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Beauty

‘Tis The Season: Best Winter Fragrances

I love fragrances. I enjoy dissecting each note, trying to figure out if it’s patchouli or vetiver; it’s always thrilling trying out different houses and their distinct characterizations of the same topic: although the same vanilla, Kilian’s sugary, marshmallow-y adaptation is worlds apart from the spicy, smoky tobacco-infused vanilla of Tom Ford.

Now that winter is in the air and the holidays are approaching, many people are changing up from their lighter perfumes to those a tad heavier and cozier. In this article, I will introduce the most popular and timeless winter fragrances.

  1. Le Labo Lys 41

The Le Labo Lys 41 is everything white floral but with a vanilla-y, spicy twist, making the scent delicate and airy (think wedding bouquets) but also with a satisfying weight to it – the woodier middle notes transform the fragrance to become “heavier” as time passes. Perfect for those who want a floral, lighter perfume that isn’t too intense and heavy like how typical winter-targeted perfumes tend to be.

  1. Diptyque Tam Dao Eau de Toilette

The Diptyque Tam Dao is a classic with its very intense woody, smoky fragrance. It is said to have been created with Asian temples in mind; true to its intent, this scent feels very oriental and powerful to me. Some people have described it as smelling like wooden saunas; and that is why it is sometimes described as a ‘comforting’ scent to some people. Tam Dao is inevitably a very heavy, damp smell and more fitting in the colder seasons.

  1. Maison Margiela By the Fireplace

The name says it all – Maison Margiela’s By the Fireplace performs exactly like its name. With its dominant notes being cloves, pepper, chestnut, guaiac wood, it is intensely woody and smoky. Initially it really smells straight up a bonfire –not as strong, but still—and I personally felt that as time passes the stronger top/middle notes mix beautifully with the cozier bottom notes, creating a wonderful afterscent.

  1. Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur

One of my favorite houses of all time, Frederic Malle has, like always, worked its wonders on Musc Ravageur. It is a very sensual scent– hence its name– and has an attractive sweetness (lilac, tonka, vanilla) wrapped around an extremely heavy musk note. It is a fragrance that suits dark, cold winter nights and should be sprayed only once or twice.

  1. YSL Black Opium

Yes, it is one of the most well-used fragrances around the world, but it’s popular for a reason! YSL’s Black Opium is sweet and sexy, pleasant but not too light, playful but not sultry. Think amber vanilla floral. This scent has some interesting notes like coffee, bitter almond and licorice in there as well, creating a comfortably alluring scent. 
A well-picked fragrance particular to the season, place, and how you want to project yourself can totally change up your whole image. I hope this selection helps you meet the one!

Cathryn Kim

Williams '24

Hi! My name is Cathryn and I’m from Seoul, South Korea. I am a junior at Williams College, majoring in Economics and Sociology. I love fashion, cosmetics, photography, and traveling!