The Best Smelling Cologne For Men Makes A Perfect Holiday Gift

24 November 2019
Colognes and Fragrances, Best Gifts, Gift Guide, Gift Ideas, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci
Our can’t-fail guide to giving the gift of scent (even if it’s really just a gift for yourself)

We'll get the obvious out of the way: the best smelling cologne for men is highly subjective. That's why giving a fragrance as a gift is a big-risk, big-reward business. If you're buying online, you're left to guess what something smells like through a haze of weird names, inscrutable ingredients, and marketing haikus. And even if you manage to pick out something great, there's no telling if it'll suit the particular tastes of your gift recipient. Bottom line: It's all too easy to blow between $70 to $400 on some useless blend of fruits and woods and musks that someone will appreciate about as much as a bottle of hot dog water. Which is why we're here to completely de-risk scent-gifting for you. We've smelled all of these, worn all of them, and can say that they all rank as some of the best smelling cologne for men out there. They are all guaranteed hits worthy of "signature scent" status, whether this is the first scent in his medicine cabinet or his fifteenth.

See Also: One Fragrance Obsessive’s Guide To Cologne

All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Dior Spice Blend
Dior's in-house scent creator François Demachy sums up his bay leaf, rum, and spiced concoction perfectly: "Like a gust of wind, Spice Blend leaves us wondering if it fans the fire or cools it down." $220 at Dior

Diptyque Eau de Minthé
Inspired by a Greek myth—minty fresh with nutmeg, lavender, and patchouli. $175 at Nordstrom

Arquiste Parfumeur Misfit
Boutique brand Arquiste is behind one of our favorite winter scents, hands down. But their latest launch, Misfit, is a perennial parfum—that is, it knows no season and is thus an ideal candidate for a signature scent. It’s a subtle patchouli-based fragrance that plays a long game: Whereas louder scents wear off by noon, this one sparkles as it sinks into your skin, summoning compliments well into Happy Hour. $190 at Arquiste

Santa Maria Novella Tobacco Toscano
Best Stuff Master of Ceremonies Dan Levy loves this tobacco-vanilla-bergamot potion, and so do we. $135 at Aedes

Celine Black Tie
Imagine musk, moss, cedar, and vanilla, enveloping you like an expertly-tailored blazer. The new line of Celine fragrances—the brand's first in 50 years—isn't just some of the best cologne of 2019, it's one of the best things, period. $220 at Celine

Gucci Mémoire d'une Odeur
Built around Roman chamomile, which ancient soldiers used in wartime for courage in battle. $120 at Sephora

Dolce & Gabbana K
This juniper-citrus-spicy fragrance lifts spirits, kind of like a gin & tonic. Extra points for a stately bottle to hold down your bureau top. $94 at Nordstrom

Hawthorne tailored scents
If you aren’t sure which kind of scent to gift, let him decide. And if he isn’t sure, that’s why Hawthorne exists: He can input different variables about his work-life balance, his diet and hobbies and age, and Hawthorne provides him with two scents—one for work, one for play, sold together for $100—tailored to these variables. Their roster of perfumers is incredible, too, with some of the best noses in the business behind each scent. $100 at Hawthorne

Louis Vuitton Sun Song
Sun Song was part of a crisp summery trio launched by Louis Vuitton in April, but it's the standout of the three for its perfectly balanced unisex citrus-floral-musk. $250 at Louis Vuitton

Mugler Come Together Cologne
The OG unisex fragrance (relaunched last year) smells like clean, expensive linens. $70 at Nordstrom

Via GQ