Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin—the scent, the flavor, and the gourd itself. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the deluge of pumpkin-related things during the fall, especially in October. It’s easy to forget there are many other cozy, spooky and woody scents associated with autumn that are worth fawning over. Next time you take a break from pumpkin candles and PSLs, turn to these unique fall scents.
D.S. & Durga Salem Gothic ($250)
I was bewitched at first sniff when I first met Salem Gothic. It was described to me by David Seth Moltz (D.S.) as “what a frosty purple-haired girl who works in HotTopic” might wear, and I’m inclined to agree, although it’s certainly more elevated than what you’d find in that store. Violet and lichen found in an old cemetery, witch hazel, baby’s breath and cold ocean are some of the notes to expect from this spooky juice that I’d be down to wear year-round.
This is an ode to the Big Apple, who tends to look her best during fall. Not only will this scent transport you to Autumn in New York, but the juicy apple notes might also remind you of the feeling of heading back to school after summer. Apple is the main attraction, but the formula also features notes of amber, peach skin, muguet, plum, blossom, sugar cane and vanilla.
Kayali Oudgasm Tobacco Oud ($140)
Kayali’s most recent line honors oud. After being enveloped by the Oudgasm Tobacco Oud perfume, I smelled as though I had attended the chicest campfire there ever was. Warm, spicy and woody, this strong scent will certainly make an impression. The combination of white honey, tobacco, oud, mandarin, clove and saffron is not to be missed.
Not including the Autumn Vibes scent from Maison Margiela REPLICA in this list would be a miss. I know the name sounds a bit too on the nose, but this scent truly is the perfect concoction to activate autumn vibes. Based on wood trails and red leaves in Montreal in 2018, it’s a fresh take on a classic woody fragrance. The culmination of red berries, cardamom, cedarwood, moss and fir balsam is fall in a bottle.
If you’re like me and fall marks the time of year you can really lean into the dark academia aesthetic, this is the scent for you. Bibliothèque is the brand’s most popular candle, and following a myriad of requests, they created a coinciding perfume. “One spray is enough to bathe the neck in the atmosphere of a world suspended in time. A world of old books, the scent of their leather-bound pages arranged on dark wood shelves,” says the brand.
Otherland Cardamom Milk ($36)
If you’re not into the outdoor activities fall brings, this scent might be more up your alley. One reviewer describes the smell as a “warm hug” and says they’re even excited to wake up to light it. The cozy notes of cardamom, frothy milk and praline woods are the perfect accompaniment to a day in your favorite knit sweater, baking, reading and soaking up the fall vibes.
I keep this scent in a lotion on my desk all autumn, so whenever my skin is feeling dry, I pop this on and get a shot of Irish whiskey, vanilla and coffee in my nose for an instantly uplifted mood. Coffee and whiskey are meant to be sipped in big mugs around a fire in the fall when swapping stories with friends, and this brings that spirit to your home.
Native decided to put its own twist on fall—and it paid off big time. The brand developed truly unique scents inspired by Autumn in the Southwest. While all of the scents are striking, Desert Grass & Sandalwood is a personal favorite. It comes in a deodorant, body wash, face wash, shampoo and conditioner—so you can smell like sun-drenched sweetgrass, pear and sandalwood from head to toe.
If we’re being honest, the Pumpkin Spice Latte scent from Tree Hut’s Fall Cafe line is my favorite, but since we’re avoiding the gourd for this roundup, I’ll give a nod to the runner-up. This Apple Macchiato scrub calls on apple extract and macadamia, sweet almond, safflower and orange oils to build out a fresh fall fragrance.