Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

7 best Winter Fragrances to warm the spirits

Make the spirits bright.

words by: Adam Hurly
Nov 12, 2022

Fragrance is only as seasonal as you want it to be. You can be the bloke who wears something floral in winter if you so choose — after all, it could help lift the spirits during the gloomiest stretch of the year. Similarly, you can wear something spicy and arborous in July if that’s your vibe, so long as you don’t act shocked when people say things like “wow, that’s a really heavy scent for a beach day.” C’est la vie, we say.


But, if you are interested in prescribing certain scent families to specific seasons, you’ll navigate the year with a cacophony of flavors that complement each respective quarter. You know: Florals and greens for spring, aromatics and marines for summer, woods and gourmands for fall, and last but not least, something spicy, leathery, and deeply woody for winter.


That’s the general framework, though there are many scents that work perfectly for 6-9 months of the year, too, depending on their intensity and balance of notes. Some might fit squarely into November through February, while others are more shoulder-season friendly, suiting September through May with ease.


The most important thing is that you wear each scent with confidence: This is how I’ve chosen to smell today. This scent is an expression of myself. Whether it’s a spicy scent in the middle of winter or at the height of summer, it will work as long as you sell it with conviction.


If something traditionally suited for winter sounds appealing to you — think cozy, spirit-warming, invigorating, and often sensual — then check out the scents below. Many of them are also perfect picks for date night or buttoned-up events, year-round, since winter fragrances seem to exude playfulness and sophistication all at once.


Burberry Hero

As a pillar fragrance for a big-name label, Hero is exactly what it needs to be: Crowd pleasing and easy to love. This is a can’t-fail pick for yourself or as a gift. Its cedar base wears for hours, while notes of black pepper, aromatic juniper, and crisp bergamot add dimension and nuance.


Buy Burberry Hero for $106 here


burberry hero

Photo via Burberry


Dior Sauvage Elixir

This “elixir” is a high-concentration take on the classic Sauvage, punching its notes of amber, lavender, and grapefruit. It feels cozy and fresh on the skin; it could thus wear comfortably year-round, despite being amber-forward. Those supporting notes do a lot to give it balance and universal, perennial appeal.


Buy Dior Sauvage Elixir for $230 here


Photo via Dior


Aesop Marrakech Intense

This scent is fabulously spicy, not unlike the city after which it is named. Marrakech Intense opens with cardamom and chai tea, blooms on a heart of jasmine, neroli, and rose, but simmers on woodier notes of cedar and sandalwood. It’s got the fullness of a winter scent, but the lightness of a shoulder-season choice; shelf it from May through August if you follow seasonality, and let it really shine in the (lack of) sun.


Buy Aesop Marrakech Intense for $145 here


aesop marrakech intense

Photo via Aesop


Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Man, $120

The sultry and sumptuous Ormonde Man stands tall on a bed of herbaceous hemlock, spicy cardamom, brooding oudh, and a medley of other woody notes (cedar, vetiver, and sandalwood). It’s a subtler choice in terms of winter weight, but will feel perfectly placed during both shoulder seasons, too. Wear it to project sophistication and an air of intrigue.


Buy Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Man for $120 here


Photo via Ormonde Jayne


Le Labo Vetiver 46

Vetiver makes an appearance in a majority of winter-wear choices (probably not an embellishment, either; this woody note is so universal in that base role). But in Le Labo’s arousing potion, vetiver is front and center, and it plays out until the last song is sung, too. A band of guaiac wood, resin, pepper and cedar give it even more gravity: This is the definitive vetiver scent, and thus a definitive winter pick.


Buy Le Labo Vetiver 46 for $90 here


vetiver 46

Photo via Le Labo


Calvin Klein Obsession for Men

Obsession is 36 years young, and is still accumulating accolades. A read-through of its notes roster unmistakably translates to “winter” (a preview: amber, vanilla, sandalwood, musk, vetiver, cinnamon, coriander, myrrh, nutmeg…) but it also makes for a compelling date-night wear. The timeless Obsession is proof that seasonality is sometimes a silly prescription for fragrances, since each daily encounter asks something different of us. While wearing Obsession might turn heads for the wrong way at the office, it turns them for the right way at odd hours of the eve.


Buy Calvin Klein Obsession for Men for $79 here


Photo via Calvin Klein


Heretic Parfum Midnight Toker

Here is stress release in a single spray: Memp-sourced CBD picks up the base line in Midnight Toker, alongside sandalwood, powdery orris, savory vanilla, resinous styrax, spicy nutmeg, and earthy patchouli. Unlike any herbs you might otherwise toke, this is a medley you want to reek of, but act fast — it’s a limited edition re-release, and the beloved scent might otherwise evaporate in a cloud of soul-soothing smoke.


Buy Heretic Parfums Midnight Toker for $185 here


heretic midnight toker copy

Photo via Heretic Parfum


Like we said, you can choose florals for winter if that’s your thing, and we have picks for that too. Or, if you can’t give up the warm scent of autumn yet, refresh your rotation with these scents.


Photo via Ormonde Jayne