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In our youth, sweet perfumes and body mists flooded our nightstands. But, as we grew older, our fragrance palettes have become more sophisticated and robust. Sure, we’ll always have a nostalgic soft spot in our hearts for sugary-sweet aromas, but now we crave something more, well, intense.
Enter: woodsy perfumes. If you want to go to your most primal state of mind (err, smell?), then fragrances with base notes such as sandalwood and bergamot are essential. These rich and intoxicating scents are not only a refreshing move away from the usual vanillas and coconuts, but they are also surprisingly sultry.
Below, check out some of our favorite woodsy perfumes.
Best Overall: Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum
This earthy perfume—spritzed on celebrities and editors alike—has become the scent of our era for everyone to enjoy. Described as an homage to "the spirit of the American West," this fragrance uses a mix of complex scents such as cardamom, violet accord, leather, sandalwood, and more to transport your mind to Americana fantasy.
Best Budget: Lily Aldridge Parfums Summit
If you're on a budget, allow us to introduce you to Lily Aldridge's fragrance, Summit. This fragrance fuses the aromas of pink pepper and cinnamon with rosemary, sweet tobacco, leather, and musk for a well-rounded woodsy scent that won't overwhelm your senses or your bank account.
Best Classic: Byredo Gypsy Water Eau de Parfum
Byredo has undeniably cemented itself as a modern fragrance classic, and this bohemian scent is to thank for that. This best-selling perfume is infused with hints of bergamot, incense, and amber to mimic the subtle wafts of some of our favorite woodsy aromas—think fresh soil, campfires, and crisp forest air.
Best Splurge: Ex Nihilo Amber Sky Eau de Parfum
If you're looking to splurge on a woodsy scent, Ex Nihilo's Amber Sky is the way to go. This fan-favorite will whisk your mind into a state of relaxation with heavy hints of amber alongside woody favorites cedar and sandalwood. An added hint of vanilla gives this scent a subtly sweet and warm aroma, reminiscent of the perfect summer night.
Best Intense Woody: Diptyque Tam Dao Eau De Parfum
In need of something really intense? Then this spicy scent is your solution. Its velvety body is meant to recreate the strong smell of sandalwood burning at temples in the sacred forests of Indochina, with its intoxicating scent heightened by a blend of Chinese spices. Expect to get entranced in the aromas of sandalwood, cedar, cypress, and coriander with just a single spritz.
Best Soft Woody: Chloé Nomade Absolu de Parfum
This isn't what you'd expect from the usually-lighthearted and preppy brand; this perfume has a deeper, more sophisticated aroma brought to you by an impressive curation of cherry blossom, oakmoss, and davana. But, this fragrance is still subtle enough to layer with other scents on (or off) of this list.
Best Unisex: D.S. & DURGA El Cosmico Eau de Parfum
This perfume is a playful yet profound concoction made by one of our favorite unisex fragrance brands. This fragrance is meant to transport you to a new state of mind (Marfa, New Mexico, to be exact) via aromas of desert shrubs, creosote, pinyon pine, and more. The result? A warm, desert-inspired take on woodsy perfumes that you can't find anywhere else.
Best Organic: Skylar Willow Eau de Toilette
If this clean, all-natural perfume brand isn't on your radar yet, it should be. First off, it contains woody scents from ingredients that you'd genuinely find in the forest: benzoin tree, cedarwood, and galbanum. Second, it's one of the more affordable picks on this list, making this another great budget-friendly option to choose from.
Best for Floral Lovers: Maison Margiela Replica Springtime in a Park
So, can't stray away from florals? Well, you can still embody yourself in the fresh scent of your favorite flowers in an elevated manner via this perfume from Maison Margiela. Inspired by a stroll through a Shanghai park, this scent is fueled by lily blossoms, pear, and a touch of musk.
Best for Fruity Lovers: Bottega Veneta Illusione
If you're into citruses and fruity aromas, then adding a woody underbelly to your usual go-to's is a surprisingly refreshing twist. Enter: this perfume from Bottega Veneta, which blends bergamot, blackcurrant, orange blossom, olive wood, and tonka bean seamlessly together to create an original, sweet-and-spicy scent that you'll never get enough of.
Best for Date Night: Heretic Smudge Eau de Parfum
We'll get straight to the point—sometimes, we want something that makes us feel (or rather, smell) sexy. This exhilarating fragrance will do just the trick. It's crafted with arousing aromas such as cedar, frankincense, juniper, and clary sage to give you a boost of sexual morale whenever you're craving it.
Best Sweet: Dolce & Gabbana The Only One Eau de Parfum
Let's face it: Sometimes, we want to retreat back to our ultra-sweet scents of yesteryear. So, why not elevate our sugary scents with a hint of earthiness? This fragrance is exactly what we're talking about. It has a smooth, caramel aroma via base notes of coffee, while citrus and violet add a sweet and playful lightness to this decadent perfume.
Best Spicy: Floral Street Black Lotus Eau de Parfum
Want a fragrance with a kick? Then spritz on this pick; it's a concoction of floral jasmine and deep papyrus, but spiced up with a touch of saffron and red peppercorn. It's a woody, intense scent, that's solely intensified by the wild and feisty heart of spices—a perfect pick for the rebellious perfume connoisseur.
Best Refreshing: Jo Malone Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne
A subtle, crisp, and refreshing scent is always a great addition to your fragrance arsenal. But, one major issue is how quickly these fresh scents seem to fade away. This fragrance (technically a cologne, but it's open to the interpretation of the wearer) stays light and airy through hints of cucumber, early grey, and beeswax, but has an earthy tone via the mixture of bergamot, vanilla, and musk. The result is a refreshing fragrance that won't fade away seconds after spraying it on.
Best Musky: Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras
Don't you ever want to smell… human? No, not in the sense of intense B.O.—simply, the warm embrace of human musk and saltiness. Well, this perfume is precisely that, all thanks to the combination of cashmeran, sandalwood, and white musk. The addition of heliotrope and violet creates a combination of warmth, woodsiness, and the musky aroma reminiscent of lazy Sunday mornings spent in bed with that special someone.