The 13 Best Woodsy Perfumes of 2023

Our best overall pick is Le Labo Santal 33

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Woodsy Perfumes

Byrdie / Kevin Liang

While each person is different regarding their taste in fragrance, there's no doubt that woodsy scents feel sophisticated and cool. Maybe it's because they're a departure from the overly sweet perfumes of our youth, or perhaps it's just something that happens to your olfactory system as you grow up (much like our taste buds). Either way, there's no denying the sultry appeal of a scent that's laced with notes like cedar, amber, bergamot, or sandalwood. These have a dry, warm smell—evocative of, well, the woods.

Ready to add a woodsy perfume to your fragrance collection? We tapped an expert for recommendations, and even tried out a bunch of top-rated options ourselves to compile this list of perfumes that smell chic and inviting. We evaluated each one on their top notes, scent profile, and formula, taking into account the ingredients they're made from. We then cross referenced our expert-recommended picks with top-rated options that have garnered five-star reviews or top honors from our staff.

Best Overall

Le Labo Santal 33 Eau De Parfum

4.6
Le Labo Santal 33 Eau De Parfum

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Long-lasting

  • Not too strong

What We Don't Like
  • Not as unique

In 2015, The New York Times called this fragrance "the scent you smell everywhere," and we'd have to agree wholeheartedly. Santal 33 is the perfume that popularized the niche fragrance category and has basically filled every hotel lobby bar, creative office, and concept store since. An ode to the "spirit of the American West," it's a memorable blend of cardamom, violet accord, leather, and sandalwood, making for a woodsy scent that's intoxicating and cool.

Price at time of publish: $90

Type: Eau de parfum | Top Notes: Violet accord, cardamom | Size: 0.5 oz., 1.7 oz., 3.4 oz., 16.9 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Splurge

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

4.5
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Long-lasting

  • Great for gifting

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you can move past the eye-watering price tag, this really is one of the most unique, memorable scents we've ever come across. It gets its woody depth from cedarwood and ambergris, but jasmine and saffron add an addictive, feminine quality. It's one of those scents that's hard to discern a single note too, which is probably why so many people are enchanted by it (us included).

Price at time of publish: $325 for 2.4 oz

Type: Eau de parfum | Top Notes: Saffron, jasmine | Size: 0.37 oz., 1.2 oz., 2.4 oz., 6.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Floral

Maison Margiela REPLICA Springtime In A Park Eau de Toilette

Maison Margiela Replica Springtime In A Park Eau De Toilette

Maison Margiela

What We Like
  • Not too strong

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • May be too sweet for some

Margiela fragrances are unique in that they evoke a specific place or experience, in this case, a blooming park in Shanghai on the first days of spring. Floral fragrance lovers will fall hard for the notes of lily blossoms, pear, and a touch of musk, but the woody, rich base gives it depth.

Price at time of publish: $76

Type: Eau de toilette | Top Notes: Pear accord, bergamot essence, blackcurrant accord | Size: 0.34 oz., 1 oz., 3.4 oz.| Cruelty-Free: No

Best Sweet

Snif Sweet Ash

Snif Sweet Ash
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • User-friendly trial process

  • Low-key yet complex

What We Don't Like
  • Can skew powdery

Snif's Sweet Ash fragrance is perhaps it's most popular, thanks to a delectable selection of sweet yet earthy notes of juniper, bergamot, fir balsam, tonka, vanilla bean, white moss, and patchouli. It's lowkey (read: not headache inducing) but has a subtle complexity to it that will have you reaching for more. Plus, the brand offers a really unique trial process that allows you to test out three fragrances for a week before deciding whether or not to purchase them.

Price at time of publish: $65

Type: Eau de Parfum | Top Notes: Juniper, Fir balsam, Tonka, Patchouli | Size: 1.01 oz., 0.34 oz.| Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Editors Say


"After trying the sweet-yet-sultry Sweet Ash scent, Snif has quickly become my go-to for fragrances. Between the thoughtful trial process—you select three fragrances and sample them before deciding whether or not to keep the full-size—and the incredibly unique scents like this one, the brand needs to be on everyone's radar. " — Caitlyn Martyn, Commerce Writer

Best Spicy

Diptyque Orphéon

Diptyque Orphéon Eau de Parfum

Bluemercury

What We Like
  • Feels expensive

  • Unisex scent

What We Don't Like
  • Not as long-lasting as other options

This fragrance from Diptyque is all of our woodsy, Parisian fragrance dreams realized. Inspired by the stylish intellectual set of Saint-Germain in the early 1960s, the rich, tobacco-laced scent feels expensive and opulent. A hint of juniper gives it an aromatic, gin-like quality, while cedarwood adds some freshness and a hint of spice.

Price at time of publish: $205

Type: Eau de parfum | Top Notes: Tonka beans | Size: 2.5 oz.| Cruelty-Free: No

Best Smoky

Tom Ford Oud Wood Parfum

TOM FORD Oud Wood

Sephora

What We Like
  • Unisex scent

  • Not too strong

What We Don't Like
  • Not as long-lasting as other options

Oud purists will be enamored with Tom Ford Oud Wood. The dry, smoky redolence is made up of sandalwood, rosewood, eastern spice, and Chinese pepper, giving it a really bold, genderless feel.

Price at time of publish: $285

Type: Eau de parfum | Top Notes: Rosewood, cardamom, Chinese pepper | Size: 0.3 oz., 1 oz., 1.7 oz., 3.4 oz., 8.4 oz.| Cruelty-Free: No

Best Earthy

AERIN Cedar Violet Eau de Parfum

AERIN Cedar Violet Eau de Parfum

Sephora

What We Like
  • It's a perfect mix of earthy and flroal

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Honestly, we’ve never met an AERIN perfume we don’t love. This pick features gorgeous notes of violet leaf, cedarwood, and amber to delight the senses and make you feel as if you’re strolling through a luscious forest. We love that the fragrance smells more floral on contact, but becomes more woodsy as it settles into your skin. Although this option is pricey, we think the scent profile is unique enough to justify the spend. 

Price at time of publish: $145

Type: Eau de Parfum | Top Notes: Violet leaf, muguet | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces, 3.4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Oriental

Yves Saint Laurent Opium

Yves Saint Laurent Opium

Sephora

What We Like
  • Warm and sexy

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • May be too strong for some

Opium has got to be one of the most iconic fragrances of all time, and we get why. Mysterious and evocative, it uses the power of plum, clove, myrrh, and sandalwood to turn heads and solicit the ultimate beauty compliment: "What fragrance are you wearing?"

Price at time of publish: $77

Type: Eau de parfum, eau de toilette | Top Notes: Mandarin, bergamot | Size: 1 oz., 1.6 oz., 3.0 oz.| Cruelty-Free: No

Best Unisex

COMME DES GARCONS Wonderwood

Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood Eau De Parfum

Ecosmetics

What We Like
  • Unisex scent

  • Dry and sultry

What We Don't Like
  • Can be too strong for some

If you like a neutral scent that errs on the masculine side of things, Wonderwood is made for you. Similar to Tom Ford Oud Wood, it's incredibly dry and clean—in part thanks to notes like oud, sandalwood, cypress wood, and gaïac wood.

Price at time of publish: $72

Type: Eau de parfum | Top Notes: Madagascan pepper, bergamot, Somalian incense, nutmeg | Size: 1.7 oz., 3.4 oz.| Cruelty-Free: No

Best Classic

Pehnhaligon's London Lothair

PENHALIGON'S Lothair Eau de Toilette (100ml)

Harrods

What We Like
  • Long-lasting

  • Warm

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Fun fact: Pehnhalogon's Lothair was actually the late Prince Phillips' fragrance of choice. It's what we could call a fresh, woody scent with hints of citrus, fig, black tea, grapefruit, ambergris, and oakmoss. While it's spritely and masculine at first, it settles into the skin, revealing a soft, creamy base. And while a men's scent categorically, we love it across the board.

Type: Eau de toilette | Top Notes: Pink pepper, juniper berry, red berries, cardamom, bergamot, grapefruit, fig leaf | Size: 3.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Everyday

Tory Burch Essence of Dreams Cosmic Wood Eau de Parfum

Tory Burch Essence of Dreams Cosmic Wood Eau de Parfum

Sephora

What We Like
  •  It smells like a very clean version of a woodsy scent

What We Don't Like
  • It doesn’t last super long

If you prefer to err on the side of a clean fragrance, this pick from Tory Burch beautifully marries woodsy and fresh. The top notes include cardamom and ambrette, with middle and base notes of jasmine, sage, and vetiver. We love that this fragrance smells soft and inviting, and also appreciate that the packaging has minimal environmental impact. 

Price at time of publish: $125

Type: Eau de Parfum | Top Notes: Cardamom, ambrette | Size: 0.3 fluid ounces, 1.7 fluid ounces, 3 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Nighttime

Ourside Dusk Eau De Parfum

DUSK EAU DE PARFUM

Ourside

What We Like
  • Subtly fruity

  • Fresh

What We Don't Like
  • The price is on the higher end

This luxury fragrance smells somewhere between your yearly childhood camping trips and the lobby of a super bougie wellness retreat. The notes of bergamot, grapefruit, fig, and berries are strong and sensual. We like that this pick is unisex and can be worn by all, but we don’t love how expense the full-sized bottle is. If you’re strapped on cash, we recommend first purchasing the 10ml rollerball ($79).

Price at time of publish: $196

Type: Eau de Parfum | Top Notes: Bergamot, grapefruit, fig, berries | Size: 10 milliliters, 50 milliliters | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Subtle

Byredo De Los Santos Eau de Parfum

Byredo De Los Santos Eau de Parfum

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • It’s wonderfully musky

What We Don't Like
  •  Inaccessible price point

This fragrance is basically palo santo in a bottle. The scent is very light, super woodsy, and works for folks of all genders. With notes of clary sage, mirabelle, palo santo and more, this pick really puts the earthy bark in a “woodsy” scent. We love how musky this pick is, but it’s definitely on the pricier side. 

Price at time of publish: $280

Type: Eau de Parfum | Top Notes: Clary sage, mirabelle | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces, 3.4 fluid ounces| Cruelty-Free: No

Final Verdict

Fragrance is about as intimate as it gets in the world of beauty, so choosing a perfume is a personal endeavor. But if we had to call out a few standouts, we'd name Santal 33, simply because it's iconic and delicious; Baccarat Rouge 540, for being one of the most unique and sophisticated scents on the market; and finally Oud Wood, for its commitment to the woody fragrance category (the fact that Tom Ford is incredibly chic doesn't hurt, either).

Meet the Expert

  • Nick Smart is a fragrance guru renowned for his expertise in the perfume industry. He is the founder and director of Agence de Parfum and Libertine Parfumerie.

What to Look for When Buying a Woodsy Perfume

Type

Not everyone knows this, but there are six different kinds of perfumes—including Perfume, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne, Eau Fraîche, and Perfume Oil. The main way to tell the difference between them is what's in the base.

  • Perfume: Perfume is typically the most expensive of the categories due to its high concentration of essential oils (or perfume extract). There's less alcohol, so it has a heavier consistency and usually lasts longer.
  • Eau de Parfum: This type of fragrance has the second-highest concentration of essential oils and is intended to last anywhere from six to eight hours. It has a slightly higher alcohol and water concentration. Most of the fragrances on this list lie within this category.
  • Eau de Toilette: These fragrances have an even lower concentration of fragrance blends. They're usually lighter and more affordable than some of the other options.
  • Eau de Cologne: This type has less essential oil. It doesn't last too long on the skin, so it's typically found in larger bottles for more frequent reapplication.
  • Eau Fraîche: This category has the lower concentration of essential oils or perfume extracts. They last the shortest amount of time and are usually the most inexpensive options available.
  • Perfume Oil: As you may be able to guess, perfume oils are made of mostly essential oils.

Scent Profiles

When picking a woodsy perfume, think about the different scent families: spicy, floral, earthy, fruity, and oriental. For a spicy woodsy scent, you can't go wrong with Diptyque's Orphéon Eau de Parfum. Those partial to a more floral fragrance will love Maison Margiela Springtime in a Park. Earthy perfume fans will love Aerin Cedar Violet Eau de Parfum, the same way fruity fragrance lovers will adore the subtle sweetness of Snif Sweet Ash.

Trial Process

Another surefire way to choose a woodsy fragrance that you like is to actually test it out. There are several different methods of sampling perfume. One of our favorite tips is to look for brands that ship out samples for you to test out. 

FAQ
  • What is a woodsy scent?

    A woodsy scent is one that smells like wood. Some examples of that include cedar, sandalwood, and patchouli. Wood-scented candles are very popular in the fall and cooler months. Think of ski resorts, wool blankets, and snowy mountaintops. Woody scents belong right in that picture.

  • How do I know what perfume smells good on me?

    A single perfume can smell different on everyone who wears it, despite smelling the same in the bottle. Fragrance expert Michael Donovan, founder and creative director of the luxury perfume line St. Giles, told us that you should "always check the effect of a fragrance on your skin before parting with your money."

  • How do you make your perfume scent last all day?

    There are indeed ways to get the most out of your fragrance. Try not to rub your perfume on pulse points—your body heat will zap some of the notes—and instead spray your scent onto moist, damp skin to lock it in.

  • Should I spray perfume on clothes or skin?

    Spraying perfume on your clothes may make the scent last longer, but you might not be able to smell all of it—and first, you'll want to be positive that the fabric won't be stained by it. Matthew Milèo, a chemist, former in-house fragrance expert for Chanel, and founder of the luxe oud-based skincare line, Milèo New York, told us that "because of the nature of fabric, it only catches some parts of the perfume and not the entire accord—which is why fragrances can smell more powdery on clothes."

  • How do you test a fragrance?

    The best way to trial a fragrance is to actually wear it. If you can, Smart suggests choosing a few you like on paper cards, spraying one on each wrist and a third on the inner elbow. Smart explains you should allow at least half an hour for the notes to develop, and judge them accordingly.

  • How do you properly apply a perfume?

    When it comes to actually wearing your fragrance, the application is important so as to not damage the delicate notes. Smart explains we should always spritz in a sweeping motion across the skin. He also points out you should never rub your wrists together. Instead, allow the fragrance to slowly evolve on the skin.

Why Trust Byrdie

If you grouped Byrdie's collective team fragrance collections, you'd be floored at the sheer volume. But in all seriousness, Emily Algar tests and trials new scents all the time, not to mention she has spent time over the years picking the brains of experts. She has also tapped the expertise of Nick Smart for this piece, one of the industry's most well-versed experts in the field.

Daley Quinn is a Byrdie contributor who covers all things beauty and wellness. She has bylines at The Cut and WWD, and is a former editor for Family Circle. For this story, she considered dozens of different woodsy fragrances, paying close attention to their fragrance profiles. 

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15 percent of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any woodsy perfumes from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Updated by Caitlyn Martyn

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