Forget sneezes — adding pepper into your fragrance unleashes a spicy zing that invigorates and empowers. When done correctly, pepper is elegant and clean and commands attention without being too bossy about it.
Take Altaia Ombú EDP ($210), for example, which was inspired by the Argentian ombu plant. There's no doubt about the pink pepper content in this one, which is married with cedar wood and what smells like freshly picked sage that's been pressed between your fingers. Base notes of amber and benzoin soften any potential prickliness.
Atelier Emeraude Agar ($250) tempers black pepper with earthy and woody notes of bergamot, geranium, and sandalwood. It almost smells like a bouquet of wilted roses that have been wrapped in leather and left to sit in a wet cedar forest.
Also try Rag & Bone Encens ($140), which is part of an eight-piece fragrance collection the brand just launched. Encens is equal parts spicy and green, with top notes of black pepper, elemi (a pine-like scent), and bergamot. It quietly fades into a velvety earthiness thanks to honeyed cistus, amber, and musk.
If you want just a touch of pepper, we recommend Alexander McQueen Eau de Parfum For Her ($115), the newest eponymous EDP by the brand. It combines black pepper with pink pepper, which may sound like too much, but any of that upfront spiciness is quickly candied by notes of sweet moonlight jasmine, tuberose, and ylang ylang.