Nothing jolts my memory like getting a whiff of cedar. It’s one of those universal smells that instantly pull you in—it evokes cedar closets, No. 2 pencils, cigar boxes, and crackling campfires. It’s woody and sharp at first but mellows out the more you smell it.
Though cedar might not instantly come to mind when you think of notes you want in a fragrance, it smells downright hypnotic on skin, which is something that people who smell really good have known for a long time. (Consider Le Labo’s Santal 33, a cult-favorite fragrance with cedar notes used by nearly everyone in New York City.)
Once I started wearing cedar-centric fragrances, I became obsessed. Not only do I love the way they smell, but I’ve noticed that it’s the fragrance note other people are most likely to comment on, and it lasts all day. Read on for the best cedar perfumes—with picks from brands such as Byredo and Maison Margiela—and prepare for everyone to ask you why you smell so good.