Hot cross buns, leggings and scarves may be common indicators of the seasonal shift from Summer to Autumn, as may the bite in the air and bed socks. But for me, I truly know dresses and bare feet have given way to cold hands and pink cheeks when I retire my full white florals and cutting citrus colognes to the bathroom cupboard and reinstate the warmer, spicier potions.

Deeper fragrances suit cooler weather for almost purely evocative reasons. Cinnamon and coffee and vanilla make us think wintry thoughts far more than gardenia and lemon blossom. Licorice and leather accords sit better beneath a scarf than strawberry and coconut.

So what to look for in a new scent, as the leaves change colour and cold white wine is replaced with heavy reds? Spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, woody notes, big green notes and bases of vanilla, musk and praline. Don’t be afraid to wear men’s fragrances – they traditionally use these heavier, warmer notes (despite a recent trend of fruity sweetness) and can dry down beautifully on the skin. Plus, it’s always nice to be wearing something surprising, when someone asks.

Some favourites …

Calvin Klein’s Obsession (for Men and Women)

Mandarin, Nutmeg and Patchouli. I prefer the men’s version for the way it settles on the skin (for its top-button-undone 80s masculinity).


J Del Pozo’s In Black

Black Cherry, Black Lily and Licorice Wood. Profoundly sensual, you won’t find anything quite like it.

Tierry Mugler’s Alien

Amber, Cashmere and Jasmine. Striking and otherworldly, completely addictive.

Lolita Lempicka’s Lolita

Licorice, Ivy and Praline. Heady and sweet with a powerful underlying punch. The men’s version is also tremendous.


Chanel’s Coco

Angelica, Bulgarian Rose and Tonka. As strong, bold and unapologetic as the decade that bore this gem.

Givenchy’s Hot Couture

Pink Pepper, Magnolia and Raspberry. A ball gown fragrance with a hint of youthful petulance.

Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir

Pomegranate, Frankincense and Plum. Oh so dark and mysterious, perfect for dark Winter nights.