What do you want your signature scent to be this winter? Here are 19 great-smelling winter cologne options!
Those freezing temperatures are just around the corner, and in the blink of an eye you will find yourself digging out cashmere sweaters, shivering in your overcoats and draping those scarves elegantly round your neck.
It is time to think about the next most important element of your wardrobe – namely, your fragrance. The light, fresh, breezy scents of summer will no longer cut it, unfortunately. They should now be relegated to the back of your bathroom cabinet.
What Makes a Good Winter Cologne?
Summer scents are just too skimpy to make an impact when it is 20 degrees outside.
You need a bold and in-your-face fragrance, not a fleeting, maybe whisper of a scent.
It is time to take charge and to seek out those musky, deeper notes of oud, amber, cedarwood, vanilla or sandalwood in a fragrance designed to go the distance.
Luckily, there are plenty of options on the market.
Here is our top recommended list of the best fall and winter colognes. If possible, try to test them on your skin before buying, as fragrance is largely dependent on your particular pH balance and body chemistry.
What is Oud?
A quick note here: you will soon notice how many fragrances these days contain oud. It has become one of the most popular raw fragrance additives in the world, and the darling of designers around the world.
Oud is one of the most expensive perfume ingredients in the world; it is said to be 1.5 times the value of gold.
The finest oud oil can retail for $50,000 per kilo. Oud has an intoxicating, animalistic, sweet, musky, woodsy scent and it has been used for centuries in India in religious ceremonies.
It comes from the tropical Agar tree, also called the Aquilaria, and it is formed when the tree is invaded by a type of parasitic mold called Phialophora parasitica, causing a dark, sweet resin to form.
Yes, oud is a parasitic mold, strangely enough, but do not let that put you off.
Aquilaria trees are not only endangered, but the resin only forms in about 2% of the trees, hence the soaring price of oud for use fragrances on the world market.
Short on time? Here are our top three picks for the best winter colognes you can buy right now:
Tom Ford Noir a rich and spicy scent that doesn’t apologize for making a bold statement. It is a Amber-y, woody, deeply rich fragrance. Tom Ford Noir possesses a blend of violet, pink pepper, caraway, verbena, bergamot, and ginger.
Paco Rabanne 1 Million has a surprisingly fresh, sensual, bittersweet blend of grapefruit, blood orange and peppermint in its top notes. In the woody, spicy category, this fragrance is beautifully presented in a luxurious gold bottle
Read on for more info and the complete list…
The Best Men’s Colognes for Winter 2023
Here they are, in no particular order…
Tom Ford Oud Wood Intense Eau de Parfum
This is a fragrance powerful enough to announce your presence, but one which will only scare off those who are not cool enough to understand. Loud, perhaps. Persistent, certainly.
It takes the original Oud Wood up a notch – and then some. Tom Ford himself describes it as “Unrestrained. Lavish. Intense.”
Oud Wood Intense starts out with a hit of spice, then fades into essence of oud with the kind of smoky intensity of burning wood, angelica, cypress, ginger and castoreum.
With leathery undertones and faint hints of juniper, Oud Wood Intense is for a bold, masculine man who needs to be seen and appreciated for his great taste – and it is perfect, of course, for winter wear.
Acqua Di Gio Absolu Eau De Parfum
Be prepared to have women you don’t even know stop and ask what fragrance you are wearing. Not a bad thing, right? Acqua di Gio Absolu is the new iteration of the original Armani fragrance, and it was launched in 2018.
If you can imagine hints of marine and woody tobacco, blended with grapefruit, patchouli and amber you will have it. It is earthy, it’s sensual, it’s sophisticated and it’s totally masculine. Women seem to love it – and it won’t break the bank either.
Creed Royal Oud
Enjoyed and often worn by both men and women, Creed Royal Oud is in the woody, spicy aroma category. It is refined and sophisticated, with a fresh, clear opening and with deeper, incense- like base notes of oud, sandalwood, and Tonkin musk.
With Calabrian lemon, pink berry, Sicilian bergamot, and heart notes of cedar, galbanum, angelica root, if you are not a fan of those slightly lemony-sharp top notes, you will soon come to appreciate its almost creamy, woody, dry fragrance once it settles down on your skin.
Be prepared to pay a typical Creed price tag, though.
Paco Rabanne 1 Million
We are not guaranteeing you will automatically look like a million dollars when wearing this fragrance, but you will certainly smell like it.
In the woody, spicy category, this fragrance is beautifully presented in a luxurious gold bottle which is meant to represent the ultimate in wealth and power.
Paco Rabanne 1 Million has a surprisingly fresh, sensual, bittersweet blend of grapefruit, blood orange and peppermint in its top notes, with neroli, rose, cinnamon and nutmeg heart notes combined into patchouli, oud (there it is again!) and labdanum base notes.
Although it was originally released in 2008, it is a must-have for the cooler weather and it is still one of the most iconic fragrances around, especially for the younger male market.
John Varvatos x Nick Jonas Limited Edition
Launched in October of 2018, the nose behind this fragrance, dedicated to pop idol Nick Jonas, is Carlos Vinals.
It’s is envisioned for spending winter nights out clubbing in the city, so a younger audience is envisioned.
You will appreciate top notes of Calabrian bergamot, Cuban rum, apple, coffee C02 and cedar leaf, combined with saffron, amber, suede and amber middle notes, combined with base notes of patchouli, incense, musk and vetiver.
Dynamic and irresistible, it was created to “capture the pulsing energy of the city as dusk settles and nightlife takes over.” Party on!
Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood
Here is another fragrance with rich, aromatic oud as an ingredient, but this time it is more discreet.
Wonderwood is subtle, spicy and smokey with top notes of bergamot, nutmeg, pepper, and Somalian frankincense. Its heart notes are of cashmeran, gaiac, caraway and cedar wood, with base notes of sandalwood, oud (there it is again) and vetiver.
If you like a woody fragrance tempered with a goodly portion of sweetness and spiciness, this one is for you. It is a little more reserved than other winter scents, but still packs a nice oud-y punch.
Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme
The name says it all. The Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme bottle looks like a hand grenade – and it will give you a knock-your-socks-off-in-a-good-way blast of spicy, oriental-y fragrance that is both long-lasting and distinctive.
Look for hints of chilli, saffron and leather mixed with grapefruit, bergamot and elemi for a sexy, warm scent that stays with you all day and into evening, without overpowering you or any loved ones surrounding you. One spritz is all you need.
Dunhill London Century Eau de Parfum Spray
Here is another take on sophistication brought to you by the “veddy proper” British luxury goods manufacturer, dunhill London. (Yes, in case you did not know, the ‘d’ has to be lower case.)
It was created by legendary perfumer, Carlos Benaïm. Let’s look at its construction; top notes include bergamot, grapefruit and mandarin; heart notes are essences of neroli, cardamom and olibanum and base notes contain sandalwood, musk and cypriol.
It opens with a citrus freshness before becoming spicy in a musky, woodsy but not overpowering way. Century is not a hugely complicated fragrance, and it will not knock you sideways, but to us it is elegance personified, rather like a true British gentleman.
Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
Watch out. This fragrance may announce your presence long before you come into view. That’s actually not as bad as it sounds, because Tobacco Vanille is rich, addictive and potent, rather like a great cigar.
It opens up with a powerful blast of sweetness in an intoxicating blend of vanilla and tobacco, cocoa and tonka bean. Don’t be put off by its powerful sweetness, though.
Stick with it and you’ll discover layers of cinnamon and other spices below which temper its sugary first impression. This fragrance packs a punch at first, but it has great longevity and versatility.
You can wear it to work, in moderation, then forget about it as you go out in the evening. It will not forget about you, however. You will get positive reactions all day (and night) long.
Yves Saint Laurent la Nuit de L’Homme
La Nuit De L’Homme is both seductive and mysterious. It is perfect for a night out, as its tony French name implies.
La Nuit De L’Homme opens with invigorating notes of cardamom, lavender, and bergamot, and settles into a smooth and warm blend of Virginia cedar, iris, and vetiver.
The base is a comforting mix of tonka bean, vetiver, caraway, and coumarin.
This fragrance is both sophisticated and masculine, making it a great choice for any winter occasion. Suitable for any man who wants to make a lasting impression.
Opulent, spicy, and elegant.
Gucci Guilty Pour Homme
This is a fragrance for the bold and daring, with a mix of fresh and masculine scents.
The top notes are juniper, lemon, and mandarin, while the heart is composed of orange blossom, nutmeg, labdanum, and lavender.
The base of cedar and patchouli give this scent a grounding and warm finish.
Wear this one if you’re into making a statement and standing out from the crowd.
Woodsy, aromatic, daring.
Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men
This is a classic, masculine scent that exudes sophistication and refinement. It begins with bold notes of grapefruit, coriander, and basil, followed by a smooth blend of cardamom, ginger, and orange blossom.
The base is a warm mix of tobacco, cedar, and amber, making it a timeless fragrance for any winter wardrobe.
Woodsy, spicy, a classic scent.
Launched in 2015 and advertised by Johnny Depp, this is a grounding and earthy fragrance with a woody scent, perfect for a sophisticated and masculine winter fragrance.
It starts with fresh and bold notes of bergamot and pepper, followed by a smooth blend of lavender, pink pepper, vetiver, patchouli, geranium, and elemi. The base is a warm mix of ambroxan, cedar, and labdanum.
‘Radically fresh, raw, and wild’ — as Dior explains in their marketing materials.
This is a fragrance for the man who wants to be noticed. It opens with bright notes of mint, green apple, and lemon, followed by a warm and comforting blend of tonka bean, geranium, and vanilla.
The base is a grounding mix of cedar, oakmoss, vetiver, and atlas cedar.
Inspired by Greek mythology, masculinity, and love, this fragrance is intended to ‘release unrestrained passion.’ See if it works for you.
Aromatic, unique, masculine.
Diptyque Tam Dao
Go for it! This one will knock you sideways — in the very best good way, of course. It’s a unisex fragrance with exquisite notes of sandalwood, amber, and cedar, and a fresh woody base that finishes with a surprisingly delicate creaminess.
This is one of the best-smelling fragrances out there. Wear it for the office and on any professional occasion. You and your colleagues will love it.
Exotic and warm with strong Asian and sandalwood overtones.
Tom Ford Noir
Typical of Tom Ford fragrances, this is a rich and spicy scent that doesn’t apologize for making a bold statement.
It opens with violet, pink pepper, caraway, verbena, bergamot, and ginger, followed by a sophisticated blend of rose, iris, orange blossom, geranium clary sage, and rose.
The base is a warm and grounding mix of vanilla, amber, civet, leather, benzoin, vetiver, and patchouli.
Amber-y, woody, deeply rich.
Prada Luna Rossa
This fragrance was launched in 2012 and named after the sailboat and sailing team “Red Moon” or Luna Rossa. It is a clean and fresh scent that is both invigorating and sophisticated.
It begins with bright notes of lavender, bitter orange, and bergamot, followed by a masculine blend of spearmint and iris.
The base is a warm mix of ambroxan, amber, and musk.
Fresh, invigorating with a marine vibe.
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male
A bold and masculine amber fougère that makes a statement. It opens with fresh notes of mint and lavender, cardamon, and bergamot, followed by a warm blend of orange blossom, caraway, and cinnamon.
Base notes are a smooth mix of vanilla and tonka bean, sandalwood, and cedar.
Sensual, bold, fresh, warm, and masculine.
Giorgio Armani Code
A sophisticated and masculine scent that is as refined as it is bold. It starts with bright and invigorating notes of bergamot and lemon, followed by a warm blend of star anise, olive flower, and guaiac wood.
The base is a grounding mix of tonka bean, tobacco, and leather.
Amber-y, spicy, refined.
Questions About Winter Colognes
Here are the answers to some questions you may have about winter fragrances.
Do I Need a Dedicated Winter Cologne?
Of course you don’t need a cologne that you only wear in the winter, but you may prefer to have different scents based around the time of year.
What Should a Winter Cologne Smell Like?
Colognes that are robust and spicy fit very well during winter. You can think of a scent as warming for the winter where as spring and summer colognes are typically more sweet, subtle and cool.
Which Scent Will You Choose?
We’ve given you some great suggestions for fall and winter colognes, and even though you might be tempted to stick with your one favorite fragrance all year round, remember that your own smell alters with the seasons.
When the temperature changes, your body odor changes with it. In winter you need a heavier, woodier, spicier, and more lasting fragrance; lighter, refreshing perfumes go better with the summer months.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!