Hollister Cologne Guide

Hollister Cologne Guide: Which Scent Is Perfect For You?

To the cologne newbie – hello! And to the perfume enthusiasts – welcome back! I understand the struggle that we all seem to face at one point or other, which among the endless lines and varieties of colognes clamoring to get your attention. How should you pick your unique scent? But fear not! This guide has it all, from the notes involved to concocting the smell to the season and occasion they’re best suited for.

Whether you are only just venturing into the world of perfumes, or you’ve been in the game for a while, this guide is here to help you to navigate through the Hollister Cologne line so that you can make an informed decision. 


Hollister Co. is a retail brand owned by Abercrombie & Fitch – an infamous American retailer. 

Hollister Co. offers a range of products, including clothing, body care products, and fragrances – targeted mainly at teenagers and inspired by a Californian’ surfing’ lifestyle. Its stores are spread across various countries on all the continents, and Hollister debuted their fragrance line in 2001. The most famous Hollister fragrance sprayed – or rather drenched – across all their stores in – SoCal. 

Without further ado, let me share with you the best Hollister cologne guide so that you can be one step closer to finding your signature scent.

Hollister Colognes

Let’s begin with the most illustrious Hollister cologne out there:

SoCal by Hollister

socal by hollister

This perfume is inspired by the overall aesthetics of Hollister Co. – from its clothing line to the ambiance of its stores – it gives a strong vibe of Southern California and the lifestyle attributed to it. It reminds you of a sunny day at the beach and surfing, which this perfume smells like. 

Fresh and masculine, this summer scent is for the more laid-back guy. The longevity and projection are moderate, but the smell itself is delicious and distinctive. The notes include Pineapple, Rosemary, and Suede. 


  • Unique scent.
  • Provides value for money.
  • Perfect for casual occasions.


  • The scent can be a little too soft, making it difficult to decipher. 
  • Associated with only teenagers.

Scents like SoCal by Hollister:

Pure Heaven by Thierry Mugler

Eau De Toilette Spray Limited Edition

This scent is great to wear for a casual lunch and has similar properties and type of scent to SoCal. However, this is more of an “all-rounder” scent, suitable for all ages, and gives better longevity.

Top Notes: Tobacco and White Honey.

Middle Notes: Cacao, Patchouli, and Vanilla.

Base Notes: French Labdanum, Styrax, and Amber.

The One by Dolce & Gabana

The One by Dolce & Gabbana


This elegant scent, initially launched in 2008, was destined to become one of the classics. A denser version was re-launched in 2015. Starting with sparkling notes, it leaves behind a deep masculine scent. 

Top Notes: Bergamot, Coriander, Basil, and Grapefruit.

Middle Notes: Orange Blossom, Ginger, and Cardamom. 

Base Notes: Tobacco, Amber, and Cedar.

First Instinct by Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch First Instinct

This fragrance launched by Hollister’s parent company, Abercrombie & Fitch, is well suited to a hot, tropical summer’s day. It’s a crowd-pleasing, inoffensive scent.

Top Notes: Tonic Water, Melon, and Gin.

Middle Notes: Citruses, Violet Leaf, and Sichuan Pepper.

Base Notes: Suede, Musk, and Amber.

Free Wave for Him by Hollister

Free Wave For Him Hollister

It’s a very youthful scent best suited for a hot, humid summer’s day. Like most Hollister perfumes, this fragrance has a very fresh scent, but this one, in particular, is also infused with Woodsy Notes that makes it different, but not necessarily in a very distinct way. However, the woodsy feel makes it wearable all year round. Overall, with moderate longevity, this perfume is for high-schoolers. 

Top Notes: Ginger, Pink Pepper, and Lime.

Middle Notes: Moss, White Iris, and Algae.

Base Notes: Driftwood, Cedar, and Ambergis.


  • Good value for money.
  • Versatile – can be worn in any climate.


  • Very common, generic scent.

Perfumes Similar to Free Wave

Luna Rossa by Prada

Luna Rossa Prada

This scent, named after a sailboat, gives a whiff of (of course) the sailing seas, but it also radiates prestige – something that’s missing from the Free Wave cologne. It’s a classic and a superior choice to Free Wave.

Top Notes: Bitter Orange and Lavender.

Middle Notes: Clary Sage and Mint.

Base Notes: Ambroxan and Ambrette.

CK One Shock For Him by Calvin Klein

CK One Shock For Him by Calvin Klein

CK One Shock is a spicy oriental scent whose opening notes are something to be reckoned with. However, it does lose these tantalizing opening effects after a while to something somewhat basic.

Top Notes: Clementine, Cucumber, and Lavender.

Middle Notes: Basil, Osmanthus, Cardamom, and Pepper.

Base Notes: Patchouli, Musk, Woodsy Notes, Tobacco, and Amber.

Jake by Hollister

Hollister Jake Men Cologne Spray

This clean scent gives off a youthful vibe but, unlike most Hollister perfumes, isn’t restricted to any particular age group. This is undoubtedly a summer scent fit for casual hang-outs with friends. However, it can be used in other seasons as well, sparing the winter. The notes include Citruses and Woodsy Notes.


  • Crowd-pleasing fragrance.


  • A weak scent, poor longevity.
  • The quality and scent aren’t worth its cost.

Perfumes Similar to Jake

Armani Code Absolu by Giorgio Armani

GIORGIO ARMANI Code Absolu for Men By Parfum Spray

This sexy scent has incredible longevity and sillage. Although it can be a bit too sweet at first, the smell mellows to this well-composed amazing cologne. Perfect for a date night.

Top Notes: Green Mandarin and Apple.

Middle Notes: Orange Blossom, Carrot Seeds, and Nutmeg.

Base Notes: Suede, Woodsy Notes, Vanilla, and Tonka Bean.

Millesime Imperial by Creed

Millesime Imperial by Creed

This warm floral fragrance is a unisex scent, and it reminds you inexorably of the sea and warm sunny days. This perfume is worth a try for those of us who like to experiment.

Top Notes: Sea Salt and Fruity Notes.

Middle Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin Orange, Iris, and Sicilian Lemon.

Base Notes: Musk, Woody Notes, and Sea Notes.

360 degrees Red for Men by Perry Ellis

Perry Ellis 360 Red for Men

This has an alpha male feel to it, intensely masculine with moderate longevity. This scent is for the effortlessly sexy guy.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Lime, Cinnamon, Mandarin Orange, Nutmeg, Orange, and Cloves.

Middle Notes: Coriander and Lavender.

Base Notes: Patchouli, Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Musk, Red Cedar, and Vetiver.

Festival Nite by Hollister

Festival Nite by Hollister

This is a synthetic scent – but not in a bad way. Perfect for late-night parties, as its name suggests. This cologne is somehow singularly soothing yet full of energy. The versatile fragrance can be worn all year round and is a must-buy for all the party animals out there!

Top Notes: Mandarin Leaf, Apple, and Bergamot.

Middle Notes: Black Pepper, Ambroxan, and Ginger.

Base Notes: Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, and Musk.


  • Offers good longevity.
  • Great value for money.
  • It’s a possible pro for those who like it – it smells a lot like 1 Million by Paco Rabanne, but is much cheaper.


  • It can smell too artificial and off-putting to some.

Perfumes Similar to Festival Nite by Hollister

Halloween Man by Halloween 

Halloween Man by Halloween 

It’s a very fresh oriental woody scent that can be worn around the year, although more fitting for festivities. This unique scent is for a boldly exceptional man, not giving a damn about what others think of him. Definitely superior to Festival Nite for me!

Top Notes: Basil, Violet Leaf, Mandarin Orange, and Martini.

Middle Notes: Ginger Flower, Cinnamon, Orange Blossom, and Lavender.

Base Notes: Amber, Vanilla, Musk, and Leather.

212 VIP Men by Carolina Herrera

212 VIP Men by Carolina Herrera

This scent is made for a charismatic elitist – a born leader; ready to be the life and soul of the party. This option is my personal favorite.

Top Notes: Lime, Ginger, Passion fruit, and Pepper.

Middle Notes: Gin, Spices, Mint, and Vodka.

Base Notes: Leather, Woodsy Notes, and Amber.

Empire by Trump

empire by trump

Empire combines; Orange Blossom, Amber, Jasmine, Musk, Spicy Mint, Apple, Tea, and Tonka Bean, to make an undervalued gem. It’s a great everyday scent with excellent longevity and value for money. I hate to give a Donald Trump product credit, but hey – what can I say? It’s got potential.

Hollister Wave For Him

Hollister Wave For Him

It’s a lovely scent if you want to blend in. This fragrance is an everyday scent for the classic teen’s summer vacations, worn throughout the day. This perfume is not very “out there” – it’s a generic, artificial scent that most would find pleasing and playful, yet it’s nothing to remember. 

Top Notes: Grapefruit, Yuzu, and Bamboo Leaf.

Middle Notes: Neroli, Lavender, and Cyprus.

Base Notes: Musk, Salt, Tonka Bean, and Driftwood.


  • Very cheap.
  • You can’t go wrong with it – a crowd-pleaser.
  • Not strictly for the summers, it may be used in spring and autumn.


  • Synthetic smell.
  • Very common scent.

Scents Similar to Hollister Wave For Him

Starwalker by Montblanc

starwalker montblanc

This, like Hollister Wave For Him, is a light, inoffensive scent that most people find pleasant. However, the longevity is poor, so that, combined with its soft scent, can mean you can hardly smell it – probably best to reserve it for those who can’t stand perfumes.

Top Notes: Mandarin Orange, Bamboo, and Bergamot.

Middle Notes: Cedar, Sandalwood, and White Musk.

Base Notes: Nutmeg, Ginger, Amber, and Fir Resin.

Tag-Him Prestige by Armaf

Tag-Him Prestige Armaf

This scent is similar to Hollister Wave For Him but can’t be worn in the summers. It offers moderate longevity, but the projection can be too much if sprayed more than twice. 

Top Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, and Mint.

Middle Notes: Blood Orange, Lavender, Pepper, and Cinnamon.

Base Notes: White Wood, Vanilla, Patchouli, and Amber.

Man Uomo by Zara

Man Uomo Zara

This scent provides excellent value for money. It also smells similar to the infamous 1 Million by Paco Rabanne, although it’s not as sharp and sweet. A great scent for daily use if your taste falls more towards the sweet side. With its reasonable price, it’s worth a try at least once. 

Top Notes: Lemon, Mandarin Orange, and Pepper.

Middle Notes: Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg.

Base Notes: Woody Notes and Oriental Notes.

My Opinion

All in all, I think if I had to pick a Hollister scent, I’d go for SoCal – if it weren’t for the fact that it makes people instantly think of Hollister’s SoCal soaked stores. So, I guess I’ll go with Festival Nite primarily because it reminds me of 212 VIP Men, which is a personal favorite. However, that’s not to say that Hollister doesn’t have any worthwhile perfumes. 


Question: Which scent is Hollister’s first?

Answer: Debuting in 2001, Hollister’s signature perfumes are Hollister Co. for Men and Women. However, these were later discontinued. Hollister’s most popular scent, although, is SoCal. It is a scent appropriate to its name, a casual beach-style fragrance that remains one of its most popular perfumes to date.

Questions: Are Hollister perfumes worth the money?

Answer: Hollister perfumes are not very expensive; to begin with, they are priced keeping in mind a teen’s budget. With their quality, fresh scents? I’d say they are definitely worth their price!

Question: Does Hollister offer perfumes for women?

Answer: Yes! Hollister offers a wide range of perfumes for women; some of the best smelling examples include – Hollister Wave For Her, Malaia by Hollister, and Crescent Bay by Hollister.

Question: Which Hollister cologne should I buy?

Answer: It depends – What’s your age range? What is the climate like where you live? Do you plan on getting a scent for special occasions or everyday wear?
What I can tell you is if you’re a young man looking for a scent to wear to the nightclub, go with Festive Nite. If you’re looking for a fragrance to use with casual wear, I’d say you should favor Free Wave.

Question: Which Hollister scent is used in its stores?

Answer: I get why you ask. When you step into a Hollister store, you can’t help but get lost in its fresh, tropical-smelling ambiance. To the extent that you get a slight shock when you step out and are jolted back to reality. Hollister sprays, arguably its most popular scent, SoCal in its stores.


Hollister offers a range of affordable scents. If they usually smell too youthful, it’s because it is targeted as such; its focus audience is teenagers. You have to give credit where it’s due – the Hollister fragrance range targets a specific niche and hit its aim flawlessly, the teen sailors going for a sunny vibe.

Its quality, price, and scent combine perfectly to make it rank among the – at least – top 10 best perfumes for youth. Have you tried the Hollister Colognes yet? Go on a Hollister Cologne smelling and spraying spree. And who knows? Maybe you find your signature scent!

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