What Should Your Fall Scent Be?

You know how most people have a “song of the summer?” The song that will, forevermore, remind them of a particular few months of a particular year? The song that instantly transports you back to being 13 (“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson) or 17 (the entire Views album by Drake)?

Well, I also have a scent of the summer.

Sometimes it’s the scent I’m personally addicted to. When I really can’t get enough of a certain smell, I spray it liberally on every occasion whether I’m actually going out or just going to the grocery store or even to bed (it’s my favorite luxury after a nighttime everything shower). You don’t want to know how many bottles of Sol de Janeiro I’ve been through in my lifetime. My home probably will always have the faint scent of it.

Other times, however, the scent of the summer is what everyone else is wearing. There was the summer when all of New York City smelled like Le Labo’s Santal 33. All of a sudden, you couldn’t go past 14th Street without being accosted by the cool girl scent of palo santo.

And of course, all our childhood malls smelled like Abercrombie & Fitch’s suffocating fragrance — which was only a step above Axe body spray. The two blocks of Fifth Avenue in NYC that surrounded the flagship A&F store burned my childhood nostrils with a scent that will always remind me of summers as a kid.

So every season has its scent. Studies have shown that associating something, from an emotion to a person, with a particular scent makes your brain remember them more.

For this reason, I like to switch up my fragrances every season. In my home, it’s easy to make the switch to different candles. Fall candles are pumpkin spice and cinnamon scented. Winter candles are potpourri and, when I’m feeling fancy, Diptyque’s Feu de Bois.

But for my personal scent, the decision is a little more difficult.

Firstly, the perfume has to suit my style as well as the season. At heart, I like a sweet fragrance. I’m not going to change that every four months. It also takes a while to find a new perfume, since online fragrance shopping is borderline impossible. What smells good on one person can smell completely different on another, which is why I can’t trust every influencer.

However, after pouring through countless Fragrantica reviews and studying the notes on all my favorite bottles, I have narrowed down the notes I gravitate towards and can make a pretty good guess as to which fragrances I’ll like.

I’ve also become tuned in to industry chatter and familiarized myself with all the hottest perfume brands, the upcoming scent profiles that will be the next big thing, and, of course, the viral TikTok scents.

If you’re looking for inspiration for your new go-to perfume, there’s something for everyone. Whatever family of scents you like, and whatever vibe you’re looking for, you can find it in a fun new spray to get you excited for fall and forever remind you of Autumn 2023 — whatever this season brings.

All products featured are independently selected by our editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

Autumnal: Skylar Fall Cashmere

If you just want an autumn scent that smells like all things autumn, you’re probably reading this clutching a Starbucks PSL. And who can blame you? The pumpkin, cinnamon, earthy scent profile of this season is something I could wear all round. The Skylar Fall Cashmere perfume has notes of Roasted Almond, Spiced Ginger, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Sandalwood, Caramelized Vanilla, White Musk, and Golden Amber.

Fruity or Floral: Jo Malone English Pear and Sweet Pea

This classic scent is experiencing a revival thanks to none other than Sofia Richie. The queen of cool is the most recent Jo Malone spokesperson, making this brand feel young and cool again. Get the Jo Malone English Pear and Sweet Pea scent before it flies off the shelves.

Vanilla: DS & Durga Deep Dark Vanilla

My personal scent of choice is anything with vanilla, caramel, or brown sugar. But in the fall, I shy away from anything sickly sweet. DS & Durga, who you might know from their Big Sur After Rain candles, make some of my favorite fragrances right now. Their new vanilla fragrance, DS & Durga Deep Dark Vanilla, is sweet enough to satisfy me but with dark undertones that make it feel like fall.

Spice: DS & Durga Radio Bombay

Another one for DS & Durga, this spicy scent has notes of musk, cream, peach, ambrette, coco, and cedar distillates. Try the pocket perfume version of DS & Durga Radio Bombay, which comes in a roll-on oil for more potent diffusion. I’m addicted to wearing this at night and applying it to my clavicle after my body oil.

Woody: Le Labo The Matcha

Hold on to summer the best you can with a more floral scent. Le Labo’s latest worldwide release is Le Labo The Matcha. If you prefer a hot matcha over a PSL, this is for you. It’s addictive but delicate in the same way a floral is, but grounded in the earthiness of green tea. Also, make sure to get the City Exclusives from Le Labo while you can — they’re only around until October.

Smoky: Maison Margiela By the Fireplace

If you want your leather jacket to smell like you’ve been having out at artsy, cool bars where people are smoking cigarettes — but in a good way — this is for you. Maison Margiela By the Fireplace has a full scent profile that makes you feel like you’re by the hearth, with chestnut and woody accords with gourmand notes of vanilla and orange blossom.

Musky: Type 3, Tobacco & Bergamot

For a sexy, musky, gender-fluid scent, try the new fragrance line by GUESS. GUESS Originals is a fragrance trio of gender-inclusive fragrance types designed to capture the essence of youthful energy and celebrate individuality. Type 3, Tobacco & Bergamot, is my favorite, with notes of Bergamot, Tobacco leaf, Vanilla, Musk, and Amberwood.

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