As the temperatures drop outside, we are naturally compelled to seek warmth: a crackling hearth, a roaring campfire, a burning... barbershop. Even just the scent of these things can bring a certain comfort and snugness. Sometimes there’s tobacco, or a hint of leather or herb. But where there’s heat, there’s often smoke, and, for some reason, a lot of people want to reek like it.
An emerging sub-genre in commercial fragrances—akin to that of sunscreen scents, perhaps—are smoky fragrances. Some of the most popular perfume houses in the world—Comme des Garçons, Maison Margiela, Tom Ford—have released iterations of their own in recent years. Many marry it with notes of vanilla, spearmint, and even gunpowder to avoid smelling too much like a forest fire or a Pall Mall. Others, however, delight in fanning the flames.
Because there’s a plethora of fragrances attempting to evoke the comfort smoke can carry with it, we created a definitive ranking based on our impressions, noses, and experiences wearing them in the wild. Bundle up, because here are 11 of the most polarizing, ranked from the worst (wanna smell like an ashtray?) to the so sexy, it makes you sexually attracted to yourself.