The best leather colognes, like the best leather jackets, do something special when you put them on. Immediately you feel cooler; you’ve got more swagger, more heat. You could wear either to work, though they can feel a little bit brash in a conservative space—which might be exactly what you’re going for.
Our favorite leather fragrances radiate intensity and a slightly primal allure, seamlessly blending notes of tobacco, wood, and spices—often with sweetly seductive hits of vanilla and chocolate. They tend to be more stereotypically “masculine” than spicy colognes, and heavier than the best floral and fruit-based colognes. Interestingly, the actual “leather” isn’t some natural distillation of actual calfskin, but a product of perfumers’ synthetic wizardry.
Lab-concocted or not, a great leather cologne can’t be missed. It might not end up as your year-round signature scent, but it will absolutely become your go-to bottle for the darker, moodier months, particularly for date nights and late nights. (Which explains why we’ve always got a few leather scents on our lists of the best fall colognes and the best winter colognes.)
Below are our nine favorite leather colognes for keeping you warm and cool at the same time.
The Most Leather-Forward Scent: Tom Ford
In Tom Ford’s catalog of scents (which, let’s be honest, might be the industry’s best), Ombré Leather is often overshadowed by the also-spectacular Tuscan Leather. But Ombré earns the nod here because the leather has fewer notes to compete with, so gets to own the spotlight. It’s also the most pure expression of leather on this list, too—meaning if you love leather, you can stop scrolling.
Best Sweet Leather Scent: Bianco
Few leather scents have the range that Cherry Leather does. It’s polite in the workplace but sexy after hours, with the balanced title notes keeping it from going too hard in one direction. It’s so even-handed that unlike a lot of leather-first scents, which feel like they’re meant to come out in fall and disappear after spring, you could wear Cherry Leather all through, well, cherry season.
The Best Date Night Leather Scent: Ferragamo
We almost put this scent in our “best spicy scents” roundup because of the pepper, nutmeg, and saffron notes. But ultimately they’re here to round out the sexy musk of leather, and help make this cologne more smooth and sophisticated than most cold-weather scents. It’s a perfect date night spriz: rousing and warm, but never dominating the conversation.
The Best Cold-Weather Leather Scent: AllSaints
Like one of AllSaint’s leather jackets, this scent—led by leather, sandalwood, pepper, and frankincense—envelops you in a cloak of cool, smooth confidence. Though like a leather jacket, it’s best to keep it in the closet during warmer months—Leather Skies is best for fall and winter.
The Best Classic Leather Scent: Dior
At nearly 40 years young, Fahrenheit is a cologne legend. It marries leather to woody, powdery, and spicy notes, creating a softer expression than others scents on this list. It’s still best for cold-weather wear, but it isn’t as broody as some others on this list. Don’t hesitate to wear it during the day (whether it’s a weekday or a weekend).
The Best Leather Scent for the Office: Malin + Goetz
Sometimes the inherent sexiness of a leather-forward scent is exactly what you want. Sometimes, though, you just want the swagger without the sensuality. The contrast of powdery and floral notes with woody and spicy notes keeps Malin + Goetz’s scent feeling grounded and approachable. Wearing it will make you feel more powerful, less on-the-prowl.
The Best Black-Tie Leather Scent: Bulgari
Man in Black is as suave as its name suggests. In this case, leather isn’t the top bill, but its presence is felt. It plays evenly alongside some of perfumery’s warmest notes, like resin, rum, and tobacco—all hints that this is an evenings-only cologne.
The Most Powerful Leather Scent: Roja
In a sea of more diluted eau de toilettes and eau de parfums, Roja’s scent is a parfum, no “eau” in sight. A parfum is the most concentrated form of cologne, and as a result, the playful Fetish Pour Homme will last well into the afterparty. It’s going to be the life of the afterparty, too, with rousing spicy, musky, and resinous notes. Here, you’re paying for a powerhouse scent that’ll set you apart, in more ways than one.
The Most Relaxed Leather Scent: Valentino
Valentino’s beloved Uomo is tailored for low-key coziness, its leather cut with food-centric notes (a.k.a. “gourmand” notes in the perfume industry), like hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate. Together, they create an enveloping fragrance that wears like a warm, toasty henley under a (luxe, perfectly cut) flannel shirt.