Fragrances can really set the tone or vibe for the day. I like to think of choosing a fragrance as choosing my “aura” for the day. Do I want to feel seductive and sexy? I might try a spicy or musky fragrance. Do I want something that’s light and carefree and perfect for daytime? I normally gravitate toward fresh florals or citrus. And for special occasions, like weddings or big work events, I might bring out a classic designer fragrance to make me feel grown-up.
There’s a fragrance I’ve been drawn to recently, though, that I realised is perfect for days when I want something effortless, a little low-key, but still noteworthy—basically, something that will make me smell good, that might get me a compliment or two, but that doesn’t make me look like I’m trying. It’s a tall order, I know, but the scents that really stand out to me for this specific need are earthy perfumes.
You might be thinking, “Uh, earthy? Like dirt?” But hear me out. One, you won’t be smelling like dirt. And two, in my opinion, earthy fragrances are grounding, a little mysterious, and a more unexpected option than reaching for my go-to floral or fresh scents. I like to think of these grounded scents as somewhat of a neutral—they work for just about any setting.
Take a look at some of my favourite earthy scents below plus other highly reviewed options from editors and readers.
1. Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt Eau de Parfum
Yes, a woodsy and earthy scent can be romantic. This one definitely is. It has notes of sandalwood, cedarwood, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vetiver.
2. Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne
There are woodsy and beachy vibes with this fragrance, so you really get the best of both worlds. Sea salt gives you that ocean feel, while sage grounds it all.
3. Maison Margiela Replica Autumn Vibes
If you’re the type of person who waits all year long for apple picking, mulled wine, pumpkin spice everything, and cozy flannels and knits, you’re going to want this fragrance, which is basically autumn in a bottle. The crisp perfume has notes of pink peppercorn, fresh firewood and balsam. Seriously so cosy.
4. Le Labo Santal 33
Ah, Le Labo Santal 33, what a total classic. When a fragrance is described as inspired by the spirit of the American West, you know it’s going to have woodsy, spicy, and smoky vibes. You’ll find notes of cedarwood, leather, sandalwood, iris, ambrox, violet accord, and cardamom.
5. Clean Reserve Smoked Vetiver
This scent type is described as “earthy greens and herbs,” so it’s exactly perfect for this list. The fragrance is crafted with eco-conscious and sustainable vetiver and myrrh for a scent that is smoky and a little bit sweet.
6. Byredo Mojave Ghost
Byredo’s fragrance is an homage to the Mojave ghost flower, which is a rare botanical that grows in baked, hard ground. Sounds so romantic, right? The woody and earthy scent has notes of chantilly musk, crisp amber, cedarwood, violet, sandalwood, magnolia, ambrette, and Jamaican naseberry.
7. Tom Ford Oud Wood Eau de Parfum
The description of this fragrance says it’s inspired by smoky incense-filled temples and the rare oud wood. And if that doesn’t intrigue you, then I don’t know what will. Key notes include oud wood, sandalwood, and Chinese pepper.
8. Chloé Nomade Absolu de Parfum
This layerable scent is both sumptuous and sensual, sweet and aromatic. It has key notes of davana, cherry plum, and oakmoss.
9. D.S. & Durga Amber Teutonic Eau de Parfum
You’ll be transported to an enchanted forest with this perfume. It has green and earthy notes of Alpine cedar, Austrian pine absolute, European larch, and Templin cone. But it’s not just all earthy and woodsy. There’s also cardamom, geranium, and musk to balance it all out.
10. The Nue Co. Forest Lungs
The cool thing about this product is that it’s a fragrance supplement. Yes, a supplement. It’s designed to help you de-stress and is based on the healing effects of nature. It’s woody and smoky but also has a citrus twist. Notes include vetiver, cedarwood, benzoin, pine, patchouli, and bergamot.