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
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
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
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.