If you’re looking for a gift for the guy in your life but just don’t know what to get, why not play it safe and go for a classic: cologne. It seems easy enough, but picking a signature cologne can be tricky. Often formulated with notes like cedar, amber, green apple and sensual vanilla, just one spritz can instantly transport you anywhere from an energizing shower to a cozy night next to a fireplace to a beachside vacation.
Though all those options might sound tempting, it can be difficult to figure out a scent he’d like, especially one he’d want to wear every day.
To help, we researched the bestselling — and best-smelling — top-rated colognes that’ll make the perfect gift for your favorite guy. With choices from Chanel, Armani and Versace, he’ll smell better than a fresh bouquet of roses. Speaking of roses: Are you on the hunt for some Valentine’s Day gifts? Check out our gift guide for him and heartfelt gifts too.
Chanel Bleu De Chanel Eau de Parfum (starting at $98; sephora.com)
A clean, woody fragrance, this Chanel scent boasts a 4.8-star rating for a reason: The citrus and amber notes complement each other perfectly, while the cedarwood adds an element of punch. “I have literally about 100 colognes and this is one of my go-to colognes for everyday wear,” writes one reviewer. “Great for business folks that have to wear a suit like me and need a day cologne.” So, if you’re looking for an everyday fragrance you can get a ton of use out of, consider this one.
Maison Margiela ‘Replica’ by the Fireplace (starting at $30; sephora.com)
If you look forward to winter for warm days by the fire instead of the snow and cold temperatures, this Maison Margiela cologne needs to be on your dressing table ASAP. With notes of vanilla, chestnut and clove, it’s a woody, sweet scent. Designed to be comforting yet sensual, it’s the ultimate cold-weather fragrance.
Giorgio Armani Beauty Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme (starting at $35; sephora.com)
You wouldn’t think of rosemary as an ideal cologne ingredient, but this Armani Beauty scent is an aquatic-inspired option that’s super fresh and clean. Acqua Di Gio is ideal for the man who doesn’t want an overpowering, woody fragrance.
Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette (starting at $80; sephora.com)
One of the most distinctive colognes on the market, Dior Sauvage contains hints of ambroxan, Sichuan pepper and reggio bergamot, making it perfect for the man who wants to stand out from the crowd.
Ralph Lauren Polo Red Eau de Toilette (starting at $66; nordstrom.com)
Ralph Lauren’s Polo Re is as fiery as the bottle it’s housed in. With notes of sparkling red grapefruit, sensual redwood and red saffron, this is everything warm, spicy and just a bit sexy.
Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille (starting at $65; sephora.com)
With ginger, tobacco and cocoa, this high-end Tom Ford cologne is the ultimate sweet and spicy scent for the person who just can’t pick between the two.
With over 27,500 “loves” on Sephora.com, it seems the high price tag hasn’t deterred consumers from trying it out, either. “I can smell it on my skin for hours, which is exactly what I wanted and expected from a luxury fragrance,” writes one reviewer. Well worth the cost, to be sure.
Versace Eros (starting at $72; sephora.com)
Named after the ancient Greek god of love, Versace Eros uses mint leaves, lemon zest and green apple to bring about a fruity, cheerful vibe — no woody scents in sight.
For an energizing scent that’ll provide a pick-me-up throughout a long workday, this is absolutely the option to choose. “It’s masculine without being overly musky, and as other reviewers have noted, something about it just sets it apart,” writes one reviewer. “It’s fresh yet a bit sweet, and manly but not overpowering.”
Fresh Cannabis Santal (starting at $50; sephora.com)
Don’t let the name fool you: This scent doesn’t smell like marijuana!
Instead, the affordable option boasts notes of kumquat, plum, vanilla and musk to create a sultry yet fruity scent. It’s a warm option that reminds us of cozy blankets and delicious hot chocolate.
AllSaints Sunset Riot Eau de Parfum ($79; nordstrom.com)
AllSaints’ Sunset Riot unisex eau de parfum is meant to juxtapose the calming sunset with the chaos of a riot, so this fragrance is woody yet floral. It’s masculine and feminine at the same time, with notes of pink pepper, orange flower and cedarwood.
Paco Rabanne 1 Million Eau de Toilette (starting at $74; sephora.com)
If the bright gold bottle doesn’t lure you in, the scent most definitely will: This Paco Rabanne cologne boasts notes of rose, musk, cinnamon, peppermint, patchouli and white wood, among many others.
This leads to a multilayered fragrance that starts off with citrus top notes, spicy middle notes and woody base notes — everything you need in one fragrance.
Versace Dylan Blue (starting at $30; sephora.com)
Using fig leaves to give it a unique edge, Versace Dylan Blue is a cult favorite, with a 4.7-star rating on Sephora.
Other fun additions include violet and black pepper, which gives a sultry touch to an otherwise modern fragrance. Described by one reviewer as “clean, masculine, sexy and not too sweet or powdery,” it’s a great option for those looking for something that’s a bit outside the box.
Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum (starting at $83; nordstrom.com)
Le Labo describes Santal 33 as an open fire, inspired by the American West. With rich and woody notes of cardamon, iris, cedarwood and leather, this fragrance is addictive and described by one reviewer as “the scent of the gods.”
Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’Homme (starting at $60; sephora.com)
Designed as an experiment in contrasts, this YSL scent uses cardamom, cinnamon and cedarwood to create a spicy scent with subtle woody accents. A true seductive fragrance in every sense of the word, it’s the one scent to try for a special date.
Byredo Black Saffron Eau de Parfum (starting at $190; nordstrom.com)
Inspired by the founder of Byredo’s Indian upbringing, Black Saffron combines notes of Asian pomelo, juniper berry, black violet, raspberry and vetiver for a fragrance that’s leathery yet fruity.
Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb (starting at $55; sephora.com)
Notes of sage, spices, roasted almonds and citrus make this spicy cologne perfect for those who want a strong, noticeable scent.
Tom Ford Black Orchid Parfum (starting at $65; sephora.com)
The warm, floral scent of this Tom Ford Black Orchid cologne will have you feeling sophisticated and luxurious all night long. And if its notes of truffle, black orchid and plum don’t pull you in, the stunning golden bottle definitely will.
Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne (starting at $72; nordstrom.com)
This mineral, woody cologne by Jo Malone has notes of ambrette seeds, sea salt and sage. Its fragrance story focuses on the windswept shore of rugged cliffs for a cologne meant to be as energetic and spirited as the crashing waves.
Burberry Touch for Men (starting at $66; sephora.com)
This warm and spicy scent from Burberry has refreshing notes of mandarin tree and violet leaves paired with cedarwood and white pepper. Its clean yet aromatic fragrance makes it great for everyday use. With a 4.8-star rating, reviewers at Sephora absolutely love this cologne.
Versace Pour Homme (starting at $30; sephora.com)
Notes of bergamot, bitter orange leaves, cedarwood and musk highlight this strong, masculine fragrance. Shoppers love the smell, with one reviewer writing, “My boyfriend and I both love this scent; it has strong staying power and smells really irresistible on him.”