Just because you’re bundling up for winter doesn’t mean you have to keep your applied aroma under wraps as well. But what qualifies as a good winter fragrance? Typically, if your cologne or Eau De Toilette has any combination of spicy, woodsy or musky scents -- you’re in good shape. The idea is to project warmth, to rise above the cold and stand out like an oasis — a tree trunk holding strong beneath the snow, or a toasty log cabin filled with cider. At the very least, the right smell might radiate some placebo warmth. Ranging from the reasonably priced to the splurge-worthy, here's a selection of winter fragrances worth a whiff.
As its name might suggest, Narciso Rodriguez Bleu Noir is tricky to pin down (Bleu? Noir? Blue? Black? Which is it?). This surprising, flexible quality also seems to be one of its greatest strengths. It’s a sophisticated-looking Eau De Toilette that, at sub-$50, won’t sap your budget. Its blue-and-black bottle belies the warm and woodsy scent inside, featuring spicy notes of Nutmeg and Cardamom. This complexity makes it suitable for everyday activities or special occasions.
Grooming Lounge’s Our Best Smeller Cologne is suitable year-round and still ticks off the boxes for winter fragrance style. It kicks off with notes of Bergamot, then features spiced Black Peppercorn and Leather and finishes off with Vetiver and Vanilla. It can also work in tandem with the popular Best Smeller Body Wash. You’ll be one fragrant fellow.
Feel Like a Million
Paco Rabanne 1 Million is a standout fragrance that smells as good as it looks. Its complex scent kicks off with a citrusy vibe, then transitions into a spicy, leathery finish that users find uniquely masculine. The exterior resembles a safety deposit box (or just a gold bar depending how you look at it) so you know the contents are valuable—but at under $100, you don’t need seven figures to try it.
Fire in the Hole
For those who want to blow subtlety right out of the water, look out for the Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb. Part of this scent’s appeal can be explained by its novel, grenade-like bottle. But this is no gimmick; with a spicy scent combo of Cinnamon, Vetiver, Tobacco and Leather — just to name a few — the overall impact really is explosive. If that wasn’t enough, there’s even an “extreme” version.
The Life Acqua-tic
Innovative modernity and esteemed tradition come together in harmony with Acqua Di Parma’s Pura Eau De Cologne. The classic Italian brand takes on a modern formula while staying true to its roots for an intense personality. Look past the lofty tone and you’re likely to find a very suitable winter scent. Its citrusy top notes give way to spicy chords of Coriander.
All That Jazz
With the Replica “Jazz Club” by Maison Martin Margiela we move into pricier territory. But for strong believers of smell as sense memory, this fragrance offers a unique olfactory experience. Notes of Rum Absolute, Tobacco Leaf Absolute and Vanilla Bean will transport you to the robust yet smooth vibe of a Brooklyn jazz club, just the kind of place you’d like to step into after strolling the wintry streets.
Like a Fine Pine
No one does winter quite like Siberia. They know cold and they know woodsy - the inspiration behind the Russian Leather EDT from Molton Brown. It’s an intense concoction of Siberian Pine Oil, Birch and Leather Accord among other ingredients. Perfumer Loïc Bisceglie wanted to create “an unforgettable impression of a vast wilderness,” but make sure you wear it out in public so you can make an impression, too.