There is something refreshingly authentic about a woody scent. Influenced by nature, these fragrances always tend to have more depth and a whole lot of character. Given their natural notes and influences, woody fragrances also tend to have a more masculine edge to them and lend well to the colder months of the year when the surroundings and landscapes are laid bare and a stronger scent is needed to cut through the cold winter’s air.
As the name suggests, woody fragrances are made distinctive by their opulent woody character, with notes coming from wood materials like trees, resin, moss, bark, pine cones, bushes and also roots. Grasses and leaves can have an intensely earthy, woody character (like Patchouli and Vetiver).
Wood ingredients add richness, warmth, elegance and a depth to a fragrance and are key in perfume making and typically fragrances that are dominated by woody scents contain Sandalwood, Pine, Patchouli, Vetiver and Cedarwood. Sandalwood is creamy and sensual, Patchouli is like a deep woodland, Vetiver is smoky and rich, Cedarwood is dry and linear and more complex.
Here’s a few of my long-standing favourites that are well-suited to the upcoming winter months:
Jo Malone is a brand noted for its simple yet signature style, and this fragrance fits perfectly within the brand’s classic and elegant approach. A charismatic blend of Juniper and Black Cedarwood, this fragrance is fresh, crisp and reminds me of the crisp and dewy aromas of a woodland after a heavy downpour. This is a scent that is ideal for cold winters walks or Sundays spent in the local pub surrounded by friends and a roaring open fire.
When To Wear – A solid all-rounder and a great alternative to the more traditional woody scents this season. Pair this with a classic chunky knit and gilet combo alongside a big leather boot.
Top Notes – Cumin & Chilli
Heart – Juniper
Base – Black Cedarwood
A scent of subtle contrasts, Birch & Black Pepper by Jo Malone is a stronger, more potent fragrance than its juniper counterpart and the perfect addition to your evening wear. Featuring the notes of Black Pepper, Cardamom, Birch, Patchouli and the unusual Gurjun Balsam (an essential oil) this spicier scent is one for those of you looking to make more of a statement and stand out from the crowd this winter.
When To Wear – Designed in partnership with the Savile Row tailor Huntsman, this is a scent to be worn with a crisp white shirt and alongside a tailored suit. I’ll be rocking this with a classic double-breasted blazer and textured wool tie for those all important evening events.
Top Notes – Black Pepper & Cardamom
Heart – Birch & Patchouli
Base – Gurjun Balsam
This scent was inspired by the authentic elements of nature, but is consistent with the ultra classic Tom Ford brand and is much more sophisticated and complex than most woody fragrances. Sure it includes the typically classic woody notes of Cedarwood and Tobacco, but it blends them with other notes like Bergamot, Lavender and Basil to give it an unexpected citrusy edge.
When To Wear – Definitely more of an evening scent, spritz this all over your cashmere roll neck and pair with tailored trousers and a stand out pair of suede monk-straps for a suave and sophisticated look.
Top Notes – Bergamot, Lavender, Basil
Heart – Honey
Base – Cedarwood & Tobacco
When it comes to woody fragrances, this scent is undeniably one that you will want to try, based on its complex yet classic composition. With spicy and woody undertones, Sandalo from Acqua Di Parma is one of my all-time favourites for the winter months. Combining the citrusy notes of Lemon, Mandarin, Bergamot alongside the more autumnal Sandalwood, Amber and Tonka Bean, it is well suited for both day and night and particularly perfect if you are looking for something distinctive and possessing depth.
When To Wear – Day or Night, why not add a bottle of this to your gym or travel bag for on-the-go spritzing.
Top Notes – Lemon, Mandarin, Bergamot
Heart – Lavender &Cardamom
Base – Sandalwood, Amber, Tonka Bean
A deliciously woody cologne for those chilly winter days, Woody Leather from Clive Christian is certainly not for those of you wanting something ‘subtle’. Intense, strong and very distinctive, this fragrance was inspired by intensity of the rugged coastal landscapes in Scotland visited by a young Clive. Top notes of Mandarin and Agarwood particularly evoke the scent’s strength and power. Teamed with the smokiness of tobacco and leathery and woody notes, this scent is perfect for those extra special occasions.
When To Wear – A real statement scent, well suited to those ultra-special occasions. Why not pair with an Oxford shirt, merino roll neck and double-breasted blazer for the ultimate in statement layering.
Top Notes – Mandarin & Agarwood (Oud)
Heart – Tobacco
Base – Leather & Woody Notes