Walk into any department store and you’ll be inundated with a plethora of scents, but choosing the best smell that’s right for you and your skin can often be easier said than done.
In order to find the best of the best smelling men’s fragrance, you would need to spend a good few hours testing every single one, but eventually, your nose will become immune to the scents and you won’t be able to take full advantage of the choice on offer.
Instead, wouldn’t it be nice if a reputable publication recommended some men’s fragrances you should be pointing your compass straight toward? Well, you’re in luck because that’s just what we’ve done.
These carefully curated best colognes for men are literally some of the nicest smelling on the market, produced using a mix of rare and original ingredients, so that you stand out for all the right reasons – and don’t smell like every other guy on the street.
How one smells says a lot about who one is, especially in a world where first impressions mean everything. Some people will choose a different scent every time they purchase a new bottle, some may like to stick to a particular label, and there are even those who choose one fragrance forever – a scent they feel defines them as a person.
So, either way, if you’re after a truly unique scent that will have people u-turning just to grab another pleasurable whiff, then check out our best men’s fragrances guide.
A brief history of men’s fragrances
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 to in part 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 perfumes come in a wide variety of scents and aromas, with labels and brands creating signature scents that are recognisable a mile away. Having a well-stocked collection is essential nowadays: you’ll want at least two, one for the day and one of the night, and these can change depending on the season.
Know your men’s cologne terminology
- Eau de toilette – A relatively light perfume, especially a version of a perfume that contains a lower percentage of fragrant essential oils than eau de parfum.
- Eau de cologne – A toilet water with a strong scent, originally made in Cologne.
- Eau de parfum – A version of a perfume that contains a lower percentage of fragrant essential oils than parfum, but a higher percentage than that of eau de toilette.
How to apply men’s fragrances
It may seem like a simple enough task, but some guys still get it wrong when it comes to how to apply their juice. Some will spray theirs on their clothes, others will spray into the air and walk through it. Both are big no-nos. There are, in fact, several rules to follow if you want to be smelling your best. And this video from The Style OG sums them up perfectly.
Men’s perfume tips
The best men’s cologne must be thoughtfully paired with the specific situations and occasions in which it will be worn. Seductive dark, tobacco and woody smell 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 men’s 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 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 smell to get something unique.
Men’s colognes you may want to avoid
We recommend ditching mainstream colognes for men if you want to avoid smelling like the masses. Those brands are:
- Jean-Paul Gaultier
- Hugo Boss
- Calvin Klein
- Acqua Di Gio
- Dior Sauvage
- Ralph Lauren
- Yves Saint Laurent
These are great first colognes for young men, as you get older you will want your own signature scent.
Frequently asked questions about men’s cologne
The best style of cologne for a night out is something with a seductive dark tobacco and woody scent. Fresher fragrances are better for use during the day. Perfume lasts about three times longer than cologne. This is because perfumes contain higher concentration of oils, around 20 to 30 percent, compared to cologne’s two to four percent. Oils are designed to be absorbed by your skin. Combined with the skin’s natural oils skin, they can create a scent unique to you. For this reason, you should never apply cologne to your clothes. Instead, apply them to what are known as 'pulse points', including the neck, wrist, jawline and chest. These areas will heat up during the day to help 'push' your scent out into the world. Dior Homme, Eight & Bob, Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous.
What kind of cologne should I wear for a night out?
Which lasts longer, cologne or perfume?
How do I apply cologne?
What is the best smelling cologne for men?
The best style of cologne for a night out is something with a seductive dark tobacco and woody scent. Fresher fragrances are better for use during the day.
Perfume lasts about three times longer than cologne. This is because perfumes contain higher concentration of oils, around 20 to 30 percent, compared to cologne’s two to four percent.
Oils are designed to be absorbed by your skin. Combined with the skin’s natural oils skin, they can create a scent unique to you. For this reason, you should never apply cologne to your clothes. Instead, apply them to what are known as 'pulse points', including the neck, wrist, jawline and chest. These areas will heat up during the day to help 'push' your scent out into the world.
Dior Homme, Eight & Bob, Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous.
You May Also Like
- Classic Men’s Fragrances & Colognes That Have Stood The Test Of Time
- The Most Essential Aromatic Fragrances For Men To Buy Right Now
Le Labo - Le Noir
Now a fully established luxury fragrance producer, they have a large selection of fantastic scents, including this one: The Noir 29.
Using black tea as a source of inspiration, it’s a herby, leafy scent with notes of bergamot for a truly beautiful and natural smell.
It’s also presented in a range of sizes with a minimalist laboratory label that looks great alongside other bathroom essentials.
Top notes: Fig, Bay Leaf and Bergamot.
Heart notes: Cedar, Vetiver and Musk.
Base notes: Tobacco and Hay.
Commes Des Garçons 2
Comme Des Garcons, that’s what. Rei Kawakubo studied fine art instead of fashion in her native Tokyo before opening boutiques in swanky Parisian quartiers. Inspiration from both cities run through everything her label produces, like this 2 Eau De Parfum.
It’s a unisex scent (a hugely popular concept today) and is said to be the brand’s ethos in fragrance form - which to you and us means it is complex, with hints of magnolia, mandarin and tea.
Top notes: Aldehydes, Angelica, Tea, Mandarin Orange and Mate.
Heart notes: Ink, Magnolia, Nutmeg, West Indian Bay, Coriander, Caraway and Cinnamon.
Base notes are Incense, Patchouli, Cedar, Vetiver, Amber and Labdanum.
Tom Ford - Fucking Fabulous
Top notes: Clary Sage and Lavender.
Heart notes are Bitter Almond, Leather, Vanilla and Orris.
Base notes: Leather, Tonka Bean, Cashmeran, White Woods and Amber.
Chanel - Bleu de Chanel
It's hard to describe just how good this cologne is, we implore you to try it.
Top notes: Grapefruit, Lemon, Mint and Pink Pepper.
Heart notes: Ginger, Nutmeg, Jasmine and Iso E Super.
Base notes: Incense, Vetiver, Cedar, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Labdanum and White Musk.
Zadig & Voltaire - This Is Him
Top notes: Black Pepper and Grapefruit;
Heart notes: Incense and Vanilla;
Base note: Sandalwood.
Commes des Garçons - Gosha Rubchinskiy
This unisex scent has been designed to reflect that, with notes of rubber and tar, yet with fresh hints of mandarin and blue chamomile. This is certainly a fragrance for casual weekend looks.
Top notes: Angelica and Buchu or Agathosma.
Heart notes are Chamomile and Mandarin Orange.
Base notes: Haitian Vetiver, Styrax and Patchouli.
Creed Cologne - Santal
Top notes: Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Juniper Berries and Coriander.
Heart notes are Lavender, Ginger, Rosemary and Petitgrain.
Base notes: Vanilla and Tonka Bean.
Dior - Homme Cologne
Top notes: Mandarin Orange, Neroli, Bergamot, Lavender, Cardamom and Sage. Heart note is iris.
Base notes: Vetiver, Cacao, Leather, Amber and Patchouli.
Byredo - Sunday Cologne
Top notes: Bergamot, Star Anise and Cardamom.
Heart notes are Lavender, Geranium and Incense.
Base notes: Vetiver, oak moss and Patchouli.
Jo Malone - Velvet Rose & Oud
Top note is Cloves.
Heart note is Damask Rose.
Base notes are Agarwood (Oud) and Praline.
Terre - D'Hermes
Terre d'Hermes Parfum by Hermès is a Woody Chypre fragrance for men. Terre d'Hermes Parfum was launched in 2009. The nose behind this fragrance is Jean-Claude Ellena. Top notes are Orange and Grapefruit; heart note is Flint; base notes are Woodsy Notes, oak moss and Benzoin.
Eight And Bob - Original
Ginger, Cardamom, Lemon, Bergamot.
Cedar wood, Nuts, Essencia cistus, Guaiacum wood.
Patchouli, Sandal, Ambergris, Vanilla
Viktor and Rolf - Spicebomb
Top notes are Pink Pepper, elemi, Bergamot and Grapefruit; heart notes are Cinnamon, Saffron and Paprika; base notes are Tobacco, Leather and Vetiver.
Maison Margiela - Across Sands
Carner Barcelona - Cuirs
Top notes are Saffron and Caraway; heart notes are Sandalwood, Guaiac Wood, Patchouli, Virginia Cedar and Violet; base notes are Agarwood (Oud), Leather, Tonka Bean, French labdanum, Musk, Amber, Cypriol Oil or Nagarmotha and Amyris.
Dior - Eau Sauvage
Top notes are Lemon, Bergamot, Basil, Rosemary, Caraway and Fruity Notes; heart notes are Jasmine, Coriander, Patchouli, Carnation, Orris Root, Sandalwood and Rose; base notes are Oakmoss, Vetiver, Musk and Amber.
Top notes are Grapefruit, Rosemary, Vermouth and Cardamom; heart notes are Rose, Black Currant, Currant buds, Freesia and Violet; base notes are Papyrus, Moss, Vanilla, Vetiver, Patchouli and Virginia Cedar.
Acqua di Parma - Colonia Oud
Top notes are Calabrian bergamot and Italian Orange; heart notes are Agarwood (Oud), Amyris and Coriander; base notes are Leather, Sandalwood, Musk, Atlas Cedar and Indonesian Patchouli Leaf.