Let The Scent Do The Talking: Best Men’s Colognes In 2022
Clothes may make the man but the fragrance you wear can be just as important as it can say a lot about you. After all, you can look great from afar but a lasting impression goes so much further than what the eye can see, and a clean, subtle but lasting scent may very well be that final finishing touch.
Smelling good involves a dedicated grooming and hygiene routine and not only will it make you pleasant to be around, but it can also work wonders for your confidence. We all know the ladies love their perfume but there’s no doubt that men can also benefit from a great cologne. Fortunately, many of the fashion houses of the world have joined forces with the world of perfumers to create some magnificent colognes for men and while there are literally thousands and more to choose from, we’ve put together a selection of the ones we believe are a cut above the rest. Here, the best men’s colognes plus advice on how to pick the right one for your body chemistry.
- Uplifting & Fresh For Everyday: Tommy Hilfiger Eau De Cologne Spray
- A Seductive & Long Lasting Fragrance: Boss Orange For Men
- Uplifting & Fresh For Everyday: Calvin Klein Eternity For Men
- For All Occasions: Versace Eros Eau de Toilette Spray for Men
- Fresh, Fun & Frisky: Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio
- A Sensual & Powerful Fragrance: Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir
- Ideal For The Rugged Man: Sauvage by Christian Dior
- Youthful Energy In A Bottle: Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
- Subtle, Yet Seductive: Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’Homm
- Spicy & Exotic: Polo Black by Ralph Lauren
- Handle With Caution: RawChemistry Pheromones Men’s Cologne
- Provocative & Sensual: Paco Rabanne 1 Million
- Iconically Masculine Cologne: Boss No. 6 by Hugo Boss
- A Classic & Crisp Fragrance: Cool Water by Davidoff
- Deep & Mysterious Like The Ocean: Nautica Blue Eau de Toilette
- Bold & Confident: L’eau D’issey by Issey Miyake
- A Great Cologne For The Young & Daring: Guess Seductive Men
The Best Men’s Cologne
Tommy Hilfiger cologne has a rather buoyant and fresh fragrance with green notes tinged with the fresh spicy notes of bergamot and grapefruit. The heart notes release a burst of tart fruitiness with granny smith apple and cranberries so it’s not overly sweet.
The base notes are quite earthy with the seductive aroma of cotton flowers, cactus and amber. What we love about this men’s cologne is the allure. It smells almost like a fresh breeze coming in from the sea that picks up the aromas from exotic gardens and vineyards surrounded by fruit orchards and lavender fields. This was purchased as a stylish gift for a young man in the prime of his youth and it fast became a signature scent. This is the best cologne for a summer party poolside but it’s also great for winter to remind you that summer is just around the corner.
Hugo Boss has long led the way in fashionable clothing and accessories with their fragrance lines being not far behind. Boss Orange embodies everything you’d expect to find in a man of the world and is a truly masculine fragrance that is exotic and mysterious just like the man who wears it. The top notes are a crisp and spicy blend of apple and coriander which are both comforting and exhilarating. The heart notes delve into the exotic and mysterious persona with incense and Sichuan pepper before finishing off with woody vanilla notes including African Bubinga wood and enticing vanilla.
This is the scent for the confident man as the main accords are complex, inspiring yet also cozy and familiar. When we tested this men’s cologne, we simply couldn’t put it down. It was definitely a favorite with the ladies and is perfect for a night on the town, especially for an evening of celebration. The scent is strong, bold and long-lasting so if you’ve grown tired of the same fragrance you usually wear, this is a new one to fall in love with.
When it comes to fragrances for men. Calvin Klein Eternity is always a good one to consider. The fashion giant launched this iconic scent that seems to capture the very essence of masculinity in 1990. True to its name, the fragrance is eternal and all it takes is a quick spray and you’re ready for an evening of mingling with VIPs, or off on a yacht with a tall glass of bubbly and great company.
The main accords of this men’s cologne are aromatic citrus and fresh spices. The top notes feature the freshness of citrus with the subtle woody aroma of lavender. Moving on to the middle notes which are a complex selection of herbs, including sage, juniper berries, and basil; all eerily inviting. The base notes put the stamp of raw masculinity with sandalwood, musk, and Brazillian rosewood. I purchased Eternity for Men quite a few years ago and I always make sure I have a bottle in my fragrance arsenal.
One of our favorite labels in luxury colognes is Versace. The brand is often associated with opulence and style and Eros Eau de Toilette Spray for Men certainly fits the bill with its masculine and almost erotic scent. The name itself, Eros, derives inspiration from Greek mythology, much like the Medusa symbol that is world-renowned as part of the Versace logo. Eros is the Greek god of love and sexual desire and this essence has been perfectly combined by perfumer Aurelien Guichard.
This cologne can be described as fresh and woody with a touch of oriental magic. The top notes include the freshness of mint, green apple and lemon. The middle notes feature a slightly smoky essence with tonka bean, and finish with the masculine and very earthy tones of Madagascar vanilla, oakmoss, Virginian and Atlas cedars, and Vetiver. As with all colognes made by this iconic fashion house, a little bit of this cologne goes a long way and if you get it on your clothing, the scent will linger for quite a while. While alluring, this clean fragrance is also work-friendly, so feel free to wear it when you need a boost of confidence such as in important meetings or formal settings.
Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani is one of those classics that has been around for years and for very good reason. The very essence of this cologne is a fresh scent that captures the spirit of freedom that is full of wind and water. It is the creation of Alberto Morillas and has very much become a staple of the Armani fragrance range. The top notes are uniquely citrusy with lemon, lime and bergamot, the middle notes are exhilaratingly fresh like the sea, and the base notes are masculinely and earthy with white musk and patchouli.
Acqua Di Gio is the quintessential essence of summer on an exotic coast. To ensure this fabulous fragrance lingers, spray it on the pulse points of your body. It’s fresh, frisky, and fun so take it with you on your next seaside vacation or lighten the mood and wear it to the office. Be sure to also browse our list of the top solid colognes on the market.
Drakkar Noir is a sensual and powerful scent that was released in 1982 and created by Pierre Wargnye. The very masculine scent was the recipient of many awards including the 1985 FiFi Award for “Most Successful Men’s Fragrance (Limited)”. In 1991, it was globally recognized as the Bestselling Men’s “Prestige” Scent.
Drakkar Noir starts off with refreshing citrus notes including lemon verbena and bergamot before releasing the woody scents of juniper, sandalwood, and cedar. A few sprays are all it takes to keep you smelling strong and masculine all day and into the night. This is a true men’s cologne that is alluring, mysterious and perfect for the debonaire gentleman who knows his place in the world.
Christian Dior is one of the leading brands when it comes to men’s colognes and over the years, they have released a variety of unique and pleasant fragrances for both men and women. Sauvage is a unique scent with key notes of bergamot and black pepper. This sensual fragrance is alluring and is inspired by wild open spaces.
Sauvage is a relatively new scent that features an effusion of spicy black pepper with middle notes of lavender, pink and Sichuan pepper, and finishes with the woody notes of cedar and patchouli. The lacquered glass bottle alone depicts strength and masculinity. This is the elixir of the rugged man and when you spray it on your pulse points, heads will turn when you walk by. Perfect to always have it in your Dopp kit, wherever you go.
Designate Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue as your signature scent for a fragrance that is charged with aromatic citrus with a dash of spicy and earthy wood notes. This frisky fragrance features the fresh top notes of grapefruit and Sicilian mandarin before diving into the earthy notes of rosemary, rosewood and pepper, finally ending with an enticing musky scent, oakmoss and incense.
The winner of FiFi Award Fragrance Of The Year Men’s Luxe in 2008, the notes of this cologne are strong without being cloyingly overpowering. This is the one for those with youthful energy who enjoy the freshness and vitality of the great outdoors. It is available in a generously sized bottle and all it takes is a light spray for the scent to stay with you throughout the day.
The Yves Saint Laurent Eau de Toilette Spray is an aromatic, warm and spicy fragrance that you’d expect to experience with the best colognes. The aromas are deep and sensual with rich ingredients that include exotic cardamom, bergamot, and lavender. The magic is in the subtlety of these key notes that are generally quite strong yet blended to perfection in La Nuit De L’Homm so that each stands out without being overpowering. Best of all, you decide how much of the scent you want to project by adding a few dabs, or several generous splashes.
This is a pretty universal cologne that can be used every day or for special occasions. It has a cozy scent that is mysterious, frisky, and welcoming all in one. The bottle itself exudes power and strength without revealing your mysterious nature. For more amazing products for modern men, be sure to check out our guide to the best-rated soaps.
Ralph Lauren is an internationally recognized brand known for excellence and style. Their Black Polo Eau De Toilette, a woody aromatic fragrance that oozes sophistication and confidence, is no exception. It features the woody undertones of cedarwood combined with the exotic allure of cardamom and tonka beans. This is a longer-lasting scent that can take you from the office to a special occasion or a romantic dinner with your significant other.
Polo Black is seductive and alluring while also being fresh and earthy. It has a touch of freshness with notes of chilled mango and the warm patchouli for a burst of mischievous confidence. This is one of the best colognes for men who are looking for something a little more daring in a cologne.
If your Eau de parfum just isn’t doing it for you, you may want to try something unique like this Raw Chemistry Pheremones Men’s cologne. Rather than the usual colognes that use aromatic ingredients, this one contains pheromones that replicate your natural ones to target a woman’s attraction and sexual receptors. You’ll instantly turn heads and become an object of temptation.
The formula of this cologne is not only irresistible to women, its silky smooth and moisturizing properties are also gentle for sensitive skin, which can help increase pheromone absorption and keep the scent lingering on your skin for 24 hours. This formula is alcohol, chemical and paraben-free. It has a fresh, alluring and very frisky scent so use sparingly and wisely as your new signature scent. Here are some of the most reliable deodorants on the market, as well. Take a moment to check them out.
Named after its founder, Paco Rabanne is one of the most luxurious brands of men’s cologne, and the opulent and luxurious 1 Million cologne is one of their most popular fragrances. This is fast becoming a classic scent with animalistic notes that are fresh and sensual. The middle notes radiate the warm spiciness of cinnamon, while the finish has woody notes and leather for a very provocative scent that is the epitome of the modern man.
In keeping with their luxury label, Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million cologne is packaged in an ostentatious gold packaging and bottle that is quite ritzy. This is pretty much guaranteed to become one of your favorite scents if you’re a fan of warm and spicy. It’s also a great fragrance for those special occasions when you want to make a statement.
Designed for the modern man, Boss No. 6 is a sharp, elegant and already an iconic masculine scent. Originally a bastion where men’s uniforms and suits were designed, this German company ventured into fragrances for men and women in the mid-1980s with tremendous success.
Boss No. 6 is a unique and dynamically fresh men’s scent with a warm and woody base, boasting a touch of fruit and floral notes. It personifies elegance and although you could wear it in the ballroom, it’s equally appropriate in the boardroom or even a casual get-together with friends. This same cologne is also available in an Eau de parfum version if you like something stronger and longer-lasting. You might also like our selection of aftershaves, so be sure to check them out.
Davidoff is a name synonymous with beauty combined with pleasure. Their luxurious range includes accessories such as watches, writing instruments, leather products, and let’s not forget -fragrances. One of Davidoff’s most popular men’s colognes is Cool Water. This iconic fragrance was launched in 1988 and is still very popular to this day.
Cool Water features signature marine notes with top notes of seawater, lavender and mint. The middle notes are earthy and woody with a touch of floral jasmine and the base notes feature alluring musk with a hint of cigar smoke and cedar. This combination is fresh, crisp, very uncomplicated and imposingly masculine. The fresh notes and aromatic seawater make this ideal for casual and evening wear, especially when you’re vacationing at a seaside resort.
Founded in 1983, Nautica is a popular lifestyle brand specializing in water-inspired apparel and accessories. The brand sports a classic and authentic style and design that aquatic adventurers have come to love. Nautica Blue Eau de Toilette is a great entry-level cologne with a captivating tropical scent with pineapple top notes with a hint of peach and bergamot.
Nautica Blue is rustic and complex much like the depths of the world’s oceans. Full of energy, vitality, adventure and mystery. Lily and jasmine give the middle notes soft, aqueous and floral notes that finish strong with powerful masculine notes of musk, cedar and sandalwood that add an aura of earthy woodiness. The bottle is easily recognizable due to the nautical shape of sails blowing in the wind. This is the fragrance for men who easily bridge the gap between the land and the sea and it’s perfect for any occasion. As a bonus, it’s very affordable! For some more grooming essentials, check out these quality serums for men.
Issey Miyake is a Japanese fashion designer that specializes in edgy, technology-driven clothing. Like most fashion houses, the label also branched out into fragrances and L’eau D’issey is in keeping with the clothing line in being unique and quite majestic.
Launched in 1994, L’eau D’issey has been described as embodying the strength and vitality of a waterfall. The designer of this fragrance, Jacques Cavallier, has incorporated exotic and rare ingredients to create an aromatic masterpiece with this eau de toilette. Its top notes are refreshingly citrusy with spicy key notes, woody heart notes and ending with an intense woody scent. This is a cologne for the modern man who is the embodiment of confidence and strength. It’s perfectly suitable for everyday and special occasions.
Guess is an American brand that typically features trendy and youthful clothing and accessories. In 1990, they branched out into fragrances with huge success. One of Guess’ most successful fragrances is Guess Seductive Men which was launched in 2011. This men’s cologne is bold, daring, and youthfully spirited – a perfect choice for bold, young generations.
This seductive and charming fragrance starts off with spicy and zesty notes of pink pepper, mandarin orange and cardamom, the heart notes are fresh and earthy with orchid, violet leaf and vetiver with finishing notes that are seductive with the woody essences of patchouli, sandalwood and musk. For a cologne that is sensual and sweet that brings out the youthful charm in young men, this is a fantastic cologne. Wear it on a warm summer night and show off your youthful spirit.
Why Trust Us
We believe that every person has their own special scent and if you want to find the fragrance that complements your own odor, you have to both do some research and test out a few products - which is exactly what we did here. To give you the best men's colognes, we dived into the world of fragrances, top notes, middle notes, base notes, spices and aromas. Oh, and we also tested quite a few perfumes and colognes over the years so we know which ones smell great and are long-lasting, and which ones are best left behind.
Who This Is For
We put this guide together specifically for those who love a great cologne but are perhaps not sure of which one they are suited to. The best colognes for men are almost as individual as the person wearing them. If you're shopping for a new signature scent or the perfect gift for someone special, this guide is for you.
How We Picked
Choosing the best colognes for men to put this guide together was not an easy task. The market is literally flooded with hundreds of well-known colognes and we can only guess how many lesser-known ones are out there. We chose colognes for their quality ingredients and scents that are irresistibly manly (we hope) without being too strong. Every man will have a preference so we've tried to include the full spectrum of scents such as woody, earthy, citrusy, floral, etc.
How We Tested
The only way to test how a cologne smells on your skin is to wear it - and preferably for long periods of time. This is exactly what our testers did with some of the colognes featured in this guide. Our team members wore their colognes to work, on the nights out, while chilling at home, and some even wore it to the gym.
Features To Look For In Men's Colognes
Scent strength - Our testers tried several colognes (not on the same day, for obvious reasons) to see how long the fragrance would last. In general, the scent strength depends on the fragrance notes in the cologne. We found that some of the more citrusy or floral scents don't seem to last long. However, we should note even this type of cologne is still very detectable once you approach the person wearing it. The colognes with woody, spicy or herbaceous notes that have a deeper fragrance, on the other hand, tend to be more noticeable even after several hours. Some of our testers mentioned that they could still smell these types of colognes on their clothing the next day.
Occasion - Choosing the right cologne for every occasion may sound easy, but it's not. Just because you may have a bottle of Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne on hand, doesn't mean you should spray it on everywhere you go. This one, for example, is fresh and fragrant like a nice summer breeze blowing through fresh linens, which is great for the seaside resort but might not be the best choice for an evening at a gala event.
As a general rule of thumb:
- Citrus scents such as Italian lemon zest or bitter orange are great for work as they are uplifting without being overpowering.
- Woody and aromatic fragrances including things like clary sage or sandalwood are ideal for work when you are planning on a business lunch or after-work functions.
- Lighter scents are advised for use when you want to leave a good first impression. These are lingering scents that are clean and subtle.
- Stronger aromatic scents are perfect for date night and formal occasions when the last thing you want to do is blend into the crowd.
Budget - The good news is that the best colognes for men don't have to cost an arm and a leg. While you do need to spend some money if you want a quality cologne, there are dozens of choices at mid-range prices. These are probably more suitable for everyday wear but if you can, splurge on a higher-end cologne and keep it for special occasions.
Brand - There is an abundance of brands you can choose from when shopping for a men's cologne, and because of this, you may think that the brand is not important. On the contrary. The highest quality scents are made from exotic and expensive essential oils that you will rarely find in generic brands of cologne. Brands such as Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, Polo, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, etc., are known for their exemplary quality clothing using only the finest materials. So, if you can, go for a well-known, reputable brand.
Personality - The key notes in a cologne should fit your personality and this should also include your occupation. If you have a fun and lively personality, your key notes may include fresh scents like green apple or orange blossom. If you have a debonair air about you, then you may want to look at colognes with exotic spices, woody and herbaceous notes. Try a few different ones to discover which ones you feel are best suited to your personality.
The Most Common Notes In a Cologne
Top notes - Top notes are usually the first hint of scent you experience and are the shortest lasting. They usually only last for the first 5 to 15 minutes and generally consist of citrus or zesty herbs. They are typically fresh, assertive but do evaporate quickly.
Heart (or middle) notes - These include spices, floral, and fruit scents but are usually mellow, well balanced, and subtle. You will generally get a whiff of these notes about 20 minutes after applying the perfume and usually once the top notes have evaporated. The middle notes linger for about an hour.
Base notes - This is where your cologne packs its punch. The base notes enter the stage after about an hour or so and once the middle notes have lost their effectiveness. Base notes feature deep, rich scents such as the woody notes and exotic deep spices and these are the ones that remain prominent for 6 hours or more.
Men's Cologne FAQ
Q: How do you apply cologne to maximum effect?
A: Pulse points are the perfect places to apply your cologne. These points are around your neck as well as your wrists and inner elbow. Of course, a light spray on your clothing is also needed to keep the scent lingering for as long as possible.
Q: Aftershave vs. cologne - which is better?
A: Aftershave can be used as an alternative to cologne. However, in most cases, the fragrance won't last. Colognes have been created to linger for several hours. You can use either but you might want to keep the aftershave on the shelf if you're getting ready for a hot date.
Q: How do you prevent the fragrance from going bad?
A: Like many products, your fragrance may lose its potency and if you don't store it properly, it can actually go bad, especially if low-quality ingredients are used in production. Most of the time you will lose the top and possibly the middle notes with only the robust, deep base notes being noticed.
The best way to prevent your fragrance from going bad is to store it correctly and preferably not in the bathroom. Only open your fragrance when you want to use it and when you put it away, keep your cologne in a cool, dark and dry space such as in a drawer or a cabinet. If you can keep it in the original box, even better.
Q: Does cologne go on skin or clothes?
A: Cologne should really be sprayed on the pulse points of your skin - the neck, wrists, and inside of the elbow. When sprayed on those points, the key notes can interact with your body's natural oils and pheromones and create an irresistible aura around you. Of course, a spritz on your clothing won't hurt. Just don't overdo it.
Q: How long does a bottle of cologne last?
A: The average 3.4 fluid ounce (100 ml) bottle has an average of about 1500 spritzes. Most colognes will maintain their fragrant integrity for at least a year and some with stronger fragrance notes may last even longer. How long the bottle actually lasts depends on how often you use it and how liberally you spray it on.
Q: Does cologne cover body odor?
A: The short answer is no. However, if your body odor is mild, you may be able to get away with using cologne as a cover-up. However, if you have a strong body odor, trying to hide it with cologne can actually make it worse. Use a good body wash when you shower every day, as well as a top-quality deodorant before you put on your cologne and you'll never be embarrassed by an offending odor emanating from your body.
Q: How should I store my cologne?
A: To keep your colognes and perfumes fresh for as long as possible, keep them in cool, dark and dry places. If you have a very expensive or dear-to-heart fragrance that you want to get the absolute best shelf-life out of, consider keeping it in the fridge.
- Notes - Fragrantica
- What Your Body Odor Says About You - Time
- Perfume, Body Odor, And The Question Of Human Pheromones - NCBI