As a self-proclaimed fragrance addict, autumn is my favourite time of year. The change of season provides the single best excuse to treat yourself to a lush new scent, especially now that your coconut body spray has assumedly been relegated to the back of your beauty shelf. Think oud, rose, amber — each as good as a cup of mulled wine for spice and warmth during the colder half of the year.
Truth be told, fragrance can cost an arm and a leg, but isn’t it worth it all to smell like you’ve walked straight out of a Helmut Newton coffee table book? (Hint: yes). I’ve been obsessively trawling the internet for perfumes that fit that bill, before trialling each and every one. These are the five that made the cut:
Words, Betsy Greaves.
Chanel fragrances always capture femininity from all angles. Although a floral perfume, Beige has an earthy edge, embodying the transition of summer to autumn — crisp, fresh, and nostalgic, lingering on the skin long after it’s sprayed. Best worn with sneakers and a trench coat, for the ultimate autumnal ensemble.
Jo Malone Midnight Black Tea
Our new obsession in THE FILE HQ. Technically a cologne, Midnight Black Tea is strong, but in the most beautiful way. Although it has this masculine, earthy feel, with notes of guaiacwood from the palo santo tree, it’s balanced beautifully with warm and seductive notes like vanilla and amber. It’s super fresh and crisp, described by Jo Malone’s master perfumer as being “focused on the moment when scents come alive after the sun goes down.” What better time for it than autumn?
Editions de Parfums By Frederic Malle Une Rose
The first time I wore Une Rose, my Uber driver asked about my perfume — an unexpected dialogue that quickly spiralled into a ten-minute yarn about quality fragrance. Five stars for conversation! And another five for Une Rose. There’s a real strength to it, differentiating it from most rose fragrances. Although rose scents are often best worn in the warmer months, Une Rose seems more suited to the cold.
Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin
If you’re looking for a unique scent to call your signature, Serge Lutens has your back. I’ve never come across more complex scents, and the stories behind them are even more so, with each fragrance driven by a nostalgic and often violent backstory, and concocted by Lutens himself. La Fille de Berlin is no exception — a deep rose with indescribable warmth, it’s the perfect match for autumn. “She’s a rose with thorns, don’t mess with her,” Lutens describes. “She’s a girl who goes to extremes. When she can, she soothes; and when she wants…!”
Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge
There’s only one way to describe this: bottled sex. Best reserved for date nights and extravagant lounging, Tom Ford’s Jasmin Rouge manipulates the most floral of scents with the warmth of spice and amber. Sensuous, indulgent, and addictive, with a bottle good enough to eat.