Choosing a personal scent is important, but it can easily feel overwhelming. Through my life, I’ve changed my scent countless times as my tastes and lifestyle changed. The cheap aerosol body spray I covered myself in as a teenager seemed like the perfect choice at the time, but I wouldn’t go within a hundred feet of it now.
But that’s the nature of cologne for men. It’s designed to match your personality and vibe, and that changes over time. As a businessman, I know it’s as important to smell as good as you look. A bad scent leaves a bad impression. That’s why I’ve compiled the best colognes for men – to help every man find his ideal scent, no matter what stage of life he’s in.
What is the best cologne for men?
Everyone has different tastes and wants to put different parts of ourselves at the forefront. Scent can help with that. Don’t just order the most expensive perfume you can find. Don’t order a cologne online based on an ad. At the very least, check into the different undertones and scents in the actual bottle. But before we get into my personal recommendations, let’s talk about types.
Eau de Parfum
Eau de parfums have the highest concentration of scent compared to other varieties of fragrances. Unsurprisingly, as a result parfums are usually more expensive than other fragrances. They also last longer – up to 8 hours. This is the choice if you want a bold signature personal scent that will last all day, especially for special occasions. Apply with a light hand; they can easily get overwhelming.
Eau de Toilette
Toilettes are ideal for everyday use. They consist of up to 8% scent oils (compare that to parfums’ 15 to 20%). Apply a toilette to your pulse points: neck, wrist, and chest. They generally last up to 6 hours.
Cologne has about 5% scent oils and usually lasts between 3 and 4 hours. It can be reapplied throughout the day, but won’t pack the same punch as a parfum or toilette.
Aftershave is the weakest option, partly because good aftershave doesn’t solely provide fragrance. It also moisturizes and soothes your skin right after shaving. It generally contains between 1 and 3% of scent oils and will fade away after about 2 or 3 hours. Aftershave can also be used as a catch-all term for men’s fragrances.
Now, let’s talk specifics.
What are the top 20 men’s fragrances?
This toilette embraces the contradictions and nuance of classic masculinity. You’ll find notes of cardamom, leather, and patchouli. But you’ll also find it balanced by pear, lavender, and iris. This is a scent for the man who’s in touch with every aspect of his being – the soft and the strong.
Genderless fashion and style are particularly trendy right now, and this unisex fragrance is no exception. As the bottle says, it’s for everyone. It gives a fresh scent rich in greenery. Notes include orange, ginger, blue tea accord, water, cedar, patchouli, and amber.
A fragrance designed to replicate the experience of sitting by a crackling fire, the trend of genderless scent strikes again. But this time, it’s a warmer, spicier, more intimate-feeling scent.
As always, Tom Ford delivers on fashion-forward style that’s bold, yet wearable. This scent evokes the experience of taking in the sea air while walking through an evergreen forest. Notes of cypress and oak paired with sea air and citrus.
This icy, almost bitter scent has notes of grapefruit, cedar, and bitter orange.
If there’s a single most iconic scent for men, this may be it. The notes are classic – grapefruit, cedar, and sandalwood. It’s invigorating, yet sensual.
Hugo Boss is the quintessence of bold, classic men’s style, and this fragrance is no exception. The notes of fruit, spice, wood, and vetiver are elegant and vibrant.
Here’s an option you’ll be proud to display on your dresser drawer; the bottle is a work of art in and of itself. The scent itself is an homage to the passion and strength of Eros and pays homage to Medusa. Inside, notes include earthy, woodsy notes mediated with mint, orange blossom, candied apple, and vanilla.
10. Armani Code Absolu Pour Homme
Armani never fails to evoke images of effortlessly fashion-forward men. This scent is warm, bold, and confident with notes of tonka bean, rum, and vanilla.
11. Creed Aventus Eau de Parfum
Sometimes men’s fragrance gets stuck in a woodsy, musky rut. That’s why I appreciate Aventus. It leans into the unexpected with bergamot, juniper, and fruity notes.
12. Escentric Molecules 01
If you want a fragrance no one will have, this is it. It’s made of a single scent: Iso E Super. It works with the wearer’s natural pheromones to create a scent all your own.
Classic men’s musk meets bergamot and orange blossom. This unisex scent doesn’t miss.
14. Ralph Lauren Polo Red Eau de Toilette
This intense woodsy fragrance has the classic, clean-cut feel synonymous with Ralph Lauren.
Warm and adventurous, this scent boasts strong leather notes with black tea.
Designed to evoke restfulness, Forest Lungs is a unisex scent with notes of woody, resin, and citrus.
A label like Armani deserves 2 items on this list. This intense yet effortless scent is woody and citrusy.
This powerful scent’s strength is in its freshness. It takes you through a journey of lemon, incense, vanilla, and Tonka bean.
Perfect for the cuttingly ambitious, this no-holds-barred scent smells as bold as it looks. The leather and salt notes evoke opulence.
20. Jimmy Choo Man Eau de Toilette
I love a men’s fragrance that deviates from the norm, which is exactly what Jimmy Choo delivers here. It starts with mandarin and citrus before transitioning into lavender and honeydew. You’ll also enjoy notes of pineapple leaf, geranium, and patchouli before the base notes of amber hit. Florals are often reserved for women’s scents, but I think they’re perfect in men’s fragrances too.
Which one of these colognes is the best in the world?
After accounting for quality, the truth is that there’s no single best cologne. It’s like choosing a good suit, a watch, or a car. Do your research and find a few options that are well-made and fit your needs.
But at the end of the day, pick which one feels right to you. The “best” cologne, however you’d measure that, will feel sub-par if it doesn’t match your personality, personal scent, and go with your gut.