Gift giving can be tricky. Unfortunately, adults rarely yearn for toy fire trucks or BB guns and it can be difficult to find a gift that says exactly the right thing. Instead of spinning your wheels or defaulting to the boring old gift card, consider the timeless gift of cologne for men. Portable, easy to wrap, sentimental, memorable, and fairly useful, a gift of personal fragrance can streamline the process for you while still earning plenty of oohs and ahhs. Find our top picks of the best cologne for men below, and get ready to make some holiday memories and check off some boxes.
For the recipient who seems to favor a cool, clean, and soapy fragrance with some spicy pizzazz. look no further than the effortlessly crisp Explorer Platinum. The original Explorer has many fans, so take things to the next level with this new take on an old standby. Aromatic and spicy violet leaves, cedar, and spicy sage come together to make a strong, zinging first impression. Explorer Platinum is an excellent buy for the fragrance collector who’s just starting out; although, in terms of longevity and strength, it’s considered a bit of a heavy hitter. Dressed in minimalist yet holiday-worthy textured metallics, this men’s cologne makes a great gift and an even better everyday scent.
If there’s someone on your list who adores the scent of fine leather gloves and can’t pass the leather store without taking a big whiff, have we got the slam dunk for you. Ombré Leather Parfum is a slight spin on Tom Ford’s popular Ombré Leather. The original comes shrouded in all black and has a reputation for being all smoky leather, all the time. His brother is a slightly lighter, more complex side of the same mysterious figure. Ombre Leather Parfum is refined yet animalistic, and will always stand out in a crowd. Violet leaf, cedar, jasmine sambac, tobacco, and wood all glimmer richly in this sensual ode to leather, gathering desert shadows.
We’ll let you decide if this one is too on the nose (ha ha) to give to your father. He may love it. A deep and fascinating blend of bitter orange, musk, juniper tar, green spices, whiskey, oak, bitter honey, and leather make To My Father a complex portrait of old-school masculinity. Vilhelm Parfumerie’s scents are studies in the art of fine fragrance and come housed in stylish cut-glass bottles. The chic golden yellow box will be a snap to wrap — just right for the friend or relative (or dad) who revels in a gorgeous whiskey or a great vintage pair of cufflinks.
It won’t be winter forever, so consider a lighter cologne that will really sing when the sun comes out. Enter MYSLF, the new YSL cologne with transparent, breezy notes of bergamot, Tunisian orange blossom, patchouli, and Ambrofix, a kind of lab-generated woodsy amber note. Warm, textured, and sweet while still maintaining a casual air, MYSLF makes a chic and easy gift. Bonus: The bottle won’t just look great nestled among tissue paper; it’s also made of recycled glass and can be refilled in the store.
A classic’s a classic for a reason. The new Armani Code EDT (which looks quite similar to its predecessor of the same name) for 2023 is a fresher, more streamlined model. Green mandarin, lavender, tonka, and cedar interplay delicately here in an inviting and balanced take on traditional cologne. Armani Code EDT is clean, yet warm and sensual, hitting that magic combo that just says “I smell fantastic.” This gift will suit just about any fan of traditional colognes who could use an upgrade, and with its earth-friendly refillable and minimalist bottle, it’s bound to become a modern fragrance staple.
When it’s time for the big guns, it’s time for Versace Atelier, the beloved designer’s haute couture collection. This Versace cologne draws you in with Provence honey, patchouli, tobacco, sweet resins, and woods. Deeply layered and long lasting, Tabac Impérial’s powdery soft patchouli keeps the wearer from plunging too far into the honey pot, while wreathing them in bitter and refined tobacco. Versace Eros may be a great gift for your nephew or cousin, but when a sophisticated statement needs to be made, it should be made with Tabac Impérial.
Part of niche fragrance brand Byredo’s “Night Veils” collection, the name of this fragrance means “chaotic red,” and the richly seductive color of the juice inside tends to vibe with this. A woody and spiced unisex scent, Rouge Chaotique makes a splash with bittersweet saffron, bergamot, lemon, plum, praline, oak, Oud, papyrus, and our earthy friend patchouli. Unexpected, unpredictable, and rewarding, this passionate fragrance should go to your most worldly and creative friend or relative. Your gift may even inspire them to create a piece of music or sculpture.
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