The 10 Best Fragrances to Shop This Holiday Season

Including a few cult-classics.

Fragrance Holiday Gift Guide
Photo:

Courtesy/ InStyle

Fragrance is one of our favorite beauty categories for so many reasons. Scent is personal and fuels emotion. It can evoke feelings of joy, calm, desire, and more — all with a quick, blink-and-you'll-miss-it whiff.

As such, fragrance is one of the best gifts to give to our loved ones and treat ourselves to — it shows you really know someone.

Ahead of the holiday season, we rounded up 10 of our favorite perfumes to inspire your next shopping trip. From functional fragrances that inspire calm, to cult-classic perfumes that are fool-proof gifts, there's an eau de parfum for everyone.

01 of 10

Ellis Brooklyn Après

fragrance gift guide 2022 ellis brooklyn après

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To shop: $105; ellisbrooklyn.com

Imagine winter, bottled. That is what this fragrance smells like and then some. We could wax poetic about it all day (and we have) — so, as we previously said: "Immediately after spritzing it on, the top notes of saffron, juniper berries, and cardamom come to life. It's a little spicy and earthy, but there's a certain sweetness to it, too. After a few minutes, the middle notes start to come out. Then, the notes of soft suede accord, bourbon, violet, praline, guaiacwood, and labdanum begin to unearth — mixing themselves with your skin's natural scent. Once it finally settles into the skin, the base notes unravel: musk, vanilla, patchouli, cedarwood, and sandalwood."

02 of 10

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 holiday gift guide

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To shop: $325; franciskurkdjian.com

This cult-classic has achieved icon status for a reason. Described by the brand as poetic alchemy, it's the perfect balance between an amber, floral, and woody breeze. It blends notes amber, jasmine, and cedarwood, with a hint of saffron for taste — it's absolutely delectable.

03 of 10

Byredo Eyes Closed

fragrance holiday gift guide 2022 byredo eyes closed

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To shop: $280; byredo.com

Byredo's newest scent came just in time for chilly weather. Inspired by human connection, this scent is an unexpected melange of patchouli and papyrus with orris butter, ginger, and carrot, and spices like cardamom and cinnamon. It's addicting, it's comforting, and it's perfect for cuffing season.  

04 of 10

House of BŌ El Sireno

House of Bō El Sireno holiday gift guide 2022 fragrance

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To shop: $365; houseofbo.co

Inspired by Mexican oceans, this floral aquatic fragrance blends hints of magnolia, oakmoss, and banana with silky marine notes such as kelp. The result is hypnotic — calming, elegant, and sensual. Apart from smelling divine, we love the cap made from natural Blue Patagonian Onyx, and the fact that it's individually hand-sculpted by local Mexican artisans.

05 of 10

Chris Collins Harlem Nights

Chris Collins Harlem Nights Fragrance Holiday Gift Guide 2022

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To shop: $175; chriscollins.com

For a sensual scent with the power to transport you to a fine cigar lounge, look no further than this Harlem-inspired fragrance. Upon application, top notes of rum, clove, and nutmeg fill the air and lay on the skin. After a few moments, the heart notes of jasmine, orris, and patchouli begin to flourish — creating an olfactory dance for the senses. Finally, the base notes — sandalwood, musk, and amber — come full bloom to bring together this smooth, sexy scent.

06 of 10

The Nue Co Water Therapy

the nue co water therapy fragrance holiday gift guide

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To shop: $95; thenueco.com

If you've never heard of functional fragrances, allow us to present: they harness the power of scent to shift moods while promoting wellness. It's a supplement in olfactory form, if you may. "Water Therapy" is inspired on the idea of blue medicine and its calming effects on our minds and parasympathetic nervous system. The exact scent is hard to pinpoint — although it uses specific families of volatile organic compounds found in an oceanic setting: aldehydes sulphurs, ketones, and terpenes — all we can say is that it smells like being at peace in a marine environment.

07 of 10

Le Labo Santal 33

le labo santal 33 fragrance holiday gift guide 2022

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To shop: $310; lelabofragrances.com

Another classic that's always, always going to be a hit is Le Labo's Santal 33 — it has that addicting je ne sais quoi that keeps you coming back for more. Notes of iris and violet mix with cardamom and dashes of both smoky sandalwood and cedarwood. Then, other leathery, musky, and spicy notes round up the fragrance for an effect that's both comforting and sensual.

08 of 10

Vryao The Sixth

Vryao The Sixth fragrance holiday gift guide 2022

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To shop: $220; vryao.com

For the brand's first fragrance launch since it was founded in 2021, founder Yasmin collaborated with perfumer Meabh McCurtin, the Science of Wellness program at the International Fragrance & Flavors Inc. (IFF), and psychic advisor Katt Nicholson to conjure this eau de parfum that promotes mindfulness and intuition. It boasts 14 notes — such as juniper berry oil, peppermint oil, and oak moss absolute — that come together for a calming yet tantalizing scent.

09 of 10

LOEWE Earth

loewe earth fragrance holiday gift guide 2022

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To shop: $169; loewe.com

The fashion house's botanical rainbow fragrances were all created with the intention of marrying upscale elegance with the rich resources of the land. This fragrance, Earth, is the exact musky floral that's universally appealing thanks to its balance of violet, mimosa, and grey amber with added notes of musk, truffle, and pear.

10 of 10

ABEL Pause

abel pause fragrance holiday gift guide

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To shop: $120; abelodor.com

People don't talk about menopause nearly as much as they should. It's such a pivotal moment in a woman's life, and yet so many are left unprepared when the time comes. Founder Frances Shoemack knows this far too well, and as such, created this functional fragrance that relieves stress, promotes sleep and tranquility, and acts as a mood stabilizer. The scent is an uplifting floral, with notes of mimosa, violet leaf, hay, and narcissus.

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