Dr. Squatch is no neophyte when it comes to perfumery. The grooming brand based on a pipe-smoking Sasquatch is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. But until now, it's focused mostly on products for masking your natural odor with scents abundant in nature: potent bar soaps made with pine extract and deodorants that smell like citrus or sage, for example.
Now, though, Dr. Squatch wants to break into the world of fine fragrances, where the expectation isn't to offset bad body odor (that's a deodorant's job) but to cloak the wearer in a new aroma altogether —one that's complex and clearly the doing of a bottled cologne.
But can Dr. Squatch break into a category dominated by legacy scents and lucrative licensing deals? Here's how its first three scents — Fireside Bourbon, Woodland Pine and Glacial Falls — compare to the competition.
TOP PICKDr. Squatch Woodland Pine Cologne Read More
RUnner upDr. Squatch Glacial Falls Cologne Read More
bottom of the (bourbon) barrelDr. Squatch Fireside Bourbon Cologne Read More
Dr. Squatch Colognes, Explained
Dr. Squatch eschews labels like "Eau de Parfum" or "Eau de Toilette" in favor of simpler terminology: cologne. That muddies the true makeup of these scents but doesn't necessarily reduce their impact. An Eau de Parfum contains between ~10 and 18 percent fragrance oil, while an Eau de Toilette contains roughly 5 to 10 percent fragrance oil. As such, Eau de Parfums are more concentrated, thus making them longer-lasting.
At first sniff, Dr. Squatch's colognes are potent — probably above 10 percent oil — but they aren't astringent or even overbearing. Sure, there is a clear "winner" in the bunch, at least in my opinion — more on that in a moment — but none are obviously bad, just less nuanced. Because while I do believe most colognes cost are marked up beyond reason, it's hard to make, bottle and distribute a cologne for less than $60, especially as an independent brand... but Dr. Squatch does, while stating their formulas are "free from potential harmful chemicals found in other colognes." (You typically only see dupes, like Dossier, or white label scents with licensed names, like Stetson Original, at this price.)
That being said, Dr. Squatch's ingredient list isn't all that transparent: denatured alcohol derived from corn, water and fragrance, it reads. "Fragrance" is the same sort of shield other brands use to hide potentially harmful chemicals like sytrene or musk ketone, which have both been labeled "potentially carcinogenic."
"Styrene is important to know about, but there are potentially hundreds of other fragrance chemicals that may be carcinogenic," research scientist Robin Dodson, Sc.D., told Men's Health. "We don’t know about the others, because they haven’t been tested."
I'm not saying Dr. Squatch's colognes contain any of these — the brand has been proudly "all-natural" since its inception, and the foremost oils used are listed in the product descriptions — but it isn't being any more transparent than the rest of the industry, I'd argue. But do they smell better (or last longer)? Here's what we think.
Dr. Squatch Colognes, Ranked
Each of Dr. Squatch's new colognes have equivalencies on the soap side: Woodland Pine stems from Pine Tar; Glacial Falls is an extension of Fresh Falls; and Fireside Bourbon recalls Wool Barrel Bourbon.
#1: Woodland Pine
Woodland Pine was my favorite scent at first spray and a few hours later. It's obviously piney but not in an overbearing way. Hours later, the pine fades and the cologne becomes harder to decipher — in a good way. Earthy notes lent by vetiver rise, while the base becomes herbaceous, courtesy of the cypress. By the afternoon, it's less a room where a pine scented candle was and more open air, with pine trees in the periphery.
#2: Glacial Falls
The only "water" scent of the bunch, Glacial Falls is the most refreshing. There's a layer of citrus, courtesy of bergamot oil, but it's offset by a crisp, not warm, spice element added by clove leaf. It's not oceanic, necessarily, but the scent does conjure the crispness of falling or rushing water.
It's something my dad would wear, I'd argue, which is a statement as universal as it is personal to me. If you simply want the cleanest scent of the three, go with Glacial Falls.
#3: Fireside Bourbon
Fireside Bourbon smells neither like a crackling campfire nor a classic bourbon cocktail. It has sweet undertones, a kind of caramel-y middle and top notes of the secondhand bar smoke. Altogether, it's not a scent I'd personally ever wear, even though I often gravitate toward deeper, muskier colognes. Blindfolded, I could probably guess my way to what it's supposed to smell like. They say it's warm and woodsy, but the fire is far from roaring.