Whether through deodorant, shampoo, body wash or lotion, everyone wants to smell great. But to take your scent game to the next level, you have to look into men’s fragrances.
Fragrances are traditionally made of a mixture of water, alcohol and essential oils to achieve a particular scent profile. Depending on the concentration of oils, the fragrance will be known as a perfume, eau de perfume, eau de toilette or, for most men’s fragrances, a cologne.
Depending on the selection of oils, each fragrance will have different scent notes — a top, a medium and a base note — that emerge as the water evaporates. The higher the concentration of oil, the longer each particular note can last.
With all the great-smelling essential oils, the best colognes for men can undoubtedly add some extra flair to your personal style, but they come with their own issues for the modern man. Men want to smell great, but who wants to be seen splashing on cologne in the office?
Enter solid cologne.
What Is Solid Cologne?
The best solid cologne offers the same benefits as traditional liquid cologne, only it comes as a soft balm. Usually, solid cologne is contained in a tin. Instead of mixing essential oils with water and alcohol, solid colognes use beeswax and shea butter to make a scented balm that can be rubbed on your arms, neck or chest. Solid cologne is easier to apply than liquid cologne and can have a more subtle and sophisticated scent.
Why Choose Solid Cologne Over Liquid Cologne?
Solid colognes are, unsurprisingly, much more convenient to discreetly apply than their liquid counterparts. Whether you’re headed out for a date after work or sprucing up your scent up after the gym, you won’t feel weird pulling a tin out and rubbing a little balm on your wrists and neck.
Solid colognes are also much more travel-friendly. Never again will you have to choose between your cologne and shampoo when trying to stay under the TSA’s liquid limits. Plus, you can slip a tin of solid cologne in your pocket and re-apply as needed during a long day. You’d look pretty lame pulling out a bottle of Tom Ford cologne from your pocket and spritzing yourself (and everyone around you), but no one will notice a discreet tin of solid cologne.
Lastly, it’s easier to control the volume of cologne you’re using. If you only want a little pop of fragrance, you just grab a little bit of balm, and because of its convenience and portability, you can easily do touch-ups throughout the day to maintain and augment your scent profile. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who’s wearing too much cologne, but that’ll never happen if you re-apply throughout the day.
So if the idea of traditional liquid colognes seems intimidating to you, consider starting with one of the best solid colognes. To help get you thinking about the possibilities, we rounded up 10 of the best solid cologne brands in this fast-growing segment of the men’s grooming market. Whatever kind of scent or price point you have in mind, you’ll find some great options here.
1. Fulton & Roark Palmetto Solid Cologne
For the best overall solid cologne, we have to give it up to the Fulton & Roark Palmetto Solid Cologne. SPY Site Director Tim Werth recently had a chance to go deep and review all the brand’s fragrances. Not only do they all smell refined and masculine, but they’re made from top-quality ingredients and therefore last way longer than other cheaper solid colognes before having to re-apply (if you have to re-apply at all). The Palmetto, one of the newer and more popular fragrances, won out for him thanks to its masculine blend of Brazilian pepper, cedarwood and magnolia.
Buy: Fulton & Roark Palmetto Solid Cologne $52
2. Fulton & Roark Clearwater Solid Cologne
We’re not sorry to go back to the Fulton & Roark well to bring up the Clearwater Solid Cologne, because it’s one of the best solid colognes for a fresh, lasting fragrance. With notes of Madagascan geranium, oakmoss, and rushing water, it’s a fragrance that can work with pretty much any guy for a daily cologne.
Sure, Fulton & Roark’s solid colognes may seem expensive, but that’s only when compared to other less-quality solid colognes. Compared to liquid colognes, Fulton & Roark solid colognes are a damn steal.
Buy: Fulton & Roark Clearwater Solid Cologne $52
3. Mr. Gladstone Trevelin Solid Cologne
For at least one great solid cologne not sold by Fulton & Roark, we like the Mr. Gladstone Solid Cologne. This cologne comes in a nice compact tin, easily spreads onto skin, and actually lasts for more than two minutes before going away. (Though with its small size, you can always refresh your scent on the go.)
We also appreciate the complex masculine Trevelin fragrance, which has notes of vetiver, oakmoss, cedarwood, and juniper for an outdoorsy, woodsy scent.
Buy: Mr. Gladstone Trevelin Solid Cologne $20.00
4. Fulton & Roark Tybee Solid Cologne
One more time with Fulton & Roark, only this time, we’re focused on my favorite fragrance. The Tybee scent smells of amber and musk on the top notes, which evolve into rosewood and cedarwood on the medium and base notes. Perfect for summer, this solid cologne will have all your friends asking you where you got your cologne.
Buy: Fulton & Roark Tybee Solid Cologne $42
5. Cremo Solid Cologne
Cremo, known for its outstanding shaving cream, has a whole line of men’s grooming products, including multiple solid colognes. All of the scents riff off traditional liquid colognes, smell great, and don’t break the bank. So whether you’re an advanced cologne user or just trying your first one, any Cremo solid cologne is a safe pick.
Buy: Cremo Solid Cologne $13.99
6. BushKlawz Solid Cologne Four Pack
BushKlawz may not make the longest-lasting solid colognes, but it does offer great value and pretty good fragrances for your dollar. For less than the price of a single Fulton & Roark tin, you can get four 1-ounce tins from BushKlawz, one for each of the brand’s fragrances.
The Lumber Prince is woodsy and musky; the Pacific Prince is citrusy and oceany; the Urban Prince is a bit woodsy, citrusy, floral, and spicy; and the Active Prince has notes of fir, jasmine, vetiver, and rosewood.
Though the fragrances don’t last forever, with this quantity of solid cologne, you won’t feel bad about having to re-up.
Buy: BushKlawz Solid Cologne Four Pack $34.97
7. Walton Wood Farm Solid Cologne
If you’re looking to buy the biggest tin of solid cologne on the market, Walton Wood Farm offers the biggest tins SPY could find, at 2.5 ounces. Walton Wood Farm also offers multiple scents of solid cologne, so if you buy a few different tins, you’ll have enough solid cologne to last years. The brand’s Gentleman scent smells of light citrus and mahogany, so it keeps things interesting without being too complicated.
Buy: Walton Wood Farm Solid Cologne $35.95
8. Olivina Natural Fragrance Solid Cologne
If you’re looking for a good middle ground between Fulton & Roark’s .2 ounces and Walton Wood Farm’s 2.5 ounces, Olivina’s 1.75-ounce tin of solid cologne is a great choice. With the brand’s Bourbon Cedar cologne, you’ll get notes of red cedar and smoky vanilla for an earthy but sophisticated scent. Unlike other whiskey-inspired fragrances we’ve tried, SPY editors have found that Olivina’s bourbon cedar scent is subtle, with a greater emphasis on cedar than bourbon. Also, like many solid colognes, Olivina’s cologne is organic, cruelty-free, and not tested on animals. Getting a lot of great-smelling solid cologne and not testing on animals? That’s a win-win.
Buy: Olivina Natural Fragrance Cologne $20.00
9. Duke Cannon Buffalo Trace Bourbon Solid Cologne
The Olivina is also a great bourbon fragrance, but we like the Duke Cannon Buffalo Trace Bourbon Solid Cologne a bit more. You’ll smell manly as heck with it, and a single 1.5-ounce tin will keep you smelling great for a long time.
Buy: Duke Cannon Buffalo Trace Bourbon Solid Cologne $19.13
10. Blazing Saddles Solid Cologne
OK, so several solid colognes can claim to be made in the USA, but Outlaw’s products don’t just try to make something in America. They really try to deliver something American. And like Outlaw does with its body lotion, the brand delivers with its solid colognes. The Blazing Saddles solid cologne draws inspiration from the Wild West with smells of leather, gunpowder, sandalwood, and sagebrush. Put this on, and you’ll smell like a man who just finished a gunfight, and you’ll feel like you won it, too.
Buy: Blazing Saddles Solid Cologne $24.00
11. Ulio & Jack Drifter Men’s Solid Cologne
For a great travel tin, go for the appropriately named Ulio & Jack Drifter Men’s Solid Cologne. It’ll easily fit into a pocket or bag and the top slides off and on easily for quick touch-ups when you’re on the go.
Compactness aside, we think you’ll dig the masculine fragrance too, which has top notes of cardamom and mandarin, and base notes of sandalwood, clove, and leather.
Buy: Ulio & Jack Drifter Men’s Solid Cologne $22.00
12. Jo Malone Refreshing Pair Solid Perfume Duo
For perhaps the most unique solid cologne offering, check out the Jo Malone Refreshing Pair Solid Perfume Duo. (It’s called a perfume, but it is a solid cologne for men.) Instead of having one or two independent fragrances, the Refreshing Pair consists of two fragrances meant to both stand-alone and pair with the other for a truly unique fragrance after it mixes with your body’s natural scent.
In the Refreshing Pair, you get the Spirited Wood Sage & Sea Salt solid cologne and the Mellow English Pear & Freesia solid cologne. Wear them independently with just a little dab from Jo Malone’s special combining palette or mix them together for a fresh and fruity fragrance.
Buy: Jo Malone Refreshing Pair Solid Perfume Duo $76.00
13. The Mod Cabin Solid Cologne
If you want more variety of pocket-sized tins, The Mod Cabin’s solid colognes have you covered. Made from beeswax, coconut oil, and essential oils, these solid colognes are made in small batches with premium organic ingredients. With six scents, including Gunbarrel, Backwoods, Honeysuckle, and Miner’s Mint, you’ll be able to find the right scent for you. These tins cost a bit more than SOLID’s, but they are one of the few brands to offer solid colognes in 0.25-ounce tins.
Buy: The Mod Cabin Solid Cologne $24
14. Fulton & Roark Solid Fragrance Sample Pack
So you’re feeling the Fulton & Roark but aren’t ready to shell out for a fragrance on the off chance you won’t like it. That’s where the Fulton & Roark Solid Fragrance Sample Pack can help. For about half the price of full-size single fragrances, you can try all eight permanent fragrances. Plus, once you’ve found the solid cologne fragrance for you, you can use the included $20 coupon to buy the corresponding full-size tin.
Buy: Fulton & Roark Solid Fragrance Sample Pack $20
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