It's gonna get sappy up in here.
If you’re as obsessed with fragrances as I am, then there is no time more exciting than fall. The biggest releases are always saved for the end of the year because, obviously, they make great holiday gifts (I personally think gifting fragrances is RISKY to say the least, but straight guys don't realize that and they're the ones buying.) It’s always fun to see what the biggest brands in beauty have in store for us with their new scents even if they’re not all always worth the wait.
This year has given us some real heaters that I’ve been falling to pieces over all season. This isn’t just a roundup of new fragrances, this is a group of fragrances that I genuinely love, that just happen to be new.
I am constantly at war with myself about who I would consider to be my favorite perfumer, and Byredo is always fighting for the top spot. Rose of No Man’s Land is a beautiful addition to their library of fragrances.
If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, you’ll know that I’m not big on florals, especially rose. Some fragrances trick me into liking the note, like Chanel Coco Noir, for instance, probably my favorite rose fragrance. Most of the time, I prefer to stay as far away from it as possible.
Byredo worked their dark magic to make this scent very rose-heavy, and very beautiful. I haven’t been wearing it for the sole purpose of reviewing it, I’ve been wearing it by choice.
At the top, we find Turkish rose petals paired with pink pepper. Pepper is usually an unmistakable, forward note, but here, it works as a soft introduction, almost drying out the rose top note and taking the edge off. In the middle, there is Turkish rose absolute and raspberry blossom. At the base, we find amber and papyrus, which isn’t exactly a groundbreaking way to anchor florals, but it is a nice change from the all too typical amber-tonka bean-sandalwood-patchouli gang that seems the hold down every floral scent.
There’s something about this scent that gives it a bit of a tangy, nearly fruity sweetness that makes it very engaging without overpowering the rose. Rose of No Man’s Land shows how a good perfume house can make an elegantly simple take on rose that winds up giving the fragrance complexity and depth.
A few things:
1. I hate the word “Decadence.” I hate it so much so that I almost passed on this scent altogether.
2. I love Marc Jacobs. I LOVE his beauty collection. But his women’s fragrances? Eh. They’ve just never been for me. They’re all light, inoffensive, white florals. Nothing I’ve gotten excited about or even liked, if I’m being honest. His men’s scents are pretty sick but like why would I wear a men’s fragrance, you know?
3. This is that bottle that everyone has been Instagramming.
I take it back. I take it all back. Marc Jacobs came through with this one to SHUT ME UP. Decadence is an immediate triumph.
The notes (not that they matter for this one and I’ll tell you why in a sec) come at you like this: Off the top, it’s plum, iris, and saffron. Taking up the middle is rose, jasmine sambac, and orris root. At the base, we’ve got amber, vetiver, and papyrus.
Writing about fragrances can be tricky, which is why listing the notes can be instrumental in describing and how something smells. Some fragrances defy that, that this is one of them. The notes seem to hit you all at once. You get a bit of the sweetness from the plum, then this beautiful, intricate blend of florals and grasses.
It smells green. It smells velvety. It smells very luxurious, but not in a way I am sophisticated enough to know. Like, it smells like a blend of oils that Sophia Loren would cover herself in after emerging glamorously from a bath. Honestly, I have no idea who Sophia Loren is.
I actually got sent not one, but two bottles of Decadence, so I sent one to xoVain's Kara Nesvig.
She loved it, too, so I texted her, asking if I could quote her in this article.
She texted me back, from the bubblebath:
“I wore Marc Jacobs Lola in college and Decadence feels like a more grown-up version of that. It’s not a big, loud “Dynasty”-style ‘80s fragrance, but it wants to be and that’s why i like it. I don’t like anything that smells “clean” or too bland, innocent or fruity. I like LOUD. I like ballsy. I like GLAMOUR. (Big surprise, right?)”
Pick. This. Up.
Maison Margiela Replica By The Fireplace, $125, exclusively at Barney’s.
I love the Replica line. Every scent in the collection is made up of just a few notes, made to bring to mind a specific time and place and By The Fireplace is meant to bring to mind, well, you get it. I always bitch and moan about how scents are powerful and so connected to memory and this collection is made specifically to toy with that. Yes, Margiela! Fuck up my feelings!
This is one of two new drops from Replica — the other being Lipstick On, made to smell just like lipstick which I am sooo excited about — and the only notes listed on the bottle are burning wood and chestnut.
Margiela’s description is fine but it makes the scene seem dry, brittle, and almost cold. It fails to recognize the warm sweetness throughout the fragrance, which is really what makes it just like sitting by the fireplace.
By The Fireplace isn’t the most complex scent, but saying that only two notes are representative of the fragrance as a whole would be selling it very, very short. On my skin, it gives me wood, smoke, amber, the soft sweetness of, say, brown sugar or caramel, cinnamon, and nut, being chestnut.
You know who loves woody notes? Dudes. Not that any of us should care, but that’s always nice to have in your back pocket, you know? Dudes love wood. I really want to do a woody perfume roundup called “Fragrances For The Male Gaze” but I know you’d all come for me with knives.
What are your favorite cold weather scents? Have you picked up any new fragrances that you're loving? Tell me everything down below!
Tynan smells good on Twitter @TynanBuck.