September is a month of transition. Cutoffs give way to leather culottes; iced coffee is replaced by hot lattes; bare arms seek the comfort of cozy sweaters. It only makes sense that your perfume should transition, too. The best new new fall 2019 fragrances perfectly capture that warm-but-crisp feeling of September — high sun and turning leaves, fresh apples and rich spices — and bottle it up in scent form.
“September as a scent is a layered concept, not unlike the structure of a typical fragrance,” Mariya Nurislamova, the CEO and co-founder of Scentbird and its new brand, Confessions of a Rebel, tells The Zoe Report. She describes the phases of fall as only a perfumer would — starting with a top note (that holding-onto-summer vibe) and finishing with a strong base (woody notes that call to mind a crackling fire).
“September opens strong and warm, skin-like musks mingling with a refreshing rosé element as a nod to the end of rooftop season,” she says. Try Cassili from Parfums de Marly, with a top note of rose, or Confessions of a Rebel’s About Last Night, with a “sparkling cocktail” of bergamot and red grapefruit. Lancôme’s latest, Idôle Eau de Parfum, also fits the profile with touches of both Turkish Isparta rose petal essence (a note that's exclusive to the brand) and a more traditional French centifolia rose. For an unexpected take, look to Electric Rhubarb from new fragrance brand Floral Street. “Rhubarb is a paradox of sweet and bitter,” Michelle Feeney, the founder, tells TZR. “It is sharp, green, and tangy but also soft and fruity. It almost smells like the crunch of stalks being broken.”
As the season progresses, Nurislamova suggests moving into a cozier scent. “The heart of fall can also be described as warm, taking on the comforting definition of the word,” she says; citing clean cotton, amber, and coffee as some of her favorite notes. Cartier’s Les Heures Voyageuses Oud & Menthe Parfum fuses amber and mint for a fresh feel, while Kintsugi by Masque Milano mixes top notes of amber with a base of sweet vanilla. Or, layer on the scent of leather (and a hint of lotus) care of Leather Eau de Parfum by Malin + Goetz. “Think of it as your warm leather jacket on a crisp fall day, but in scent form,” the brand said in a press release.
“Dry, charred woods, mulled spices, and hints of smoke define the season's end, evoking the images and crackling sounds of the first campfire of the year,” Nurislamova says. This is where fall's new releases really shine. Rum, clove, and cinnamon define Dior’s aptly-named Spice Blend Eau de Parfum; Atelier Cologne's Patchouli Riviera Cologne Absolue boasts bold Indonesian patchouli; and Heretic Parfum's forthcoming Dirty Violet is grounded in sandalwood. But perhaps the epitome of this end-of-autumn feeling is Celine’s Bois Dormant, the fashion house’s first foray into fragrance. It smells like “the smoke of burning wood, the fir tree in the winter cold,” as Chandler Burr wrote in a Wall Street Journal article on the scent's forthcoming launch.
Ahead, 14 fall fragrances to capture every moment of the season ahead.
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Come Nov. 5, Heretic Parfum will release its next "dirty" scent: Dirty Violet. "Violets are floral, woody, and powdery all at once, making Dirty Violet a particularly elusive fragrance that refuses to be defined," the brand says in a press release. The top note is blended with patchouli (at the heart) and sandalwood (at the base) for an extra dose of warmth.
"September smells like Wild Vanilla Orchid for Floral Street," Feeney tells TZR. "As the seasons change, Wild Vanilla Orchid embraces with wrap of vanilla and a soothing blend of warm, sweet, exotic ambroxan and cashmeran. It is like snuggling up in a warm blanket, whilst being uplifted with lemon, cassis and bamboo."
Described by the brand as a "musky floral," Idôle was created by three female perfumers who aimed to capture the essence of femininity without resorting to tired tropes. The resulting mix features clean, crisp fruits and florals — and artfully side-steps the stereotypical, candy-sweet smell of traditionally "feminine" perfumes.