5 Fragrances That Will Have You Handcuffed This Holiday Season


Perfume is my most important accessory, and I think it should be yours too. As outfits, moods and seasons change, so does my scent. As we transition from fall to winter, there’s something in the air (aside from my perfume) that makes me want a boyfriend. The thing about perfume is that it won’t make anyone fall in love with you, but it will definitely help you get a few glances. After that initial look, it’s up to you to do the rest of the work.

My main issue with fragrance descriptions is that they list scent notes in the hope that the average person knows the difference between black and pink pepper scents. And I guess if you don’t know perfumery well, you won’t understand how mousse, vetiver, pepper and vanilla mix together. Because I understand exactly how hard it is to find a perfume you love and even harder to find the love of your life, I have gone ahead and created the most specific descriptions to describe the best perfumes that , I promise, will turn heads this season:

Gris Charnel – BDK Parfums ($45 for 0.33 oz / $190 for 3.3 oz)

Imagine this: you and your partner are vacationing in a cabin for the holidays. You’ve just put on your favorite knit sweater and the cabin smells of freshly cut trees. Your drink of choice is a cup of hot black tea while your partner has a shot of bourbon whiskey. As you look out the window, your partner hugs you from behind, leaving a faint smell of whiskey and cologne on your clothes.

This scent screams “I’m in a committed relationship.” A sensual and spicy combination of black tea, cardamom, bourbon vetiver and sandalwood, it is perfectly unisex. It smells like you’ve spent hours cuddling with your partner and now you’re smelling the best combination of their cologne, perfume, and brewed tea in the background. I currently wear this non-top scent because it helps me find hypothetical romantic situations at conferences!

Le Monde Gourmand Collection ($25 for 1 oz):

Although I love the scent, my bank account certainly doesn’t. It’s a tough balance between wanting to smell good and making sure Bank of America doesn’t notify me that I have less than $50 in my account. For my girls who want options at a much more affordable price, head to your nearest Urban Outfitters to smell the amazing Le Monde Gourmand collection. Luckily, there’s an Urban Outfitters right next to UCLA, which makes it so easy (maybe too easy) for me to walk when I’m bored.

With 18 scents available, there’s bound to be one that matches the scent profile you’re looking for. “Pistachio Brûlée” for vanilla lovers, “Pumpkin Crème” if pumpkin spice lattes run through your veins and “Noir Distillé” for the perfect alcoholic and sweet trail.

Rosie – Rosie Jane ($28 for travel size / $70 for 1.7oz)

When you look at the notes, “Rosie” is nothing breathtaking: musk, vanilla and rose. But sometimes simplicity is exactly what I look for in an everyday fragrance. If you’ve ever wanted to smell like a shampoo and vanilla puff, “Rosie” will do the job.

If “Rosie” was a person, she’d be the friend who’s never late, always gets her hair and nails done, and wraps the Christmas presents perfectly. She bakes the best sugar cookies and her house is the obvious choice for parties and watching movies. If Rosie isn’t like you, don’t worry. I’m very unlike Rosie, but I still soak up that subtle, decadent scent. It’s called pretending until you make it.

Black Tea 29 – The Labo ($215 for 1.7 oz)

To be honest, I don’t have a full size bottle of Le Labo yet, although I love most of their fragrances (disliking the price). Every time I go to the mall, I head straight for the Le Labo counter to breathe in that scent. The combination of fig, bergamot, vetiver, musk and tobacco has people weak in the knees. Fragrantica users mention that “Thé Noir 29” is “for intellectuals with a dark and nervous side”, with its “serene” and “contemplative” aroma. One writer even describes the scent as “cerebral and addictive”, which I would love to be described as someday.

Due to the uniqueness of the notes, people will not be able to identify your scent; they’ll just know you smell good and want more. I imagine this scent for someone whose presence is subtle yet unforgettable, attention-grabbing but never loud and just a bit intimidating. This fragrance is really what smells sexy and sophisticated: subtle, unisex and moody. Simply put, if I smelled this on someone, I would assume they definitely understand that a partner should be an addition to your life, not what makes you complete.

You – Brighter ($64 for 1.7 oz)

Would this really be a list of fragrances without including the most popular? As much as I want to introduce new scents, I couldn’t resist including “You”. I vividly remember buying this perfume in 10th grade and absolutely hating it the first time I sprayed it in the air. It smelled of lined paper, pencil shavings and black pepper. But when I smelled my shirt the next day, I got a whiff of the warmest, most comfortable floral scent. “You” looks like a flood of positive memories; it reminds me of running into my mother’s open arms as a child and the sweet comforting scent that moms seem to have naturally. Everyone I know is going absolutely wild for this scent. If nothing convinces you, let it be known that my roommate got her own bottle after smelling “you” on the couch cushions I was lying on. And in the unlikely event that you won’t get tired of this scent, “You” comes in a compact, solid form so you can take it anywhere.

Perfume is an accessory that people may not think about much, but when I think of memories, perfume is one of the things I remember the most. We know and love the scent of a borrowed sweater, home decor stores during the holidays, and our loved ones, so it makes sense for me to make sure I have a scent to represent me throughout the year. I hope some of these scents spoke to you!

Sarah C. Figueiredo