The best winter colognes are worth giving a shot, because what soothes the senses in June is far different from what calms you in December.

Spring and summer scents are more fresh, floral, and fruity. As the weather drops, you’re gonna wanna swap in some wood and spice and shit like that. These cold-weather fragrances will warm you up—not literally but in a placebo kind of way. Same with anyone you might encounter. Look for ingredients like cedar, vetiver, amber, cinnamon, incense, and leather.

But don’t look too hard. We already did that for you. You’re certain to find a cold-weather companion just in time for cuffing season.


The Winter Winner Is…

This is my signature scent. I wear it all fall and winter. And let me tell you: I’ve never worn something that has gotten so many compliments—no sunglasses, no sneakers, no full-body rubber suit. People actually turn their heads and ask me what I’m wearing. And then they jot down the product name. Arquiste’s masterpiece introduces itself with Malabar black pepper and Persian saffron, gives way to coffee, sandalwood, myrrh, and Spanish leather, and embraces you all day with a blanket of frankincense, balsam, and cade juniper. All of Arquiste’s scents have a rich backstory, and Nanban is inspired by a 17th-century diplomatic samurai excursion to the Western world. (Whew!) It warms the senses like hot tea, infused with spices, wherein that first sip sends a current of flavor and electricity through your entire being. No embellishment there: Nanban is liquid gold.

Silver Medal, by a Sliver

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Histoires de Parfums “1828”

Like Arquiste, all of Histoires de Parfums’s scents draw inspiration from the past. 1828 is an ode to sci-fi writer and world traveler Jules Verne, whose stories were inspired by the smells, sights, and sounds of far-off places (he wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, and Journey to the Center of the Earth.) First you get bright, citrusy top notes like grapefruit and tangerine, with eucalyptus stowing away for a sanguine sendoff to the spicy heart notes. Indonesian nutmeg and Madagascar black pepper turn up the heat—and anchor this as a winter favorite—then it finishes with cedar, incense, vetiver, and pine.

Olfactive Optimism on Gray Days

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Acqua di Parma “Colonia Pura”

Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Pura is olfactive optimism: Bergamot and orange give you a citrusy kick, while narcissus, jasmine, and coriander add warmth and spice to the heart notes. Like all the best winter colognes, there’s a warm base burning longest and strongest are patchouli, cedar, and mus—it’s the fragrant equivalent to throwing another log on the fire. 

Daydreaming of Spring

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DedCool “Fragrance 05 ‘Spring’”

DedCool has all the makings of an LA-based scent brand: It only conjures gender-neutral, vegan, non-toxic, natural-ingredient fragrances. My favorite of the bunch for winter is ironically called “Spring”. But that’s actually apt, because it reminds the wearer of brighter days ahead, but has the requisite top and base notes of a stellar winter scent: Bergamot and cardamom are your first impression, while moss, patchouli), and vetiver stick with you hours after application. Rounding out the heart is a spring-like buoyancy thanks to geranium and lavender, with a touch of incense to remind you that this one works perennially.

10 More Winter Fragrances We Love

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Etat Libre d’Orange “Exit The King”

This one is soapy, which always feels silly when describing a fragrance, but it’s oh so fresh, and Exit the King combines that with a spirit-warming envelopment of patchouli and oakmoss.
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Hugo Boss “Boss Bottled”

A longstanding staple in the Boss fragrance family, Boss Bottled blends of crisp apple, cinnamon, mahogany, vetiver, cedar, sandalwood, and vanilla. It’s a great contender for perennial wear, but you’ll probably want to save it for October-thru-April for its warming, stirring skill.

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Krigler “Abrakaadabra 221”

This is a hiiiiighly concentrated perfume oil blend (performing well above the strong Eau de Parfums on this list), was conjured to incite hope and healing in a time we need it most. It summons bergamot, aldehydes, Indian pepper, sandalwood, vanilla, tonka beans, and musk for a powerful and positive projection—both literally and figuratively.

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Allsaints Leather Skies Eau de Parfum (was $79, 30% off)

One of our favorite leather fragrances, this one combines the suave hero note with sandalwood, pepper, and frankincense. This heavenly medley wraps the wearer just like one of the brands’ own cowhide jackets.
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Gucci “Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme”

Look, I don’t understand the nomenclature either, but it sure is fun to say “Gucci Gucci By Gucci Pour Homme”. And GGBGPH is equally fun to wear, with its cypress-tobacco swarm that you’d think would pull it deep into winter-fragrance territory. (It’s one of the best tobacco scents, it should be noted.) It wears well in the year’s darkest, coziest days, but also from September to May without it feeling “too heavy” in fall and spring.
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Diptyque Tempo Eau de Parfum

Tempo is the perfect execution on patchouli—an ingredient you definitely shouldn’t be afraid of, despite its outdated reputation. It’s earthy and woody at the same time, with lighter notes of violet leaf to punch things up.

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Hermès Terre D’Hermès Eau Intense Vétiver

With a simple twist on Terre D’Hermès—the embellishment of vetiver and Sichuan pepper—Hermès has blessed us with Eau Intense Vétiver, one of 2018’s freshest launches. If you’re a fan of the brand’s classic scent, you’ll note fewer orange notes in favor of the pronounced woody and subtle spicy ones. But it isn’t lacking citrus tones; it’s just a wintry version of the original.

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Byredo Eleventh Hour

Cashmere wood and tonka beans anchor Byredo’s latest, which opens with crisp bergamot and Sichuan pepper. At its heart is a curious combination of carrot seeds, rum, and fig. It all adds up to a spicy and woody potpourri (in a good way) with an after-hours vibe.

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Louis Vuitton Orage

Orage, which means “Thunderstorm”, is an intricate blend of patchouli, vetiver, fresh iris, musky ambrette, and crisp bergamot. If you’re in the market for a top-tier signature scent—and one that nobody in your office is likely to have (or lucky enough to have)—then pick this.
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Le Labo Tonka 25

“Warm skin and resinous wood” is how Le Labo describes this one, and while that reads a bit like a bad tote-bag slogan, it’s 100% accurate for the scent. Don’t shy away if you’re vanilla-averse, either: The sweet tonka beans are balanced by musk, wood, and a splash of orange flower. In a field of stellar scents at Le Labo, Tonka 25 holds its own against heavyweights like Santal 33 and Bergamote 22.

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D.S. & Durga Amber Teutonic

Amber Teutonic is as tailored for the season as can be: It combines notes of cedar, cone, larch, resin, pine, and musk into one big wintry wallop. This isn’t one you’ll likely wear year round, unless you, uh, reverse migrate each summer. But it’ll warm the spirits of anyone in your radius—a olfactive whisky, if you will.


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The Best Leather Colognes for Fall 

They’re warm and cozy—just the thing when the days start to get shorter. 

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