The Best Vanilla Colognes Will Make You Smell Sexier, According to Grooming Experts

The Best Vanilla Colognes Will Make You Smell Sexier, According to Grooming Experts

Best Sweet Vanilla Cologne

Tom Ford Vanilla Sex

Vanilla Sex

Best Sweet Vanilla Cologne

Tom Ford Vanilla Sex

There’s no mistaking it: this is a vanilla fragrance. There are three kinds of vanilla in this juice, including a synthetic molecule called Ultravanil that was created specifically for this scent, so there’s nothing subtle about the vanilla aspect. Some would call it a gourmand, meaning a food-type fragrance, but the addition of sandalwood in the base note adds a masculine quality that makes it more wearable than your straight-up sugar cookie vibe. There’s not a lot of projection, but it does last on your skin for hours and the more it dries, the more sophisticated it gets.

Read more: Best Tom Ford Colognes

Size 1 oz, 1.7 oz
Fragrance Family Amber, Vanilla
Notes Bitter almond, vanilla, floral notes, vanilla absolute, Ultravanil, tonka bean, sandalwood

Best Non-sweet Vanilla Cologne

Boy Smells Vanilla Era

Vanilla Era

Best Non-sweet Vanilla Cologne

Boy Smells Vanilla Era

There are sweet vanillas and there are, well, unsweet vanillas and this falls firmly into the second category. At first spray, you absolutely know this is a vanilla fragrance, but pretty immediately realize there’s something more to it. There’s a dry factor to this cologne, brought to you by the wood and papyrus, that adds a crisp, starchy layer and an earthy element from the beetroot and a spiciness from the black pepper. It’s the vanilla scent for people who hate vanilla.

Size .34 oz, 2.2 oz
Fragrance Family Amber, Vanilla
Notes Black pepper, olibanum, tulip, saffron, Iso E Super, cashmere wood, beetroot, vanilla absolute, papyrus, black amber

Best for Cold Weather

Azzaro The Most Wanted Parfum

The Most Wanted Parfum

Best for Cold Weather

Azzaro The Most Wanted Parfum

The secret to this spicy, woody cologne is the base of bourbon vanilla, which sticks to your skin with a little bit of sweetness and a lot of booziness like a fancy cocktail. The vanilla is apparent in the mix, which gives it a smooth, sultry finish on your skin, but mixes well with the smoky woods and hit of spicy ginger. It’s a warm cologne that’s ideal for cold weather, especially intimate nights sitting by a fire with a drink in hand.

Read more: Best Winter Colognes

Size 1.7 oz, 3.38 oz
Fragrance Family Woody, Spicy
Notes Ginger, woodsy notes, bourbon vanilla

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Best Spicy Cologne

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Le Parfum

Le Male Le Parfum

Best Spicy Cologne

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Le Parfum

Le Male is an icon in men’s fragrance, and this Le Parfum version dials up the intensity with a spiciness that hits your nose immediately but, almost as quickly, dissipates to reveal the blend of lavender and vanilla that form the base of the iconic Le Male scent. There’s an additional hit of spiciness in the base thanks to oriental notes and a woody element as well, making this a warm, spicy, sultry scent that’s ideal for a night out on the town.

Size 2.5 oz, 6.8 oz
Fragrance Family Amber, Spicy
Notes Cardamom, lavender, iris, vanilla, oriental notes, woodsy notes

Best Smoky Cologne

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille Eau de Parfum Fragrance

Tobacco Vanille Eau de Parfum Fragrance

Best Smoky Cologne

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille Eau de Parfum Fragrance

An instant classic since the moment it hit shelves, this smoky, spicy scent taught guys that, yes, they can wear vanilla fragrances. That vanilla is unmistakable in the mix here, but serves to temper and smooth the more aggressive notes like tobacco leaf, spicy notes and tobacco blossom. The smoky-spicy vibe is what really shines through here which makes it a head turner no matter where you go. It’s incomparably elegant in a way you don’t often think a vanilla scent can be.

Size 1 oz, 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz
Fragrance Family Amber, Spicy
Notes Tobacco leaf, spicy notes, vanilla, cacao, tonka bean, tobacco blossom, dried fruits, woody notes

Best for Warm Weather

Versace Eros Eau de Parfum

Eros Eau de Parfum

Best for Warm Weather

Versace Eros Eau de Parfum

You’ll notice on this list that you don’t often see a lot of citrus or fresh herb notes mixed with vanilla, but that’s where this uber-popular cologne differs. The top note is unmistakably fresh with a hit of lemon, mint and green apple. The sweet tonka bean acts as a bridge to the sweeter base note of vanilla, which lingers on your skin and mixes with the woods and vetiver for a versatile finish that’s light and fresh. This could just be the most versatile vanilla scent out there–so versatile in fact, you can wear it in the summer.

Size 3.4 oz, 6.7 oz
Fragrance Family Fresh
Notes Mint, green apple, lemon, tonka bean, ambroxan, geranium, madagascar vanilla, Virginia cedar, atlas cedar, vetiver, oakmoss

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Best Bold Cologne

Paco Rabanne 1 Million Elixir 1.7 oz / 50 mL

1 Million Elixir 1.7 oz / 50 mL

Best Bold Cologne

Paco Rabanne 1 Million Elixir 1.7 oz / 50 mL

This cologne is unabashedly bold and sweet. It’s not for the wallflower and it’s definitely not for someone who doesn’t like sweet smelling stuff. The opening note features sweet apple which gives away to a bold damask rose. The rose lingers, but fades a bit to the background as darker notes of patchouli, cedar, tonka bean take over–as well as the all-important vanilla absolute. The longevity is great and the bold, sweet vibe sticks to your skin for hours.

Size 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz
Fragrance Family Woody, Floral
Notes Apple, davana, damask rose, cedar, osmanthus, vanilla absolute, tonka bean, patchouli

Best Floral Cologne

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Satin Mood

Oud Satin Mood

Best Floral Cologne

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Satin Mood

There is nothing understated about this bold fragrance that’s sweet without being cloying or gourmandy. The double dose of rose, which is deep and floral, brings out a sweet element to the oud that’s like nothing you’ve ever smelled (at least, when it comes to oud). The vanilla isn’t the star here, but is important because it smooths out the edges and gives everything a warm cloud of sophistication. This cologne is elegant, sophisticated and surprising – all the things you want in a signature scent.

Size 2.4 oz, 6.8 oz
Fragrance Family Amber, Woody
Notes Bulgarian rose, Turkish rose, vanilla, oud, violet, benzoin

Best Smooth Cologne

Parfums de Marly Althair Eau de Parfum

Althair Eau de Parfum

Best Smooth Cologne

Parfums de Marly Althair Eau de Parfum

When it comes to wearable vanilla fragrances, this one is one of the best. It’s a little spicy (cinnamon, cardamom), a little floral (orange blossom), pretty sweet (praline, vanilla) and slightly woody (guaiac wood). Overall, the effect is a smooth, rich vanilla that doesn’t shy away from the inherent sweetness of the note, but instead turns it on its head by making it that star but shockingly not gourmand. A few sprays of this and you’ll smell sophisticated, not like a sugar cookie.

Size 2.5 oz, 4.2 oz
Fragrance Family Amber, Vanilla
Notes Cinnamon, cardamom, orange blossom, bergamot, bourbon vanilla, elemi, praline, musk, ambroxan, guaiac wood

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Best Boozy Cologne

Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club

Replica Jazz Club

Best Boozy Cologne

Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club

Capturing a vibe isn’t easy, but it’s what Replica is known for and this brand does it better than any other. Case in point: this popular cologne that actually does evoke the feeling of being inside a smoky, boozy jazz club–leather banquets and smooth notes included. The smokiness from the tobacco leaf and the rum hit you right away – the rum is very boozy–as well as a hit of fresh neroli and lemon, but once the vanilla bean starts to peek through the whole composition rounds out with a welcome sweetness that makes the one of the most distinctive, and wearable, scents on this list.

Size 1 oz, 3.4 oz
Fragrance Family Amber, Spicy
Notes Pink pepper, neroli, lemon, rum, java vetiver oil, clary sage, tobacco leaf, vanilla bean, styrax

Best Green Cologne

D.S. & Durga Deep Dark Vanilla

Deep Dark Vanilla

Best Green Cologne

D.S. & Durga Deep Dark Vanilla

Yes, the vanilla here is front and center, but the supporting characters are just as important, if not more so, because the notes like vine, hay and cypress give this an unexpected green quality that’s unlike anything else on this list. The vanilla leaves used in addition to vanilla absolute also add to this richly layered concoction that’s not only herbal, but dark, moody and brooding–not something you usually think of for vanilla. That’s exactly the point and why this is so good.

Size 3.3 oz
Fragrance Family Amber, Vanilla
Notes Cabrueva, pink pepper, orchid, cypress, vanilla leaves, vine, dark patchouli, hay, vanilla absolute

Best Inexpensive Fragrance

Axe Black Vanilla Body Spray

Black Vanilla Body Spray

Best Inexpensive Fragrance

Axe Black Vanilla Body Spray

This might be a body spray, but your nose won’t know. This surprisingly elegant and richly layered scent smells just as good as any of the more traditional colognes on this list. It’s an unexpected vibe for a body spray, which usually lean more toward the “aggressively fresh” arena, but this is warm, deep and unmistakably vanilla – in a very good way.

Size 4 oz.
Fragrance Family Amber, Fresh
Notes Black vanilla, orange essential oil

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Can Men Wear Vanilla Cologne?

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The short answer is yes. In fact, if you have a cologne collection, you likely already have one that has vanilla in it. Because some vanilla scents tend toward sweetness, it’s often thought of as a feminine note, but what’s most important about vanilla is what you mix it with. You’ll notice that many of the colognes on this list, all of which are appropriate for or designed with men in mind, feature notes like woods, resins, spices and herbs, all of which lend a more masculine vibe to the vanilla notes. But also, it’s important to say, there is nothing inherently feminine about wearing a sweet fragrance. Men can wear sweet colognes, too. After all, there is nothing inherently masculine or feminine about fragrance–it mostly comes down to our own interpretation.

What Types of Vanilla Are in Cologne?

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You’ll often see vanilla listed in a a few different ways. The most common, at least in men’s fragrance, are vanilla bean, vanilla absolute, and bourbon vanilla. What kind of vanilla a perfumer chooses to use in their scent depends on what kind of finish they are going for. Vanilla absolute, for instance, is distilled and concentrated, almost like the vanilla extract you use in cooking, and gives a deeper vanilla scent. Vanilla bean, on the other hand, is more organic and slightly more subtle. And bourbon vanilla? It’s going to have a boozy quality.

How We Selected

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For the past two years, we consulted with Men’s Health’s Grooming editors and writers on the top vanilla colognes for men. Experts including our Grooming Editor, Garrett Munce, and our Deputy Editor of Commerce, Christian Gollayan, tried more than 25 men’s fragrances and evaluated their ingredients, application, and just how well they smelled after a day of use. We also considered top-reviewed vanilla colognes that had at least 50 five-star customer ratings on e-commerce websites that we trust.

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Shop More of Our Favorite Fragrances

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Headshot of Garrett Munce

Garrett Munce

Garrett Munce writes about men’s style and grooming. He’s written for Esquire, New York Magazine, Spotlyte, and Very Good Light and held staff positions at GQ and W. Follow his skincare obsession on Instagram at @garrettmunce.

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