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10 colognes to gift your significant other for Valentine's Day

Finding the right cologne for yourself is a chore, but finding it for your significant other increases difficulty tenfold. Honing in on the ideal cologne for anyone requires a basic understanding of the process, and with Valentine's Day around the corner, it's a great time to upgrade your partner's scent.

Cologne trends stick within the same three-note formula that made many of these companies universally loved. But don't let French labels, fancy names, and long ingredient lists overwhelm you while you shop for a romantic gift that benefits you both. 

In this article: Maison Margiela "REPLICA" Jazz ClubDolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme Eau de Toilette and Valentino Born in Rome. 

What makes for a good Valentine's cologne? 

Valentine's colognes should feel like an elegant gift. While some bottles have pretty designs, you still want to get the right scent for your partner. If they already wear scents, you can search the labels for common scents and brands. If they don't, you can always ask them. Scents often match the personality of the person wearing them.

Think about your partner's personality and dissect their scent from there. For example, if your partner has a more rugged personality, they might enjoy earthy tones or notes of tobacco or rum. Conversely, a bubbly partner might want bright, freshly scented citrus with lavender underneath.

Cologne basics to know before you shop

Cologne is more than a singular scent you spray onto your neck and wrists whenever you want to smell good. Each bottle has a unique experience that shifts over time and keeps you smelling well throughout the process. Colognes have three basic components, or notes: the top notes, the mid-notes and the base notes.

  • Top notes: The top note, an often citrusy, fruity, aquatic, floral or spicy scent, gives you that initial rush of delicious-smelling power.  Effective top notes give you a great first impression while mellowing into a pleasant, more subtle scent. They normally last anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours.
  • Mid-notes: This stage of cologne notes produces a mellow, subtle smell that neither overpowers nor underwhelms. It's often rich in floral tones and herbaceous accents, which last longer than those first initial sprays of fruity freshness. These notes should last three to five hours before reaching the final stage. 
  • Base notes: The base notes, those subtle smells that tie the entire fragrance together, are the scents that last the longest. They lay down a smell base that others build on top of and still leave behind long after they are gone. These notes often stem from natural notes, such as tobacco, wood, moss or leather. They make the top notes shine with proper balance without diminishing returns.

Scents that make great gifts

Maison Margiela "Replica" Jazz Club 

This cozy cologne from Maison Margiela hearkens back to an old jazz club with wooden, earthy and rugged tones of pink pepper up top and rum absolute and tobacco leaf underneath. It comes in a vintage apothecary jar that fits the brand and fragrance's aesthetic. 

Sold by Sephora

Versace Eros by Gianni Versace 

This coolly scented, bright blue classic comes from a leader in luxury fragrances. It begins with notes of minty, citrusy vanilla that are bolstered with cedar and vetiver. It's a long-lasting and rugged-smelling cologne. It comes in a blue Greco-Roman Medusa-inspired bottle.

Sold by Amazon

Parfums de Marly

Parfums de Marly gives your partner a high-end scent made from luxurious ingredients from all around the world. It starts with a spray of apple, bergamot and other floral scents and finishes with base notes of vanilla, pepper and guaiac wood for a lingering, relaxing scent. 

Sold by Amazon

Christian Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette 

Christian Dior's warm and earthy fragrance doesn't have any overwhelming floral notes or lemon scents. It starts with a refreshing spray of peppery bergamot and amberwood, with other earthy undernotes inspired by the great outdoors. 

Sold by  Sephora

Versace Dylan Blue 

What begins with Versace's aquatic blend of bergamot and patchouli culminates in the subtle undertones of the Mediterranean Sea with fig leaf, violet and natural citrus in a dark blue radiant bottle inspired by the Italian seaside. 

Sold by Sephora

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme Eau de Toilette

This freshly scented summer fragrance starts with a fresh spray of aquatic fresh juniper and mandarin with undernotes of grapefruit peel and aromatic juniper and a final touch of rosewood and spicy Sichuan pepper for the long notes. 

Sold by Sephora

Jimmy Choo Men's Travel Spray

Already have a present picked out but want some scents as a bonus? This spray comes in a travel size for your next family trip and romantic weekends away. It starts with a sweet blend of lavender, honeydew and pink pepper, and offers end notes of pineapple leaf, suede and patchouli. 

Sold by Amazon

Valentino Born in Rome 

This fragrance pays homage to its namesake with a range of floral, earthy smells. It starts with subtle violet leaf, ginger and cedar essence notes before a dynamic sniff of lavender, peppermint and salt accord with wooden base notes. 

Sold by Sephora

Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

Another winter-scented fragrance, this one perfectly blends the citrus scents with rugged, wooden tones. The sensual fragrance begins with a bergamot and ginger blend and then wooden notes for a subtle but undeniably pleasant tone for all occasions. 

Sold by Sephora

Burberry Hero Eau de Toilette

Burberry's earthy mix of citrus scents with black pepper and cedar wood gives this one a smoky, rugged smell inspired by mountain life around the world. 

Sold by Sephora

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

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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