If your Tinder pickup line was an absolute trailblazer and you’ve got a time and date on the books, it stands to reason that your pre-date groundwork deserves the same care, attention, and finesse as your online façade. The finishing touch – after you’ve aced the wardrobe and axed the manbun – is the perfect scent.
The science backs us on its importance. Studies have revealed that guys who get their cologne spray on behave with greater confidence than their naturally-aromatic neighbours. But the data also demonstrates that olfaction is a powerful attraction filter. Dousing yourself in the wrong scent, or leaving it off entirely and smelling like a well-seasoned bus seat, is going to put sudden-death rules on the hot date you’ve been planning all week.
That’s why we’ve selected eight fragrances that will have your back whether you’re going out for ice-cream or sitting down for three courses at the best spot in town. Our picks include lighter and heavier scents, and seasonal options to keep you from smelling like a nightclub dance floor at three in the morning.
The guys on Saville Row should stick to their suits and ties? Think again. Richard James wants his clients smelling as good as they look in his tailoring, and this 50ml eau de toilette is his first foray into the world of men’s cologne.
This fragrance’s primary ingredients are tuberose and leather, an unusual combination that provides a pleasant balance between rich, floral tones and traditional, masculine qualities.
This scent is quite rich, so a few gentle sprays behind the ears and on the wrist is plenty. It’s less than a hundred bucks for 50ml, making it an inexpensive and desirable gift (provided you aren’t seduced by it first).
Bamford Grooming Department – Edition 1 Cologne
By the mother-son duo from Bamford Grooming Department, this Edition 1 Cologne is an all-seasons all-star. This fragrance combines the richness of citrusy bergamot and soothing vetiver with the potency of traditionally-masculine dark amber and agarwood.
This balanced combination of heavier and lighter ingredients makes it an ideal option for guys who resist overpowering, musky scents but find summer fragrances too underwhelming. It’s available in 50ml bottles but you won’t need much of it to achieve the desired effect.
Comme Des Garcons Parfums – Wonderwood
In case its name didn’t give you a hint, Comme Des Garcons’ Wonderwood is designed to remind you of the aromatic experience of sitting by a fireplace (in the best way possible) and its strong, woody notes of cedar and sandalwood make it a no-brainer winter scent.
It’s balanced with zestier ingredients like bergamot, vetiver, and pepper to offset the weight of the woody ingredients. This cologne is quite heavy, approaching the musky end of the scale.
A pre-date drenching will kill your game. Go easy on the sprays and your date won’t feel like she’s inhaling cinderblocks with her glass of wine.
Tom Ford – Noir Extreme
Tom Ford introduced the Noir Extreme in 2015 off the back of the original Noir’s popularity. Despite its name, Noir Extreme is not a scent that will outmuscle your date’s sense of smell and have them scrambling for an open window.
This fragrance is built on amber and woody accords, two heavier ingredients that are complemented with bergamot, black pepper, and nutmeg. This mix creates a rich, masculine scent suited to after-dark occasions.
It’s is finished off with vanilla to balance and soften the overall profile of the fragrance. But remember, less is more – even if it’s Tom Ford (remember this shit aint exactly cheap).
D.R. Harris – Arlington Cologne
D.R. Harris has the enviable privilege of holding a Royal Warrant, and continues the tradition of servicing the grooming requirements of British royalty and other unfairly rich people around the globe.
This Arlington Cologne blends citrus and fern, a rich and clean combination that can perform in both a warm, summery environment or in the more intimate confines of a bar or eatery. It’s not a weighty, musky scent, but it opens strongly and thus needs little more than a splash or two with each wear.
It’s also housed in a cool, vintage looking bottle that will make your grandfather proud.
Penhaligon’s – Endymion Eau De Cologne
Named in tribute of Greek mythology (although that’s not why we picked it), the Endymion cologne is another popular fragrance produced under Penhaligon’s Royal Warrant and impressive, centuries-old tradition of craftsmanship.
The Endymion boasts citrus and floral notes, combining the sweeter attributes of bergamot, mandarin, lavender, and sage. Undertones of leather, nutmeg, and sandalwood strengthen this warm and summery combination.
It’s intended as a lighter, warm-weather scent and would be an excellent counterpoint to your heavier colognes in summer.
Odin New York – Sunda Formula One Eau De Parfum
Manhattan-based Odin’s Black Line derives inspiration from the flavours encountered in exotic destinations, and this Sunda Formula One scent is intended to invoke the scents of historic spice trade routes.
This eau de parfum is grounded in tonka bean, giving it both spicy and fruity elements, with additional blends of cedar, juniper, and pepper. As a parfum, it’s a milder scent that won’t overwhelm the candles on the dinner table or leave musk on your clothes after a wash.