Fragrance 101: Sophisticated Wood

The world of perfume can be a little bit intimidating, especially when you’re buying online. How can you tell whether you like a scent without testing it first? Navigating the intoxicating waters of fragrance sometimes takes a little research, so we’ve gathered everything you need to know in one series, in which we’ll introduce you to the different categories of perfumes, and help you discover the one that’s right for you.


Wood might not be the first thing you think of when the time comes to find your signature scent, but the earthy notes of bark, roots, leaves and moss can be found everywhere in the world of scents, so it’s a good place to start. 

Woody ingredients like sandalwood, cedar and vetiver all bring something different to the table - from cool to warm, from rich to light, and from spicy to clean, the one thing that unites this fragrance family is the feeling of sophistication. Because these scents appeal to both men and women, their popularity is no surprise - it’s rare to find a fragrance without a hint of wood to it.

What You Should Know About Woody Fragrances

Own the Room

If you’re looking for a scent that gives you confidence that will last all day, you might want to consider looking for a woody perfume. Because these scents tend to be sophisticated yet robust, they are as appropriate in the boardroom as they are over a romantic dinner, treating any space to elegant and aromatic aromas. Although woody fragrances tend to be somewhat masculine, there are plenty of women’s scents that are happy to dabble in the sultry aromas of the forest.

Fall For You

Evoking an autumnal and spring-like mood thanks to their smokey or fresh notes, woody fragrances are best worn at the change of the season, complementing nature’s shift to ambers and golds, and then vibrant greens - the time of year when forests and woodlands are at their most dramatic. These fragrances capture the scent of the great outdoors. Imagine a campfire, a rainy forest, or a carpenter’s workshop, and you’ll get the idea.

Spoilt for Choice

What’s particularly wonderful about the woody family is the delicious range of options. The wide range of sub-families provides you plenty of room to sniff out your signature scent. If you’re not sure where to start, focus on one of the staple ingredients in the wood family to find the right mood:

Crisp Cedarwood is dry and fresh, a clever choice for cooler seasons and daytime wear. Depending on the source, cedar can range from sweet vanilla to a more spicy resin - but it’s always straightforward and professional, like a freshly sharpened pencil.

Smoky Vetiver evokes luscious earthiness with a hint of leather. Rich and invigorating, this scent can be quite intense and is best suited to romantic evenings, where its scent will help to create an intimate mood. 

Buttery Sandalwood brings delicate pepperiness to the fragrances that use it, with a summery and exotic scent that evokes a sunny afternoon spent on a beach. Sandalwood is a crowd-pleaser, so if you’re not sure where to start with the wood family, start here.

Good Neighbours

One of the reasons you’ll find woody notes in a lot of fragrances is because they work so beautifully in conjunction with other fragrance families. Woody scents can take on a different personality depending on what they’re paired with. A lot of perfumers bring warmth into their blends by introducing a touch of vetiver or sandalwood to their floral and oriental perfumes, or when seeking a natural complement for their zesty and leathery scents. Wood adds depth, so it’s often the first place a perfumer will turn when trying to give their signature scent a twist.


It’s easy to see why woody fragrances are so popular. Ranging from robust masculinity to sultry femininity, there’s a decadence of options available for those searching for a strong-minded and distinctly sharp signature scent.