Heart of darkness: these are the best smoky, leathery fragrances for a cosy winter

Nosying around the deep depths of this season’s scents...

There’s a theory that smell is the sense most closely allied with memory, whereby a basket of ripe, blonde-shouldered strawberries may take you to dry July days in Somerset fields, or the fumey linger of shoe polish will bring to mind Dad’s weather-beaten brogues. This is the enduring aim of celebrated scent-makers: to invoke and revive recollections that have long been buried. 

With winter aromas — those splendid bottles thick with warmth and headiness and lined with spices, woods and classic notes of leather, oud and tobacco — you’ll be taken to the depths of the colder months: frosty Scandinavian mornings; Christmas in Manhattan; cigar rooms flavoured with bottomless Coutts accounts and the St James’s crowd. So, while you’re overhauling your Supima cotton T-shirts and breathable linens in favour of mocknecks and all things cashmere, consider, too, the following five fragrances: a thrilling mix of precise perfumes, bold bouquets and subtle savours, they’re nothing to be sniffed at. 

Penhaligon’s Halfeti Leather

A bestseller in the historic scentmaker’s accomplished range, Halfeti Leather counters the sweetness of plum and bergamot with the intensity of leather, oud, and incense, creating a rounded spritz whose olfactory pendulum swings constantly between fresh and heady.

Heart of darkness: these are the best smoky, leathery fragrances for a cosy winter

Penhaligon’s Halfeti Leather

£190.00

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Floris Leather Oud

For this concoction, Gentleman’s Journal favourite Floris took its cues from a time when new fragrance oils, protected within miniature leather cases, would be sent to its founding family. The earthy smack of new leather proves a lovely foil to the smokiness of oud oil and the floral, rounded notes of geranium and rose – with a longevity of more than 12 hours, it’ll last you from morning meetings to the post-work bar. 

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

Intended to capture the essence of an English gentleman’s club, this Tom Ford signature is replete with creamy, soft hits of tonka bean, vanilla and cocoa, all offset with spicy licks of dry fruit accords and wood sap – a grooming-cupboard essential that’s less club and more gentleman. 

Heart of darkness: these are the best smoky, leathery fragrances for a cosy winter

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

£195.00

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Diptyque Orphéon

Cult-hit Diptyque has struck gold again with Orphéon, which the Paris house has designed to be reminiscent of the warm, intimate bar in St-Germain after which the product is named (it was once adjacent to the brand’s original storefront). To evoke the late-night wafts of smoke and powder rooms, juniper berry and cedar collide with tonka bean and jasmine.

Creed Tabarome Millésime

Bottling the essence of a speakeasy that’s thick with cigars, brandy spice, and leather upholstery, Creed’s Tabarome Millésime is a bold, sophisticated, throwback-style choice that is chock full of statement notes: ginger fading to blackcurrant buds, with a long linger of tobacco and sandalwood.

Heart of darkness: these are the best smoky, leathery fragrances for a cosy winter

Creed Tabarome Millésime

£245.00

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Want more winter advice? Here’s how to master the art of layering with L’Estrange’s ultimate cold-season ensemble…

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