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9 Best Aromatic Perfumes: Spicy & Pungent-Fresh

What are aromatic perfumes? They’re a subgroup of the fresh family, which also includes citrus, watery, and green scents. They really are aromatic, meaning the spicier and more pungent side of fresh – think notes like coriander, rosemary, sage, or anise.

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9 Best Aromatic Perfumes: Spicy & Pungent-Fresh

This subgroup generally leans masculine, though there are plenty of great unisex and feminine aromatics, too. And while you can wear them year-round, aromatics really shine as warm weather scents.

The late 90s, 00s, and 10s were full of aromatics, many of them cheaper drugstore sprays that weren’t that great. But don’t cast aside the whole subgroup if you’ve had a few bad experiences. Instead, check out our top 9 picks culled from aromatic fragrances international reviews.

Our Top 9 Aromatic Perfumes Picks

Viking cologne - Aromatic scents

Best Overall

Don’t be confused by the name of Viking Cologne by Creed – this 2021 release by Olivier and Erwin Creed has little in common with the company’s 2017 scent by the same name. But this complex and masculine scent is both green and evocative, just what you want from fougere (fern-like) aromatic perfumes.

Top notes of mandarin, lemon, and pink pepper move into a heart of lavender, rosemary, and sage. The dry down is warm with notes of vetiver, sandalwood, and cedar. This is a pricey scent, but well worth it.

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle

Wear this one on a summer date night or consider making it your new daily scent.

PROSCONS
Complex, refinedPricey, can read as mature
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Everyday, day-to-evening
  • Price: $$$$

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Embruns d'Essaouira by Montale

Best Aquatic Aromatic Fragrance

Embruns d’Essaouira by Montale, a 2009 scent by Pierre Montale, has an aquatic note.

Our main complaint with aquatic scents is how similar they can smell – no matter the price point, most use the same synthetic ingredient, calone, to impart a watery smell.

But this is different.

This is a salt-forward aquatic that’s a little “dirtier” than most of its cousins – think of the scent of bodies in the sea rather than the sea itself. Along with the salt and watery notes, there are spicy notes on a base of musk and sandalwood.

PROSCONS
Unique aquatic scent, great summer fragrance Not for fans of “clean” aquatic scents
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Excellent
  • Appropriate for: The office, summer, the gym
  • Price: $$$

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Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger

Best Aromatic Men’s Fragrance

We could list Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger as a budget pick, but this 1995 citrus aromatic scent by perfume royalty Alberto Morillas and Annie Buzantian is worthy of being listed among the best aromatic colognes, period.

Top notes of mint, bergamot, and lavender transition into a heart of green apple, cranberry, and rose. The dry down is both warm and fresh, with amber, cactus, and cotton flower.

 If you wore this in high school or college, it’s worth a revisit. And if you’re only familiar with the dozens of imitation aromatic perfumes Tommy has spawned, you really need to smell the original.

PROSCONS
Affordable, classic scent Can smell a bit young
  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Everyday, summer
  • Price: $

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4711 Acqua Colonia White Peach and Coriander

Best Aromatic Fruity Fragrance

4711 Acqua Colonia White Peach and Coriander may be a “budget” cologne from a slightly fusty brand, but trust us: it’s really something special. This 2017 unisex scent from Alexandra Monet is bright and playful without being juvenile.

The note of white peach is natural, rich, and complex. It’s paired with coriander, herbal notes, and citruses that give it depth and sophistication. If you find most fruit fragrances cloying or artificial (or if you’re a fan of Philosykos below), try out this one.

PROSCONS
A wearable, unisex, fruit-forward scentPeach note leans feminine, requires multiple sprays
  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Good
  • Appropriate for: Warm weather, daytime
  • Price: $

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Philosykos by Diptyque

Best Aromatic Green Fragrance

Philosykos by Diptyque is a cult classic fragrance for a reason. There are only a few notes (fig leaf, fig, and fig tree), yet it’s a complex scent that changes and evolves on the skin. Developed in 1996 by Olivia Giacobetti, this unisex fragrance is as contemporary as ever.

This fragrance is both very green and very fruity – if you struggle with either of those families, you should try before you buy. But we think you’ll be hooked by this fresh, jammy, and creamy scent – it really smells like walking through a fig orchard.

PROSCONS
Complex, unique Too green for some
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Everyday, warm weather
  • Price: $$$$

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Lavender & Coriander Cologne by Jo Malone London

Best Aromatic Spicy Fragrance

Lavender & Coriander Cologne by Jo Malone London is a bit understated and circumspect, as you’d expect from the brand. But the combination of the two named scents in this unisex 2020 composition is really something special.

Coriander adds a rich, spicy, and slightly dirty earthiness to the lavender – if you find other lavenders too soapy or floral, this is right up your alley. Tonka bean in the dry down adds a bit of skin-hugging creaminess, too.

PROS CONS
Complex, unexpected lavender Coriander is too funky for some
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Warm weather, daytime
  • Price: $$$$

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White Tea & Sage by Bath and Body Works

Best Aromatic Women’s Fragrance (Budget)

Bath and Body Works is a love-it-or-hate it brand, but White Tea and Sage is worth checking out even if you’re not normally a fan. This 2022 scent is fresh, wearable, and not too cloying, with notes of white tea, sage, and bergamot.

If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Arden White Tea or Bvlgari Eau Parfumee Au The Vert, or if you just need a new warm weather scent, this is worth checking out.

PROSCONS
Clean, good sillage without being overwhelming Sweeter than some tea scents
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Good
  • Appropriate for: Warm weather, everyday
  • Price: $

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Karagoz by Nishane

Best Niche Aromatic Fragrance

Karagoz by Nishane is named after a brash but playful character from traditional Turkish shadow plays. That gives you an idea of this 2017 Jorge Lee scent’s vibe – exotic, bold, and irreverent. 

Fernweh Editions Candles

Top notes of grapes (some get grape soda) and pineapple move into a heart of patchouli, neroli, and jasmine. Vetiver, oud, and amber feature in the dry down. It’s a bit like getting progressively drunker and louder on fruity cocktails in an exotic desert. 

Not a safe blind buy, but if you like this unisex fragrance, you’ll really like it.

PROSCONS
Truly unique Can be overwhelming, not very versatile
  • Sillage: Excellent
  • Longevity: Excellent
  • Appropriate for: Big night out
  • Price: $$$$

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Comandante by Xerjoff

Best Luxury Aromatic Fragrance

There’s one thing most people can agree on when it comes to Comandante by Xerjoff – it really smells expensive. This 2012 unisex fragrance is a bit divisive, but it truly does smell like the high-end cigar lounge it’s meant to evoke.

Top fruity and floral notes give way to a heart and dry down of tobacco, honey, cedar, and spice. It’s worth trying before buying – the notes you pick up will depend on your body chemistry.

PROSCONS
Complex and refinedQuite busy, not very versatile
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Excellent
  • Appropriate for: Date night
  • Price: $$$$

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  TOP PICKS AT A GLANCE  
Viking Cologne by Creed
  • Complex and refined
  • Very good longevity and sillage
  • Daily scent
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
Embruns d'Essaouira by Montale
  • Unique aquatic scent
  • Great summer fragrance
  • The perfect office scent
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger
  • Affordable
  • Classic scent
  • The summer and everyday scent
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Final Thoughts

Aromatic perfumes have something for everyone and are especially great if you’re looking for a new warm-weather fragrance.

Our selection includes the deepest and heaviest aromas, as well as those so light and heady that they leave you floating like a butterfly. No matter your budget or preferred notes, you’re sure to find something.

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9 Best Aromatic Perfumes: Spicy & Pungent-Fresh
Writer

Selena Marc is a fragrance enthusiast, freelance writer, and dog mom living in Houston, Texas. When she's not writing about her favorite new perfumes, you can find her enjoying yoga or a morning hike.