The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

vintage woman spraying perfume

I get as much joy out of a brand new lipstick as the next girl. Feel exhilarated when I crack open a new body wash. Can’t believe my good fortune when I get my hands on a mascara that actually performs.

But you know that feeling—that THRILL—when a fragrance speaks to you? It may not happen often, but when it does, look out. Because you simply must own it. And it makes every morning just a tiny bit better to apply—pat, never rub—a scent that is just perfect for you.

In my experience, the fragrance discovery process happens best when it is organic. Not in the grass-fed, free-range type of way (although I do swear life-long allegiance to Red Flower’s organic Guaiac), but when you just happen upon it in your day-to-day life and are compelled to adopt it as your own. There is one scent I wear which I’ll tell you about someday, and people stop me ALL THE TIME—cab drivers, random females, creepy men—to ask about it. (Am convinced there must be drugs in there, or something.)

Now, since they have yet to figure out how to transmit scents over the Internetz, I’m going to attempt the second best thing today and narrow down what *I* think are the 10 best fragrance buys out of the many more that have crossed my desk this fall. Because honestly? The whole fragrance marketing thing is TOO MUCH. Too overwhelming, too highly commercial—and too many boring, mediocre scents thrown in amongst the good ones to confuse you all.

So—if you’re hankering for something new, get thee over to your nearest Sephora, Murale, Holt Renfrew or Shoppers Drug Mart to catch a whiff of one of these:

10. Belle d’Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

belle dopium ysl The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

Quite possibly I’m taken by this perfume purely because of the advertising imagery. (This happens a lot with YSL and me.) I want to BE one of those languid, sensual, Greek goddesses dripping in gold jewelery. Of course the juice itself is an Oriental. It has patchouli, which I normally run screaming from, but in this instance it’s tempered by the jasmine… and maybe the hookah! Wow.

Notes: Casablanca lily, sandalwood, gardenia, white pepper, jasmine absolute, patchouli and hookah

9. Twirl by Kate Spade

kate spade twirl eau de parfum The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

I know, I know—Kate Spade is not really the hippest brand going anymore. But this, which is the first scent from the brand since 2002, is a fruity fanatic’s dream. I mean, *I* even like it. It doesn’t have that overly sweet, saccharine feel that many fruity scents do, nor does it smell cheap. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not exciting or “different”, but what it IS is very wearable.

Notes: watermelon, blackberry, red currant, orange blossom, star jasmine, tiare, magnolia, musk and French macaroon

8. Womanity by Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler Womanity The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

One of the world’s top Parisian perfumers once told me that all great scents have just a bit of the masculine in them; it’s that contrast that makes them great instead of “common.” Womanity does this with a savory/sweet mix of caviar and fig. It’s not as divisive of a scent as Angel (which you either loved or hated) but has a pleasing salty tang that cuts the floral.

Notes: fig, caviar, fig tree, leaf

7. Play for Her Intense by Givenchy

Givenchy Play for Her Intense The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fallGivenchy can usually be counted on to make great perfumes. And this—the little sister of the Justin Timberlake-fronted men’s Play franchise—is simply gorgeous. It’s warm and slightly musky without being heavy, and the hint of Tiare flower is, in my book, always a welcome addition. There is also a non-intense, regular Play for Her version, but I like this one much better.

Notes: pink peppercorn, white peach, orange blossom, heart of magnolia, Tiare flower, orchid, sandalwood, patchouli, tonka bean and benzoin

6. Lady Million by Paco Rabanne

Lady Million Paco Rabanne The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million scent for men was the sleeper hit of 2009. (I know—who knew? I put Paco Rabanne in the same cheesy ’80s-wear category as Pierre Cardin.) Anyway, the lady version is nice too, and surprisingly very, very fresh. I think it was the orange blossom that had me at hello.

Notes: citron, raspberry, neroli, orange flower, jasmine, gardenia, patchouli and honey

5. Acqua di Gìoia by Giorgio Armani

Armani Acqua di Gioia The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

If you hate heavy, heady, “fall” scents, this is the fragrance for you. It’s a lovely fresh and citrusy marine scent that is just slightly warmer than the famous (now 14-year-old) Acqua di Gio. I will bust this out come January, when I’ll be dreaming of sunny beaches and begging the weather for mercy.

Notes: crushed mint leaves, lemon, aquatic jasmine, dewy peony, pink pepper, cedar, yellow sugar and labdanum

4. Beauty by Calvin Klein

calvin klein beauty 281x300 The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

This scent feels very grown-up to me, in an elegant, understated Diane Kruger sort of way. (She IS the face, after all.) It’s a quiet, no-nonsense floral, kind of like Guerlain’s Idylle from last year but less show-stopping, if that makes any sense. This would be a perfect “office” fragrance.

Notes: lily, ambrette seed, jasmine, cedarwood

3. Sensuous Noir by Estée Lauder

Estee Lauder Sensuous Noir The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

I’ve always liked Estée Lauder scents, maybe because I find them more subtle than most mainstream fragrances. Sensuous Noir is the “sexier” version of Sensuous (which launched in 2008) and is simply a fantastic, fresh, musky oriental—if you like that sort of thing. (I know it sounds a bit contradictory to describe a musk as fresh, but that’s exactly what this is.) I love it.

Notes: purple rose, jasmine, black pepper, melted woods nature print, creme noir accord, patchouli prisma, spiced lily, benzoin, vanilla, honey and amber

2. “Wicked Style” Harajuku Lovers

Harajuku Lovers Wicked Style The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fallOkay, so these aren’t one scent but five. And truth be told, I don’t actually USE them. But they belong here because gosh darn it, I’m just a teensy bit obsessed with these little guys. Purely because they please my inner 5-year-old. So let’s skip the business about talking about the actual notes, and just appreciate them for the kitsch factor, yes? Thank you Gwen Stefani.

1. Love and Tears, Surrender by By Kilian

Love and Tears Surrender By Kilian The 10 bestest new fragrances that have landed on my desk this fall

Is there any scent as delicious as ylang ylang? I don’t think so. And that’s why By Kilian, the fragrance line launched by Kilian Hennessy—yes, of THOSE Hennessys—has stolen my heart with this scent (his 9th). The whole premise of the line is that it’s super-high quality, using precious essential oils—so instead of funneling their entire budget into paying for celebrity endorsements, it goes into the product. (Imagine!) As you may know, while I can appreciate the art of fragrance-making, I am not a mainstream fragrance person when it comes to my own personal habits. (Also because a lot of the chemicals in most fragrances make me sneeze.) So this? Right up my alley.

Notes: jasmine, orange blossom, ylang ylang, ciste, bergamot, petit grain, cypress

So now tell me…

Have you sniffed any of these scents yet?
Or are you more of a signature scent type of person?
Even if you are, PLEASE try By Kilian, next time you’re at Holt Renfrew. You must!


Friday, October 15/2010 at 3:32 pm

I TRY to stick to one fragrance per season — for fall/winter it’s Chanel Chance — but I’m a perfume addict so there’s no doubt that I’ll be out sniffin’ these ones. I have my own personal perfumery happening on my vanity, but what’s another bottle? :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 5:08 pm

Oooh Chanel Chance – pretty! Lemme know if you like any of these ones!


Monday, October 25/2010 at 10:04 am

Are any of your recco’s along the same lines as Chanel Chance? I’m not a fruity perfume lover.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 5:16 pm

I just looked up the notes of Chance: white musk, hyacinth and citron, pink pepper, jasmine, fresh vetiver, orris absolute and amber patchouli.

So based on that maybe the Givenchy or Lady Million? Also CK Beauty is just gorgeous, if you like florals…


Sunday, October 17/2010 at 3:41 pm

I think Love and Tears is probably one of the most beautiful scents I’ve tried in years. Stunning. Added bonus: mental picture of Killian Hennessey while wearing it *sigh*

Have you tried the Chanel Exclusif Gardenia? If you like ylang ylang you may really like this one. The Exlusifs are only at Chanel Boutiques, including the one in Holts in Toronto. Chanel Gardenia (a play on the word “garden” rather than the flower) has lovely jasmine and ylang ylang and is another fave of mine….


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 3:46 pm

Just Googled Kilian Hennessy… ah, I see what you mean now :-)

And yes – the Chanel Gardenia is lovely! I must re-visit it next time I’m at Holts…thanks for the reminder!


Sunday, October 17/2010 at 11:37 pm

I was shocked !
I thought for sure Van Clief and Arples would be up here, the bottle is amazing, and the scent is too good I cant stop smelling it!!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 3:49 pm

You know what – you’re right! I should have included it. Just found my sample and it’s really quite nice – an understated fruity. (Not sure why it’s called “Oriens” though – I was expecting a spicy Oriental.) I think I like it better than my #9 or #10 picks…although I’m not a huge fruity fragrance person.

The bottle is absolutely gorgeous – like a piece of art.


Keep Calm Style On
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 5:28 pm

I mostly love Twirl because of the bottle. How cute is that?

And Kilian really does it for me. It’s so niche but so fabulous. Great post.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, October 20/2010 at 2:57 pm

Agreed – the KS bottle is super cute!


Kate @
Wednesday, October 27/2010 at 6:26 am

Belle d’Opium and Play for Her Intense are my favourites because of their beautiful bottle design and lovely scents of sandalwood and patchouli. I still haven’t tried fragrances By Kilian, but I’m going to buy one this week. Thanks.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:33 pm

Let me know what you think of By Kilian!

Also great to discover a patchouli lover… I cannot wear anything with that note as it just doesn’t agree with me! (I wanted to love Belle d’Opium more, but I think that’s what held me back…)


maria eskenian
Saturday, November 13/2010 at 7:06 pm

i love the play givenchi realy its very spesial by botel and covering and packaging and spesialy the smell realy i see that its sexy


Julie H
Wednesday, March 9/2011 at 5:12 pm


Could you possibly tell me the source of the picture used in this article. Thank you!


Saturday, March 12/2011 at 2:18 am

hi julie this is the source

note: womanity perfume its the worst perfume i saw in my life i can tell to you guys


Tuesday, April 10/2012 at 3:34 pm

You had mentioned in this article back in October of 2010 that there is one fragrance that you wear that, “People stop me ALL THE TIME—cab drivers, random females, creepy men—to ask about it. (Am convinced there must be drugs in there, or something.).” Could you please share that scent?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, March 16/2013 at 10:47 pm

It is called Child! :)


Alexandra Erber
Saturday, May 5/2012 at 10:04 am

Could you tell me the name of the first painting on this side (woman with parfum)

Would help me alot,
Thank you!!


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