What's the best smelling winter cologne for men in 2023?
Gents – naming one single cologne as the best of all time just isn't possible.
I'm often asked questions like this, and my answer is always the same:
‘It's all down to your own personal opinion.'
As with most style topics – a lot of what makes cologne smell great to a man is his own personal taste.
I've tried a lot of different colognes across the years and wear different scents for different occasions. So I thought instead of trying to suggest a single, perfect scent to you – I would outline my top 10 fragrances for this time of year and let you guys decide for yourselves.
In this article, I'm making it easy for you and giving you my top 10 best smelling winter colognes for men in 2023.
Gents – let's get to it.
- Tom Ford – Tobacco Vanille
- Kilian – Apple Brandy On The Rocks
- Parfums De Marly – Carlisle
- Paco Rabanne – 1 Million
- Dolce & Gabbana – The One For Men
- Creed – Viking Cologne
- Tom Ford – Black Orchid
- Burberry – London For Men
- Parfums De Marly – Layton
- Vince Camuto – Virtu EDT
- Eight & Bob – Nuit De Megeve EDP
- Thierry Mugler – A* Man
- Dior – Homme Intense
- Armaf – Club de Nuit Intense For Men
- Creed – Bois De Portugal
- Victor & Rolf Spicebomb
- Chanel – Bleu De Chanel
- Georgio Armani – Armani Code Absolu
- Calvin Klein – CK One Shock For Men
- Creed – Royal Oud
This article is sponsored by Parfums De Marly: inspired by the 18th-century court of Louis XV, these colognes hark back to the golden age of perfumery and take inspiration from the gardens of Versaille.
One of my favorite colognes in their collection? Parfums De Marly's Greenley (Click here to check it out). This is an energizing daytime fragrance with top notes of Sicilian bergamot, mandarin, green apple and cashmere wood.
Looking to sample some of Parfums De Marly's great scents? Head on over to their website and pick up the discovery set – a great collection of 10ml samples that I love and I'm sure you will too.
Tom Ford – Tobacco Vanille
First up, we have this amazing (and very wintery) men's fragrance by Tom Ford.
Even though the name is Tobacco Vanille, take note that the smells of cinnamon and honey are far stronger and more prevalent.
What ingredients make up this top men's cologne?
This Eau de Parfum is ideal for autumn and winter nights. Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille is a versatile choice that works for both formal and casual wear.
And it's got a beast performance – spray it correctly, and it can last on you for over 20 hours.
- Top Notes: Tobacco Leaf, Spicy Notes
- Heart Notes: Tonka Bean, Tobacco Blossom, Vanilla, Cacao
- Base Notes: Dried Fruits, Woody Notes
Kilian's Apple Brandy On The Rocks
The name Apple Brandy conjures up memories of dates on cold and crisp fall days. If you're looking for a fragrance that reminds a woman of time spent together with mulled wine and apple-picking, this fragrance won't disappoint.
Presentation is an important part of a fragrance as well and Kilian's premium lockbox design separates it from the crowd.
This new version of Apple Brandy was released in 2021, and stands up to the quality and appeal of the now-discontinued original.
- Top notes: Cinnamon, Bergamot
- Heart notes: Apple, Rum, Pineapple, Brandy, Vanilla, Moss
- Base notes: Cedar
Carlisle by Parfums De Marly
Carlisle is a spicy-sweet explosion that communicates power and masculinity. This is a fragrance with strong projection and great longevity to match at up to nine hours.
Take Layton from Parfums De Marly and add a feeling of being in a dark wood – this is a rich fragrance best kept for fall and winter. The bottle is black for a reason!
- Top Notes: Green Apple, Nutmeg
- Heart Notes: Tonka Bean, Rosa
- Base Notes: Vanilla, Patchouli
Paco Rabanne's 1 Million
A woody and spicy modern classic very popular with men looking to draw in the ladies. 1 Million has an intense sweet note that reminds me of bubblegum. This gives the fragrance a youthful and relaxed character that makes it the perfect choice for a young man.
The combination of sweetness and spiciness makes this best for fall and winter.
- Top Notes: Grapefruit, Mint, Blood Mandarin
- Heart Notes: Rose, Cinnamon, Spicy Notes
- Base Notes: Leather, Woody Notes, Amber, Indian Patchouli
Dolce & Gabbana – The One for Men
I love this men's fragrance. When it comes to safe-bet colognes for the winter months, this pick definitely stands out.
Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men EDT is noticeably warm and sweet, but also classy and masculine at the same time.
It's probably due to the scents of cinnamon and vanilla that almost every woman loves. Then again, almost every woman will have smelled it before.
Top notes are namely coriander, basil, and grapefruit. Heart notes meanwhile contain ginger, orange blossom, and cardamom.
You'll enjoy tobacco, amber, and cedar notes for the base. Performance-wise, you can expect this men's cologne to last the whole event. And the real beauty of this fragrance is it's ideal for all seasons except summer.
- Top Notes: Coriander, Basil, Grapefruit
- Heart Notes: Ginger, Orange Blossom, Cardamom
- Base Notes: Amber, Cedar, Tobacco
Creed Viking Cologne
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Viking? If you said “a big, burly man with a long beard,” then you're not wrong.
Creed Viking Cologne is a big, bold fragrance that definitely lives up to its name. It's a woody, spicy scent that will make you feel like the king of the Northmen.
This is one of those colognes that's not for the faint of heart. It's strong, it's intense, and it lingers all day long.
Creed Viking Cologne is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a statement fragrance that will turn heads. Just be aware that it's not for everybody – some people might find it a bit too overwhelming.
Viking Cologne is also one of the most complex fragrances in the Creed lineup. If you pay close enough attention (and you've got the expert nose of a master perfumer), you should be able to pick up 16 individual notes within this fragrance.
It's a great go-between that can help a man make that awkward journey between the super hot summer and ice-cold winter.
In short, Creed Viking is a head-turner that's guaranteed to smell great on a day out with the family.
- Top Notes: Pink Pepper, Spicy Mint, Bergamot, Lemon, Absinth, Orange
- Heart Notes: Lavender, Rose, Clove, Allspice, Orris Root, Jasmine
- Base notes: Vetiver, Cedar, White Musk, Tonka Bean
Tom Ford – Black Orchid
Black Orchid is the perfect scent for men who want something unique and different.
Not only does Black Orchid smell great, but it also lasts long. You won't have to worry about reapplying every few hours as you might with some other colognes.
I'll be honest – this fragrance might be a bit too floral for guys who prefer traditionally ‘masculine' fragrances. Technically, Tom Ford's Black Orchid is actually a unisex fragrance so it can be worn by both men and women.
What this means is, unlike male fragrances, Tom Ford's Black Orchid won't make you smell like an old-school man. If that's what you're going for then this might not be the best cologne for you.
However, if you're looking for something unique and different, Black Orchid is definitely worth checking out. It's perfect for making a statement and turning heads wherever you go.
Ultimately, Black Orchid is a great choice for any man who wants to make a statement without going too over the top. It's perfect for special occasions or date nights – but I'd avoid wearing it at the office. In small spaces with lots of people, it can be quite overpowering.
- Top Notes: Truffle, Gardenia, Blackcurrant, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine, Bergamot, Orange, Lemon
- Heart Notes: Orchid, Spices, Gardenia, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine, Lotus
- Base Notes: Chocolate, Patchouli, Vanille, Incense, Amber, Sandalwood, Vetiver, White Musk
Burberry London For Men
Burberry's London for Men is another excellent fragrance that doesn’t break the bank. Antoine Maisondieu created a unique combination of sweet, sour, tobacco, and pepper to make a versatile scent.
Often called “Christmas in a bottle”, London for Men has a cinnamon and black pepper opening. The tobacco in this scent has a cherry feeling to it, giving this fragrance a sweet and spicy feel, with tobacco leaf and wood – and a side of soft leather.
Similar to Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford, London for Men can be a divisive scent. It takes confidence to pull off correctly.
Burberry’s London for Men harkens back to a simpler time of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Nat King Cole on the radio. For this reason, it is and forever will be a timeless winter scent.
- Top Notes: Lavender, Bergamot, Cinnamon
- Middle Notes: Mimosa, Leather
- Base Notes: Opoponax, Tobacco Leaf, Guaiac Wood, Oakmoss
Layton By Parfums De Marly
Layton transports your date to an orchard next to a rustic bakery in the same way that Creed's Silver Mountain Water transports your date to the Alps.
This is a fragrance with an intense aroma carried by the notes of vanilla and precious woods. The smell of caramelized coffee won't be found in the notes on paper but can be detected by the nose.
- Top notes: Apple, Lavender, Mandarin Orange, Bergamot
- Heart notes: Geranium, Violet, Jasmine
- Base Notes: Vanilla, Cardamom, Sandalwood, Pink Pepper, Patchouli, Guiaic Wood
Vince Camuto – Virtu EDT
Variety is the trademark of Vince Camuto Virtu. Think of it as a bold fragrance that mixes heat and coolness pretty well into one polished, sophisticated scent. You can wear it to the office or for a dinner date.
This man's fragrance fits for most occasions during this time of the year.
What makes Vince Camuto Virtu EDT so special?
It's got aromatic top notes such as Turkish cardamom, crushed peppercorn, and fresh papyrus.
There are the middle notes of Haitian vetiver, white birch, and fresh tree moss. Base notes include Indian sandalwood, Tuscan leather, silky musk, and warm cedar.
This top men's fragrance can be worn in the winter or early springtime. It'll work great for your day in the office or your night out in the city. But bear in mind that since it's an EDT, it will not last all day long (you wouldn't describe this as a long-lasting scent).
Expect longevity of around 4-6 hours – you may need to re-apply this perfume in the afternoon if you've used it in the morning.
- Top Notes: Pepper, Papyrus, Cardamom
- Heart Notes: Birch, Haitian Vetiver, Moss
- Base Notes: Sandalwood, Leather, Cedar, Musk
Eight & Bob – Nuit de Megève EDP
E&B launched Nuit de Megève EDP in 2017. There's something in the Nuit de Megève's smoky aroma that screams seductiveness.
What's the secret?
The scent is based on a rare aromatic plant that's native in Chile.
Top notes include grapefruit, petitgrain, and cloves. The middle has notes of coffee, orris, and tonka bean. Base notes are vetiver, tobacco, and musk.
It's a product that's probably too sultry for the office, so wear it instead for intimate or more formal situations or while going out with that special someone.
It's got a killer performance too – often lasting 16+ hours on your skin!
- Top Notes: Grapefruit, Petitgrain, Cloves
- Heart Notes: Tonka Bean, Orris, Coffee
- Base Notes: Vetiver, Tobacco, Musk
Thierry Mugler – A*Men
A*Men is a classic men's fragrance.
A great compliment generator – with this cologne you wear and experience magic made by a combination of tar and coffee.
It starts with a harsh tar note but dries down into a coffee note that's sweet and chocolatey.
Lavender, peppermint, helional, and bergamot comprise the top notes. You also get treated with the middle notes of coffee beans, tar, and patchouli.
The base notes, though, are a pretty broad collection: tonka bean, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and musk.
Don't be fooled by the ingredients – this fragrance is far more masculine than it sounds!
Wear A*Men on your nights out with friends or colleagues during the fall or winter. However, be careful not overspray since it's pretty strong.
- Top Notes: Lavender, Mint, Fruity and Spicy Notes, Coriander, Green Notes, Bergamot
- Heart Notes: Caramel, Patchouli, Honey, Milk, Cedar, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-Valley
- Base Notes: Coffee, Patchouli, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Benzoin, Amber, Sandalwood, Musk
Dior – Homme Intense
It's gotten a lot of hype, but the Dior Homme Intense is just literally a more intense version of the Dior Homme. Therefore, it's better for winter.
I think the original is slightly better – however, this one has its own unique benefits – especially if you want something sexier and more seductive.
Lavender makes up the top note of this product. Middles notes are namely iris, ambrette (Musk Mallow) as well as pear.
The base meanwhile contains notes of Virginia cedar and vetiver. All in all, it's a fantastic fragrance for clubs, bars, or other evening settings during autumn and winter.
- Top Notes: Lavender
- Heart Notes: Iris, Ambrette (Musk Mallow), Pear
- Base Notes: Virginia Cedar, Vetiver
Penhaligon's – Halfeti
A lot of guys won't have heard of Penhaligon's fragrances – but trust me when I say those guys are missing out on something special.
They're a niche fragrance house that originated from the Victorian streets of London. Over the last 100 years, they've gained some serious traction worldwide – selling fragrance and grooming products across the globe and even receiving several royal warrants from the British Royal Family.
However, none are quite as awesome as Halfeti.
For this company, it's all about scent. They don't fuss over fancy variations in their bottles, they don't employ the help of celebrities to endorse their scents on TV. They just create insanely rich and interesting fragrances – fit for royalty.
Spray this cologne, and you'll come out smelling of a blend of different woods, leathers, and citrus notes. It's smooth, it's sexy, and it makes one hell of a statement.
Is this a fragrance I'd use every day at the office? Absolutely not. Should you use it before a big date? Definitely.
- Top Notes: Cypress Leaf, Saffron, Cardamom, Artemisia, Bergamot, Grapefruit
- Heart Notes: Bulgarian Rose, Nutmeg, Jasmine
- Base Notes: Oud, Leather, Cedar, Sandalwood, Amber, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Musk
Creed Bois De Portugal
Not many people will have heard of Creed's Bois De Portugal – which is a shame because I think it's probably one of their best releases.
It's an amber woody fragrance for men that was launched all the way back in the 1980s. According to their perfumer – Olivier Creed himself – this fragrance was highly inspired by the fragrant trees in sunny Portugal.
At first smell, you might think this fragrance is a bit too old-fashioned. However, give it a few minutes to develop on your skin, and you'll be rewarded with a truly unique scent.
Bois De Portugal has excellent longevity and moderate sillage. It's perfect for formal occasions or anytime you want to make a good impression. I won't lie – this is one heck of a masculine fragrance, so be aware that it may not be to some people's tastes. However, as with any fragrance, as long as it smells good to the wearer, then that's all that really matters.
Bois De Portugal is one of my favorite winter daytime fragrances. The woody base lends itself to the colder weather, but the kick of citrus you're greeted with in the opening makes it perfect for those sunny winter days.
- Top notes: Bergamot
- Middle notes: Lavender
- Base notes: Cedar, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Ambergris
Victor And Rolf – Spicebomb
As one of the most popular colognes in the world – Spicebomb by House Victor and Rolf is a masculine, woody scent that carries heavy spice notes.
After its initial release in 2012, this cologne captured the noses of men across the globe as a ‘stand out' fragrance – perfect for men who want to make a statement while also remaining elegant and suave.
The name itself holds true to the notes within it – Spicebomb smells like an explosion of exotic spices mixed in with undertones of tobacco and citric top notes.
The fragrance composition is one that is well balanced but punchy. Featuring top notes of pink pepper, elemi, bergamot, and grapefruit; middle notes of cinnamon, saffron, and paprika; and base notes of tobacco, leather, and vetiver.
- Top Notes: Pink Pepper, Elemi, Bergamot, Grapefruit
- Heart Notes: Cinnamon, Saffron, Paprika
- Base Notes: Tobacco, Leather, Vetiver
Chanel – Bleu De Chanel
Fresh, clean-smelling citrus and mint set the stage here and what woman doesn't love a clean and put-together man? This is a highly popular men's fragrance for a reason – it's a choice that almost never fails to create a romantic atmosphere.
Buy this fragrance if you want the feeling of putting on a crisp new shirt, suit and tie. Do you feel the confidence, the manliness? That's what this fragrance is designed to make your date associate you with.
- Top Notes: Grapefruit, Lemon, Mint, Pink Pepper, Aldehydes, Bergamot, Coriander
- Heart Notes: Ginger, Jasmine, Nutmeg, Melon
- Base Notes: Incense, Amber, Cedar, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Labdanum, Amberwood
Georgio Armani – Armani Code Absolu
Armani Code Absolu was released in 2019 and has been a top runner ever since as a best smelling cologne for men.
They called upon the talents of master perfumer Antoine Maisondieu – the craftsman behind many of Burberry's most-loved fragrances.
Starting with a kick of oriental spice and then mellowing down to vanilla, Tonka bean, and woody base – this fragrance is complex and incredibly diverse.
Armani Code Absolut opens with a bold oriental punch with top notes of green mandarin and apple. After half an hour or so, those middle notes will begin to come into play with scents of nutmeg, orange blossom, and carrot seeds. Then, after hours of wear, woody and vanilla base notes will remain on the skin to mellow out the fragrance's final moments.
- Top Notes: Green Mandarin, Apple
- Heart Notes: Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Carrot Seeds
- Base Notes: Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Suede
CK One Shock for Men by Calvin Klein
One of the best winter colognes comes from Calvin Klein. CK One Shock for Him is an aromatic spicy oriental scent which is more robust than the original CK One. Launched in 2011 and created by Ann Gottlieb, this is a deep and complex scent.
CK One Shock for Men is a refined, oriental scent despite the loud packaging and the low price. The first words that come to my mind when using this are “warm” and “fresh.”
Like London for Men, One Shock opens with fruity notes and transitions into pepper and finally reveals the tobacco base notes. The best way to describe this scent is as if a cigar is in the middle of a luscious green forest.
CK One Shock for Men by Calvin Klein is a fantastic choice for a winter scent – it’s affordable, complex and refined. This unique yet inoffensive fragrance is a compliment-generating machine that you can’t go wrong with.
- Top Notes: Lavender, Clementine, Cucumber
- Middle Notes: Osmanthus, Cardamom, Basil, Pepper
- Base Notes: Musk, Patchouli, Amber, Tobacco, Woodsy Notes
Creed – Royal Oud
For many men, Creed Royal Oud is one of the best winter colognes. It combines woody notes with sweet notes to make an elegant, sophisticated and mature scent.
Royal Oud breaks into the scene with a powerful opening that some may see as too harsh. This scent matures on your skin, much like Tobacco Vanille – peeling back layers of wood, pepper and spice.
After a few hours, Royal Oud becomes more subdued with cedar, sandalwood and a light sense of oud.
Olivier Creed (its creator) aimed for a smooth meet seductive mix – think Robin Hood meets Don Giovanni. Creed launched Royal Oud in 2011 and it has been a best seller ever since.
- Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Pink Pepper,
- Middle notes: Cedar, Angelica, Galbanum
- Base notes: Oud, Sandalwood, Musk
Want to find out more about the science of scents? Check out my Introduction To Fragrance, Cologne, Eau De Toilette & Perfume.