The new winter scents delve so deep, you can’t help but feel confident, sexy and sophisticated. Are you ready for the power perfumes?

A change of season usually brings with it a slight switch in our lifestyles; casseroles replace salads, and strappy dresses are traded for chunky knits as comfort and cosiness become our main concern. And, you may not realise it, but the same goes for your scent. The typical oceanic, citrus and floral fragrance families we favoured during summer somehow aren’t as appealing mid-winter, so we instinctively abandon them and reach for scents that err on the darker side, ingredients-wise and even aesthetically, to match our mood.

It’s not as simple as a basic need to surround ourselves with warmth (though that is a part of it) but, in fact, an innate way of thinking that’s ingrained in order to understand why winter brings a different set of olfactory smells many of which are deeper and more intense,’ says Will Andrews, from the P&G Prestige Fragrance Creation Team. ‘Our ancestors would have spent a lot of time outdoors in the winter months, with all the intense, dark, social smells that brings and, as the weather gets colder and the nights get longer, we crave the same warmth and the palette of aromas accompanying them.’

These richer ingredients provide the basis for many of this season’s new scents (think incense, leather and rare flowers that only emerge at dusk), either inspiring them or appearing in the fragrance itself. And, unlike the scents that preceded them the winter before, their depth produces an effect that’s not just comforting but incredibly mood changing, too. rather than play-it-safe subtle, this winter’s perfumes are the ultimate mood changers: intoxicating, confidence-boosting and provovative.

Be mysterious

$48 for 50mlEDF, Haus Laboratories

$48 for 50ml EDP, Haus Laboratories

With an ingredients list that includes ‘tears of Belladonna, pulverized apricot and a black veil of incense’ at its base, Lady Gaga’s scent Fame, as you’d expect, is anything but ordinary. However, take another look (or read the small print) and you’ll see that while it’s inspired by the dew from the deadly flower, it’s actually apricot, jasmine Sambac and essences of spices, namely saffron, which make it such an intoxicating, sweet scent. ‘Our ancestors would have used imported spices that were abundant in the winter months to not only prevent food from perishing, but in their daily diets, too’, says Will. ‘It’s likely that this is the reason they’re so strongly associated with the winter season today and why we crave them during colder, darker months.’

Of course, it also makes sense that the heat that spice can bring to the winter months is a huge factor, too. ‘We enjoy the olfactory colour that these spicy scents can bring to a cold winter morning, explains Anna Katz, fragrance buyer at Roullier White. ‘And they tend to be favourites with the type of woman who isn’t afraid to stand out and be noticed.’ The type of woman who’d happily wear a meat dress to a party, perhaps. Gaga’s first fragrance is actually black, but transforms into a clear liquid when it’s spritzed from its gold capped bottle. Dramatic, intriguing and so very Gaga.

Be comforted

$48 for 50ml EDP, Givenchy

$48 for 50ml EDP, Givenchy

Givenchy’s latest scent couldn’t look or sound any darker; the name, the TV ad and even the flower it’s inspired by lend the fragrance a mystical appeal and that’s all before you’ve even smelt it. Inside, the juice itself is just as powerful, with a powdery rose, iris and mimosa base that’s enriched with sandalwood. ‘It’s one of the most beautiful ingredients in the world,’ says Anna. ‘Sandalwood is warm and has a slight sweetness that’s enveloping it’s hugely comforting’. And when you imagine why this might be, it’s an obvious link. ‘Our bodies recognize autumnal odours and the part of our brain that manages memory and emotional response associates it with similar experience in our lives’, says Will. So, the warmth you feel from the woody tones in Dahlia Noir could very possibly be evoking cosy evenings in front of a log fire or the fir cones you collected as a child. Either way, the result is a dense, powdery perfume that’s totally winter-appropriate.

Be sensual

$60 for 30ml EDP, Thierry Mugler

$60 for 30ml EDP, Thierry Mugler

The standout note in Thierry Mugler’s latest Angel variant isn’t a flower or fruit, but a fabric. Mugler has taken the original Angel scent and infused it with natural leather over a four-week period to draw out its sensuous notes. Though leather sounds like the last thing you’d want in your perfume, it’s not all that unusual and, historically, it’s one of perfume’s earliest notes. Parisian glove makers perfumed their gloves with oils to disguise the leather scent but people loved the sensual combination and wanted a perfume based on it. ‘It was traditionally used in men’s fragrances, however, more and more women love the power leather can bring to a scent,’ says Anna. Mugler’s leather concoction isn’t as raw as you might expect you can still detect the gourmet notes the original is famed for but its leather facet transforms it from a sweet fragrance into something much more sensual and enticing. It’s Angel, but all grown-up.

Be confident

$70.5, 50ml EDP, Boss

The inspiration for Boss Nuit comes from the little black dress and, as such, everything from the bottle to the scent emulates the elegance, confidence and femininity that wearing an LBD brings. That doesn’t mean it’s a same old, same old floral-feminine fragrance. Crystal moss, violet and a handful of warm woods give it a unique, earthy quality that’s self-assuring deep, green notes have a grounding influence, due to the back-to-nature, walk in the woods type of experiences they evoke. And yet there are also aldehydes (compounds that bring a sparkling freshness to a fragrance) to give it zest. The overall effect is very autumnal. ‘It’s the freshness we associate with the countryside and, therefore, the fragrance has the psychological effect of making the wearer feel upbeat, calm and confident’, says Anna. ‘The fresh notes have this way of infusing the wearer with confidence’. It’s modern yet timeless, sophisticated but not stuffy. And, of course, it’s the perfect accompaniment to that LBD.

Be seductive

$112.5, 500ml EDP, Chanel

$112.5, 500ml EDP, Chanel

Coco Chanel said for a woman to be seductive she had to be both mysterious and light-hearted. And Chanel’s latest fragrance, an intense, sexy scent that’s both light and dark, is evocative of that. At the base lies a layer of musk, sandalwood, Tonka bean and frankincense, inspired by ‘the black velvet of a Venetian craftsman who dyed his cloth in successive layers to bring out its radiance.’ And we don’t lie these spicy notes give Coco Noir such an opulent edge, it’s almost intoxicating. ‘Frankincense alone is spicy and incredibly alluring,’ comments Anna. ;And when teamed with musk, it taps into something erotic’, she adds. It’s not all dark grapefruit, pink peppercorns and rose geranium leaf add a little light. Nevertheless, it’s the sort of fragrance you could only wear in winter and the only one that will smell just as good on your pillow the morning after, as it did the night before.

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