Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Perfume is an extremely personal accessory: It offers a sneak peek into who you are, showcases a piece of your personality, and flaunts your personal style in a new way. For me, no scent profile encapsulates the essence of who I am quite like woody perfumes. Woody perfumes have always felt sophisticated and out of the box — their warm and welcoming notes make me feel grounded, refined, and confident.

Finding a woody perfume that truly speaks to your personality isn’t an easy task, so we’ve done our part to find the best options available. We researched and tested countless scents and also consulted with industry experts to discover some of their top recommendations. In the end we found 10 woody perfumes that truly stand out — from a surprisingly sensual Byredo scent to a warm and heady pick from newcomer Perfumehead. Whether you’re new to woody perfumes or are looking to upgrade your fragrance wardrobe, find our top picks, below.

Best Overall

D.S & Durga Cowboy Grass

D.S & Durga Cowboy Grass

D.S & Durga


What We Love: This one-of-a-kind scent is long-lasting because of its strong base notes.

What We Don’t Love: It takes a sophisticated nose to appreciate this complex scent (i.e. it’s really not for everyone).

Woody fragrances can be disarming — it’s difficult to strike a balance to create an earthy, smoky, and sometimes herbaceous scent that isn’t too overpowering. Yet, D.S. & Durga struck gold when they crafted Cowboy Grass. This perfume is truly unlike anything else we’ve tried — it’s a perfect combination of woody, earthy, and fresh.

A spritz of this makes us feel like the star of a Clint Eastwood movie, wandering through the wild west at dusk. Each layer of the unique scent gives way to particular plants. Initially you’re struck with fresh hints of rosewood, wild thyme, and bergamot, but as the perfume wears it becomes more earthy as notes of sagebrush and basil emerge before vetyver, grass, and ambergris finish out the base. We especially love how the perfume wears throughout the day: It’s long-lasting but not overpowering, so you can get a whiff even if you applied it hours earlier. 

Because this scent is truly one-of-a-kind, it may take a special nose to appreciate it. If you’re not a fan of complex fragrances that evolve with wear, you probably won’t like this.

Price at time of publish: $190

Size: 1.7 oz | Notes: Rosewood, sagebrush, grass | Type: Eau de parfum

Best Budget

Snif Way with Woods

snif way with woods

Snif


What We Love: You can test out the perfume (for free!) before committing to purchasing the bottle.

What We Don’t Love: This scent fades quickly.

If you don’t have the budget to drop a ton of money on a quality perfume, you can count on Snif to deliver beautiful scents at affordable prices. The great thing about the brand is that you can try their fragrances at no cost before committing to the whole bottle. How does it work? You can test a perfume of your choice, and the bottle will be shipped to you. If you decide to keep it, then you pay for it, but if you’re not a fan you can send it back at no cost. 

While we appreciate the trial offering, we’re positive you’ll fall in love with Way with Woods. This scent is universal, balanced, and suitable for both day and night. Notes of white tea, mandarin, and sandalwood mingle with hints of amber woods, vetiver, and musk for a warm, inviting fragrance that still manages to feel bright and airy. If you love it, you may also want to purchase the mini version for touch ups, because the scent does fade rather quickly.

Price at time of publish: $65

Size: 1 oz | Notes: White tea, mandarin, sandalwood, amber woods | Type: Eau de parfum

Best Splurge

Perfumehead Canadian Tuxedo

violet grey Canadian Tuxedo

Violet Grey 


What We Love: As an Extrait de parfum, it is extremely concentrated and long-lasting.

What We Don’t Love: The initial spritz can be a bit overpowering.

Relatively new to the fragrance scene, Perfumehead is quickly making waves for their natural, long-lasting scents that evoke specific emotions and the ambiance of certain times. Canadian Tuxedo, our favorite from the collection, represents 6pm: The transformation of day into evening; the possibility of spontaneous night time adventures. 

Casual like your favorite pair of jeans — but with a surprising warmth and sensuality to it — this scent combines notes of spicy coriander, bright orange flower, and earthy bay leaf with heady tinges of patchouli, Peru balsam, and cedarwood. The end result is laid back, but commanding: Perfect for anyone who is always the center of attention without even trying.

Because this scent is an Extrait de parfum (rather than an Eau de parfum), it is longer-lasting thanks to its high scent concentration. This means one spritz will really last the entire day. The one downside, though, is that initial spritz can be a bit overpowering — give it a moment to settle onto your skin, and it becomes a bit more palpable. 

Price at time of publish: $425

Size: 1.7 oz | Top notes: Coriander, orange flower, patchouli, Peru balsam, cedarwood | Type: Extrait de parfum

Best Woody Floral

Tory Burch Essence of Dreams Cosmic Wood Eau de Parfum

Tory Burch Essence of Dreams Cosmic Wood Eau de Parfum

Sephora


What We Love: The vetiver used in this scent is responsibly-sourced in local communities and the packaging is recyclable — a win for the environment.

What We Don’t Love: This wears very strong — don’t spritz on too much or you could get a headache.

If you’re someone who typically doesn’t veer one way or the other when it comes to perfumes, Tory Burch Cosmic Wood is an understated classic that will please every nose. The feminine woody scent features base notes of smoky wood, patchouli, and sage; but heart notes of cardamom, jasmine, and vetiver lighten and brighten the perfume so it veers more floral with a spicy, earthy kick. 

Beyond the beautiful scent, we also appreciate that there’s a sustainability aspect to this perfume: The vetiver used in the fragrance is responsibly-sourced in local communities and the glass bottle is completely recyclable, so you can feel good about spritzing this on, too. Just be sure to not go overboard because the scent can be strong and cause a headache if you spray too much.

Price at time of publish: $125

Size: 3 oz | Top notes: Cardamom, ambrette, vetiver | Type: Eau de parfum

Best Woody Spicy

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Nordstrom


What We Love: You’ll receive countless compliments when wearing this sophisticated perfume.

What We Don’t Love: TikTok has made this perfume extremely popular — so if you want a very unique fragrance, you won’t get that with this.

By now, you’ve probably heard of Maison Francis Kurkdijan Baccarat Rouge 540. The iconic fragrance has gone viral on just about every social platform, and it’s instantly recognizable with just a whiff. The sophisticated scent truly transcends categories (it’s a little bit spicy, a little bit floral, and a little bit woody all at once), but the warm, cozy feelings the cedar base evokes helped it earn a spot on our list.

Woody and poetic, a mix of amber, saffron, cedar, and jasmine enhance your natural scent, making you smell like you, but better. I love wearing this sleek fragrance on my neck, wrists, and shoulders whenever I need a boost. It has a ‘manifest greatness’ air to it that instantly lifts your spirit — regardless of how you’re feeling. The boundless compliments you receive will also give you a bit of a confidence boost while wearing this. 

Price at time of publish: $325

Size: 2.4 oz | Notes: Saffron, jasmine, cedar, amber | Type: Eau de Parfum

Best Woody Vanilla

parfums de marly HEROD EAU DE PARFUM

Parfums de Marly Herod Eau de Parfum

Parfums de Marly


What We Love: This complex fragrance is softened with comforting hints of vanilla.

What We Don’t Love: This scent can be a little bit tough to layer, as it’s pretty complex.

Parfums de Marly Herod Eau de Parfum makes a surprising entrance into your olfactory senses with spicy cinnamon and pepper, then mellows out with notes of tobacco and incense before warming again with hints of vanilla, patchouli, and woody accord. Needless to say, this woody-vanilla fragrance is a rollercoaster for the senses, but in the best way possible. 

Best for fall and winter, this deep dive into extravagance is warm and inviting — not intimidating like you might think. It reminds me of a glass of wine by the fireplace, but maybe one you’d grab from the top shelf.

Herod is about as sophisticated as they come, and the perfect expansion into heavier woody perfumes if you’re a fan of them. On the flip side, if you prefer to experiment by layering fragrances, you may want to skip out on this one: Due to its complexity, it wears best on its own. 

Price at time of publish: $350

Size: 4.2 oz | Notes: Cinnamon, pepper, vanilla, tobacco, patchouli, woody accord | Type: Eau de parfum

Best Woody Sweet

La Botica NYC Soho Eau De Parfum

La Boticá Soho Eau de Parfum

La Boticá


What We Love: A percentage of each purchase goes to The Dream Project, a non-profit that provides education to children in the Dominican Republic.

What We Don’t Love: The scent doesn’t linger for long.

Soho may be one of New York City’s chicest neighborhoods — between the high end stores and the showstopping architecture, the stunning area is iconic in its own right. Every time I walk the cobblestone streets I feel a different energy, and La Boticá Soho Eau de Parfum embodies that dynamism perfectly. In this scent vanilla is paired with invigorating peach blossoms, violet flowers, and warm sandalwood for a stylish, modern fragrance that oozes effortless confidence. 

I do wish the scent lingered a bit longer (I find that I have to spritz every few hours to get a long-lasting effect), but the bottle is small enough to carry in my purse, so I don’t mind too much. 

Price at time of publish: $165

Size: 1.7 oz | Top notes: Violet, peach blossom, vanilla, sandalwood | Type: Eau de parfum

Best Woody Smoky

Maison Margiela ’REPLICA’ By the Fireplace

Maison Margiela ’REPLICA’ By the Fireplace

Maison Margiela


What We Love: This fragrance is unisex, a unique quality for a woody perfume. 

What We Don’t Love: As a perfume, some people may find it overpowering, but it’s also offered in home fragrance, too.

Maison Margiela By the Fireplace is two words: Cozy and comfy. Cloves, pink pepper, and orange blossom are a triad of delights, grazing your nose with elegance. Clove oil, along with a myriad of wood oils leave a spicy, woody trail that lingers for hours. But in the end, you’re left with an all-day wear of vanilla, balsam, and cashmeran to ground your body in a delectable solace. And if you love the fragrance — but not on your skin — it also comes in candle form that is just as enjoyable as the Eau de Toilette. 

Price at time of publish: $160

Size: 1.05 oz  | Notes: Cloves, pink pepper, orange blossom, clove oil, balsam, cashmeran | Type: Eau de toilette

Best for Date Night

Byredo Bibliothéque Eau de Parfum

Byredo Bibliothéque Eau de Parfum

Nordstrom


What We Love: Leather and violet heart notes add depth to this scent. 

What We Don’t Love: The scent doesn’t project far — people will probably only notice it if they get very close to you.

Byredo scents top many a list, but Bibliotheque truly stands out from the rest due to the fact that it comes in candle, hair perfume, hand cream, and Eau de parfum forms. With top notes of plum and cinnamon, heart notes of leather accord and violet, and base notes of birch woods, patchouli, and vanilla, this delicate yet sophisticated woody fragrance is reminiscent of a romance novel with the plot of forbidden love at its center. I find it ideal for close encounters of any kind — not only because of the dreamy and elegant scent profile, but also because the perfume doesn’t project far: You’ll need to be really close to someone for them to register the scent. 

Price at time of publish: $200

Size: 3.4 oz | Notes: Cinnamon, leather accord, violet, birch woods, patchouli  | Type: Eau de Parfum

Best Unisex

Henry Rose Dark is Night

Henry Rose Dark is Night

Henry Rose


What We Love: For a woody fragrance, it’s surprisingly delicate and soft — perfect for day and night wear. 

What We Don’t Love: The combination of patchouli and vanilla creates a very strong scent. Make sure not to spritz on too much.

While celebrity beauty brands are a dime a dozen these days, Henry Rose (which was created by Michele Pfeiffer) is a diamond in the rough. The line was inspired by Pfeiffer’s desire to create a clean, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and environmentally-friendly perfume line that still felt sexy and avant-garde. From the packaging to the branding, there’s a humbleness to the fact that there’s no trace of the thespian, but it’s all there in the details. 

Dark is Night is sensual and provocative, like kissing in the rain in the night. The initial spritz reveals fresh green grass, but as the perfume wears it becomes heavier and heady. Freesia and vetiver deepen the scent before patchouli and vanilla bean break through and linger for hours. These dimensions make the perfume ideal for day to night wear, though your should only use a spritz or two because the combination of patchouli and vanilla can be overwhelming if you apply too much. 

Price at time of publish: $120

Size: 1.7 oz | Top notes: Green grass, freesia, vetiver, patchouli, vanilla bean | Type: Eau de parfum

What to Keep In Mind


Size


Perfumes come in a wide range of size offerings, from small testers to large ‘value size’ bottles. Before purchasing, think about how often you’ll use the perfume — if you’re planning on this scent becoming your new signature, opt for a larger bottle. But if you don’t plan on wearing it so often, or are looking for a travel-friendly option, go for a smaller bottle. 

Most perfumes on our list are offered in multiple sizes, between 1.7 ounces and 3.4 ounces sizes, but Parfums de Marly Herod Eau de Parfum is by far the largest, with a 4.2 ounce bottle. 


Type


Most bottled fragrances come in either Eau du parfum or Eau du toilette form. Eau de toilettes (like Maison Margiela Replica By the Fireplace Eau de Toilette) have a lower concentration of oils, so they typically only last about three to five hours on the skin. Eau de parfum lasts five to eight hours on the body because of its higher concentration of oils.

If you want your perfume to be noticeable for a longer period of time, opt for an Extrait de parfum, like Perfumehead Canadian Tuxedo, which has the highest fragrance concentration and therefore lingers a bit longer. 


Notes


Most perfumes have three levels of notes: Top notes, middle or heart notes, and base notes. Top notes are what you smell when you get that first whiff of a fragrance, but they don’t last more than 15 minutes. When you’re trying out a fragrance, be sure to test it on your skin for a few hours — over time the base and heart notes will become more prominent, and you’ll be able to get the true scent of the perfume you’re wearing. In a woody perfume, the heart and base notes skew earthy and warm. 

Your Questions, Answered 


What does woody perfume smell like? 


As the name suggests, woody perfumes will have notes of wood. Some popular fragrance notes include sandalwood, cedarwood, balsam, vetiver, and birch. “Woody notes have traditionally been associated with men’s fragrances but have been embraced more and more by women,” explains Daniel Giles, Founder of Perfumehead. These notes can often be described as opulent, sensual, and rich with a “hint of mystery,” he adds.

Ralf Schwieger, Perfumer for Tory Burch agrees wholeheartedly, saying that woody perfumes come off extremely dynamic. “They can be spiky and dry, or opulent and soft all while having warm and earthy characteristics at their core.” 

What are woody notes in perfume? 


Woody notes come from, well wood. Some popular woody fragrance notes include sandalwood, cedarwood, agarwood (oud), balsam, and birch, as well as patchouli and vetiver. Roots and leaves can also register as woody or earthy in woody perfumes, says Yvan Jacqueline, president of Parfums de Marly.

Why Shop With Us

Valeriya Chupinina is a full-time shopping and beauty freelance writer. Before freelancing, she wrote for Coveteur, HYPEBAE, Cosmopolitan, StyleCaster, Health, and Real Simple magazines. Now, she writes about beauty and fashion for multiple publications. In order to find the best woody perfumes, Chupinina put top fragrances to the test, weighing the pros and cons of each product to make the most informed decision. In addition, she interviewed professional perfumers, Ralf Schwieger, Tory Burch perfumer and creator; Yvan Jacqueline, President of Parfums de Marly Americas; and Daniel Giles, founder of Perfumehead to learn more about woody perfumes

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