Join TZR editors for Main Squeeze, the series dedicated to sharing beloved beauty products — be they bold, effective, or simply fun — that make our week just a little bit better. Ahead, Team TZR spotlights their favorite winter fragrances of the moment.
The chill of winter is beginning to creep in. With temperatures dropping by the day, it’s time to make some adjustments to your beauty routine. Swapping out your perfumes may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s just as essential. Not only can the best winter fragrances help lift your mood, but they also ignite sensorial experiences. During the coldest months of the year, a warm scent can be just as comforting as a nubby blanket. Some can even deliver the intoxicating rush of a roaring fire. But finding the right one can be a challenge.
Unlike the seasons before it, winter isn’t as beloved. Arctic cold, blistering winds, and shorter days aren’t the ideal setting for nights out. However, the scents of the season are magically inviting. Whether you’re venturing out or staying indoors, a spritz or dab of warm vanilla, spicy cardamom, or fragrant florals can do you some good. There are lots of options to choose from. Take By Far’s gourmand Day Dream perfume that’s sticky sweet and flirty. Or Dries Van Noten’s Voodoo Chile which is laden with woodsy notes and herbs.
To help narrow your search, the TZR editors have compiled a list of their favorites. Keep reading to see the fragrances they turn to when the cold weather sets in.
“I don't have a sweet tooth, which means in addition to typically skipping dessert at dinner, I also pass on gourmand fragrances. However, the scent profile of D.S. & Durga's Deep Dark Vanilla intrigued me enough to give it a try – and I'm so glad I did. It's a combination of vanilla absolute and green vanilla leaves with cabreuva, orchid, pink pepper, vine, dark patchouli, and hay. The result? A warm vanilla perfume that's slightly smoky rather than sickeningly sweet. It's quickly become one of my go-to perfumes as I attempt to stay cozy while the temperatures continue to drop.”— Erin Lukas, deputy beauty editor, TZR
“I used to wear breezy floral and citrusy scents year-round, seasonal stereotypes be damned. But I’ve found my tastes shifting in my 30s toward richer, full-bodied — sensual, if you will scents. Spritzing on this intoxicating blend of sandalwood, vanilla, and warm spice notes feels like the equivalent of slipping into a long fur coat that hugs all the right places before heading out on a cold winter’s night. It’s really seeing me through these dreary January days; perhaps I’ll break all the rules and wear it straight through spring. A lady can only change so much, after all.”— Alison Syrett, deputy fashion editor, TZR
“To me — though I think many people would agree — the ideal winter fragrance combines natural scents of the season with their more cultural counterparts. Think a combination of rich, woodsy notes with those that evoke holiday baking and assorted warm fuzzies. Sana Jardin's Tiger By Her Side nails that perfect blend, mixing cold weather classics like bergamot and frankincense with cozy spices including vanilla, cinnamon, and coriander. Intoxicating is really the only way to describe it.”— Amanda Ross, beauty editor, TZR
“Discovering a fragrance I like enough to wear and smell it on my skin all day is a rare occasion, one far and between. When I came upon Dries Van Noten's Voodoo Chile, I was instantly captivated by the warm scent of cedarwood and patchouli and the bold air of rosemary. It's a combination that feels sensual and grounded, not too striking but not delicate either, just the right balance that doesn't overpower my olfactory senses.”— Kathy Lee, editor-in-chief, TZR
“I call this fragrance my nighttime scent, for evenings I want to channel some 'hot girl energy.’ Throughout the recent holiday party circuit, I reached for this exotic, sweet blend of hazelnut and vanilla. It makes me feel extra spicy and irresistible, especially when people stop to give me a whiff and ask, ‘Wow, what are you wearing? You smell amazing.’ It's the ultimate ego boost.”— Angela Melero, executive editor, TZR
“Because I get headaches (which sometimes become migraines) from strong scents, I'm always cautious about the perfumes I spritz on. One product that doesn't bother me, though? The Glossier You fragrance. It's subtle, fresh, and even has a nice hint of spice to it, which is perfect during the winter. But I'll be reaching for this baby through the spring and summer months, too.”— Kelsey Stewart, associate fashion editor, TZR
“I gravitate toward spicy, woody scents during this season. Usually, I look for really strong notes and deep accords, but with this fragrance, the lighter notes are what I love the most. The fresh smell of juniper and cypress trees has an elegant feel, and provides the perfect balance for the rich black pepper and Calabrian bergamot. One spritz immediately makes me feel like I’m wrapped in a cozy cashmere throw.”— Jessica Fields, beauty writer
“I fully embrace the coziness of the winter season, opting for a scent that's both warm and romantic. Kismet Olfactive's The Poet is the ideal scent profile to give you the feeling of being wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket, blending notes of leather and ambrette musk, warm patchouli, grapefruit, and sweet tonka bean. It creates a beautiful palette that feels delicately sweet and sensual, yet subtle and sophisticated enough to wear daily.”— Rebecca Iloulian, director, newsletter revenue and marketing, BDG
“Inspired by the rich terracotta rocks of the Arizona desert, this woody, smoky fragrance provides the warm and cozy vibe I'm trying to maintain all winter long. The notes include cedar wood, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, rose, jasmine, and bergamot. There's an uplifting freshness to the scent, thanks to these floral top notes, that’s not unlike a desert breeze.”— Lukas
“I have a pretty varied fragrance wardrobe, but only a few I would call truly sophisticated — and Portrait Of A Lady is the best of all. It’s both complex and inviting thanks to a mashup of earthier notes like sandalwood with fresh, familiar florals and even a bit of juicy, sparkling berry. Part of why I think it’s a perfect winter scent is how lovely it smells on your coat even days later.”— Ross