The Best Men’s Fragrances To Buy For Christmas

Make someone’s Christmas with one of these scents that are guaranteed to please

Christmas fragrances

by Haydn Williams |

I’m showing my age, but the male festive fragrance game has moved on immeasurably since the days of the Old Spice bottle with a soap-on-a-rope thrown in for good measure. It can also be more personal than a last minute trolley dash round your local high street chemist grabbing whatever battered gift set they have left. Ultimately it’s a chance to properly consider the recipient - their tastes, their interests and their appetite to try new things. Buying the right fragrance is a gift that keeps on giving. It can last months and with any luck the wearer will think of you every time they spritz and when they get compliments on how good they smell!

There is however a bewildering amount of products in-store and online and this can lead to ‘choice anxiety’. There’s all the high street brands’ offerings, let alone the niche and indie brands vying for your Christmas cash. Without wishing to over-generalise, men can be reluctant to move away from the familiar (and I speak as one of them!). We find a sweatshirt we love so we buy it in multiple colours and stay loyal to brands we like - including our fragrance. Looking on the positive side, the gift-giver has the rare chance to introduce new things and expand the perfumed horizons. There’s so much good stuff out there, but introducing new products can seem risky with real potential to get it wrong.

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A good starting point is to note what the recipient wears most on a daily basis. Knowing this will give a steer on their favoured fragrance family - whether it’s fresh, floral, woody or amber-based. If you can ask in a shop for help in identifying the family then great, otherwise a quick check online ought to tell you (there are excellent resources like https://www.fragrantica.com).

At least this gives you an area to aim for if you’re trying something new and it narrows down the field by three-quarters. Think of it as the equivalent of knowing whether someone prefers white, rose, red or sparkling wine. You can also search online for perfumes that share some similar notes to one you know they already like. This allows them to try something new but in a gradual way - and lessens the likelihood of a ‘fragrance fail.’

Using interests and places of significance to the person is another good tip for gift giving. There’s often a strong narrative with fragrance - especially the more niche brands - and this can be a useful source of inspiration. There are brands that are perfect for music lovers (such as Jusbox, D.S & Durga), or perfumes that highlight a shared significant place or city (e.g. Gallivant.) Whatever it might be - cars, history, literature, sport, theatre - there’s a perfume for every passion.

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Another option is to buy a discovery set so they can try a selection of smaller testers from a certain brand to find their own favourite. You can often get the price of this set redeemed if you go on to buy a full-size bottle. A perfume subscription is another way to try a wider range of niche and indie brands in smaller volume bottles. Brands like HOOHAA use a monthly subscription model, posting a 10ml fragrance curated by experts based on how adventurous the recipient’s tastes are (see more info on HOOHAA in the gift guide below.)

Some of the choices below may be more cash than you want to spend on one item, so it’s worth remembering that many brands also sell home fragrances, body products and shaving and grooming products too. So if, for example, a full bottle of Acqua di Parma is over-budget then there are many more reasonably priced items in their range like body washes, shampoos and shave creams that would make perfect gifts and add a real sense of luxury to daily bathroom rituals.

Here’s a selection of gift ideas for men, from stocking fillers to ‘big ticket items’. Just the thing for a fantastically fragrant festive period.

Shop: The Best Men's Fragrances For Christmas 2021

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Shop: The Best Men's Fragrances For Christmas Gifting 2021

Maya Njie - Voyeur Verde
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Maya Njie is a British indie perfumer who uses her art school background to make incredibly evocative and tactile fragrances. Her latest release 'Voyeur Verde' takes its inspiration from an abandoned Mercedes Maya chanced upon in the small Spanish town of Pedramala. It was covered in foliage and only partially visible. The opening has a citrus sharpness alongside a sour note. Voyeur Verde develops in such an interesting way - green foliage and florals through to a warmer base of leather, woods, patchouli and frankincense. This would suit a man who is happy for his scent to be as cool and individual as he is.

Acqua Di Parma x Emilio Pucci - Barbiere u2018The Daily Ritual Setu2019
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Acqua Di Parma is always a great choice for gifting. Classy, beautifully presented and who can object to smelling of 'expensive Italian barber shop?!' The Barbiere box consists of face wash, shave cream, after-shave emulsion and shampoo, all in a handy travel format. In addition there's a small bottle of Colonia, for an experience in pure Italian style. Buying the set also supports the 'Rewrite the Future' campaign from Save The Children.

Bon Parfumeur  - 003
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Bon Parfumeur fragrances are deliberately numbered, rather than given a name , so that you can put your own interpretation and imprint your own memories on the scent. They are fuss-free and extremely wearable. 003 is a zesty fragrance with yuzu, bergamot, violet leaf, jasmine and vetiver and is a fine example of the classic barbershop profile. A strong all-rounder that won't upset work colleagues and can transition effortlessly into evening.

Maison Margiela  - Autumn Vibes
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Autumn Vibes is part of the Maison Margiela 'Replica' series. This time the aim is to recreate an autumn walk in a forest. A few spritzes and the wearer is immediately transported there - crunchy leaves underfoot, cedarwood, fir balsam to evoke tree sap , moss and earthy floral facets. Perfect as the final layer to a winter wardrobe.

Jo Malone London - Orange Bitters Car Diffuser
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The days of the traffic light car freshener from the petrol station are long gone (boo!) Now some of the major fragrance brands are intent on making our cars smell as good as our skin and our homes. The Jo Malone London diffuser fits on the air vent and emits a continuous subtle blend of sweet orange mixed with a splash of bitter orange and rich sandalwood. There are other Jo Malone fragrances available in separate refills so that when the festive period is over you can switch up the scent. This would make an excellent stocking filler for the man who cares about all of his fragrant environments.

Horace, Face Kit
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A selection of hero items from French brand Horace is the ideal gift for a gent who cares about his skin regime and wants to look 'magnifique.' There's a face scrub, cleanser and moisturiser in this 'Face Kit' gift set. Horace use high quality natural ingredients and make premium, functional no-nonsense skincare. He'll thank you for it.

Parfums de Marly - Kalan
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Kalan is from fine fragrance brand Parfums de Marly. The brand marries French know-how with daring compositions using rare materials and ingredients and presents them in striking flacons. Kalan comes in a pillarbox red bottle, perfect for the festive season. The fragrance itself has a surprising amount of power and longevity. Blood orange is joined by spices and the kick of black pepper. The well rounded dry down reveals lavender, oak moss and sandalwood. You can smell the quality of ingredients in Kalan and it would suit a confident man who is unafraid of a bold scent.

Moncler Pour Homme
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The is the debut fragrance from mountain brand Moncler. 'Moncler Pour Homme' comes in a unique 'borraccia' shaped bottle, a nod to Moncler's mountaineering origins and the quilted construction of the famous Moncler jacket. There's a neat innovation on the larger 150ml format, with an LED customisable message panel. This allows you to write a personal note to the recipient that appears in scrolling red letters across the bottle. The fragrance itself is woody and aromatic, capturing the natural beauty of an alpine forest. It starts with an alpine green accord that, combined with the fresh note of Clary Sage, lifts the fragrance through the mountain pines. It's made for a man who likes the 'great outdoors' - it's fresh, bracing and rugged.

HooHa Subscription
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HOOHAA is new online company that use a monthly subscription model (which can be gifted, of course.) There are 3 gender-free 'edits' depending on how bold you want to go and these can be amended at any point. They work with the cream of niche and indie perfume houses, so you get access to brands you may not have heard of. Then you (or the recipient) sits back and waits for a 10ml bottle that comes through the post each month, curated by the experts at HOOHAA. If you particularly like one of the edits there's 10% off a full-bottle.

Medeau, Cedar Noir
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Cedar Noir is from new fragrance brand Medeau. It has a sparkling bergamot opening and gives way to a heart of vetiver and cedar and a warming musk and amber base. Medeau's ethos is about 'clean luxury' - so the British-made perfumes are vegan, PETA-certified, made with bioidenticals (to protect vulnerable species), free of synthetic dyes and the bottles are 98% recyclable. Medeau marry sustainability with real quality and perfume know-how.

Jusbox - Suit Of Lights
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Jusbox are an Italian company with music in its DNA. Every fragrance is inspired by a genre or artist. Their newest release Suit of Lights is from esteemed perfumer Julian Rasquinet and is his olfactory interpretation of the diamond - representing the award given to music artists that have sold over 100 million albums. Julian cleverly works his way through the kaleidoscope attributing a raw material to each colour. The effect is dazzling and unexpected.

Bamford Woodland Moss EDP
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Woodland Moss is one of a duo of debut fragrances from body & skincare brand Bamford. The fragrances have been created together with esteemed perfumer Lyn Harris. Woodland Moss brings together patchouli with aromatic notes and a stunning verdancy. This would make a perfect gift for lovers of the countryside and the natural world. It's an elegant, understated fragrance that holds close the skin.

Barbour For Him
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No, it's not the smell of a their iconic waxed jackets - but instead it showcases the Barbour outdoor lifestyle and their Scottish heritage. 'For Him' is woody, rugged and warming. Cedar, guaiac wood and vetiver are the stand out notes, with a spicy heart of cardamom and black pepper. Just the thing to pack in the wash bag for a weekend away with friends.

- Icon Racing Gift Set
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Icon Racing evokes the open road and a spirit of adventure. It's an aromatic, woody fragrance - with a fresh 'barbershop' profile and that effortless sense of Dunhill style. A great gift option as the set comes with a full size EDP, a shower gel and a smaller 30ml travel size EDP. For the classy gent.

Gallivant - Naples
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Naples is the latest in the series of travel-inspired fragrances from UK indie firm Gallivant. This is 'armchair escapism' in action, one spritz and the wearer is transported to the streets of Naples, bright skies, the salty sea air, the smoky incense from the churches, the charm and exuberance of the people. It's all here in the bottle. The great thing about Gallivant's parfums are that they are available in a 30ml size, so they are easy to take on-the-go and don't feel like such a massive investment. The rest of the range is well worth investigating too. Perfect for the man with wanderlust.

Gabar - Swim
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Gabar means "world" in Burmese and is also a new perfume company with roots in Myanmar and the UK. 'Swim' is a lush, vegetal fragrance, born in the jungle of Hpa-An in Myanmar. The result is a rich brew of fig, green tea and a mossy base of cedar wood and amber. This progressive young brand will also donate 10% of Gabar's proceeds towards the rebuilding of Myanmar.

Escentric Molecules - Molecule 01 Stories Edition
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Molecule 01 became a fragrance phenomenon when it launched 15 years ago. It famously consists of just one aroma molecule – ISO E Super - and this subtle, cedar-like note works differently on everyone's skin. It's enigmatic, sexy and unique. The Stories Edition celebrates the 15th Anniversary with stories from wearers printed on the bottles and boxes. If he hasn't tried the brand yet, then this gift could let him write his own Molecule 01 story.

The Nue Co.  - Mind Energy
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Something quite different from The Nue Co. They label 'Mind Energy' as a 'fragrance supplement' that helps give a lift and boost mental energy. They use patented neuroscience technology to stimulate neural pathways to give a mental pick-me-up and enhance mood. The fragrance itself is minty fresh, with a spicy, velvety dry-down. This could be just the thing to gift to someone who works long hours and needs an energy kick-start through the day, or someone who travels frequently.

To hear more from Haydn about fragrances and gifting for men, you can listen to his episode of the ‘On The Scent’ podcast. You can also follow Haydn on Instagram, and on his site, You Smell Great, What Is It?

READ MORE: 14 Of The Best Scented Candles For Men

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