4 Colognes For The Men Of My Dreams... Or Me

I love the way these fragrances smell on dudes, but I love them on my own skin, too!
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I love the way these fragrances smell on dudes, but I love them on my own skin, too!

Men are my favorite. I love them. I love the way they look, the way they carry themselves. I loved working in downtown Minneapolis, where the skyway system is full of men in suits going from work to Starbucks and back again. I always felt very comforted by their presence. 

Mostly, though, I love the way they smell. The smell of a man fresh out of the shower makes me feel weak in the knees, and don’t even get me started on the effects of Stetson (yes, Stetson!) cologne on my libido.

There's also something really sexy about a girl wearing a stereotypically masculine scent. Though I am all about sweet vanilla and floral perfumes, I love to mix it up every so often with something a bit more dude-ly, something with notes of leather and tobacco instead of tuberose and coconut. 

I don’t have a type; I’m an equal-opportunity dater. I feel the same way about fragrance, so I grabbed a range of scents meant to be worn by men and swiped them for myself. This way, if I ever manage to finagle a boyfriend, we can totally share.

I got out the antlers for this one. Manly, right? My dad might have shot the deer, but I spray-painted the antlers gold.

I got out the antlers for this one. Manly, right? My dad might have shot the deer, but I spray-painted the antlers gold.

CB I Hate Perfume Greenbriar 1968

Perfumer Christopher Brosius's memories of his grandfather inspired this scent, with its notes of hay, leather gloves and dirt. I've been dreaming about this scent for my entire adult life; the men I grew up with smelled so good, and I've always longed for a cologne that mimicked that smell of fresh air, diesel fuel, Lava soap and sunshine.

Greenbriar 1968 reminds me of the sweetgrass that grows on my farm in North Dakota and the way my dad smelled after a day spent harvesting grain in the heat of August. I wouldn't call Greenbriar 1968 rugged, but it is incredibly comforting to me. 

I'm really proud of my farm-girl roots and loved growing up in a farm community, where the men drive big pickups and have tough, worn hands and dirty work boots. It took me a while to adjust to city guys; I was honestly surprised when I saw a man drive a car instead of a pickup. This scent, though it doesn’t last very long due to its water-based nature, reminds me of where I grew up.


Aramis has been around since 1965, scenting the necks of businessmen and construction workers alike. It's a classic masculine with a fresh bergamot top note that eventually settles comfortably into a patchouli and heavy leather base.

I sprayed Aramis almost as a joke at Ulta one day; in her book Scent & Subversion, perfume lover Barbara Herman describes it as the perfect animalic chypre and compares it to the scent of your lover’s armpits. I expected to recoil a bit at the scent that lingered in the air, but I didn’t. I loved it. It smelled like a big, strong man--the kind who wears a suit by day but chops down trees at night.

On me, the bergamot and leather notes are amplified rather than the “armpit” scent of cumin. Your grandpa could (and probably did) wear Aramis, but so could your boyfriend. And so can you! 

Atelier Cologne Gold Leather

Gold Leather, a new cologne absolue from Atelier Cologne, opens on a seriously boozy top note. To put it bluntly, it smells like a big, bitter rum-based cocktail. But fear not! You won’t be walking around smelling like a distillery all day, I promise. 

As you wear it, Gold Leather fades from rum cocktail to a sandalwood and (you guessed it) leather accord. It gets spicier as it dries down, which makes it a really warm, sexy fall-weather fragrance. I get echoes of Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir with this one; I think it’s the orange and plum notes at the top that later soften into the deep sandalwood.

Cologne absolue means it’s much stronger and longer-lasting than a traditional cologne, which generally lasts about as long as an eau de toilette. Gold Leather and its companion, Silver Iris, are concentrated at 18%. Oh, and the bottle is gold. Real gold.

D.S. & Durga Cowboy Grass

You can stick the word "cowboy" on anything and I'm sold. However, it took me a couple hours to really fall in love with Cowboy Grass, but once I did, I was ready to ride off into the sunset with it. Cheesy but true.

The top notes are herbal, with strong thyme and sagebrush notes that reminded me of tequila and made me wrinkle my nose at first sniff. I hate tequila! But it dries down to a gorgeous, woody, earthy vetiver note that feels both bright and masculine, but definitely wearable if you're a cowgirl. 

I am a huge vetiver fan, so Cowboy Grass roped my heart. Until the day my prince charming in Tony Lama boots tosses me on the back of his horse and takes me to his giant Montana ranch where we live happily ever after, I’ll settle for pretending via Cowboy Grass.

Which man-centric scents get your motor running? Do you wear cologne sometimes?