10 Best Strong Perfumes for Women

Let’s talk about some of the best strong perfumes for women!

When wearing a heavy perfume, it’s important to get the right balance between ‘strong and nice’, and ‘strong but you’re literally suffocating everyone around you’.


Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud Candle gift idea


"My personal preferences are sweet fragrances, with spice and ideally Oud based. If you want to smell your perfume for days, Oud is going to be your thing."


When I think of heavy perfumes, I always think of my grandmother’s generation. She and her friends all wore strong perfumes, but the trend then seemed to be that they had a Champagne/dusty note to them!  This gave great entertainment to my sister and I who would be permitted to play 'dress-up' at her vanity table occasionally... a fight would normally ensue where one of us would attempt to spray the other with the "stinky perfume", knowing full well that no amount of bathing would get the aroma off for days.

Thankfully the heavy perfume phenomenon has really developed over the last few years, and there are plenty of lovely, modern and rich fragrances to choose from. My tips on selecting a heavy fragrance are to work out whether you have a preference for sweet, floral, citrus or wood. Then take it from there!


Jo Malone Velvet rose & Oud Body Cream


My personal preferences are sweet fragrances, with spice and ideally Oud based. (Oud being an exotic and expensive base for fragrance, stemming from the Middle East). If you want to smell your perfume for days, Oud is going to be your thing.

My favourites, in no particular order -

  1. Jo Malone – Velvet Rose & Oud (Sweet, fruity, woody, spice)
  2. Jo Malone – Jasmine Sambac & Marigold (Floral, uplifting, summer, intense)
  3. Armani Prive – Vert Malachite (Jasmine, citrus, sweet vanilla)
  4. YSL – Black Opium (Candy floss, burned sugar, spice)
  5. Gucci – Bloom (Warm, Floral, patchouli, sweet)
  6. Atkinsons – Oud Save the Queen (Oud based. Sweet, exotic)
  7. Mac – Velvet Teddy (Chocolate, Spice, Caramel)
  8. Christian Louboutin – Trouble in Heaven (Amber, patchouli, exotic)
  9. Viktor & Rolf – Sparkling Secret (Citrus, Intense, patchouli)
  10. Guerlain – Cuir Beluga (Tobacco, Leather, Vanilla)

All of the above are intense, heavy and yet seductive. They vary in sweetness, some are slightly more floral than others and some have an almost ‘tobacco’ essence to them. I can verify however their staying power, with the ability to smell them on yourself all day.



Now I want to talk more specifically about Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose & Oud. I’ve been wearing this since 2012 and it’s really perfect for the summer. You see, it has a delicate sweetness to it, mixed with the deep woodiness of Oud. It smells exotic, hypnotic and rich.


Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud Body Cream review

Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud

I really enjoy having a Velvet Rose & Oud candle burning on summer evenings with a warm breeze coming through a window. The scent intermingles with the jasmine air from the garden and somehow it creates a really romantic summer's evening vibe.

The Dry Body Oil is my most used item from the range. Great in summer when you might be wearing shorts or skirts – the body oil moisturises and adds an attractive sheen to legs without being greasy.

It’s also my hack for getting skinny jeans on! Spray this on your legs and the tightest of skinnies SLIDE ON!

The body cream is a luxury product I use sparingly for evenings out and occasions. The consistency is pure luxury, incredibly hydrating, perfumed, and it sinks right in.


Velvet Rose & Oud Body Cream


Exotic Jo Malone Rose Body Cream


Have your say!

Have you tried any of the fragrances mentioned here? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you have a favourite you want to share? Comment below to join in the chat!


* DISCLAIMER: This post is in proud collaboration with Jo Malone London who kindly gifted me the products in the photos. And yes, my hands were agony after handling Ivy for this!!

Shop the perfumes mentioned:



  • 24 May 2019
  • Raffaella

Hi Sophie,

I read your post and I've just added some of the above parfums to my wish ( or better to see sniff) list.
I love patchouli based and long lasting parfums that's why I usually go for Eau de Parfum version if available.

Anyway a couple of years ago I fell in love for an old Kenzo edp.. Jungle L'elephant both patchouli and spices.. maybe you can try it on! It last at least 12h depending on skin type... it's alla about spices!

Then I fell for La Petite Robe Noir Black perfecto which is a Guerlain limited edition almost discontinued, it is different from La petite robe noir standard which has been used and misused last year!

Thank you for your post

  • 22 Jul 2018
  • Ieva O’Rourke

Interesting about Velvet Rose and Oud. I love it but always thought of it as a winter scent. I will try it now. Did you ever know Madeleine de Madeleine by Madeleine . It was my favorite in the 80s until it went off the market. Apparently it is available again. It is described as top notes of French tuberose, mimosa and Moroccan jonquil. Middle notes of Turkish otto of rose, jasmine, Roman chamomile. Dry down notes of oakmoss and orange flower.. Would you consider it a summer perfume or winter, or year round.? It is definitely STRONG!

Sophie Shohet

Hello Leva, I don't recall this perfume but based on the notes you describe it having I'm really interested. These are the elements I generally tend to like.

As for Velvet Rose & Oud - yes I can see how it could be good for winter! I feel like that about Pomegranate Noir - I get that out as soon as October hits! For me, I find the rose note in Velvet Rose balances it and makes it a good summer's evening scent.

Thank you for joining me here!xx


  • 10 Jun 2018
  • Sheila Gurr

I love Robert Piguet. Oud Delice and Armani/Prive Amber Eccentrico. Both delicious and long lasting.

Sophie Shohet

Thank you for sharing Sheila, I'm always on the look out for new strong fragrances! Hugs to you xx

  • 06 Jun 2018
  • Janine

Hi Sophie!
Lovely post, I very much enjoyed reading it.
I have tried the YSL Black Opium, which is definitely one of my holy grails especially for going out in the evening! Super intrigued by Velvet Teddy by MAC now, I mean, I have heard a lot of people talking about it, but never in a way that describes it as heavy, seductive and long-lasting - I have to check it out!
My number one perfume that fits this category is Alien by Thierry Mugler, have you tried that one? If I for example manage to get some in a scarf or jacket I’m wearing it lingers for days on end!

Much love,

Sophie Shohet

If you like Black Opium you MUST try Mac Velvet Teddy Janine! It is more chocolate/caramel than Black Opium and heavier I'd say. It is the most sexy fragrance xx

  • 06 Jun 2018
  • Loise Ferrag

You forgot about Baccarat.
420 dollars a bottle! So, maybe 480 euros one bottle of perfume.
Go try their red bottle and tell me about it......
All of those cheap perfumes are nothing, I swear...

  • 05 Jun 2018
  • Marta Wozniak

Hi Sophie,

I definitely share your love for heavy fragrances (and also love to reek of fabric conditioner !!!!)
Even as a teenager (early teens) I was in love with the (already) good old Obsession by Calvin Klein. Yes, the amber coloured one in an egg shaped bottle. It's not Oud'y but smokey and develops beautifully during the day!

I need to thank you for Oud Save the Queen as I didn't know it existed until you mentioned it a few years ago and now I'm hooked! Well, I've been even wearing the King version whenever I wanted something a tad cooler.

Another Oud'y scent if love to mention is Dior's Oud Ispahan. A couple of years ago, I was walking past Harrods and a Middle Eastern girl was in front of me. The smell of Oud was gorgeous so I approached her to compliment and ask what it was. Since then, Oud Ispahan also graces my perfume collection. It's Oud'y, intense but also multi-dimensional without the sickly rose addition Oud perfumes often end up having.

P.S. It's the first time I'm actually commenting on something despite being a follower for years. xxx

Sophie Shohet

Hi Marta!

Omg, I remember the Calvin Klein days lolol - as a teenager, mine was CK One! I havent smelt that in years, I wonder what memories it'd evoke! Exams I think - at least that's one time I remember wearing it....

I have not heard of Dior's Oud Ispahan and I'm glad you've told me. That perfume hall in Harrods seems to sell a lot of perfumes from the regular known brands that you can't buy from them at a makeup counter I have noticed. For example, Guerlain 'Cuir Beluga' (you must smell this when next in Harrods!) You can only buy this from the specialist perfume hall in there. I wonder if the Dior one is the same deal, hence why I haven't heard of it??

I'm going to give it a try on your recommendation though, thank you!xxx

  • 05 Jun 2018
  • Katarzyna Gardocka

Hi Sophie! Have you ever tried Dyptique Oud Palao? Amazing perfumes!!! Very strong, yet not overwhelming. Stay all day on my skin. Thank you for all your videos. I always enjoy watching them, never got bored!!! Have a great day xxx

Sophie Shohet

Dear Katarzyna! Hello to you and thank you so much for sharing this information with me! Weirdly, I haven't ever smelled the Diptique fragrances and in fact, I didn't even know they did them?! Thank you, I'm going to make a concious effort to keep an eye out for this. Thank you for your support in watching the vids and coming over here to talk to me - it's appreciated! xxx

  • 05 Jun 2018
  • Stephanie Louise Johnson

Hi Sophie! I'm on lunchbreak right now and I'm spending time enjoying your blog while I eat :) This article came at a good time, I'm going to my sisters wedding in July in Marbella. I want to get us both a new perfume we can wear on the day and I suddenly thought, Jo Malone do perfumes and matching candles! I'm now thinking of getting some candles for the wedding table. I don't want the typical floral wedding smell, she already likes the black range from JM, so I'm going to visit a store from your recommendation to smell Velvet Rose & Oud. Thanks and have a great day, love you! xoxo

Sophie Shohet

Hi Stephanie, I feel like I'm there with you on your lunchbreak now!! That's actually a really sweet idea you have - it would be so nice to have a perfume that when you both smell it in the future, it takes you back to that day :) You could even have the candles burning while you both get ready in the morning and then transfer them to the bridegroom table after to make the most out of it? I am so excited for you and your sister!!xx

  • 05 Jun 2018
  • Lola

CAME STRAIGHT FROM SEEING THIS ON YOUR INSTAGRAM!! I love Velvet Rose & Oud, have you tried any of the other cologne intense fragrances? They are really nice. Keep hearing you mention Oud Save the Queen, I'm interested in trying this. Thanks Soph!x

Sophie Shohet

Lola! Long time no speak!!!

I'm with you - i like the intense range because of how strong it is - I love Jasmin Sambac & Marigold - this is new out and you MUST try it. Oud Save The Queen is brilliant too, the same intensity I'd say xxx

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