Forget careful combinations of spice and bergamot, leather and primrose. When a man wants to smell like a man (who wants to smell like a cologne), there is one family of scents that he should turn to: wood. It's big, hearty, and dominant. Plus, it's what our ancestors wore. Granted, the smell most likely rubbed off on them after a day spent hunting in the forest or swinging an ax in preparation for winter, but the result is basically the same, just without the sweat. So save the light, citrusy colognes for spring and summer and the spicy musks for the fall holidays. This winter, you'll want to smell like wood.
And not just because we told you to. Woody colognes are experiencing a resurgence, according to Michael Edwards, an independent fragrance consultant and enthusiast. So you should see more and better options than ever. If you're looking for someone to thank, try women. They embraced the woody perfume market in recent years (albeit with more flowers, powders, and zest of lemon), and it seems the fragrance companies listened.
Woody colognes aren't simply a matter of opportunity. There are functional benefits, too: You need less, for one thing. Only oriental fragrances are heavier than woodys, which means only orientals last longer throughout the day. That weight also means woody scents hang close to your body. The only people who smell it will be you and whoever you allow to get close to you. Which can encourage nuzzling, if that's what you're into. As with any cologne, if you have dry skin you can be a little more generous in applying a woody fragrance. Cologne molecules bond with the oils in your skin, so the less you have (of oils), the more you'll need (of cologne). Still: Be reasonable.
Of all the new(ish) woody colognes, my favorite is  Encounter Calvin Klein ($50.73 for 3.4 oz; amazon.com). Like most woody fragrances, Encounter is paired with a citrus top note — in this case, mandarin — resulting in a scent that's somehow still deep and boozy, with rum, cognac, and a little bit of musk. By the time Encounter dries down, you're left with a subtle cedar smell, like you slept in the attic of a mountain cabin.  Victorinox Swiss Army Forest ($68 for 3.4 oz; swissarmy.com) starts lighter, thanks to notes of lemon and sage, but eventually ends with the familiar hearty smell of pine. Wear it if you like Christmas.  Dolce & Gabbana's the One Sport ($51 for 3.3 oz; amazon.com) initially smells very fresh, like you're cooking with rosemary. After an hour, you're left with just the right level of patchouli — an amount that says you're complementing a shower, not replacing it.  Bulgari Man ($79 for 3.4 oz; bulgari.com) has dominant top notes of violet, but if that's not your thing, just wait. You soon get a spicy musk that smells just a bit like vanilla. This is probably what Clooney smells like when he eats ice cream. The lightest of the options I tried is  Nautica Aqua Rush ($65 for 3.4 oz; nautica.com), which smells a lot like sitting on the deck of a ship with a mint julep in your hand. It's all water and mint, eventually settling on a simple and pleasant teak. If you can't afford a boat, this may be the closest you'll get.
Rodney Cutler is an Ironman triathlete and the owner of Cutler Salons in New York City.
Words and Phrases a Man Can Use to Describe His Cologne: woody; woodsy; spicy; peppery; warm; fruity; just like Grandpa's; light; bold; nutty; green; classic; subtle; evocative; fresh; mossy; pungent; musky; sharp; good.
A Few He Cannot: an experience; just like Grandma's; the aura of agarwood spiked by tonka bean; designer imposter; me.