality have sought to embody the quality and narrative power of fragrance by drawing inspiration from varied aspects of life. The calendar year has long since provided inspiration to designers in the art, beauty, and fashion worlds, seeking to capture each season's spirit and characterisation in fragrance form.
Whether you invest in a new bottle of scent, or decide to inspire autumnal vibes at the strike of a match [for what better than a supersize candle to accompany hibernation?], the following line-up ranges from fresh, woody offerings through to seductive, heady florals - all united in their power to evoke bona fide autumnal vibes.
FOR SENSUAL STARLIT NIGHTS : TOM FORD Velvet Orchid*
Every bit as luxurious as one might expect, for the Tom Ford brand is synonymous with decadence; Velvet Orchid, a grand and opulent floral with a warm and distinct hit of suede, is no exception. Seeking to place a feminine spin on the iconic Black Orchid, the scent features sweet top notes of bergamot, honey, and rum, a floral heart, and intense base notes of myrrh, suede, and vanilla. Perfectly balancing such an array of exotic ingredients, Velvet Orchid is perfect for starry evenings in the city; sensual and seductive, wear it only after nightfall.
FOR CRISP AUTUMN MORNINGS : & OTHER STORIES Crinoline* [coming soon]
Ideal for bright, sunny autumn mornings; those who seek delicate and feminine scents will adore this first fragrance addition to & Other Stories' Cotton Care range. Light and uplifting, the crisp freshness captures the true essence of its name, which is inspired by the coarse cotton used to stiffen women's garments in the past [notably those worn close to the skin, like fragrance]. A welcome alternative to typically rich and cloying autumn favourites, this provides a refreshingly clean and comforting sense of realism.
THE SUPERMODEL STATE OF MIND : ANJA RUBIK Original*
Anja Rubik's stylish flare seeps through every aspect of her signature fragrance, from the sleek visual aesthetic of the packaging through to the exquisite, heady freshness of the perfume itself. Sweet, complex, and compelling, the fragrance captures a certain autumnal serenity; harmonising notes of green tea and pink pepper with the woody freshness of amber and lily. Simultaneously bold and delicate, this is wholly effortless fragrance, perfect for lazy brunches and country walks.
THE ORIENTAL OPTION : MAISON FRANCIS KURKDIJAN Oud Satin Mood*
An artist turned perfumer, Francis Kurkdijan sought to establish a fragrance house inspired by the bespoke creativity of Parisian perfumeries and to offer an alternative to the increasingly mundane democratisation of fragrance. The brand's distinctive fragrances are effectively art in their own right. As striking as they are sumptuous; each an ode to a sensual, delicate perfectionism - bold, timeless, and unique. A true luxe scent, this draws upon the diversity of oriental aromas, capturing the mood of an evening of decadence in the city. The complex blend harnesses opulent oud with rose, vanilla, and violet to place a modern spin on the mystique of an oriental night.
A statement offering and the ideal gift for the friend who has everything, Nevermore is an olfactory ode to The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. Sparkling notes of black pepper combine with heady rose and a warm base of amber, cedar, and wine to create a deep and lingering aroma that calls to mind such quintessentially autumnal scenes as the sinister allure of a misty evening walk. Note that this is rose in its most androgynous form - spicy, sharp, and boozy, a far cry from the uber-feminine fragrances in which the flower is usually utilised.
Sweet autumn scents must lean warm, rich, and sharp in order to demonstrate a sophisticated adult finesse, evoking the fruits of the season in their olfactory entirety. Unequaled in its autumnal statement is Aube Rubis. The scent is crisp and uplifting, with a woody heart surrounded by zesty notes of blackcurrant and grapefruit. Vetiver and patchouli contribute a subtle smokey element, calling to mind the scent of freshly fallen leaves and distant bonfires burning. This is autumn, in a bottle.
THE AUTUMNAL FLORAL : ORMONDE JAYNE Vanille d'Iris*
Complex, unique, deep, and utterly addictive. This exuberant, intoxicating scent is a homage to elegance and femininity, with a sensual and seductive twist. The fragrance marries dewy bergamot with a heart of jasmine and magnolia and base notes of vanilla, cedar, vetiver, amber, and musk. The sweet florals and vanilla are grounded by enough woody notes to work beautifully for autumn, and the fragrance lingers remarkably; warm and boozy upon first sniff before drying down to a distinct, leathery musk.
FOR AN INDIAN SUMMER : LOEWE Aura Loewe Magnética*
Inspired by the magnetism of the feminine aura, this intriguing scents hails its complexity from an extensive catalogue of ingredients - crisp top notes of pink pepper, bergamot, and orange, subtle heart notes of rose and jasmine, and a rich base of leather, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, and musk. Velvety and intense, with a sensual and addictive aroma, a single sniff conjures images of hazy Indian Summer evenings spent soaking up the last of the season's golden rays.
FOR FIRESIDE AMBIENCE : ORMONDE JAYNE Nocturne*
Proof that candles can be more than just one-note wonders, this is a delicious combination of cedar wood, cardamon, sandalwood, and amber, tinted with mandarin and pink pepper. An aromatic celebration of fireside cosiness inspired by the embers of open log fires, yet a far cry from sickly-sweet mainstream seasonal candle offerings. Smooth and mellow, the scent envelopes the room in a soft and comforting warmth, capturing the enduring charm of a cosy afternoon spent curled up in front of an open fire.
THE COMFORT CANDLE : & OTHER STORIES Kungsholmstorg*
& Other Stories do candles, and naturally, they're game-changing. Delicate but warming, this candle presents a perfect balance of richness and woodiness, with raspberry and nutmeg layered over a sweet and fresh base of cedar wood and pine. Inspired by the tree-filled square park outside the brand's Stockholm atelier, the delicate and intricate scent calls to mind the first cool days of autumn and the sweet scent that accompanies falling leaves. Satisfyingly, it infuses the room with a subtle freshness that doesn't lean too floral or too fruity - rendering it the perfect daytime scent for autumn.
FOR SUNDAY ZEN : SANCTUARY SPA Winter Bark and Sage
A comforting blend of sage and pine combine to create a simultaneously warm and revitalising scent - sweet, fresh, and creamy, with a gentle hint of spice. Ideal for crisp and sunny autumnal mornings, and the perfect accompaniment to Sunday spa activity. Distinct and uplifting, this is a power candle with a seasonal twist.
FOR COFFEE TABLE COSINESS : MALIN + GOETZ Dark Rum*
Everyone knows the welcome indulgence of arriving home after a frosty walk and spending the afternoon enveloped in a fireside aura of warmth and comfort. Amplify the cosy and inviting ambience with this delicious combination of rum, leather, bergamot, plum, and vanilla for the ultimate intoxicating and seductive aroma infusion. This is the kind of candle you'll want to burn whilst wrapped in blankets on an old leather armchair - fire ablaze, Jane Eyre and hot chocolate to hand.
FOR FROSTY NIGHTS : MUJI Feu de Bois
Far from a statement of luxury, but every bit a coffee table/desktop essential, MUJI's candles present an affordable alternative to home fragrance [that doesn't involve smelling like a cupcake]. Evoking the comforting aroma of a softly smoking fire, Feu de Bois is a sure-fire way to inspire Bonfire Night cosiness wherever you are; city apartment blocks are amazing, but we do have a real lack of open fires - MUJI to the rescue.
What are your favourite autumnal aromas?