10 Best Colognes for Men

{photo credit: IG: excuse.my.sillage}

Consider this your Father's Day Gift Guide - Fragrance Edition. I divided this list up by season. In the winter time is when he will wear his powerhouse fragrances that smell woody, smoky and spicy. But in the heat of the summer, he's going to want to wear a lighter citrus or aquatic scent.  Wearing a fragrance in the wrong season could have disappointing performance as some perfumes work better with certain temperatures. Winter make perfumes softer so that's when you can wear bold scents.  It's good to have a broad range of fragrances for different occasions just like you have different types of outfits for casual, sexy and professional occasions.  All of these sophisticated fragrances will definitely boost the swag of your man. Having a signature scent helps one to feel more put together, it's the whole package and has a big impact on one's overall look and style.

Within the fragrance community, these are all very popular scents but may not be known to the casual fragrance wearer. If you want to smell the bomb, you should have a fragrance that not everyone has. And this only improves ones confidence by way of compliments. My top three favorites from this list are Grand Soir, Ani, and Spicebomb Extreme in that order. I list cheaper alternatives for every scent. 

Some fragrances comes in different strengths, you will see them labeled Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, or Eau de Parfum. An EDP is the strongest strength so the bottle will be more expensive but the fragrance will last more hours on his skin.  Always look for that version when purchasing. Some fragrances come in additional products such as body lotion, I recommend buying the whole line because then you will have more fragrance radiating off of you.

Fall/Winter Colognes 

Initio - Oud for Greatness

This fragrance gets a lot of hype and smells woody and has notes of saffron, nutmeg and a light oud. Oud comes from the Agarwood tree which is popular in Arabian perfumes and has an intense aroma. It's a bit similar to Baccarat Rouge but with a smokier top and burned sweetness.   It's a unique head turner that will make you stand out from everyone else. The performance is simply out of this world.  Retails for $350 but a dupe for it is Ouddiction by Alexandria Fragrances. 

Tom Ford - Oud Wood

I'm a big fan of Tom Ford and this is their top selling fragrance. The brand is very innovative and his fragrances turn heads. You can find his bottles on the shelf at Sephora and most are unisex. This scent is a very masculine, woody fragrance, with a little bit of sweetness and really sexy. It's a woody vanilla with cardamom and vetiver. I find this to be super comforting. The scent also comes in a conditioning beard oil. The cologne comes in 5 sizes so you can pay as little as $65 to $250 for the most popular sizes. A dupe for it is Agar by Alexandria Fragrances. 

Kilian - Intoxicated 

 It's a fresh, beautiful men's fragrance. The name truly fits because the scent is just as it says - intoxicating. It combines sweet cardamom, caramelized bitter coffee, dusty nutmeg and warm cinnamon. The coffee scent is more like a blonde coffee with its aromatic and mild notes as opposed to the bold dark roasted note found in other fragrances. The cologne retails for $240 but a dupe for it is A Men by Mugler, but the Kilian is more refined. 

Maison Francis Kurkdjian- Grand Soir 

In French, Grand Soir means "Big Night", so imagine what cologne you'd wear for a night out in jazz clubs in Paris. This is a beautiful scent of sweet amber, vanilla, tonka bean and benzoin. It's rich, sophisticated and breathtaking. It's warm but not too spicy. It has superb performance lasting 8 hours and through a shower!  It's unisex so I've worn it myself and every time I'd raise my wrist during the day to adjust my sunglasses or touch my face I'd a whiff of it, that's how strong the scent trail is. The hype is real with this one as it radiates the most luxurious ambery trail! A small bottle retails for $224 but a dupe for it is Paris Night by Alexandria Fragrances. 

Maison Francis Kurkdjian - Oud Silk Mood 

This unisex scent is one of the best oud rose combo's that I've smelled. It is well blended, very high quality and is silky smooth. This luxurious scent smells even better in the dry down and lasts 10 hours. I like this much better than MFK - Oud Satin Mood which is too strong for me. A small bottle retails for $375 but a dupe for it is Aoud Lime by Montale.

Ninshane - Ani

This unisex scent is a warm woody vanilla and has some spicy ginger with cardamom. It's quite complex as there so many layers to this fragrance. It is very expensive-smelling and high quality. This is addiction in a bottle. It's best worn in winter, fall and spring.  Retails for $225 but a dupe for it is H'ani by Alexandria Fragrances. 

Holiday meals 

By holiday meals I mean Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the food events in-between. I know it's weird to have a category for holiday meals but you don't want to show up to Thanksgiving, sitting shoulder to shoulder at a table, and smoking people out with some intense cloud of cologne. 

Parfums de Marly - Oajan is a masculine cinnamon scent and thus easier on the nose around food. It's cozy, a bit boozy, creamy and ambery. It retails for $335 but a dupe for it is Apple Crumb or Brooklyn by Alexandria Fragrances.


In the summertime you want to wear scents that are lighter and fresher to feel clean on a really hot day. Think of it as needing to add a clean crisp fragrance for white t-shirt weather. Also keep in mind that a lot of scents will burn off fast in the summer because your body heat is making them burn so quickly. A lot of men's citrus fragrances smell like lemon toilet cleaner to me so I'm very picky. 

Creed - Green Irish tweed 

Notes of lemon verbena, iris, violet leaf, ambergris, sandalwood. I picture a well put together gentlemen wearing this. The scent has a grassy vibe to it so it has more depth than your average fresh scent. This cologne has been around since 1985 thus this fragrance has been replicated by many other brands.  The smallest size bottle goes for $310 but a dupe for it is Cool Water by Davidoff  or The Irish Gentleman by Alexandria Fragrances. 


Viktor & Rolf - Spicebomb Extreme

This spicy scent is a masterful composition. It has notes of cumin, cinnamon, saffron, tobacco leaves (not cigarettes), vanilla, and bourbon.  Best worn in the fall, winter and evening occasions. It's woodsy, sexy, addictive, inviting, and the longevity is absolutely amazing. This is one of the best scents out there for men! The Spicebomb line comes in 5 different versions, so make sure it is the Extreme version and the bottle and box have this orange stripe. There's also a Spicebomb deodorant, shower gel, shaving cream, and after-shave balm. 

Dior - Sauvage

This is a mass appealing fragrance that just about every dude has in their fragrance wardrobe so you won’t smell unique. It lasts 10 hours on your skin. It has notes of sichuan pepper, ambroxan, and patchouli. It smells fresh and aromatic and can be worn year round but a little weak for the winter. It also comes in a deodorant, shower gel, shaving gel and after shave balm. A dupe for it is Farouche.


Zara has affordable dupes of expensive fragrances. I linked to a cologne that was made by Jo Malone for Zara and is a dupe for Dior Homme. It has notes of bergamot, lavender, leather, iris, oud and amber. This is a high quality, sophisticated fragrance that doesn't smell cheap with a strong leather/oud note. The oud is so rich, you can smell it when you walk by the bottle. Zara is notorious for discontinuing fragrances so pick it up while you can. 

Oil Perfumery dupes all of these fragrances. It comes in a metal rollerball 10ml bottle of oil. It's easy to apply and travel with. Super high quality dupes that are long lasting and affordable ranging from $15-20. 

I shared a bunch of dupes from Alexandria Fragrances, they sell a Sample Pack of their fragrances of  your choosing in a generous sized 5ml bottle.

If your man is older than 25, he should retire his bottle of Versace Eros. Leave that for college kids going to the club.

On a final note, don't blind buy any fragrances, they are too pricey for that, always get a sample first. There's a handful of fragrance decant sites or ebay. Some fragrance houses sell sample packs, search for Discovery Sets on their website.


As a postscript, here are some masculine scented body washes. Most of these are available on amazon but I'm linking to the brand's website.


Bourbon & Oak

Oudh Accord & Gold


Bamboo & Sandalwood

Related posts:

Top Summer Fragrances for Men

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