Gothic Perfume
black Gothic perfume bottle with spider web

“Her perfume smells like burning leaves. Everyday is Halloween.”-from Type O Negative's song entitled “Black No.1"

What makes a perfume Gothic?

The same thing that makes anything Gothic and that is that all Goths share a love of the dark, romantic and mysterious; whether that be books, films, music or even scents. And if you're a Goth, you're in luck because there are a lot of perfumes & oils that are dark and moody. The sort of scents a Goth typically goes for are woodsy, spicy and musky. In case you don't know, there is such a thing as a fragrance wheel much in the same way there is a colour wheel. The fragrance wheel breaks down the types of fragrances into four categories: Fresh (citrus, fruity, green, water), Floral (floral, soft floral, floral oriental), Oriental (soft oriental, oriental, woody oriental) and Woody (woods, mossy woods, dry woods). Goths tend to go for the Oriental and Woody fragrances which can be described as warm scents rather than fresh scents.

Oriental Scents

“The oriental fragrance family consists of rich exotic scents. When you think of oriental scents think herbs and spices or dry, powdery, resin notes. Opulent and heady, these notes are often times softened with amber or sweet notes. It’s common to describe this family as exotic and seductive.”

Woody Scents

“Woody perfumes are usually warm and opulent, mixing incense-like fragrances like sandalwood and patchouli with drier notes like cedar. To tone down the warmth of these notes, fragrances will sometimes incorporate some fresh notes like citrus or floral. Notes in this family can be described as coniferous or woody and bitter.” -

The scents we Goths tend to avoid are the fresh and light floral or citrus scents. However, there are often floral or citrus notes included in Gothy fragrances – they tend to add a slight hint of sweetness to a dark scent; which can be nice. A few examples of such hints of sweetness are: vanilla, jasmine or honey. Goths also like scents that remind them of the things that they love such as Autumn, Halloween and woods.

This is from Wikipedia:

“Various suggestions have been put forth about the relationship between a person's favourite scent family and their personality. Stephen V. Dowthwaite, founder of PerfumersWorld, claimed that "Our choices in perfume are influenced by the image we want to portray." According to Dowthwaite, very feminine personalities gravitate toward Florals while very masculine personalities prefer the Woody family. Young people tend to like fruity, creamy, and vanilla scents, young adults prefer citrus and metallic scents, and mature adults enjoy heavy white flowers and Chypres. Elegant, sophisticated personalities enjoy aldehydes, powdery notes and leathers, while earthy, practical personalities prefer tobacco, spice and green notes.”-

Some of the fragrances I like are for men as I don't go for the more floral scents that are generally considered feminine. Which is fine, I am happy to wear a masculine scent if that is the scent that appeals to me.

What are some of your favourite scents?

Some scents I have loved for years are Dior's Hypnotic Poison, Lady Gaga's Fame, The Body Shop's coconut perfume oil and Mystic Forest (Earth) - Essential Essences Oils. I find that it's good to have a few different scents for different moods. My latest finds I love are Paco Rabanne's Pure XS for her (which is unusual because it has a popcorn note but I like it), Yves Saint Laurent's Black Opium Neon, original and intense, Anna Sui's Night of Fancy and Cucumber Melon perfume oil from I imagine cucumber and melon sounds like a strange scent but it smells amazing. Mostly it smells of honeydew melon.

How do I find my dream scent?

I would start by making a list of scents that appeal to you. Scents that you have smelled before and loved or maybe even scents that remind you of a time of year or a place such as a musty cathedral that smells of incense and old wood. Do you love the smell of the sea? The smell of rain? Is there a food you love the smell of? What does your favourite shampoo or lotion smell like? After you make the list, do some online research on scents that fit what you are looking for. Then if you can, take a list of perfumes you want to smell and go to the perfume section of a department store or a pharmacy and smell them. Take notes and narrow down your list. It's hard to smell the perfumes just from sniffing the bottle – you really need to spray some on your wrist or on a bit of paper. Often perfume stores have bits of paper you can use called perfume test strips. Ask them. This is great because you can then take home the test strips and see how the perfume develops and lasts. Once you have narrowed down your list, rather than buying a whole bottle if you are still unsure – you can by small testers of the perfume you like. That way you can actually wear it for a whole day and see how it works on you. It is said that the same perfume can smell different on different people depending on their chemistry.

How do I wear perfume?

The Skin

Apply the perfume to your pulse points right after taking a shower. If you wear lotion, apply the lotion before you put on the perfume as an oil-based moisturiser will help to lock in the scent. If you don't wear lotion, one site suggests rubbing Vaseline on your pulse points before spraying the perfume on top. The pulse points are areas on the body where the veins flow close to the skin. These spots emit heat, which helps the fragrance to develop faster. The typical places to spritz scent all fall under this category: the neck, wrists, cleavage. However, the inside of the elbows is also a hot spot to roll on perfume.


Perfume actually lasts longer on clothing and hair than on your skin. But it's up to you whether you prefer it on you skin or on your clothes or hair.

How do I store my perfume?

Think of perfume storage in the same way you would think of wine storage. Keep your perfume bottles in a cool, dry place out of the sun. It's best if the perfume is kept at a constant temperature. Some people even store their favourite scents in the refrigerator. Unlike wine, perfume does degrade over time rather than improve with age.

How long will perfume linger on my skin? And do oils last longer than alcohol based perfumes?

Fragrances can last anywhere between three and 12 hours. On average I would say fragrances last around 6 hours. The top notes fade first and the base notes last the longest. The longevity depends on a lot of factors such as what your perfume is composed of, how you wear it (on your skin or on your clothes, your skin type (perfumes last longer on oily skin rather than dry skin) and the concentration of the perfume. Citrus scents evaporate more quickly than musky scents because of the size of the molecules; smaller molecules evaporate more quickly.

Fragrances come in different concentrations:

The higher the concentration the higher the price but the longer it will linger. Goths are lucky in that they happen to prefer scents that last longer such as Oriental, musky and woody fragrances. It is said that oils last longer than alcohol based spray perfumes.

How do I ensure that I get a good quality perfume?

Well established name brand perfumes tend to be good quality. They have endured for so long because people keep on buying them because they are good quality. That's not to say that newer brands are no good, it's just a general rule. Name brand perfumers can afford quality ingredients for their scents. And they can also afford to pay a master perfumer to compose new scents for them. You'll notice that I have left out images of the perfume bottles and flowery poetic descriptions on this page. That is because although beautiful bottles and poetic descriptions are lovely; they are there to sell the product and don't make up the perfumes composition. One can spend hours reading the most beautiful descriptions but one sniff is worth a thousand words. If you can, smell before you buy. And even better, go to a perfume store and try a sample on your skin and smell it throughout the day and see how the scent evolves and how long it lasts on you. Don't let flashy descriptions and beautiful packaging throw you off the scent! And who cares if it is targeted towards men or women – buy what you love. Are more expensive perfumes better than cheaper ones? Well, for the most part – they probably are; however not all good perfumes are super expensive. For example I love a perfume oil from The Body Shop and it is quite cheap. Also, just because a perfume is expensive or good quality doesn't mean that it will appeal to you. It may have a note in it that you happen to dislike. Once you have decided on a perfume, I recommend buying it from a department store or pharmacy so you get the genuine article as there are a lot of fakes sold online. The fakes can look just like the genuine article as people sell their empty perfume bottles and boxes online to people who make fake perfume. If you go on ebay and see a perfume being sold for a price that sounds too good to be true - it's probably because it is too good to be true.

Articles about Goth perfumes:

Perfume companies that sell a wide range of dark scents:

Dark Fragrances:


The Body Shop (oils)

White Musk, Rose Oud

Regina Harris' Frankincense - Myrrh - Rose Maroc (perfume oil)

incense resins of frankincense and myrrh, precious "oil of passion”, rose maroc, adds a rose-tinged spice and deep honey accord.

General Oils Goths like

Patchouli, Dragonsblood, Night Blooming Jasmine, sandalwood, amber, frankincense, myrrh, clove, cinnamon, vanilla

Lush: Goddess (oil)

An evocative, enigmatic oudh perfume, comprised of oudh from responsibly managed nurseries in Thailand. Smoky Caledonian sandalwood adds dark warmth to rich, resinous notes, while sensual jasmine beguiles. Damascus rose, harvested in Turkish fields at dawn, brings just a hint of floral delicacy.


Dior's Hypnotic Poison (Oriental)

Dior's Poison (Oriental Floral)

Dior's Pure Poison (Oriental Floral)

Dior's Addict

Dior's Fahrenheit

Lady Gaga's Fame (Oriental Floral)

Michael Kors Extreme Night (oriental woody)

Yves Saint Laurent's Black Opium (amber vanilla)

Yves Saint Laurent's Black Opium Neon (amber vanilla)

Yves Saint Laurent's Black Opium Intense (amber vanilla)

Paco Rabanne Black XS for Her (amber floral-oriental)

Paco Rabanne Black Xs

Diesel Spirit of the Brave (Oriental woody)

Bulgari Goldea The Roman Night for women

Etro's Messe de Minuit (woody)

Alexander McQueen's Kingdom (Oriental Spicy)

Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue (Oriental Floral)

Paestum Rose Eau de'Italie

Melanie Martinez's Cry Baby

Bath and Body Work's Dark Kiss

Givenchy's Dahlia Noir (chypre floral)

Jesus Del Pozo's Halloween Man (Oriental woody)

Jo Malone's Incense and Cedrat

Jo Malone's Velvet Rose & Oud

Tom Ford's Black Orchid

Tom Ford's Noir de Noir (dark chypre oriental)

Tom Ford's Vanille Fatale (oriental vanilla)

Cacharel's Amor Amor

Rag & Bone's Oddity

Rag Doll Los Angeles No 8400

Maison Margela's By The Fireplace

Maison Margela's – Jazz Club

Gucci Rush

Ghost Deep Night

Etat Libre d’Orange

Incognito by Rouge Bunny Rouge

Ditch by The Perfumer’s Story by Azzi for Jonas Åkerlund

Tokyo Milk