When you think of Gucci, you probably imagine designer handbags and trendsetting clothing. Well think again – they’ve also established themselves as a purveyor of premium fragrances with a cult following.
In this list, I’ve pulled together my favorite Gucci scents to give you an overview of what’s out there. In my experience, these are the best Gucci colognes that are going to draw the most compliments, and they’ve been chosen with masculinity and confidence as the main criteria.
These fragrances will give you a crash course of the House’s most popular offerings and put you in a good position to find your own signature scent.
- Gucci Guilty – The Classic Range
- The Alchemist’s Garden Collection
- Best Gucci Cologne Overall – Hortus Sanitatis
- Gucci Cologne FAQ
- So, what now?
Gucci Guilty – The Classic Range
Gucci Guilty is the quintessential Gucci cologne range, featuring a handful of non-rotational fragrances. The Guilty range was launched in 2011 and has since developed a loyal following.
The Guilty moniker is bathed in irony. The message here is that you’re free to be whoever you are, do what you want to do, and live life on your terms guilt-free. These scents are all about guilt-free freedom and self-expression.
This modern and cosmopolitan state of mind is reflected in the palate of these contemporary and daring fragrances. They’re energizing and crisp, while still maintaining a sense of mystery, intrigue, and ultimate luxury.
While decadent in their own right, Guilty fragrances are the most straightforward in the Gucci stable. They’re also the most affordable range on offer from the House, so this is the place to start while you’re getting your bearings.
Best Gucci Cologne for Newbies – Gucci Guilty Parfum Pour Homme
Parfum Pour Homme is the baseline offering in the Gucci Guilty range. If the range was an ice cream parlor, consider this your gourmet vanilla.
It’s an aromatic and woody fragrance packed full of amber. It’s fresh and energizing, combining Lemon Sfumatrice with Juniper berry. There’s also a slightly soapy, mineral element that feels clean and professional.
Top notes of rose and chili make way for floral notes of Orange flower, tempered with a little kick of nutmeg. The warm spice contrasts incredibly with the freshness in a manner I’ve not come across before. It’s very unique, and perhaps could be considered an acquired taste
The citrusy top notes do fade within a couple of hours, but overall longevity is good- I find I can go a full workday (hours) and still pick up compliments. Parfum Pour Homme is perfect for a crisp day in Spring or Fall and is unlikely to overpower anyone lucky enough to come into contact with you.
Best for: Getting started. Gucci is home to some maverick combinations, so it may be wise to begin with a tried and tested classic to get a feel for some of their signature notes
Top notes: Juniper, Lemon, and Lavender Middle notes: Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, and Labdanum Base notes: Musk, Dry Wood, and Patchouli
Best for The Professional – Gucci Guilty Black Pour Homme
Gucci Guilty black is very masculine – it’s seductive and sexy, but not overpowering. The woody, muskiness says Alpha direction but it’s not offensively dominating.
You could definitely get away with it at work, layering it onto a suit in the office to exude professionalism and understated power.
It’s similar to Pour Homme, but a little more grown-up. It feels like a wiser, older brother who has his life together and a little more money in his pocket.
While teens and early twenties may connect more with the youthful energy of spiced Pour Homme, young professionals aged 25-35 would be better served by the deeper notes of musk in Guilty Black.
Again, it is an incredibly versatile scent that I suggest could be worn year-round.
However, longevity is not quite where it could be. You’ll get a decent projection for 4/5 hours before Gucci Guilty Black tapers off into skin scent territory.
Best for: Getting some serious work done at the office. Guilty Black is a commanding scent that demands respect and will lend you a confidence that elevates your decisions and output.
Top notes: Lavender and Green Coriander Middle notes: Green Notes, Orange Blossom, and Neroli Base notes: Cedar and Patchouli
Best Gucci Cologne for Romance – Gucci Guilty Oud
Gucci Guilty Oud is inspired by a walk in the forest, and it certainly delivers on conjuring up a woody amble by night.
Need to know: What does Oud smell like?
Bulgarian rose and pink pepper top notes set a romantic tone before you’re led by the hand through an enchanted forest of blackberry brambles and pine oil in the heart notes.
The base has everything you’d hope for from a powerful Oud, Agarwood combined with black leather and amber in a smokey and sensual cacophony.
The smoke is a primary accord – but more earthy than chargrilled. If there was such a thing as black-colored roses, this is how they would smell.
The sweetness from the rose and blackberry stops the stiffer base notes short of going overboard. This floral touch makes it more versatile than your typical Oud, and a fine choice for the office or (as the concept suggests) a stroll in nature with friends or a date.
Admittedly, Gucci Guilty Oud is not as obnoxious or classically sexy as Gucci Guilty Pour Homme or Gucci Guilty black. However, it still has romantic undertones and represents a suave choice for a sophisticated candlelit date at a classy restaurant.
Gucci Guilty Oud has become more affordable since its release, and can now be picked up for around 30% less than its release price if you’re willing to shop around. If you know your stuff, it’s not a million miles away from other contemporary Ouds like Dior Homme or Tom Ford’s Black Orchid.
Best for: A romantic stroll through the city. With Gucci Guilty Oud, the classic woodiness has been brought up to date for 2022 in a way that refers to the past – but doesn’t rely upon it.
Top notes: Bulgarian Rose, Blackberry, and Pink Pepper Middle notes: Patchouli and Cypriol Oil or Nagarmotha Base notes: Agarwood (Oud), Leather and Amber
Best for Nightlife – Gucci Guilty Absolute
This is an aggressive fragrance for the bad boy biker, leather jacket slung over his shoulder and five o’clock shadow scrawled across his chin. As such, it’s a little harder to wear without drawing attention to yourself, so keep that in mind to avoid offending the nose of your colleagues or in-laws.
In any case, you’ll only want to use 1-2 sprays, max. The longevity on Absolute is excellent and will pump out scent from dawn until dusk.
The base is cedarwood and vetiver- think hot wood, like a sauna- mangled up with dirty old leather and a touch of smoke.
There is no sweetness and not a floral accord to be found, so if that’s what you’re looking for, steer well clear.
If you’re new to fragrances, Absolute might not be the way to go. It’s very unique, with a herbal, minty accord that comes off a little medicinal to some. It can be a little divisive, so handle with care if you’re trying to stay under the radar. Having said that, I really love it- but you should definitely give it a test in-store rather than going for a blind buy.
Best for: Beers at the bar with the boys. You’re going to be treated to a subtle and alpha scent that won’t get you grief from your friends, while still projecting enough to pique the interest of any ladies who happen to wander over.
Top note: Leather Middle notes: Cypress and Patchouli Base notes: Woody Notes and Vetiver
The Alchemist’s Garden Collection
The second major Gucci fragrance line is a more recent collection– 2019’s Alchemists Garden capsule. This customizable line is inspired by the art of alchemy, designed to be mixed and matched and layered into a personalized scent.
It’s a unisex line, but don’t let that put you off; these scents are certainly not feminine. The Eaux de Parfums are presented in ornate lacquered flacons (read: fancy bottles) that were inspired by the antique flasks and containers that would line the shelves of apothecaries in times gone by. They’re beautiful objects in their own right- like a haul from an Indiana Jones movie.
They’re the brainchild of master perfumer Alessandro Michele, who does a great job of summing up his mission statement:
“It is a kind of bathroom that belongs to the imagination, where strange objects are kept, and someone obsessed with smells and fragrances. The images are evocative of a suspended time, which is then what makes you experience a scent, to bring you back to an imaginary place”Alessandro Michele
There are 7 Alchemist Garden products available; here are my personal top three.
Best for Nostalgics – 1921
1921 was released to mark the centenary of Gucci and certainly lives up to the expectation surrounding such a landmark release. It’s inspired by the Tuscan city of Florence, the hometown of founder Guccio Gucci all those years ago.
The fresh scent revolves around Limone Cedrato, a zesty fruit native to Florence that is more floral than typical lemons. This is combined with the Neroli flower, which harbors sweet notes and an earthy green element.
Oakmoss holds the base notes in place, evoking lush Tuscan forests and keeping the fragrance from wandering too far off into feminine territory.
Best for: A blast from the past. Delve into Tuscan history with this distinctly European fragrance. You’ll be putting out a sophisticated and mature aroma for everyone lucky enough to pass by.
Top note: Citron Middle notes: Neroli and Lemon Verbena Base note: Oakmoss
Best Gucci Cologne for the Smooth Operator – A Midnight Stroll
A midnight stroll is exactly that – it’s supposed to evoke a mysterious stroll through an enchanted garden, and it’s an admirable effort.
Top notes of church incense evoke antiquity and ritual as if coaxing you into an occult ceremony from which you might not return. It’s calming but dangerous- like being hypnotized. A heart of tar-like Cade oil is held down by green Cypress in a woody and lush wonderland, with a tough freshness snapping you out of your slumber. It all comes together really harmoniously.
There’s a musky bed of smoldering ash, that turns to campfire wood over an hour or two. It’s a little like a weekend campfire excursion, huddled up with a luxury single malt. It’s a semi-formal aroma perfect for a cool night out in the city, walking home from a bar with a new flame on your arm.
The projection here is powerful, so it’s a real compliment collector. It will last all day too, so there’s decent value here even if a bottle is a little on the pricey side.
Best for: A sophisticated, candlelit dinner. If you want to dress to impress, make A Midnight Stroll part of your outfit.
Top note: Incense Middle note: Cade oil Base note: Cypress
Best Gucci Cologne Overall – Hortus Sanitatis
Now, this is pièce de résistance. Hortus Sanitatis is hands down my favorite fragrance in the Alchemist Garden collection. It’s a newer addition to the collection and was initially only available at exclusive stores and select Gucci boutiques, but now – thankfully – it’s more readily available.
It’s a complex woody and spicy medley, with a musky base akin to midnight stroll – but that’s where the similarities end. In the heart, there’s a note of smokey incense that’s neatly balanced by a little rose herbality. The spice here is a hint of ginger, adding a welcome aromatic tinge to proceedings.
It also has a strong staying power compared to most colognes- you’ll get ten hours out of an application here with no bother.
Hortus Sanitatis is unlike any other fragrance I’ve ever come across. It’s expensive, but the quality is extraordinary and definitely worth the outlay.
If you ever get the chance to sample this fragrance, you should jump at the opportunity.
Best for: Something Special. Hortus Sanitatis is, for me, the best Gucci cologne out there. It’s understated, and the perfect choice for projecting masculinity and sophistication without seeming like you’re trying too hard.
Top notes: Ginger, Iris Middle notes: Cade, Vanilla, Patchouli Base notes: Musk, Birch Tar
Gucci Cologne FAQ
Which Gucci Cologne is the Most Popular?
The Gucci Guilty range is the most established offering – but the Alchemist’s Garden collection has a cult following too.
Which Cologne is Best for Everyday Use?
As Alchemist offering focuses on more avant-garde fragrances, it’s probably best to stick to the Guilty range if you’re looking for something less experimental. I’d recommend Gucci Guilty Parfum Pour Homme as the best starting point.
Where Can I Get Gucci Colognes?
New fragrance releases are generally available in-store upon release – but be careful, sometimes they are only available in specific boutiques. To be safe, I’d recommend making purchases online (like you can here) rather than traveling to a store and potentially being disappointed.
What are Gucci Colognes like Overall?
They’re all quite different from each other, so it doesn’t necessarily follow that if you like one, you’ll like them all.
So, what now?
Similar to their fashion designs, Gucci isn’t afraid of doing things a little differently. Their colognes stand out from the pack and defy expectations, putting a modern twist on traditional offerings.
They’ve been able to capitalize on their meteoric rise in popularity by branching out into the fragrance industry. I am very grateful they did – and I’m sure you will be once you give one of their colognes a try. Get started with one of our top picks today!
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