The Best New Fragrances All Have One Thing In Common

Some people call it cuffing season; others call it what it is: a months-long stretch of cold, gray weather so devastating to the human spirit that we seek out warm bodies in an effort to forget we all eventually die alone. Whatever it is, it’s on, and so is our search for a sexy — but not desperate — scent to act as a siren song.

Sexy is subjective, but at the end of the day, it requires one element: musk. Musk, which in Sanskrit, means testicle. Musk, which once referred quite literally to the odor secreted from the glands of a male animal marking its territory, but now is made synthetically. Musk, which carries pheromones that attract potential mates, is what you want in your fragrance this fall, and musk is what you'll get in all the best new bottles on shelves.

Get ready to smell hot as balls.

Far more fallen angel than church-ceiling cherub (if you couldn't tell by the black matte bottle), there's nothing light or innocent about this genderless scent. In fact, notes of jasmine, cypress, pine, and musk give it a rich sexiness that'll tempt you, and those closest to you, to commit a few little sins.

Givenchy eaudemoiselle de Givenchy Angelic, $150, available at Sephora.
Generally speaking, every pop-star perfume is a carbon copy of all the ones that came before it: a sugary sweet approximation of what you’d imagine fresh-baked cookies in a strip club to smell like. Which is why 99% of the time, we don't even bother to assault our noses with the stuff inside. But it's worth making an exception for Katy Perry's newest: a surprisingly sophisticated and multi-dimensional blend of 11 different musks, white tea, bergamot, and cedarwood. It feels unique — "indi"-vidual, if you will — for the category, especially considering it doesn't come in a round pink bottle with a cartoonish doodad hanging off it.

Katy Perry Indi, $19.99, available at Walgreens.
If we could scent the finale of SATC, in which sad Carrie wandered the overcast streets of Paris alone dressed to the nines, we'd do it with this blend of lavender, neroli, and musk. It's a calming floral with a darkness to it — just the thing for contemplative, gray days.

Elizabeth & James Nirvana French Grey, $85, available at Sephora.
When this fragrance made its way onto Instagram right before the kickoff of NYFW, most people assumed it was the hard copy invitation to the designer’s show — a cheeky little souvenir exclusive only to fucking fabulous insiders. Turns out, it’s a real bottle filled with real juice that’ll make anyone with $310 to blow smell really fucking rich — like leather, cashmere, vanilla, and just general excess. But the coolest thing about it is that there’s no asterisk in place of the “u”… because Tom Ford knows that’d be really fucking lame.

Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous, $310, available at Tom Ford.
Bell bottoms. Record players. Bangs. A chenille sweater. Authentic vintage. Purple loveseats. San Francisco in the '60s. We aren't sure how this fragrance manages to feel so specific to a moment in time we weren't even alive for, but we know one thing: The combination of coconut water, patchouli, and musk make for some seriously good vibes.

Byredo Velvet Haze, $150, available at Barneys.
David Bowie's Berlin Trilogy, born after he kicked his cocaine addiction and threw himself into art and literature, is considered to be some of his most imaginative work — and now, with this fragrance inspired by the icon, you can treat another one of your senses to some of that brilliance. It doesn't technically have the musk note, but you'd never know it. The scent settles into a rich, comforting blend of woods and vanilla on the skin, but before it does, it hits you with the surprise element: blueberry. It's an out-of-the-box move that pays off — we think Bowie would approve.

Vilhelm Parfumerie Poets of Berlin, $245, available mid-October at Barneys.
Go to Times Square at night and try to take a selfie in that pulsating, fluorescent, overhead light that doesn't make you look like you need an IV — it's impossible. Go to Rome at night, though, and you might think the city was built and electrically wired specifically to bathe you in the most flattering warm candlelight at all times. Those Italians just know sexy, and you will too in this floral-woody scent, with notes of berry, jasmine, tuberose, musk, and vetiver, that seems to only intensify on skin throughout the evening.

Bulgari Goldea, The Roman Night, $114, available at Bloomingdale's.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!