7 Best Vanilla Colognes for Men: Reviewed

Best vanilla colognes for men

Welcome to my best vanilla colognes for men review!

Vanilla colognes are rich, luxurious, and universally appealing. Whether you enjoy spicy, fresh, boozy, or seductively sweet fragrances, there is a vanilla cologne to suit you and leave a lasting impression.

I’ve been testing vanilla colognes over the last few weeks and have compiled a list of the best vanilla colognes for men.

7 Best Vanilla Colognes For Men

Best Overall
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir
Le Male Elixir
100%
Best Spicy
Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Exteme
Spicebomb Extreme
97%
Best Budget
Mercedes-Benz Club Black
Club Black
97%
Best Fresh
Nishane Ani
Ani
93%
Best Boozy
Initio Side Effect
Side Effect
99%


Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir

Best Overall

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir
Overall
100%
Scent
100%
Longevity
100%
Versatility
100%
Value for Money
100%

Le Male Elixir is the best Le Male flanker, in my opinion.

The dry down is a rich, deep, sophisticated type of sweet with the most subtle tobacco note.

Le Male Elixir has excellent longevity, lasting over 12 hours.

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir is a new 2023 release in the Le Male line, and one of the best! This Le Male flanker is a win for those who enjoy the Le Male DNA and also those who don’t!

Le Male Elixir opens with the signature Le Male DNA. The lavender and mint bring an immediate aromatic freshness, with the vanilla and honey also present with the sweetness. The aromatic notes aren’t strong or overpowering in Le Male Elixir, the focus is definitely on the sweet vanilla and honey notes.

The original Le Male DNA isn’t as strong in Elixir as the other Le Male flankers, and it only lasts for the first 30 minutes or so. I’d recommend Le Male Elixir as a fantastic, deep, and rich vanilla fragrance even if you haven’t been a fan of the Le Male DNA in the past.

The dry down is where this fragrance becomes absolutely heavenly. This is a sweet vanilla cologne, but it is a rich, deep, sophisticated type of sweet with the most subtle tobacco note adding additional depth.

The rich, sweet dry down also doesn’t quit. Le Male Elixir easily lasts all day and then some. While testing this one, at one point I had it on an arm for 24 hours and could still smell it. It also projects well for the first 3 hours but isn’t overpowering. 

Le Male Elixir also has high versatility. While it is a very sweet and long-lasting fragrance, it isn’t one of those potentially cloyingly overpowering sweet colognes. Elixir is a great choice for both daytime and evening wear in the cooler months. I would personally also wear this one during the spring and summer, but that depends on if you enjoy sweet fragrances in the warmer months.

  • Top Notes: Lavender, Mint
  • Middle Notes: Vanilla, Benzoin
  • Base Notes: Honey, Tonka Bean, Tobacco

✓ Pros

  • Rich and sweet, yet sophisticated
  • Excellent longevity
  • Versatile
  • Dry down is superb
  • Cool bottle

✗ Cons

  • Some find it lacking uniqueness


Victor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme

Best Spicy Vanilla

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Exteme
Overall
97%
Scent
95%
Longevity
95%
Versatility
100%
Value for Money
100%

Spicebomb Extreme is a perfect balance of sweet and spicy notes.

Perfect choice if you don’t want an overly sweet vanilla fragrance.

Fantastic blend of pepper, cinnamon, tobacco, vanilla, and bourbon notes.

Victor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme is a worthy addition to any fragrance collection. This one deserves the hype it receives on social media!

Spicebomb Extreme does a great job of balancing sweet and spicy notes. This is a good choice if you aren’t looking for an overly sweet vanilla cologne.

The opening is an actual spicebomb, with an initial explosion of pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and tobacco notes. This initial blast of spices is quickly balanced by the vanilla and bourbon notes, creating a warm, smooth, sweet, and spicy scent that lasts all day.

From Viktor & Rolf, “The masculine notes of tobacco and bourbon fuse with warm vanilla to create a lingering essence that’ll leave them wanting more. This seductively brawny scent will quickly become your staple fall and winter fragrance.” [1]

Spicebomb Extreme is a strong performer, with a solid 8 hours of longevity and strong projection for the first 3 hours.

Spicebomb Extreme is one of the best fall and winter fragrances; its warm, sweet spiciness fits in perfectly with the holiday season. Many people enjoy Spicebomb Extreme as a cold-weather evening fragrance, but I find it versatile enough for daily wear as well. 

  • Top Notes: Black Pepper, Grapefruit, Lavender
  • Middle Notes: Cinnamon, Saffron, Cumin
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Tobacco, Bourbon

✓ Pros

  • Well-balanced spicy and sweet notes
  • Original and cool bottle
  • Strong performance

✗ Cons

  • Some don’t enjoy the cumin note


Mercedes-Benz Club Black EDT

Best Budget-Friendly Vanilla

Mercedes-Benz Club Black EDT

Mercedes-Benz Club Black
Overall
97%
Scent
100%
Longevity
95%
Versatility
100%
Value for Money
100%

Club Black is a luxurious, high-quality fragrance at a reasonable price.

This is a very deep, dark, rich, ambery vanilla fragrance.

Club Black has excellent longevity and projection.

Mercedes-Benz Club Black EDT is a luxurious, high-quality fragrance at a very reasonable price. Unfortunately, its popularity has resulted in price increases, but it can still be found at a decent price, less than the other colognes on this list.

This is a unique vanilla that smells like it costs much more than it does. It is a very deep, dark, rich ambery vanilla fragrance, that sweet cigar type of vanilla. 

On my skin, Club Black is pretty linear with not much change from the opening through the dry down. It starts and finishes as a dark and sweet ambery vanilla. I’m surprised that there is no tobacco note, as it really reminds me of a sweet and rich vanilla pipe tobacco or cigar. 

Club Black also has incredible longevity and projection. This is one to be mindful of the number of sprays you apply, as it is strong! This would be a great choice for evenings out in the fall and winter. It will also work as a daily wear cologne, but be very mindful of how much you apply.

  • Top Notes: Bergamot
  • Middle Notes: Incense, Jasmine
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Benzoin, Woody Notes, Ambroxan

✓ Pros

  • Very high-quality fragrance at a low price
  • Excellent performance
  • Unique, dark, ambery vanilla

✗ Cons

  • Too strong for some


Nishane Ani Extrait de Parfum

Best Fresh Vanilla

Nishane Ani

Nishane Ani
Overall
93%
Scent
90%
Longevity
100%
Versatility
100%
Value for Money
90%

Nishane Ani is a balance of warm and fresh spices mixed with bright sweet citrus, on a smooth and sweet vanilla base.

Ani has excellent longevity, lasting over 10 hours.

Nishane Ani is a sweet, bright, fresh, citrus vanilla cologne. This niche fragrance has been claimed as the best vanilla fragrance by many fragrance enthusiasts.

Ani opens with very strong and bright citrus notes, made fresh and slightly spicy by the ginger and cardamom. It is also incredibly sweet right away, with soft vanilla in the background.

Ani is a balance of warm and fresh spices mixed with bright sweet citrus, on a smooth and sweet vanilla base. 

Ani has excellent longevity, lasting 10 hours on skin and longer on clothes, with strong projection. This is a strong, sweet fragrance, but its freshness from the ginger, cardamom, and citrus makes it incredibly versatile and suitable for any occasion. 

Ani is a fragrance that I would recommend sampling before buying, as many people love it and many people do not enjoy the blend of fresh spices. I personally enjoy it and think it is worth at least sampling. 

  • Top Notes: Ginger, Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Green Notes
  • Middle Notes: Cardamom, Black Currant, Turkish Rose
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Benzoin, Sandalwood, Cedar, Ambergris, Musk, Patchouli

✓ Pros

  • Bright, fresh, citrus vanilla scent
  • Excellent longevity
  • Unique

✗ Cons

  • Too sweet for some


Initio Parfums Prives Side Effect

Best Boozy Vanilla

Initio Parfums Prives Side Effect

Initio Side Effect
Overall
99%
Scent
100%
Longevity
100%
Versatility
100%
Value for Money
95%

Side Effect is a rich, deeply sweet, and spicy, boozy fragrance.

Rum and vanilla notes are balanced by subtle cinnamon and tobacco.

Side Effect has exceptional longevity and moderate projection.

Side Effect is one of the niche brand Initio’s most popular fragrances. This is a smooth, rich, deeply sweet, and spicy boozy fragrance.

Side Effect opens very strong, with the sweet, rich, and deep rum and vanilla notes balanced by the subtle cinnamon and tobacco.

I can’t stop smelling my arm when I wear this one, the blend of spicy rum and vanilla is intoxicating!

Side Effect is quite possibly the perfect date night fragrance with its rich, smooth, sweet, sexy vibes. It also has exceptional longevity and moderate projection, making it a good choice for daily wear as well (be mindful of the sprays if wearing this one inside during the day).

  • Notes: Rum, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Tobacco, Saffron, Sandalwood

✓ Pros

  • Amazingly smooth, rich blend of spicy rum and vanilla
  • Excellent longevity
  • Perfect date night fragrance

✗ Cons

  • Expensive


Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir

Best Niche Fan Favorite Vanilla

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir

MFK Grand Soir
Overall
89%
Scent
85%
Longevity
100%
Versatility
90%
Value for Money
85%

Grand Soir is a luxurious, deep ambery vanilla fragrance.

This isn’t your typical sweet vanilla, it is much heavier with a strong amber note.

Grand Soir is long-lasting with moderate projection.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir is a luxurious, deep ambery vanilla cologne. It is one of Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s more popular fragrances, with a sophisticated and elegant vibe.

Grand Soir is a linear fragrance, it opens with a strong, rich, heavy, amber vanilla and remains the same throughout the dry down. There is also a slight aromatic aspect to Grand Soir, from the lavender and labdanum. 

I would definitely recommend buying a sample of this one before committing to a bottle, as it isn’t your typical sweet vanilla, it is much heavier and very ambery.

Grand Soir is a long-lasting fragrance with moderate projection. It is a fantastic choice for an elegant evening out, or even for daily wear during the fall and winter, as the projection isn’t overpowering.

  • Notes: Amber, Vanilla, Siam Benzoin, Tonka Bean, Spanish Labdanum, Lavender

✓ Pros

  • Elegant and sophisticated warm ambery vanilla
  • Good longevity

✗ Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some find it too heavy


Chanel Allure Homme Sport EDT

Overall
93%
Scent
100%
Longevity
80%
Versatility
100%
Value for Money
90%

Allure Homme Sport is a clean and classy citrus vanilla cologne.

This is an excellent choice for spring and summer.

Allure Homme Sport is fresh and clean, with strong bright orange and aquatic notes.

Chanel Allure Homme Sport may be an older fragrance, but it is still well-loved and relevant today! If you enjoy vanilla colognes and want one that will perform well during the warmer months, give Allure Homme Sport a try.

Chanel Allure Homme Sport is a refreshing and fresh, yet sweet and creamy citrus cologne. This is a clean and classy citrus vanilla cologne.

The opening is fresh and clean, with strong bright orange and aquatic notes. As it dries down, it becomes a fresh orange creamsicle as the vanilla and tonka bean meld with the orange notes.

Allure Homme Sport is an easy grab for everyday wear during the spring and summer. This freshie with a citrus vanilla twist is incredibly versatile. The longevity is average but it will last a work day, and the projection is decent for the first 2 hours. To increase the longevity, you can try spraying Allure Homme Sport on your clothes as well.

  • Top Notes: Orange, Sea Notes, Aldehydes, Blood Mandarin
  • Middle Notes: Pepper, Neroli, Cedar
  • Base Notes: Tonka Bean, Vanilla, White Musk, Amber, Vetiver, Elemi Resin

✓ Pros

  • Fresh, clean, sweet vanilla citrus scent
  • Very versatile

✗ Cons

  • Some experience poor longevity


What to Look For in the Best Vanilla Colognes for Men

When it comes to choosing your next vanilla cologne, consider what notes you enjoy and what level of performance you are looking for.

Notes

The best vanilla colognes for men blend vanilla with notes such as tobacco, warm spices and amber, fresh citrus, and aromatic lavender. 

Consider what you are looking for in a vanilla cologne. Do you want an ultra-sweet fragrance? Then Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir might be a good choice. One that combines sweetness with spice? Try Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme. Do you enjoy tobacco notes? Give Initio Side Effect a try. Do you want a fresher citrus or aromatic vanilla? Try Chanel Allure Homme Sport or Nishane Ani!

Performance

Most vanilla colognes have excellent longevity and projection. However, some have a more personal scent bubble, while others are room-fillers. Consider where you plan on wearing your fragrance, as you may choose different fragrances for the office and nights out with friends.

Ideas for Layering The Best Vanilla Colognes for Men

All of the vanilla colognes in this list are amazing stand-alone fragrances. However, layering can be a great way to create unique combinations and keep your fragrance collection exciting.

Here are a few combinations you might want to try! 

  • Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir + Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
  • Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir + Armani Stronger With You Intensely
  • Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir + Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme
  • Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme + Tom Ford Oud Wood
  • Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme + Azzaro The Most Wanted
  • Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme + Lattafa Khamrah
  • Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme + Tom Ford Lost Cherry
  • Mercedes-Benz Club Black + Azzaro The Most Wanted
  • Mercedes-Benz Club Black + Parfums de Marly Althair
  • Nishane Ani + Parfums de Marly Carlisle
  • Nishane Ani + Montale Intense Cafe
  • Nishane Ani + Nishane Hacivat
  • Initio Side Effect + Kilian Apple Brandy on the Rocks
  • Initio Side Effect + Parfums de Marly Layton
  • Initio Side Effect + Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir + Tom Ford Oud Wood
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir + Parfums de Marly Layton
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir + Initio Side Effect
  • Chanel Allure Homme Sport + Parfums de Marly Layton
  • Chanel Allure Homme Sport + Valentino Uomo Born In Roma Yellow Dream

FAQ

Are vanilla colognes suitable for all seasons?

Many vanilla colognes are versatile enough for cooler spring days and summer evenings. Some of the lighter citrus or fresh spicy vanilla colognes are great choices for the warmer months. However, many people find the richer, sweeter vanilla colognes too heavy or cloying for hot summer weather. That being said, fragrance choices are personal, and everyone should wear what they enjoy when they enjoy it! 

Can vanilla colognes be worn for both casual and formal occasions? 

Absolutely. Vanilla colognes come in a range of profiles, from light and fresh to sophisticated and spicy. This versatility makes them suitable for both casual and formal settings, depending on the specific fragrance.

Can I sample vanilla colognes before purchasing a full-size bottle? 

Yes! Most fragrances can be purchased in small sample sizes at trustworthy online retailers such as Scent Split, Twisted Lily, and MicroPerfumes.

I often buy samples from these sellers, as I am constantly buying new fragrances for testing and reviews.

Final Thoughts

Vanilla is one of the most popular fragrance notes with good reason. Embrace your sweet side and indulge in a rich, sophisticated, and versatile vanilla cologne.

Any of the above are worth a smell, but in my opinion, Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Elixir is an outstanding example of one of the best vanilla colognes for men.

Thank you for reading my best vanilla colognes for men review! Feel free to explore and read more best of lists, fragrance reviews, and fragrance clones/dupes, or check out our Fragrance 101 section for helpful fragrance guides and information.  

**Fragrance infographic obtained from www.fragrantica.com.