Which fall cologne is best?

With summer winding down and fall approaching, you may be in search of ways to refresh your look, but you should not overlook your personal scent. Fall evokes many aromas and fragrances, and various colognes match the season well, including warm scents like wood, spice and leather. A perfect fall fragrance can make a great first impression or liven up your cool-weather wardrobe. The top pick, Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’Homme, delivers a warm, spicy and earthy aroma that brings about images of falling leaves and burning bonfires.

What to know before you buy a fall cologne

Before reaching for an old standard fragrance, consider the top choices in BestReviews’ complete buying guide for fall colognes.

Scent notes

Fragrances have three phases of aroma notes, including top, medium and base. The top note is the light, initial smell that hits the nose first, most notably immediately after application and lasting 15 minutes to 2 hours. The middle note, or heart note, is the primary element of the fragrance, developing after the top note evaporates and lasting 3 to 5 hours after application. The final base note is bold and lingering, forming the foundation of the scent and lasting up to 10 hours. Top notes include floral, citrus and spices, heart notes feature heavier scents like jasmine or spice, and base notes include musk, leather and wood aromas. 

Fragrance families

Fragrances classifications fall into four families, including floral, fresh, woody and oriental. The last two contain many of the scents that are associated with fall weather. Oriental aromas like vanilla, amber and allspice typically complement woody scents such as sandalwood, cedarwood, forest and leather. If you find a fall cologne that speaks to you, it will probably contain a formulated combination of any of those complimentary fragrances. 

Personal preference

No matter what fragrances come in your cologne, the most crucial factor is your personal preference. After all, you wouldn’t want to commit to a nice, possibly expensive bottle of cologne if you can’t stand it yourself. Many stores offer tester bottles of their catalog of colognes, so make sure to try a few scents on yourself to see how they make you feel.

What to look for in a quality fall cologne


Take note of the potency of the colognes you sample. Concentrations can vary from very light to heavy in intensity and are suitable for different situations and preferences. Higher concentrate fragrances also tend to last longer than the lighter potencies, another essential consideration for choosing the right fall scent for your needs. Fragrance concentrations break down into the following labels:

  • Pure perfume or parfum: 30-40%
  • Eau de parfum: 15-20%
  • Eau de toilette: 5-15%
  • Eau de cologne: 2-4%
  • Eau fraiche: 1-3%


Fragrances like colognes and perfumes have a long shelf life if they are correctly stored. They are sensitive to elements like heat and direct light, so many bottles use opaque glass. Whether you wear your fall cologne daily or on occasion, proper storage will keep you smelling good for many autumns to come. 

Designer vs. niche

Designer fragrances are the most widely available and familiar to most stores. They are mass-produced, so they maintain consistency from bottle to bottle and typically have less expensive ingredients. Niche fragrances, on the other hand, are usually made from more expensive, higher-quality ingredients. They generally have more robust and unique profiles than some designer fragrances and are a bit harder to find.

How much you can expect to spend on fall cologne

Fall-friendly fragrances can range from $10-$50 for a standar-size bottle, with higher-end designer and niche scents reaching $100. Some rare and exclusive fall colognes can cost much more, anywhere from $200 and up.

Fall cologne FAQ

How do I apply and wear fall cologne?

A. Spray your cologne on freshly clean and dry skin, holding the bottle 3 to 6 inches from your skin. Begin by applying a light amount to get a sense of the cologne’s strength and your own olfactory response. Apply the fragrance to warm parts of your body like your wrist, forearm, neck and chest, and your body heat will help release the scent throughout the day. Only reapply after the fragrance has had time to go through its bases in the second half of the day. 

What are the “don’ts” of wearing fall cologne?

A. When applying a new cologne, don’t spray your clothes. For the best effect, your body oils need to interact with your fragrance to cycle fully through their scent notes. Don’t waste your fragrance by spraying it into the air and walking through the mist, either. Also, most importantly, don’t overdo it — when it comes to cologne, less is more.  

What’s the best fall cologne to buy?

Top fall cologne

Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L'Homme

Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’Homme

What you need to know: This designer cologne is warm and spicy in all the best ways without being overpowering. Highlight notes like cedar and cardamom give it a smooth, woody autumn vibe.

What you’ll love: This fragrance combines oriental scents and cinnamon-like spice to give it a robust autumnal aroma.

What you should consider: The highly-rated fragrance may be too bold for some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Sephora

Top fall cologne for the money

Cremo Spice & Black Vanilla Cologne

Cremo Spice & Black Vanilla Cologne

What you need to know: Cremo delivers a high-quality niche fall cologne that is accessible and affordable for anyone in need of a new scent.

What you’ll love: This layered and complex fragrance emits vibrant spices, rich and dark vanilla and fresh tobacco notes.

What you should consider: The vanilla may make it too sweet for some wearers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Old Spice Eau de Cologne Spray Classic 

Old Spice Eau de Cologne Spray Classic 

What you need to know: Old Spice may have changed its branding, but not its original recipe scent.

What you’ll love: Beloved by dads, uncles and other masculine types, the Classic is wholly timeless.

What you should consider: It’s popular and commonly worn, so it won’t necessarily make you stand out.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Gucci Guilty Pour Homme

Gucci Guilty Pour Homme

What you need to know: Guilty is an affordable Gucci fragrance that suits less naturally musky bodies with its warm, woodsy and spicy aromas.

What you’ll love: Highlights like lemon, lavender and orange blossom balance more earthy tones like leather and patchouli.  

What you should consider: It may not last as long as other scents, so you may have to use more. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Sephora

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme Eau de Toilette

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme Eau de Toilette

What you need to know: If you’re looking for a fall cologne that is bold and daring, this aroma explosion blends warm amber and piquant grapefruit with bright spices.

What you’ll love: This is a fragrance that stands out in a crowd and commands attention.

What you should consider: It may be too intense for some users, so wear it lightly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Sephora


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Matt Fleming writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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