It’s men’s cologne time, baby. Now that we’re well into the year, we’re due for another round-up of the best scents for men. This year’s selection builds upon a range of the best mens cologne and unisex fragrances that we’ve personally tried and tested.
You’ll find Valentino, Burberry, Histoires de Parfums, Creed, Comme des Garcons, Jo Malone, Maison Martin Margiela, Le Labo, Bottega Veneta and some more obscure fragrances from perfumeries all over the world.
From oriental, to spicy, woody and deluxe leather scented men’s cologne, we’ve got you covered with a couple of curve balls as well as some of the most iconic men’s cologne to exist.
RELATED: Best Beginner Fragrances For Men
A Brief History On Men’s Cologne
Once upon a time, pleasantly scented potions were a matter of necessity. One’s nose was constantly assaulted by the unpleasant odours of smoke, rotting food, and open sewers. And that was just the people – imagine what the actual sewers smelled like.
Long before modern perfumery began in the late 19th century, perfumes existed in some of the earliest human civilisations. The art of crafting scents began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, then was further refined by the Romans and Persians.
Knowledge of perfumery came to Europe as early as the 14th century, due in part to developments in the Middle East. Islamic cultures perfected the extraction of fragrances through steam distillation and introduced new raw materials to the industry. With that, fragrances were ready to move west.
Today’s colognes don’t perform such a purely practical purpose, but they do serve a more interesting one: helping you get lucky. Pair the right scent with the right man and some kind of sorcery happens. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, you just haven’t met The One yet (scent, that is).
Men’s Cologne Tips
The best mens cologne must be thoughtfully paired with the specific situations and occasions in which it will be worn. Seductive dark, tobacco and woody smells suit evening events, while fresher or citrus fragrances work better for everyday wear and the office.
The last thing you want to do is be known as the ‘too much men cologne’ guy at work, so choose appropriately and apply sparingly.
Most of the best mens cologne and fragrances can be purchased online, however we recommend trying them on in store first. Spray some on in the shop, then go for a walk and see how it smells after 15 minutes. Most mens colognes smell different on everyone. Your skin and pheromones react with the potion to personalise the scent, meaning you don’t have to drop thousands on a custom cologne to get something unique.
Tips From The Experts
Briony Wright, OdeLab.com
“Choosing a new fragrance should be a fun time but it does have the tendency to be overwhelming.
By the time you’ve sampled your fourth average fragrance at a large department store you’ll likely have scent fatigue so a better place to begin is a smaller boutique specialising in fewer lines which has done some of the ground work for you.
Decide whether you’re after something fresh and light or a heavier scent and stick to that category. Then just start spraying. Remember that any aftershave will smell quite different on your skin to how it comes across on a cardboard scent strip, so make sure you test the favourites on yourself.
It’s nice to ultimately have a collection including a fragrance from each scent category, for instance: a citrus, a woody, a floral, a spicy and a marine – this way you’re covered regardless of the mood or occasion.”
Samantha Taylor’s Top Picks, The Powder Room
Eight and Bob
The story behind this fragrance is almost as good as the smell. Whether the fascinating story of Albert Fouquet and JFK chance meeting is true or not, the fragrance is a timeless classic in the cologne style.
Serpentine by Comme de Garcon
Comme de Garcon do quirky very well. Serpentine is not just a snapshot of the London park, but of London itself including notes of asphalt and grass. It makes for a green fragrance with a dark heart.
Colonia Leather Eau de Cologne Concentrée
Aqua di Parma Colonia is a fragrance wardrobe staple, one that every man should own. This latest incarnation takes the sophisticated freshness of Colonia and combines it with the warmth of leather and woods. Delicious. Apply liberally in winter.
Dries Van Notten for Frederic Malle
An intimate self portrait that reflects the elements of Dries designs, this fragrance is an enveloping scent that stays close to the skin. A touch of vanilla sweetens the woods and spices.
Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens
Santal Majuscule is an homage to sandalwood, creamy and smokey with a twist of cocoa. This is the perfect winter aftershave to wrap around you on a cold night.
Blue Encens by Comme de Garcon
I love this fragrance, I classify it as a men’s cologne wardrobe essential. A spicy incense with a cool blast of aromatic artemesia, Blue Encens is ideal for a business meeting or a lunch date.