Has anyone else found it difficult to figure out their signature fragrance family? I spent a long time faffing about with punchy floral scents and sweeter notes until I finally realised the common thread that tied all my fragrance preferences together: wood.
No matter the season, lean in for a hug with me, and you’ll be met with a woody fragrance. I love how a woody aroma is both light and lingering. I love that it meshes with different body creams and pheromones to elicit a unique scent. And if you think that all woody fragrances are oud-y and rich, think again. Some of my favourites mix floral and fresh, earthy notes with woody base notes to create fragrances that have more layers than a millefeuille.
Three years ago, I started wearing my first woody scent: La Labo Thé Noir 29. Santal 33 was everywhere, but after taking a whiff of Thé Noir, I immediately bought the EDP and the body lotion. (I wanted to layer my scent for longevity and richness). It was love at first whiff, and after sussing out the notes (first came black tea and fig, then a delicious blend of woody vetiver and cedar), I noticed that a lot of the scents I liked had a recurring theme. Nowadays, I look for anything with creamy sandalwood, rich vetiver or dry, intriguing cedar. Occasionally, I’ll opt for an oud, but most of the time I won’t pick anything that heavy.
When I tell you I’m now exclusively surrounded by woody scents, I’m not exaggerating. My initial love for woody perfume has since stretched to candles and home fragrances, where my chosen picks are Boy Smells Ash for a smoky yet dry aroma and Kalmar’s Peace candle for warm, wind-down woodiness. Take a look at my top picks, and get ready to revamp your fragrance collection.
Diptyque’s Philosykos fragrance is not only the brand’s most popular perfume, but it’s also a beautiful woody scent. It encapsulates the scent of every part of the fig tree. (The name is literally Greek for “friend of a fig.”) The milky fig flavours mix with white cedar for a unisex crowd pleaser.
Hear us out, this isn’t your average sweet or sickly strawberry perfume. Malin + Goetz has artfully given the scent of strawberry a grown-up twist with musk, cedar wood and orris root for a beautiful woody scent. It’s both bright and clean with earthy undertones that make it sophisticated.
This is a warm, sensual and upbeat fragrance. The rich base of black amber, musk, vetiver and Moroccan cedar combined with top notes of bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold and buchu create a fun and vibrant scent. It’s my go-to on a night out.
I wear this perfume almost every day, and I still get excited when I spray it on. The scent is heady but not overpowering. It mixes fruity, light fig (that’s not super sweet) with sexy, firey tobacco and dry hay. You honestly will never tire of this scent.
Probably the freshest woody perfume you’ll ever come across. It combines Iso E Super, which makes your skin smell like you, but even better. Coupled with sandalwood, this is a woody scent that will have people running after you to ask what perfume you’re wearing.
Who What Wear UK’s branded content editor, Rebecca Rhys-Evans, got us on to this Byredo scent. “I came across Super Cedar when desperately trying to find a new fragrance for my boyfriend a few Christmases ago. I wanted something woody, because not only do I love quite a heavy scent with earthy and musky qualities, but because this fragrance was a surprise, and you usually can’t go wrong with gifting men fragrances on the woody side,” she says. “I distinctly remember the guy in the store telling me it reminds him of pencil shavings, and now whenever I catch a whiff on someone (normally myself, as I’ve since commandeered it) I *almost* feel like a school girl again.”
This scent has a bit of a kick when first spritzed, but as it settles on the skin, it takes on a more powdery vibe with top notes of Italian cypress and rose and base notes of Brazilian rosewood.
The wood sage at the base of this fragrance gives it an earthy scent, while the freshness is brought out by the sea salt. Close your eyes, breathe it in, and imagine a brisk walk along the British coastline.
A woody scent verging on oud, this rich frgrance is inspired by the Turkish village of Halfeti. It evokes the scents of a spice market with leather, oud, amber, lavender, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, saffron, violet and cinnamon.
Base notes of milk mousse accord and top notes of coffee give a comforting creaminess to this fragrance. Sandalwood and cedar essence provide a woody warmth.
No words can express how sexy this perfume is. It’s got intimate dinner vibes. When I wear it, I really want someone to lean in and whisper into my ear so they can smell the black cherries, hazelnuts and tobacco leaf meshed with the woody, sensual base of Madagascan vanilla, sandalwood and amber resin. It’s decadent and alluring.
This scent strikes the balance between fresh and woody. The cardamom at the top is punchy, but it settles down into a warm vibe thanks to the soft musk and amber.
This is a really unassuming scent that unravels the more you smell it. The woodiness is subtle and a little overpowered by the aromatic notes, but the depth of sandalwood and cedar linger.
Imagine Glossier You but sexier and genderless. A mix of bergamot, leather and bamboo notes creates a warm scent that lingers. Super long-lasting for the price point.
The striking notes of labdanum, ambrette and styrax make for an earthy and woody scent that evokes images of sea spray whipping the deck of a boat.
Despite launching 25 years ago, this aftershave is as fresh as ever. Yes, it’s marketed to men, and yes, its notes have a masculine air to them, but the scent is no more masculine than any new-age, woody fragrance. The calabrian bergamot, neroli and green tangerine cut through the woodiness with an aquatic freshness.
Another EDT that’s marketed to male customers, this fragrance smells sexy across the board. The warm cedar, patchouli and leather are a powerful combination, so if you want to soften it, layer with a light floral scent like rose.
Mixing refreshing pomelo with earthier vetiver smoke and spicy papyrus gives this scent a blend of sweetness and spice. The apple blossom in the heart note gives it a zingy kick and makes it a year-round woody favourite of mine.
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