Whether it’s our bod or our apartment, we want it to smell good. This is true 365 days a year, but if your Valentine’s Day plans include snuggling with your main guy, then going the extra step with some cologne will help keep the romantic vibes going strong. (I won’t lie: Nothing says “main character energy” to me quite like having a signature scent.) And if your beau hasn’t found The One (besides you) yet, what better occasion than love month to help him do just that?
Whether he’s into smoky or woody scents or considers Irish Spring soap his cologne of choice, we’ve got a practical guide to the best fragrances for men to give this Valentine’s Day and beyond. It’s a gift for him, yes — but also kind of one for you, too. Let’s just say, stealing his favorite sweatshirt just got a lot better.
Jack Henry Balance, $125
Citrusy top notes of bergamot and mandarin meet cedarwood, patchouli, and amber for a balanced scent that won’t offend anyone in a 10-foot radius.
He’s your stud, after all — he should have the edgy cologne bottle to match his studly vibe. This gourmand take on Valentino’s Uomo scent family adds a fruity (but in a hot way) touch to a warm, spicy profile with notes of red apple, tobacco, and sage.
If your beau is down to experiment with scent, opt for a niche EDP like Aesop Tacit. Subtly earthy and subtle, Tacit takes a traditional fresh, citrus fragrance and injects a dose of grand vert basil for an invigorating touch.
VS Him Deepwater, $59.95
My toxic trait is my love of Victoria’s Secret perfume, but take it from a scent snob like me: It’s actually amazing, especially given its more palatable price point. For the dude who would live on the beach if he could, you can’t do better than this olfactory tidal wave of bergamot, blue sage, and cedar leaf.
D.S. & Durga Leatherize, $190
No one does enigmatic, complex scents quite like New York-based perfumer D.S. & Durga. We’re big fans of the brand’s fragrance enhancers, which can be worn alone or layered with other scents to boost certain qualities. As the name suggests, this one is as warm and inviting as your favorite leather armchair. (Whiskey neat optional.)
All of Maison Margiela’s Replica scents aim to evoke a certain location and moment in time, but perhaps none are more aptly named than Jazz Club. If you were to close your eyes and spritz away, you’ll instantly be transported to a secret, smoky speakeasy with a fully stocked bar (there are notes of rum absolute in the juice). No wonder it’s become a fan favorite.
Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb (the other half of the popular, Emily Ratajkowski-fronted Flowerbomb) is iconic in its own right, but I actually prefer the Night Vision edition of it, which plays to a sexier, fresher vibe with notes of clary sage alongside black spices and grapefruit.
I know what you’re thinking: Wait, isn’t vetiver supposed to be herbaceous? Yes — but part of what makes Malin + Goetz’s take on the go-to fresh cologne note is a side of amber and guaiacwood for an extra-earthy finish.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?