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?
The fact that solid colognes are, unsurprisingly, not liquid makes them much more convenient to discreetly apply. 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 carrying a bottle of Tom Ford cologne in your pocket, but no one will notice a discrete 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. 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.
2. Duke Cannon Men’s Solid Cologne
Duke Cannon’s solid colognes almost took the top spot. The brand offers multiple different scents and the most solid cologne on a price-per-ounce basis. But the upfront cost is a little bit more expensive than Cremo’s solid cologne, and if the scent doesn’t suit you, you’re going to be stuck with a lot of solid cologne you don’t want to wear.
Thankfully, Duke Cannon offers eight different scents, so if you can find the right scent for you. Once you do, a single 1.5-ounce tin from Duke Cannon will keep you smelling great for a long time. This particular scent is based on Buffalo Trace bourbon, so you know you’ll smell manly as heck with it.
3. Fulton & Roark Solid Cologne Fragrances
Fulton & Roark didn’t invent solid cologne, but nonetheless the brand can claim to be among the best solid colognes on the market. It’s earned that reputation through its high-quality, refined scents. Choose any one of Fulton & Roark’s eight scents and you know you’re getting a solid cologne with premium ingredients.
The Tybee scent smells of amber and musk on the top notes, which evolves 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. If you’re not sure what scent you want in your solid cologne, Fulton & Roark has your back for that too with its convenient sampler pack.
4. Ulio & Jack Men’s Solid Cologne
Ulio & Jack’s men’s solid cologne smells of bergamot, jasmine, Japanese grapefruit and peppermint. At the same time, it’s subtle, clean and the scent doesn’t change much throughout the day, so you can re-up without worrying about overdoing it.
5. BushKlawz Pacific Solid Cologne
Duke Cannon offers the best price per ounce for its solid colognes, but if you want a lot of solid cologne and want to spend as little as possible, BushKlawz can work for you. The brand offers four masculine scents: Lumber, Pacific, Urban and Active. The only downside is the subtle scent doesn’t last very long, so you may have to re-apply sooner rather than later.
6. 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 colgone, 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.
7. Olivina Natural Fragrance Solid Cologne
If you’re looking for a lot of solid cologne, but not 2.5 ounces of it, Olivina offers a good middle ground with a 1.75-ounce tin of solid cologne. 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.
8. Blazing Saddles Solid Cologne
BEST MADE IN THE USA
OK, so lots of 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 and 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.
9. SOLID Cologne Havana Scent
BEST FOR TRAVEL
All of these solid colognes are great for travel given they’re not liquids and fit in small tins. But if you’re trying to pack light or have to carry a bunch of things in your pockets, you’re going to want the smallest tin of solid cologne possible. Packed into a 0.25-ounce tin, this solid cologne can go wherever you go and easily fits into a pants pocket with a wallet or cellphone. SOLID’s Havana scent also smells of rum, tobacco, amber and clove, so when you head to that beach party later, you’ll smell like you just spent all day with The Most Interesting Man in the World.
10. 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, such as 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.