Best Perfume for Women: These Winter Fragrances Are Perfect for Gifting

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Winter’s big chill offers fragrance lovers a unique opportunity. The perfect time to switch to a more potent concentration or test out an intense note, the season allows for a degree of experimentation. After doubling down on cozy sweetness during the fall, many take their winter scent wardrobes in daring directions by stepping outside their comfort zones with niche finds or allowing themselves a decadent treat. 

 Celebratory, statement-making, and bold, the season’s best releases come with bonuses. A dynamic array of discovery sets, newly minted classics, and inventive ideas, there’s a little something for everyone; the best of the bunch run the gamut from crowd-pleasing interpretations of chocolate and oud to referential odes to the power of blue jeans. Whether or not holiday celebrations are in your plans, finding the right winter perfume feels like a present.

Wearing denim on denim is a fashion risk, but how does the concept translate into fragrance? When Perfumehead founder Daniel Patrick Giles dreamed up his line of luxe perfume extraits, he thought of iconic pop culture moments. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in matching blue at the 2001 American Music Awards, Ryan Gosling playing the strong and silent type in Drive, and the streetwise misfits of The Outsiders all sprang to mind. Those memories became a scent focused on evocative simplicity, the ease one finds in their favorite pair of Levi’s. Like the best-designed jeans, the relaxed vibe is all about thoughtful design. Herbaceous notes of coriander, bay leaf, and patchouli blend with tonka bean and Peru balsam to create an elegant aroma that’s a perfect fit. 

Perfumehead Canadian Tuxedo

Alessandro Michele may be leaving Gucci, but the designer’s magic touch is all over the latest addition to the Alchemist’s Garden collection. Created with master perfumer Alberto Morillas, A Reason to Love is unapologetically romantic; its pairing of Damask rose and oud is classically minded, but the addition of peony’s sweetness adds a touch of youthful energy. Blended to perfection, its aroma is sure to turn heads, and the scent makes for a thrilling grand finale to one of the most fruitful collaborations between perfumer and designer. 

Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden A Reason to Love

Past meets present in Byredo’s latest, Eyes Closed. Opening with a potent combo of cinnamon and cardamom, it takes wearers on a sensory journey through ingredients found in some of the earliest examples of perfumery. Orris butter, ginger, papyrus, and patchouli have been used to create fragrances for centuries. Still, here they’re paired with unexpected notes like carrot for a 21st-century concoction that is spicy, vibrant, and modern. 

The season’s celebratory side is vividly brought to life by Atelier des Ors’ latest concoctions, Pink Me Up and Noir by Night. The fragrant equivalent of a party banger, the his and hers releases are pure joy even before you spritz, thanks to the brand’s decadent flacons filled with gold leaf. Pink Me Up starts with a burst of champagne followed by a sweet-tart blend of blackcurrant and bergamot. Imagine munching on macaroons on New Year’s Eve as the fireworks spark in the background, and you’ve got a hint of the fragrance’s raucous vibe. Noir by Night’s vision of after-hours fun is equally decadent. A taste of caviar in a room filled with incense, it’s a trip to an exclusive social club where you’re always on the guest list. 

Atelier des Ors Pink Me Up

Atelier des Ors Noir by Night

Soleil Neige and Ebene Fume are Tom Ford’s Ice and Fire combination. The former uses musk and jasmine to conjure images of light reflecting off a fresh bed of snow, while the latter delivers a smoky ambiance through Palo Santo and leather. Separately each scent is delightful, but the contrast of notes that comes through when they’re layered together is an out-of-this-world experience. 

Oud can be a challenging proposition. Despite its popularity in the fragrance world, the resinous wood’s earthy, animalistic qualities can make it divisive, but the note plays nice in Mizensir’s aptly named Perfect Oud. An elegant introduction to the world of agarwood, it’s an appealing mix of Bulgarian rose, Alaskan cedar, iris, and coriander. Intended to build to a crescendo, it transforms during its wear time, growing more complex as it dries down. 

Commodity offers all its fragrances in three versions so their clients can select their preferred level of intensity. The concept is novel, and each incarnation of Gold, the brand’s signature scent, is compelling. A vanilla-based gourmand with a hint of amber, Gold is ideal for the cold weather. In personal, its lightest variant, the fragrance is all about an airy hit of Iso-super E, an odor molecule that adds a woodsy touch. Expressive, a stronger alternative plays up the foodie aspect by adding nutmeg and saffron into the mix. Bold, the deepest concentration goes further, incorporating patchouli for maximum impact. 

Ask any footwear aficionado, and they’ll tell you it’s impossible to own just one pair of Christian Louboutin’s iconic red-soled shoes. His fans cultivate a wardrobe with selects for each occasion, and that sensibility carries over into the Loubiworld fragrance collection. It explores the designer’s many inspirations and has an expertly crafted EDP for every mood. The strawberry-heavy Loubidoo is as blithely girly as a pink kitten heel, while the suede leather and pink pepper-infused Loubiraj has all the sexiness of stiletto boots. Loubirouge’s iris and amber is sophisticated yet sultry—just like those 100mm Pigalle Follies. Bonus: since each Loubi-scent is housed in a red and silver bottle capped with miniature sculptures, the line is holiday appropriate without even trying. 

Christian Louboutin Loubiworld Set

There are endless ways to interpret a rose. The versatile flower can register as sensual or avant-garde depending on the perfumer, but in Liis Rose Struck, it becomes tranquil. A meditative scent with notes of Matcha tea and cassis uses the powdery facets of Damascena, one of the oldest varieties of rose, and the aqueous Rose Centifolia, harvested at dawn to preserve its morning dew freshness. Light, airy, and remarkably faithful to its source materials.

As gourmand perfumes have grown in popularity, chocolate has become a popular note. Still, only a few perfumers take the richness of cocoa and run with it. David Maruitte, the mind behind Maison Tahiti’s Cacao Libertine, pulls out all the stops to create a maximalist mixture that isn’t saccharine sweet. Big on flowers, patchouli, and caramel, Libertine is a rose-infused bon-bon that only gets more interesting as it dries down. 

Maison Tahité Cacao Libertine

By focusing on a single note for each Matière Premiere fragrance, its founder, Aurélien Guichard, gets to do a deep dive into time-honored ingredients. The brand’s latest Crystal Saffron tackles the brightly colored, aromatic spice regularly used in cooking. Instead of going gourmand, Guichard keeps things crisp, utilizing only the finest ingredients. Naturally, the standout is saffron sourced from Greece’s Kozani region. Still, a strong dose of Amboxan plays an equally important role in making this a sparkling—and incredibly long-lasting—scent experience. 

Matière Premiere Crystal Saffron

Bernardo and Giancarlo Möller’s House of Bō line made a splashy debut last year with a trio of chic eau de parfums made from ethically sourced ingredients. For the brand’s second act, they’ve taken things a step further, upping the concentration of the juice and enlisting three of the beauty world’s brightest stars, perfumers Olivier Cresp, Laurent Le Gurney, and Carlos BenaÏm. Each of the scents—El Sireno, Rosario, and Infinitoud—goes in a different direction. Sireno is a tribute to the sea that contrasts florals like ylang ylang and tuberose with a marine note of kelp. Rosario goes romantic with its pomegrantie, primofiore, and white peony combo, while Infinitoud harks back to Ayurvedic perfumery through its use of myrrh, peyote, and Gurjun balsam.

The scent of pine is unmistakable and intrinsically connected to Christmas. Crisp yet aromatic pine needles are an underutilized note that Krigler’s Good Fir 11 uses to great effect. Created in 1910 by house founder Albert Krigler it celebrates the American outdoors, particularly Colorado’s snow-capped peaks. In lesser hands, that theme could have been interpreted simplistically, but Krigler kept things interesting, adding in bitter orange, banana leaf, tuberose, and tobacco. The contrast between the zesty citruses, florals, and smoky elements makes for a daring fragrance that channels your inner mountain man.

When crafting Wilgermann’s sultry fragrance, Passion Victim perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s thoughts were on intrigue—and the revelry of Jazz Age Paris. Envisioning a well-heeled muse walking home from Maxim’s or Le Perroquet after a night out and leaving a trail of scent behind her, Flores-Roux created an exquisite mix of juicy Sicilian mandarin, Jasmine absolute, and Frankincense.

Wilgermain Passion Victim

A symbol of joy, good health, and positivity, the geranium is a perennial with positive associations. No wonder, then, that Tory Burch chose to feature it prominently within her Essence of Dreams fragrance collection. Each scent in the line focuses on the power of imagination, and the aptly named Mystic Geranium conveys that idea through a refreshing mix of responsibly sourced materials. Bergamot, lotus, cedar wood, and musk are uplifting on their own, but when greenness of geranium is added into the mix, the result is downright serene.

Tory Burch Mystic Geranium

If each scent in Dries van Noten’s decadent collection of eau de parfums is an element of a wardrobe, the smoky, leather-based Rocky the Myrrh is a well-worn trench. Its blend of cypress, pink pepper, and suede is captivating and appropriate for any occasion. A piece that only gets better over time, the dry down of perfumer Amélie Jacquin’s creation reveals layers of myrrh and benzoin that give the scent a richness and delicacy that echoes van Noten’s design sensibility.

Dries van Noten Rock the Myrrh

Akro has perfected the art of distilling vices into fragrances. Since its inception, the brand has tackled all manner of libertine pleasures—cigarettes, coffee, cannabis, and whiskey, to name a few—so Night, their scent centered on sex, feels apropos. They capture the decadence of sweat, sweetness, and tousled sheets by representing carnality via a blend of Bulgarian roses, saffron, Agaroud, and cumin. The perfect way to warm up a frosty winter evening, Night is an experience unto itself.

Berry fragrances are a dime a dozen, but usually, they’re focused on syrupy notes like strawberry, raspberry, and blackcurrant. Blueberries, with their sweet-tart scent, don’t get enough love in perfumery, but when they’re done right, it makes for a memorable release. Escada’s Show Me Love is jammy goodness from start to finish, and a single spray from the adorable heart-shaped bottle conjures thoughts of fruity macaroons fresh from the patisserie.