No, you don’t have to switch up your fragrance every season—after all, there are some classic men’s fragrances whose scents are so iconic that they really work year-round. But if you’re the type of man who likes to see the leaves change to orange, enjoys autumn baked goods or owns a sizable collection of layer-friendly sweaters, chances are you also appreciate autumn fragrances.
After all, in the summer we turn to bright and refreshing scents that can create the illusion of fresh and cool in the heat. Spring calls up fruitier and more floral notes that mirror the natural aromas found in the plants around us. And for the fall (and winter), we are comforted by warm fragrances that speak to everything else we love in cold-weather: spices, fireplaces, cinnamon, leather and wood.
With so many options out there, it can be hard to shop for new colognes. Here, eight of the best fall fragrances to help narrow down your options before you try them out. And be sure to—how a cologne smells in the bottle is not how it will react once it meets your skin. Makes sense, no?
I think of Hugo Boss’ The Scent as a fun and approachable fall fragrance for men, with notes of leather, ginger and maninka—an edible African fruit often associated with this product. While there’s some spice on the nose, the fruit also lends a relaxing citrus undertone that fuses well with soft lavender. The art of slow seduction is the theme here, and this fragrance delivers on that promise.
Similar to the Hugo Boss fragrance, this Mediterranean-inspired Giorgio Armani scent does well balancing wood and citrus with some mild spice. Think autumn, but on the coast, with bold aquatic marine scents giving way to bright grapefruit and distinctive patchouli. It also works well as transitional scent, connecting the end of summer to the arrival of fall.
First introduced in 1986, this mossy fragrance is a timeless classic. Meant for romantic occasions and formal wear, the cologne offsets heady notes of wood and moss with whispers of patchouli, citrus, sandalwood and leather. It reminds me of a dry martini stirred with an earthy gin—not for everyone, but suitable for mature, sophisticated palates.
This new collaboration fragrance between John Varvatos and singer Nick Jonas was released in 2018 and is inspired by the energy of New York City. Skewed toward the sweeter side of the spice spectrum, it works nicely as versatile year-round option as well. Amplifying top notes of rum, coffee and bergamot citrus, the fragrance unfolds to include suede, saffron, lavender and vetiver.
No, this isn’t a scent created for the residents at Area 51. Here, Mugler upgrades a traditionally indulgent leather fragrance with osmanthus blossom, apricot and smoked beechwood bark. This floral and smoky profile is a real head-turner, while the woody and fruity elements ground the scent in something more familiar.
This bold, amber-hued scent is a soothing, warming option for those who love spice. Billed as woody and oriental, the cologne was inspired by a 17th-century Japanese samurai mission to the West. As such, the scent touts source-specific ingredients like Malabar black pepper, Persian saffron and Chinese osmanthus. Also noticeable in the mix are Spanish leather, sandalwood and frankincense.
I feel like Spicebomb is a scent you either love or hate. While it’s not for everyone, the fragrance is a must-have for spice-heads. On one hand, it’s loaded with chili, saffron, tobacco and vetiver; on the other, it’s soothed by bergamot citrus and grapefruit. And the grenade-shaped bottle is a testament to that explosion of scents.
Perhaps the biggest crowdpleaser of this list, YSL’s Y is said to be an interpretation of the fashion house’s classic fair-weather outfit of a white T and black jacket. Best during the spring or fall, the scent builds on a base of vetiver, cedar and tonka bean with herbaceous sage, spicy ginger and sweet apple. While there’s not a ton of stereotypical spice and wood here, it’s a clean and sweet yet masculine scent that can be worn all-day, or really, all year.