Smell evokes memory and emotion more strongly than any of our other senses. Naturally, perfume-makers have used this to great effect over the years, bottling emotion, nostalgia, and sensuality through a careful selection of scents that evoke just those feelings. “The fastest growing trend that we have seen in the past 5-10 years in the world of perfumery has been the greater influx of earthy/ more green flavours. The audience worldwide is obsessed with how green smells, from oudh to moss,” says Astha Suri, founder of the Indian perfumery brand Naso Profumi.
Here's our selection of signature scents with woody, earthy bases and unusual, nature-inspired notes, from oudh to ginger and apricot. Oudh, especially, has been big this past decade, with every big name in perfumery using it in subtle or dominating ways, from the Molton Brown Mesmerising Oudh Accord & Gold to Christian Dior La Collection Privée Oud Ispahan.
LE LABO SANTAL 33
A cult unisex scent with top notes of sandalwood and a leathery, musky undertone, Le Labo Santal 33 is all the rage in the luxury circles of New York. “A defining image of the spirit of the American West with all it implied about masculinity and personal freedom. This man, firelight in his face, leaning on the worn leather saddle, alone with the desert wind, an icon so powerful that every man wanted to be him and every woman wanted to have him... From this memory is born SANTAL 33: the ambition to create an olfactive form inspired by the great American myth still a source of fantasy for the rest of the world,” is how the perfumers describe the scent. The layered fragrance uses cardamom, iris, violet, ambrox, Australian sandalwood, cedarwood, and leather.
Available on LeLaboFragrances.com; €199.17 (around ₹17,320)
BOMBAY PERFUMERY MOIRÉ
Cardamom, cassis bud and neroli come together with heart notes of tuberose, jasmine sambac and apricot to create a heady aroma. While tuberose is the main note here, it has been contained well by balancing it with woody and fruity elements . The top notes in this perfume are Cardamom, Cassis bud, Neroli, with heart notes of Tuberose, Jasmine Sambac, Apricot and a base of Sandalwood, Cashmeran, and Leather.
Available on BombayPerfumery.com; ₹4,100
TWILLY D’HERMÈS EAU GINGER
The latest offering from the French luxury house combines a candied ginger, a supple cedar and a vibrant peony. The scent of the Hermès girls, Twilly d'Hermès is a daring fragrance woven with striking ginger and sensual tuberose. A floral, spicy and oriental eau de parfum is what Christine Nagel, the nose behind this perfume, conceived it as. In a fun twist, a hand-tied silk ribbon playfully graces the bottle. Each silk ribbon is unique.
Available at Hermès stores and on Nykaa.com; ₹11,500
COMME DES GARCONS WONDEROUD EAU DE PARFUM
This heady unisex, amber-based scent contains notes of Cedarwood, Oudh Wood, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Guaiac Wood, and Pashminol, and the nose behind the fragrance is Antoine Maisondieu. Wonderoud, with its sharp but ultimately soft blend of wood and spice, is widely considered one of the best interpretations of oudh scents from the past decade.
Available at Nordstrom.com; Rs11,686.38
NASO PROFUMI MUD INFUSED IN OUD
Indian perfumer Naso brings this earthy, woody scent with a base of oudh extract. One of the world’s most exquisite raw scent ingredients, oudh is extracted from the wood of select Southeast Asian agar trees, when they begin producing a resin often called “liquid gold.” The reason oudh is so exclusive is because of its rarity.
This perfume contains top notes of mandarin oil, heart notes of essence of mud along with vetiver, cedar wood and of course natural oudh wood extract.
Available on Nasoprofumi.com; ₹9,000
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The legacy brand Ajmal's Patchouli Wood comes with the outburst of patchouli. It is a unisex perfume with warm, imperious and intense hues.
Available on www.ajmalperfume.com; ₹12,500