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6 Warming Scents to Wear This Winter

These smoky scents are an antidote to the winter lull.

santa maria novella tabacco toscano
Cam Oden

When it’s cold out, fire promises respite. It’s a tool humans have turned to for millions of years to heat our homes, cook our meals and spark our senses. We let its aroma linger, watch its flames unfurl and listen as its embers crack.

Here, six scents that use smoke — sometimes the most prominent component, often a fleeting note — as an ingredient.

What to Know About Smoky Colognes

These warm, spicy fragrances aren't full-on smoke bombs. Simply put, if you've ever cooked with liquid smoke, these scents are not that. They're much more delicate in their ways, meaning the smoke might not be the first note you identify. Smoke, instead, is layered with other aromas, like when a cigarette is smoked at the other end of a bar. That's why our expert says not to mistake initial strength for quality.

"For a lot of guys, [perceived] good performance is about how long a fragrance lasts or how powerful the fragrance projects," Clayton Ilolahia of What Men Should Smell Like says. "Fragrances that are very ‘loud’ and enduring often sacrifice more nuanced and subtle characteristics."

None of these are aggressively aromatic, but they are prominent, each with their own distinct profile. No one, you can't virtually test them all, but you should be mindful of how each one might engage with your skin.

Learn more about how to buy the right cologne for you in our guide to avoiding the seven most common mistakes.

Atum Wild Tobacco

Cam Oden
Atum Wild Tobacco
atumfragrance.com
$125.00

Founded by painter-turned-perfumer Kristin Scott in 2021, Atum is a small-batch fragrance brand based in Austin, Texas. A best-seller, Wild Tobacco is one of Atum's most complex scents. Top notes of fresh tobacco and sweet wildflower honey give way to a puff of smoke, courtesy of a chocolate brown cuban cigar.

But the scent itself is just one half of the equation. The sculptural cap gives the bottle a larger-than-life look, making it a step you won't forget to do each morning.

  • Price: $125
  • Size: 50ml

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    Misc. Goods Co. Underhill

    Cam Oden
    Misc. Goods Co. Underhill Eau De Cologne
    huckberry.com
    $125.00

    Misc. Goods Co. doesn't just sell cologne. From wallets and deodorant to playing cards and ceramic flasks, everything there is done with an old-timey flair. That's why Underhill is so expressive, with its notes of worn leather, smoked pipe and wine grapes. It truly does unfurl, too, because while I know every cologne does it, few's evolutions are as evident.

    It's truly a completely different cologne at first spritz than it is 10 minutes later, and the rollercoaster to its final form is quite the ride.

    • Price: $125
    • Size: 50ml

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      Gabar Float I

      Cam Oden
      Gabar No. I Float
      $120.00

      Gabar's Float I references Inle Lake, the second largest lake in Myanmar. Notes of hay, jasmine, lemongrass, fresh basil and loose leaf tobacco conjure life on its coast. It's fresh, simple and impressive, considering Gabar is still an emerging brand, and one rooted in a culture not traditionally spotlighted in this category.

      10 percent of Gabar's annual profits go to Myanmar, the Asian country where the fragrance brand was born. The money aids infrastructure development and funds social programs.

      • Price: $140
      • Size: 50ml

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        Le Labo Tabac 28

        Cam Oden
        Le Labo Tabac 28
        $350.00

        A part of Le Labo's legendary City Exclusives series, Tabac 28 is a staple at the brand's Miami boutiques but is only available to the national audience once a year. Since the series's inception, fans of the brand have demanded broader access. Once a year is barely enough, they argue, especially since everyone's anticipating the drop.

        Other stores have their own signature scents, too, but Miami is likely the secret favorite of your city's shop owners. It has hard-hitting base notes of dark rum, but they're contrasted by floral and smoky notes.

        • Price: $350
        • Size: 50ml

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          Thin Wild Mercury Laurel Canyon, 1966

          Cam Oden
          Thin Wild Mercury Laurel Canyon,1966
          shopthinwildmercury.com
          $165.00

          Thin Wild Mercury conjures moments with its perfumes. Laurel Canyon, 1966 is a postcard from a formative place and time, where smoke lingered on mid-century modern furniture. Perfumer Cathleen Cardinali uses these markers as starting points, from where she draws notes, albeit abstract ones: "The faint smell of a freshly lit joint creeps under your door dancing with the patchouli on your silk scarves. A breeze blows in the dry woody canyon air drenching your room with golden sunlight," the box reads.

          More concretely, the dominant notes are cannabis, birch and sweet orange, a mix that skews citrus but is rooted in smoke. It's a quality fragrance, especially for an independent perfumer. But all of Thin Wild Mercury's scents are stellar, so let Laurel Canyon 1966 simply be a starting point.

          • Price: $165
          • Size: 50ml

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            Santa Maria Novella Tabacco Toscano

            Cam Oden
            Santa Maria Novella Tabacco Toscano
            smnovella.com
            $145.00
            $100.00 (31% off)

            Santa Maria Novella is the oldest operating pharmacy in the world. Now, though, the brand is far from a humble brick-and-mortar. Instead, it sells skincare products, diffusers and candles, soaps and fragrances, of course.

            Tabacco Toscano references the famous tuscan tobacco leaves, an all-purpose plant part doctors used to use to treat migraines. Now, though, its application is purely cosmetic, even if it's still the dominant note. But the spicy tobacco notes give way to deeper strokes of vanilla and bergamot, as well as the warmth of leather and amber.

            • Price: $100
            • Size: 50ml

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              A version of this story appears in Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today
              Matthew Stacey

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