Cannabis, anyone? Whether you call it marijuana, weed, grass, pot, or hemp, it’s no coincidence that the increasing legalization of the herb worldwide has seen a growth in fragrances with a cannabis note.
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With the recent Carolina Herrera Bad Boy Le Parfum, cannabis-themed fragrances have moved from the realms of risqué niche to mainstream acceptability.
Unlike their plant inspiration these scents don’t have any psychoactive properties, although, in typical perfume-speak style, their makers might enthuse about their addictiveness.
Almost all of them also do not contain any form of marijuana but rely on an accord of notes to achieve the desired effect.
What they do deliver, though, with varying degrees of success and potency, is an olfactive experience often with a smoky vibe.
We sniff out the best options – from dark and heavy (not for office consumption) to more workspace-friendly ones.
Even with all the legalisation going on, many cannabis scents would raise an eyebrow or two in an office environment, so we recommend you test these at home before wearing any of them to work.
Where known, the name of the perfumer is included in brackets after the name of the fragrance.
Our Shortlist for The Best Cannabis Fragrances
It seems this 2006 release has the bragging rights for being the first cannabis fragrance.
As with all scents from the American brand, there’s nothing complicated about it. What you see, is what you get.
It starts out recognisably cannabis with aromatic, herbal, and green nuances and then evolves with soft floral touches.
Once you get past the immediate opening, it’s a gentle, almost skin scent intro to the genre.
We love the price almost as much we love this cologne.
Nasomatto Black Afgano EDP* (Alessandro Gualtieri)
Italian perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri is best described as a maverick. He founded Nasomatto in 2008.
Black Afgano is the Amsterdam-based company’s most famous / infamous release, from 2009, and “aims to evoke the best quality of hashish”.
Gualtieri is renowned for not explaining his fragrances in terms of notes, but he achieves this exact effect with a heavy cannabis atmosphere.
However, what could be the perfume equivalent of a joint is made much more interesting and rewarding with the addition of resin, wood, oud, incense, and tobacco notes.
It’s a true extrait de parfum, so best spray this one lightly and think twice before wearing it to the corporate boardroom. It’s that powerful and even offensive to some people.
Kilian Smoke for the Soul EDP (Fabrice Pellegrin)
This 2014 release from the Paris-based niche brand’s Smokes Collection opens with an intriguing smoky rendition of cannabis. It’s noticeable and lingers for some time.
The sharpness of camphorous eucalyptus and bitter grapefruit mellows with the warmth of tobacco and cardamom.
Birch brings its leathery properties to the drydown, with the synthetic Cashmeran laying on the cosy muskiness.
It’s a textbook example of a divisive scent. We salute brand founder Kilian Hennessy for not going the easy route with this one. Whatever you think of it, there’s no denying its originality.
Fragrances from the Paris-based designer brand’s Replica Collection are always an evocative treat, and this 2017 release is no exception.
Smoky cannabis mingles with fresh notes of apple and violet leaf in the intro.
Patchouli and incense accentuate the smokiness, while tobacco adds just the right amount of sweetness to the mix.
The leather accord in the drydown, partnered with woody notes of cypress and cedar, maintains the comfy feel.
It’s the olfactory equivalent of a music festival à la Woodstock, without the mud, dodgy toilets and generational comedown.
Mugler Cologne Fly Away EDT (Sonia Constant)
It took almost two decades for the French designer brand to add flankers to its brilliant original Mugler Cologne (discontinued but relaunched as Mugler Cologne Come Together). Based on this 2018 release alone, the wait was worth it.
Centred on two notes, it’s the definition of simplicity but with the high impact we’ve come to expect from the house.
It makes a substantial opening statement with a blast of grapefruit. It’s sharp, bitter, sunny and fresh.
The cannabis note, in a secondary role, is aromatic and herbal in style.
Fantastically refreshing and uplifting stuff!
Inspired by the mountain range that crosses Pakistan and Afghanistan and the marijuana strain of the same name, this 2018 release from the Paris-based niche brand goes the rich and complex route.
The opening is a heady blend of cannabis, incense and spices, with labdanum’s characteristic oriental depth in the background.
Patchouli builds on the resinous spiciness of the intro, leading the way to the drydown featuring an amber accord and vanilla. Its subtly sensual sweetness makes for a deft contrast to the initial intoxicating ambience.
As to be expected from Mancera, longevity and sillage are at a max here, so definitely not for blind-buying!
Byredo Open Sky EDP (Jérôme Epinette)
The Swedish niche brand’s description of this 2021 release gets all trippy on us: “a metaphysical homage to the experience of travel: a distillation of the journey itself… exploring the void between departure and destination”. Hmmm…
Let’s just say the intro sparkles with the fresh citrus tones of pomelo. There’s a trace of spicy black pepper in the background.
Strong-ish hemp leaves are given an aromatic and herbal treatment, while notes of vetiver and palo santo bring smoky woodiness to the drydown.
It’s an easy-going, uncomplicated addition to the genre.
Carolina Herrera Bad Boy Le Parfum EDP* (Bruno Jovanovic, Fanny Bal & Nicolas Beaulieu)
In a recent interview with Everfumed, Bruno Jovanovic explained how it took 12 years to find a brand that was daring enough to go with his idea of “something illicit that could turn ‘legal’ as soon as it became a fragrance”.
We’re pleased the American fashion house took the brave step as it brought the much-needed “bad boy” element to this 2021 release (we like the spiciness of the 2019 original, but it’s much too well-behaved for its own good).
It starts out fresh and aromatic with notes of cannabis (surprisingly robust) and grapefruit at the fore.
Black pepper adds hot spice, with a hint of green geranium in support.
Vetiver and a leather accord complete the composition with earthy smoothness.
Carolina Herrera 212 Heroes EDT (Carlos Benaim, Domitille Michalon & Juliette Karagueuzoglou )
In a display of the increasing respectability of the ’erb, the American fashion brand launched its second cannabis fragrance in 2021.
The skateboard-shaped bottle will tell you it’s a fun and youthful release and the scent itself confirms that too.
The opening is all about freshness, thanks to notes of sweet pear, spicy ginger, and, the brand tells us, lemon haze cannabis (a variety known for its citrus zestiness).
The fresh tone continues in a slightly subdued manner courtesy of geranium oil from Madagascar, with its fruity-mint and rose accents.
Perhaps because it’s aimed primarily at younger men, you must concentrate hard to pick up the cannabis note in this EDT. We like it anyway.
Fragrance Du Bois Cannabis Intense EDP (Shadi Samra)
This 2020 release from the Paris-based niche brand’s Nature’s Treasures Collection opens with the fresh spiciness of cardamom and orange notes. Pink peppercorns bring rosy aspects to the composition.
The cannabis note is suitably green and herbal but rendered in a most refined and smooth way (not skanky at all). As if a joint was dressed in a Hugo Boss suit. No, we’re not smoking the stuff…
There’s earthy spiciness going down with notes of saffron and nutmeg.
The drydown is woody and musky, with a smidgen of the brand’s signature oud just discernible.
Well-balanced and ultra-wearable, you might just be able to wear it to those interminable bored-room meetings to make things a little more interesting.
The company’s other cannabis scent, Fragrance du Bois Cannabis Blue, is also worth checking out if you’re looking for a more camphorous vibe.
Salle Privée Illegal Extrait de Parfum (Tanja Deurloo)
The Dutch niche brand went conceptual in 2021 with their Legal / Illegal duo. The former is seemingly innocent, while the latter makes a more rebellious declaration.
The opening is big on the spice of ginger and cardamom washed down with a boozy shot of aromatic absinthe.
A leather accord and the synthetic Cashmeran give it sensual muskiness.
Both vetiver and guaiac wood up the woody smokiness in the drydown.
And what about the cannabis? Smoky, yes, but more reserved than the copy on the brand’s website would have you believe. Plus, there’s cannabidiol, better known as CBD, in the blend. Don’t worry, this oil extract doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive compound that’ll get you high.