If patchouli isn't your thing — no matter how sophisticated it may be — try dabbling in saffron. This rich, warm scent is subtle but complex, and when paired with the right notes, it can truly come alive on your skin. To experiment with this note, try Maison Francis Kurkdjian's much-awaited Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait ($425).
"This warm, rich scent was originally commissioned by Baccarat to celebrate the 250th anniversary of their crystalworks and was sold only in an extravagant $4,000 decanter," Gilman noted. The recently released Baccarat Rouge 540 is now housed in regularly priced, though still splurgy, bottles.
"This concentrated and rebalanced version is the latest and greatest version of the unique blend of saffron, mineral notes, woods, and florals that makes this scent so special," Gilman said. "Kurkdjian's goal was to have contrasting elements of hot and cool on the skin at once, and it really works. It's a deep, enchanting fragrance that never overwhelms, and in this new version, it projects powerfully and lasts forever."
If $425 is still too rich for your blood but you're keen on saffron, reach for DedCool Blonde ($69). At the forefront is spicy black saffron, which is paired with earthy juniper berries and pomelo. Middle notes of cristal rose, black violet, and accord cuir add depth and intrigue, while subtle base notes of raspberry and vetiver make it an approachable and wearable scent that still stands out in a crowd.