2014 Holiday Gifts For Dads: 9 Colognes For Every Budget

Give the gift of smelling amazing.
Publish date:
December 12, 2014
colognes, commodity goods, gift guide, Carthusia, john varvatos, lacoste, mens fragrances, vince camuto

If I ever lost my sense of smell, I feel like I'd lose my mind along with it. Smells are everything to me. And one of my favorite scents? No, not donuts. OK, yes donuts. But seriously: Cologne.

In preparation for this article, I've been wearing cologne on the regular to create a list of my favorite fragrances for all the dudes in your life. Dad, brother, friend, husband, beau, crush. Whatever the case may be, consider gifting one of these scents for the handsome fellas in your life.

John Varvatos Oud

I'm all about visual appeal, and John Varvatos Oud certainly earns high marks with this creation. The packaging makes for a very dramatic visual, but there's something to be said about the scent, too. It's quite commanding and even a little unusual. For those unaware, oud is produced when agarwood becomes infected with a specific mold, and is a coveted fragrance note that's been around for a while. It's certainly seeing more of an uptick these days, and is the star of this fragrance.

English Laundry Notting Hill

This is a contender for my favorite of this list, perhaps because it is such a classic scent. Before sampling it for this story, I'd never smelled Notting Hill. Yet it felt so familiar and warm and comfortable after letting it soak into my skin. Overall, it smells expensive and complex with enough spice to excite and enough sweetness to draw you in. Lots of bergamot topped with pepper and a fresh squeeze of lemon and lime. Note that you can get the 20mL travel spray for $32.

Tommy Bahama Compass

Damn this one's good--it's like a romantic, earthy adventure for your nose. It's really masculine and warm, but never sags into "heavy cologne" territory. It's got top notes of zesty lemon, juicy grapefruit, and violet, which give way to a peppery, herbal heart. It's also got an ever-so-slight smokiness to it, as well, that makes it particularly sensual.

Carthusia Uomo

This is one of the lighter, crisper colognes of today's roundup, making it ideal for the guy who likes to keep things clean and simple. Think khaki-wearing, white-button-up adorned gentleman walking down the shoreline with wind in his hair, a smile on his face, and Fido wagging along next to him. It's got notes of crisp citrus and wafting sea air with a certain sort of cedar bite to keep things interesting.

Gnarly Whale Lumberjack Body Spray

If he's not a cologne kind of guy, give The Gnarly Whale's body spray in Lumberjack a go. This is about as "bare" as you can go when it comes to fragrances, almost to the point that it makes it seem like you're not wearing anything at all and just naturally smell amazing. Basically: it's super fresh and clean. I suspect this is what a lumberjack would smell like if he just rinsed off and then dried himself by rolling around in a sea of warm linens.

Commodity Goods Gin

This xoVain favorite has a truly masculine kick. Its top notes of bergamot and eucalyptus invigorate your nostrils upon impact, but the sweet jasmine, buttery leather and woodiness keep it from overwhelming your senses. Things get even better with the dry down, which brings out warm notes of sandalwood, musk and patchouli. If you're worried about smelling like a drunk, fear not.

Lacoste Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Noir

This one's for the firecracker-of-a-man in your life; a really sexy scent that's as refreshing as it is sultry. The top note of watermelon contributes a juiciness factor that sets this one apart. Middle notes of basil, lavender and verbena keep things spicy, while chocolate, cashmere, and patchouli provide some weight to the overall whiff factor. A really well-balanced fragrance with a lot of depth.

Vince Camuto Homme

Wrapped in navy blue leather, Vince Camuto Homme is another cologne that makes a great visual statement. I'd qualify this one as "cool and splashy." It's crisp and clean and wonderfully blends icy gin with fresh citrus, powdery lavender, and earthy spruce.

Mercedes-Benz Eau de Toilette Natural

Yup, Mercedes-Benz makes a fragrance, and it's pretty darn good. Created in partnership with master perfumer Olivier Cresp, Mercedes-Benz EDT was "highly inspired by the brand," which has obviously made a serious effort to exude luxury. As for the scent itself, this one's another very light cologne that, in my opinion, works for both sexes. It's bright, vibrant, refined and sophisticated, with just enough spice to intrigue both the wearer and the smeller. Notes include mandarin orange, bergamot, powdery violet, cedar and patchouli.

  • What's your favorite men's cologne?
  • Do you wear men's scents? Which ones do you love?
  • Have you successfully given fragrance as a gift?