You know what’s harder than picking a foundation online? Buying perfume online blind, scent-unsmelled. In the realm of beauty, fragrances are one of my special obsessions. I collect scents that reflect my mood, scents that evoke a memory…putting on my fragrance is the last “me time” I have until I come home from work, so it’s ritualistic and almost sacred to me.
I recently purchased a few travel-sized fragrances to try out for fall, and I noticed all of my favorites had a couple notes in common, fitting in well into a “best holiday perfume” category. Since it can be so difficult to find fragrances online, I’ve compiled a list of perfumes to hopefully help you out in your fragrance shopping. Let me know if this is something you like – I’m happy to share a seasonal perfume post.
M E R R Y & B R I G H T
- Orange Blossom
[Sorry, my All Good Things is currently MIA]
Feels: ‘just because’ flowers fresh from the market, romantic autumn cuddles by the fire, eye contact just before a deep kiss
*Most similar to YSL Libre, but smoky in place of lavender
This fragrance starts off like an exotic cloud of incense – smoky, warm and sweet – thanks mostly to the cedarwood, one of my highlighted notes for “Merry & Bright.” Quickly, the smoke is balanced by a hint of fresh florals and more sweetness rises through. You’re left with an incredibly dreamy scent that is womanly and seductive.
Feels: candlelight and laughter amongst friends sharing vanilla ice cream sundaes of toasty brittle and hot caramel
*Most similar to By the Fireplace, but fruitier and more vanilla-forward
Not your basic vanilla perfume! The initial notes are light and fresh, with a brightness that almost hints at citrus. Though I cannot find the full fragrance profile, I included this on the list because the top notes are vanilla and something reminiscent of orange blossom. With time this sophisticated fragrance blooms into amber depth and spice – chestnuts roasting/open fire vibes. Instead of the vanilla we’re used to that’s cloyingly sweet, this Atelier vanilla perfume smells familiar and homey on your skin, with a hint of spice that is perfect for warming these colder fall and winter months.
Feels: black-tie affair in a little black dress, eyes on you from across the room, gold jewelry catching the dim light
*Most similar to All Good Things, but fresher and floral without smoke
Sugar, spice and everything nice, this fragrance is the trifecta of scent notes. Calming and soothing lavender evenly meet bright, zesty orange blossom and grounding, earthy musk. I tend to have slightly acidic skin that does better with fruity/citrus fragrances, and because of that, the lavender notes in this are barely detectable on me, though their presence gives the first whiff a mysterious punch and body that citruses alone lack. Well suited for celebrations and evening rendezvous, Libre’s top notes are true throughout wear with lingering musk that smells bold and expensive.
Feels: velvet against the skin, oven-fresh sugar cookies and boiling black tea as crackling logs play a steady background rhythm
*Most similar to Atelier Vanille Insensée, but richer, no fresh or floral notes
This cozy scent lingers on the skin like a warm hug, lasting just as long as you need it to and wearing like velvet – smooth and sultry. By the Fireplace is quietly sweet, endearing and familiar, reminiscent of fresh pastries bursting with chestnut and vanilla. While sweet, she’s mellow like sweet tea plus both sophisticated and spicy. An uncomplicated fragrance that flawlessly captures a romantic fall holiday.
I should admit I’m not actually a fan of vanilla, though I love all of these perfumes, and By the Fireplace has been my go-to holiday fragrance for a year now. Because all of these have depth, spice, and heat, they are ideal as winter perfumes and for the holidays. Even so, I do think old and new vanilla fans and anyone that likes to wear warm and mildly sweet aromas will appreciate these scents.
If you are starting your holiday shopping early (I guess it isn’t that early…) these are probably some of the best perfumes for gifts, and a great holiday gift idea for women with the exception of Libre which seems to be the most specific in profile. Atelier perfume reviews are always positive, Maison Margiela perfumes make very impressive presents while Lush perfumes tend to be harder to select as a gift.
I hauled most of these in the Sephora Rouge sale happening now until singles day, November 11th, and I *seriously* appreciate the 20% savings. I’d recommend at least picking up a travel-size or rollerball to spice up your scent for the season.