You have been wearing that same cologne for how long now? Yes, it smells fine and your high school prom date bought it for you (and yes, it was true love) but don’t you think it’s time to try some new scents. We know change is scary, but the only thing more frightening for a man is COMITMENT (the last thing you want is to wake up one morning in your 60’s next to that same bottle of aerosol fragrance you started using around the time you began growing hair on your face).
So, let’s have an open relationship with our colognes – just make sure you know what you are doing – and that is what we are here for.
One of the best ways to keep your scent game fresh is to have different scents for different occasions and seasons – think: subtle for work, bold for dates, fruity for summer, floral for spring – and with the winter season rolling in we want to help you find that perfect signature smell for the cold months.
During warmer weather you might gravitate toward light fruity smells infused with floral notes (from big, manly, dangerous flowers of course) but during the winter we get to be a little darker – more brooding. When the air around us is crisp and cold, and the snow is lighting on our lover’s warm cheeks, we want scents of leather and whisky and warm fire-places creating our olfactory aura. We want to create a scent that says to our companion (or the object of our loving pursuit) “I am a man, I will keep you safe, I will provide for you, I will buy you anything you want this Holiday season so long as I don’t have to visit your parents!”
The most popular aromatic notes in our favorite winter colognes are tobacco, leather and wood with hints of bergamot and vanilla. These are the sophisticated scents that radiate manly warmth and will guarantee many admirers this season.
So, naturally we reviewed the best, longest lasting winter scents for your wearing pleasure. To make it onto our coveted list the scent must be a true winter cologne, not something you would want to wear before November or after March, a true standard of seasonal scent. The cologne must also be a long-lasting fragrance. Unfortunately, in our quest for the perfect aroma, we found many colognes couldn’t even last through the day – we did not include these fleeting fragrances. We want something that stays with you, that gets into your blood, that becomes part of your very winter being! (ok, maybe just something that doesn’t disappear by lunch).
Top 5 Winter Fragrance Picks
Crank up the Bob Dylan and spray this on your pulse points! Spanish Leather is a beautifully rich, bold scent that is perfect for winter wear. A long-lasting fragrance that is dominated by a woody, leathery base then infused with hints of patchouli, bergamot, cinnamon, vanilla, earth moss and even a light touch of fruit. Now I know we said fruity scents should be reserved for the summer (citrus’ like bergamot are fine) but this subtle aromatic addition to the cologne is less Pina Colada-by-the-beach more Old-Fashioned-by-the-fire and is not leading at all – just right. Oh, and this classic fragrance has been melting hearts like icicles in hot coco since 1814 when Truefitt & Hill first released the gentlemanly Spanish Leather scent – an amazing winter scent that has stood the test of time.
This relatively new fragrance producer has been putting in work over the last 15-plus-years releasing some of the most versatile and popular scents available. Now, we know this is marketed as a “unisex” Eau de Parfum but have a little faith (and a confident swagger) and this Formula Eleven will be a memory maker for many more winters to come.
This attar starts out with chili pepper and myrrh (yes, the same stuff a certain sage king brought to a certain swaddled child) and then introduces notes of clove and cinnamon bark and finishes off with intimations of clean sandalwood and pipe tobacco. A gorgeously warm feeling that will be perfect for the cold weather, this bold scent will still be lingering when you cozy up in front of the fire with your companion at night.
# 3 – London by Burberry
Some things just don’t change – your new phone will always be outdated within a month, lines at your local government office will always move slower than a one-legged ant with rheumatism, someone at your office holiday party will always get more drunk than a 70’s era Keith Richards let loose in a Jack Daniel’s distillery, and London by Burberry will always be the perfect winter scent.
This enduring cologne begins like a good holiday cocktail with lavender, cinnamon and bergamot; then hits the woody, leathery staple that we find in all endearing cold weather scents; and finally rounds off with a tone that is earthier than anything else on our list invoking traces of moss and tobacco leaves – a definite contender for your winter signature character.
Gatta love the name and it is fitting of the cologne – dark and rebellious indeed. This brooding fragrance is emotionally distant and devil-may-care and pretty much a total bad ass – Johnny Strabler meets James Bond. Rich tobacco leaves and thick rum light upon a dusky wood as notes of pepper and black leather dance around this smoke-filled room. This is the type of fragrance that will make the object of your affection swoon in the dark shadow of the mystery casted by your scent (what an image there!) – basically, this cologne is going to drive them mad and then into your arms (which is what we all want, an insane person to have and hold, to love and cherish). Of all the colognes we reviewed, Dark Rebel was the edgiest without being overbearing, and it will last well into the night (or morning depending on your stamina).
Need we say more? I thought not. Basically, you will smell like an immaculately tailored tobacconist who enjoys white confectionaries and the company of officers and gentlemen and even more gentlemen and scholars (because he is too occupied with his lover to be an officer, gentleman or scholar himself and has the undying envy of all three). Smooth tonka been and sharp vanilla intersect woody tobacco notes and hints of pine resin in this bold concoction by Tom Ford.
This is the quintessential winter fragrance and breathes life into all the memories and desires every man has of and for this treasured season. Its simple elegance is perhaps what makes this cologne so wonderful, there is never too much going on but always enough, and we would expect nothing less from one of our favorite houses.
Staples: Longest Lasting Winter Fragrances Around
These are widely known to last and laast and laaast. We haven’t specifically reviewed them on this occasion but consensus in the online community is that they’re long lasting and powerful.
1 Million Paco Rabanne
A*Men Thierry Mugler
Antaeus Chanel for Men
Aramis by Aramis for Men
Black Aoud Montale
Dior Homme Intense
Dior Homme Parfum
Eau Sauvage Parfum Christian Dior
Kouros Yves Saint Laurent
Lagerfeld Classic Karl Lagerfeld
L’Air du Desert Marocain
Le Male Jean Paul Gaultier
L’Instant de Guerlain pour Homme Eau Extreme
Tuscan Leather Tom Ford
Words of Warning When Choosing Your Winter Fragrance
For the next couple months please refrain from anything overly floral, fruity, citrusy.. In other words don’t wear summer fragrances in winter.
With all these wonderful winter options for you to choose from there is no need to subject yourself to the mundane, overused or even offensive odors that often grace the skin of men during this special season.
Like these two overused but neither great nor lasting winter fragrances:
Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche
One of the best-selling fragrances of all time, and that is why you should avoid Drakkar. Everyone and their little brother (and their little brother’s dog, and their little brother’s dog’s stuffed toy) use this 80’s era smell and frankly we are tired of it. Be different, take a chance. There are so many colognes out there, even some great brand names that are more unique than this tired odor, take your pick – be bold.
Polo Red by Ralph Lauren
This is great winter cologne… if you are a 16-year-old football player who just made the varsity squad and is planning on going to his first prom next week if he can find a tux rental that fits. If you are a mature, sophisticated male specimen who wants to exude an aura of worldliness and intelligence this winter, please, just don’t. You are better than this and capable of more cultured choices.
Another two fragrances that in our opinion are better to be avoided are Armani Code and The One for Men Dolce&Gabbana. These may be fine enough fragrances but they’re not long lasting at all. Plus, the fact that they’re probably the most sold fragrances in recent years is enough to put them in the NOT recommended category.
At the end, we need to mention three great winter perfumes that are listed under long lasting staples above but are unfortunately too popular for its own good: Le Male Jean Paul Gaultier, 1 Million Paco Rabanne and Joop! Homme. If the fact of their popularity doesn’t bother you they’re still great option for you.