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12 best colognes to give as a Valentine's Day gift

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Selecting the best cologne for your sweetie

Finding the right cologne for yourself is a chore, but finding it for your significant other increases difficulty tenfold. Narrowing down the best colognes 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 Valentine's Day gift that benefits you both. 

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

How to choose the perfect cologne 

Colognes should feel like an elegant Valentine's Day 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.

Best colognes for Valentine's Day gifts

Maison Margiela "Replica" Jazz Club 

This cozy Maison Margiela cologne 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. 

Versace Eros by Gianni Versace 

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

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. 

Christian Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette 

This Christian Dior cologne has a warm and earthy fragrance without 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. 

Versace Dylan Blue 

Versace Dylan Blue cologne begins with an aquatic blend of bergamot and patchouli that culminates in the subtle undertones of the Mediterranean Sea, paired with fig leaf, violet and natural citrus. It comes in a dark blue radiant bottle inspired by the Italian seaside. 

Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme Eau de Toilette

This Dolce and Gabbana cologne has a freshly scented summer fragrance. It starts with a spray of aquatic fresh juniper and mandarin, with undernotes of grapefruit peel and aromatic juniper, and a final touch of rosewood and spicy pepper to make up the long notes.

Jimmy Choo Men's Travel Spray

Already have a present picked out but want some scents as a bonus? This Jimmy Choo cologne 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. 

Valentino Born in Roma 

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

Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

Another winter-scented fragrance, this Yves Saint Laurent cologne 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. 

Burberry Hero Eau de Toilette

This Burberry cologne features an earthy mix of citrus scents with black pepper and cedarwood, giving this one a smoky, rugged smell inspired by mountain life around the world. 

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille Eau de Parfum

With a warm and spicy scent, this Tom Ford cologne is reminiscent of an English gentleman's club, featuring a blend of tonka bean, vanilla, cocoa and sweet wood sap. It comes in a sleek bottle that resembles a chess piece. 

Burberry Brit Eau de Toilette

This Burberry Brit cologne is one of the brand's most popular and enticing offerings, with a fresh, oriental scent consisting of ginger blended with cedarwood and tonka bean. It comes in a gray bottle with Burberry's iconic check pattern.

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