Nobody says you have to own more than one fragrance. If you’ve got your signature scent, then stand by it! But in some ways, that’s a lot like eating the same thing for dinner every night—or wearing the exact same uniform every day. You’ve got thousands upon thousands of options, so why not build out a small “fragrance wardrobe” of sorts? You can stay loyal to your signature scent and still have a flirtatious option for date nights, a crisp and breezy summer scent, or a warming and cosy option for winter.
The best winter fragrances for men wrap you like a cashmere sweater. They might be sophisticated and stirring (think smoke, leather, and spices), or elegant and work-friendly (like earthy or woody numbers) as well as sumptuous and inviting (including gourmand notes, such as vanilla, caramel, or chocolate).
Here’s an overview of those primary wintry categories, with context from fragrance expert Leila Zagwolsky, CEO & co-founder of LUXSB – Luxury Scent Box, a perfume subscription that provides customers with a monthly fragrance supply of their choice, to help find the one that’s worth committing to long term. Then, read on for our picks (and Zaglowsky’s) for the best winter fragrances.
Winter Fragrances: What Each Scent Says
Broodier and Sophisticated Notes: Smoke, Tobacco, Leather, Spices Musk, Suede
“These make a bold, powerful statement,” says Zagwolsky. “The fragrance wearer’s intent is to make an entrance, turn heads, be noticed, and be remembered.” These are a great fit for the office boss who wants to cast a radius of “I’m in charge, respectfully,” or for date night when you want to reassure whoever’s across the table that you’ve got the bill covered. Their warm and rich notes can feel luxurious while also creating a sense of comfort, Zagwolsky adds. “They keep you warm on a crisp morning or afternoon.”
Elegant and Everyday Notes: Woods (Oud, Pine, Birch, Cedar, Sandalwood), Amber, Patchouli, Resin
“There is a diverse olfactory experience with this category,” says Zagwolsky. “In general, these create warmth, transporting you to a wintry hike in a snowy mountain, or crisp cold air with an essence of a forest.” She says that these notes, when found in a winter scent, are the likeliest to provide perennial wear, too. (There are many woody and earthy notes in summer or spring scents, but certain winter expressions will feel profoundly warming and won’t necessarily translate to sunnier times of the year.)
Comforting and Inviting Notes: Vanilla, Tonka, Honey, Chocolate, Caramel, Almond, Hazelnut, Sugar, Coffee
If a note smells so good that you feel like you can devour it, then it’s probably a gourmand—a comforting choice that is especially perfect for winter. “Get ready to cuddle with your loved one by a fireplace or set the mood for a romantic dinner,” Zagwolsky says of gourmands. They also invite conversation, in a way that the broodier options might not. (Few people will outwardly comment on the fact that you smell like a sexy, leathery alpha male, while it’s much likelier they will comment on your approachable hazelnut and tonka combination.) These won’t wear as well in warmer seasons, but that just gives you something else to look forward to in winter. Think of these as the scented version of taking out your holiday decorations, and winter coats out of storage.
The Best Winter Fragrances for Men
Mind Games Grand Master
Of all Mind Games’ many fantastic scents, Grand Master is aptly named for its muscled-up mixture of incense, coffee, and myrrh. However, it plays a little subtler in person than its name might suggest. This one manages to be both sophisticated and sexy, like a single member of the C-Suite. It has a softer side, too, thanks to notes of fresh rose and sweet black currant.
Amouage Opus XIV Royal Tobacco
Krigler’s latest launch is a revelation and a beautiful winter scent with some serious perennial potential. It centres on fresh oud from Thailand, but layers on a roster of international ingredients: patchouli from Seychelles and the Philippines, Argentine tobacco, Kenyan black tea, Bulgarian rose, Brazilian coffee, Tuscan cedar, Indian cypress, Spanish labdanum, as well as Polish and American raspberries. The result is uplifting and stirring—again, it’s wintry at its core but will wear light enough in other seasons, while turning heads for its beautifully grounding finish. This unparalleled, top-shelf mélange is currently in limited supply, so don’t wait around. It’s also got profound endurance thanks to a 40 per cent perfume oil concentration, so a little goes a long way with this extract.
Ormonde Jayne Montabaco Intensivo