Table of Contents
- How to Choose Cologne for Men
- The Difference Between Perfume and Cologne for Men
- Top Trends in the Cologne Market
- The Top Colognes for Men in 2021
- The Best Colognes for Christmas Gifting
- Our Favorite Colognes
- Most Affordable Colognes
- The Best Expensive Colognes
- The Best Colognes for Warm Weather
- The Best of the Rest
While smelling good is deemed a great quality through the noses of other people, scent is something you should also wear for yourself. The right fragrance can instantly change your mood, which is why we often reach for the best men’s cologne before events, whether they’re at the boardroom, bar or even your very own wedding.
Cologne is every suave man’s secret weapon. A spray before work, a date or a party not only provides an instant boost in attractiveness but also instills extra confidence when wearing it in the company of others. How does the modern gent go about shopping for the best cologne? It starts with educating one’s self in the science of scent. Cologne gift sets can also be a good way to discover new scents and make for some of the best Christmas gifts for men during the holiday season.
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When browsing through different fragrances for men, you’ll often see scents described in three ways: top, heart, and base. Top notes are the initial (and strongest) scents when first applied, but also fade before the day is over. Then there are heart notes, which are often floral and balance the whole scent. Finally, the base notes make their presence felt with prominent, lasting smells that define the fragrance.
In this post, we’re going to cover the best colognes for men in 2021. We’ll also break down the differences between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Cologne, plus provide some tips on choosing the right fragrance. Also, if you’re looking for the best Christmas gift this year, the best cologne for men makes for an awesome pick.
How to Choose Cologne for Men
When shopping for cologne, you’ll find that the biggest differentiator is the price. The top cologne from designer brands like Tom Ford and Gucci will usually cost between $100 and $150. Mid-tier options from Calvin Klein and Dior can usually be purchased for under $100. However, even if you don’t want to spend more than $100, many colognes come in smaller sizes that are more affordable. If you’re looking to save or test a new fragrance, go with a 1.70 oz bottle instead of a 3.40 oz.
In addition, there are several scent families to choose from, including woody, oriental, herbal, floral and earthy. Many experts recommend floral for all-season use, whereas herbal scents are the best colognes for summer. Usually, woody and oriental fragrances serve better during the winter months. That being said, woody scents like cedar, sandalwood and madras wood are especially on-trend in 2021, and these scents are now used all year long. We’ve also seen more colognes and grooming products incorporate very traditionally masculine fragrances such as tobacco, leather and even bourbon. When it comes to choosing the best cologne for men, whether it’s for you or your partner, it’s all about personal preference.
The Difference Between Perfume and Cologne for Men
When shopping for cologne, you may notice that some men’s fragrances are called perfume instead of cologne. So is there a difference between the best perfume for men and cologne?
In fact, each of these terms does have different technical meanings to fragrance makers. Perfume (also known as Parfum or Extrait de Parfum) refers to fragrances that contain 15% to 30% perfume oil, while products categorized as Eau de Parfum contain between 15% and 20% perfume oil. However, an Eau de Cologne product only contains 2% to 4% perfume oil. Because of this, perfumes have a more potent and longer-lasting fragrance.
The best cologne for men should note on the bottle or packaging which category it falls into, with Eau de Parfum at the high end of the intensity scale and Eau de Cologne at the low end. Eau de Toilette falls somewhere in the middle.
However, most people don’t know or care about these technical ratings. Here in the United States, cologne is used to refer to all fragrances for men, whether they’re technically an Eau de Cologne or an Ea de Parfum pour Hommes. As a result, men’s perfume and men’s cologne can be used interchangeably in most contexts.
Top Trends in the Cologne Market
The cologne market is changing fast. New, online-only companies like Hawthorne are competing with designer fragrances that have been on the scene for decades. Traditionally, designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Calvin Klein produced the best colognes, but there are new entrants into the market worth exploring.
One of the biggest trends in the cologne market in recent years has been the emergence of new unisex fragrances such as Henry Rose, and you shouldn’t rule out unisex fragrances as a general rule. Gift sets are also a stellar option when unsure about a scent that might look great on paper, but you aren’t too sure you’ll love it 100% after a couple of wears. Finally, solid cologne is a growing category and one that we’re particularly excited about. Solid colognes from brands such as Fulton & Roark have sophisticated, modern fragrances and help avoid the age-old problem of overapplying your cologne, a sure-fire way to make a bad impression on everyone you meet.
Of course, when it comes to shopping for cologne, it’s all about the smell test for most guys. For guys with discerning taste, your own nose will never steer you wrong. Stick to a fragrance that doesn’t clash with other strong scents and isn’t overpowering to your senses (or anyone else’s at that). This advice is true whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for a gift for him this holiday season.
The Top Colognes for Men in 2021
Below are some of the best men’s cologne options, as chosen by SPY’s style and grooming experts. All of these products come from designers who know all about crafting an attractive scent profile.
The colognes we chose are listed per category, price point and lifestyle. Most of these colognes are available in various sizes, with 1.70 oz and 3.40 oz being the most common choices. In general, we’ve listed the price for the 3.40 oz size, and you can usually find a smaller size bottle at a cheaper price point.
Once you’ve finally come around to choosing a signature scent, make sure to read SPY’s key tips on how to apply cologne properly.
The Best Colognes for Christmas Gifting
1. Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum
This aromatic stunner from Burberry proves that the prestigious fashion house isn’t all about trench coats. Mr. Burberry is a statement fragrance suitable for year-round wear, but is most effective in the colder months, thanks to spicy top notes that create a sense of comfort and warmth. You can wear it to work under your three-piece suit or when traveling. It should also be noted that Burberry stresses the sensuality of the scent (think stimulating ingredients like grapefruit and vetiver), making it one of the best colognes to gift this Christmas.
Buy: Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum Starting at $88.00
2. Maison Margiela ‘Replica’ By the Fireplace
If you’re looking to gift a special guy what’s single-handedly considered the cologne of the holiday season by connoisseurs, then you’ve found it. Maison Margiela’s ‘Replica’ By the Fireplace has one of the warmest, spiciest scents claiming itself as a force to be reckoned with. This heater-esque scent merges orange flower, clove oil and chestnut on top of a lovely vanilla aroma that signifies the coziest of nights inside when it’s brisk outside the front door. This makes for one of the best Christmas gifts of the year and will surely be his go-to until spring.
Buy: Maison Margiela ‘Replica’ By the Fireplace Starting at $72.00
3. Bvlgari Le Gemme Men Empyr Eau de Parfum
This gorgeous new scent from Bvlgari hits the nail on the head in terms of winter fragrances. You know those days where you’re constantly in and out of the house in the dead of winter? The times where you leave the comfort of your warm home, layer yourself in jackets, hats and gloves to furnace yourself before leaving, just to step out and get cold along the way? Just to come back a little later and bask in warmth again? It’s a fire and ice consistency that sends a shiver down your spine yet a blazing heat through your veins. Using ginger, sandalwood and labdanum, Bvlgari is able to exemplify this hot and cold duality through a freshness that feels honed down and heavy. You really just have to try this one for yourself.
Buy: Bvlgari Le Gemme Men Empyr Eau de Parfum $332.00
4. Jo Malone Silver Birch & Lavender Cologne
Fall and spring. Two seasons that know nothing about the other. Seasons that never come in contact. Seasons that don’t really even make sense in the same sentence — aside from now. Jo Malone’s newest Silver Birch & Lavender cologne has a weird way of honing in on life and death at the same time. It’s topped with a crispy coolness that’s drained slightly with a woodier birch. It’s like smelling fresh lavender in the middle of a dying forest in the middle of October.
Buy: Jo Malone Silver Birch & Lavender Cologne $144.00
5. Prada Luna Rossa Carbon Eau de Toilette
Just leave it to Prada to create one of the most distinctively mischievous blended colognes that the world has yet to see. This sensually delicious masterpiece is great for wearing just about anywhere, but we love this cologne for date night and bedroom play. By combining notes of lavender, green bergamot from Italy, patchouli and amber, this is the type of cologne that will keep partners smelling their own clothes again and again after hugging up on you. It’s seductively masculine in its creation. Trust us. You’ll want nothing more.
Buy: Prada Luna Rossa Carbon Eau de Toilette Starting at $73.00
6. Polo Ralph Lauren Deep Blue
Ralph Lauren is literally making waves with its newest fragrance by looking at the power of the ocean. Pro surfer and two-time world champion Gabriel Medina is the brand partner of the scent, which might be the closest thing to a trip to Hawaii these days. In fact, Hawaiian green mango is the note that pops in the blend that evokes salty seawater and fresh fruits, with cypress oil and deep ocean accord rounding out the mix. Even the bottle, in blue and silver, takes its cues from the swell of an ocean wave, making this one of the best colognes to gift this holiday season that will most definitely surprise his nose.
Buy: Polo Ralph Lauren Deep Blue Starting at $85.00
7. Viktor&Rolf Spicebomb Eau de Toilette
If you’re shopping for the best gifts for women, then you can’t go wrong with a perfume such as Flowerbomb, from Viktor&Rolf. However, this Dutch fragrance company also makes one of the best colognes to gift men this Christmas, and we can’t hate on a cool-shaped bottle. Viktor&Rolf’s aptly named “Spicebomb” Eau de Toilette is a grenade you’ll actually want to get your hands on. This all-masculine cologne is an explosively scented fragrance that gives notes of chili and saffron with the heavy-bodied roundness provided by leather and tobacco. By adding notes of bergamot and grapefruit, you better ignite this thing with more than one spray. You’ll leave the house feeling indestructible.
Buy: Viktor&Rolf Spicebomb Eau de Toilette Starting at $92.00
8. CK Everyone
The iconic fashion staple has come a long way with its men’s fragrance line, as exemplary with CK Everyone. This gender-neutral fragrance is the perfect pickup with a musky base and uplifting notes of organic orange, as well as a blue tea accord that is poetically pleasant on the nose. The fragrance also gains cool points for its eco-conscious approach, formulated with naturally derived ingredients and alcohol, and packaged in recycled materials. Talk about a win-win for couples who love to share each other’s fragrances and give back to the environment.
9. Fulton & Roark Blue Ridge
Until recently, solid cologne was a tiny niche in the men’s fragrance market, and little more than a gimmick at that. Fulton & Roark has singlehandedly changed that with a line of solid wax colognes that are easy to apply and make for some of the best stocking stuffers for men this year. The company makes premium colognes with sophisticated scents, and most of their products are priced at just $52. However, don’t let the price tag fool you into thinking this is just another cheap cologne. The brand’s new Blue Ridge cologne has a smooth sandalwood-based fragrance with notes of fresh sage and amber that will remind you of fresh mountain air. Like the best cologne, Fulton & Roark products are long-lasting but not overpowering. Instead of a spray bottle, they come in brushed metal tins that are small enough to slip into your pocket or gym bag. Depending on how often you apply, a single tin will last you four to seven months.
10. John Varvatos Travel Size Fragrance Set
What you want most from a fragrance set is variety and John Varvatos’ collection of mini-colognes gives you just that. Four of the brand’s top performers — Artisan, Artisan Pure, Classic, and Vintage — come bundled in this affordable offering, each designed to accentuate your appearance in multiple ways. For instance, Vintage’s blend of juniper berries, madras wood, and suede accents give off a rugged masculine presence, while Artisan Pure embodies cunningness with its unique mix of crisp, woody, and citrus notes. It’s exactly what you need to keep your scent game fresh on long business trips.
Buy: John Varvatos Travel Size Fragrance Set $55.00
11. The Harmonist Hypnotizing Fire Parfum
Colder weather is all about keeping warm and cozy, right? Right. Well, get your giftee something this Christmas that will help him do that with The Harmonist’s Hypnotizing Fire Parfum. This deep, sultry-feeling cologne lures wearers in like a metronome with a scent that feels as warm as a small flame. In each bottle, you’ll get a waft of Madagascan vanilla and Benzoin that’s powered by subtler notes of Bulgarian rose, Indonesian patchouli and pimento berries harvested in the heat of Jamaica. It’s something he will wear all winter long and bring right into spring with him.
12. K by Dolce & Gabbana
Scent can be a powerful communicator and an overpowering one will send the wrong message. Like the best men’s cologne, K by Dolce & Gabbana is a subtle Eau de Toilette fragrance that is clean and effective without coming on too strong. This fragrance also encourages men to embrace their inner highness, thanks to the bottle’s cool crown-shaped stopper. The combination of cherry pepper with citrusy and woody notes results in a bold, standout redolence fit for a king.
Buy: K by Dolce & Gabbana Starting at $63.75
13. “Vacation” by Vacation
“Vacation” by Vacation is one of the newest unisex fragrances on our radar that’s essentially mastered the scent of summer in a bottle. So why are we calling it one of the best colognes for Christmas? Because we miss summer and we’re sure your giftee does as well. This smells like your favorite sunscreen for an all-year-round summery scent your giftee won’t feel weird spritzing in the dead of winter. It’s going to be one of the more oddball types in his collection, but one he’ll absolutely love.
Our Favorite Colognes
14. Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau de Parfum
We mean it when we say it: Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau de Parfum is going to be one of the most gifted gifts for men this Valentine’s Day and there’s no doubt about it. This fragrance embodies both a sophisticated yet forever young spirit at the exact same time and gives us a masculine scent. Each bottle has a base of vetiver beneath notes of bergamot, ginger and sage that are sharpened by a bite of apple, giving a full, fresh feel to the fragrance. Usually, you don’t want your cologne to be too bold, but the new Yves Saint Laurent cologne is bold without being overbearing. Best of all, YSL’s newest fragrance ambassador is none other than the iconic Lenny Kravitz. So, if you should trust anyone, it should be him.
Buy: Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau de Parfum Starting at $100.00
15. Tom Ford Black Orchid Parfum
Tom Ford is famous for many things, but his intoxicating fragrances certainly top the list. Back in 2006, Black Orchid was the very first Tom Ford Beauty collection item. The unisex scent just got a makeover, but it still is all about Ford’s fascination with the elusive black orchid. “To me, it is the perfect flower… luxurious, elegant, pure and sophisticated,” he has said. The newest iteration amps up its signature note, as well as ylang-ylang and black plum.
Buy: Tom Ford Black Orchid Parfum Starting at $160.00
16. Dior Sauvage
The Benjamin mark is where you’ll usually find some of the top sellers and performers in the men’s fragrance market. So if you’re looking for a top-tier cologne that still comes in under $100, reach for Dior Sauvage. Complex in composition, yet raw in scent, Dior Sauvage evokes grandeur and summons compliments no matter the gathering. Powerful notes of Italian bergamot and spicy Sichuan pepper are what give this universally loved fragrance its aromatic moxie.
17. Chanel Bleu
A classic cologne is one that is instantly recognizable in a crowd, stands out as the centerpiece on your dresser, and has stood the test of time. Fragrance staples like Acqua di Parma Colonia and Ralph Lauren Polo certainly meet the criteria, but it’s been Chanel Bleu that has set the bar for both modern and vintage scents. You get a mix of aquatic and woody scents that men find empowering and women find irresistible. Chanel makes this scent in a variety of intensities, but the Eau de Parfum version provides a long-lasting scent that’s not overpowering. Twelve hours after applying it and you’ll still notice subtle hints of vanilla and sandalwood resonating from your skin. If you don’t already have this on your dresser, we’d be surprised.
18. Versace Eros
For the man who requires only one bottle of cologne in his grooming cabinet (or dopp kit), Versace Eros is calling your name. Named after the Greek God of love, this fragrance boasts a unique, masculine scent that falls right in between sweet and salty. While this cologne is great for everyday use all year long, it’s one of the best colognes for summer, in particular. It features notes of seawater and leaves a hint of “sunny warmth” on your skin. The eye-catching bottle also speaks towards the fragrance’s divinity, highlighted by a bold design created by the fashion icon herself, Donatella Versace. Walmart has an incredible deal on this cologne right now, and you can purchase a 3.4 oz bottle for just $56.
Buy: Versace Eros Eau Dee Toilette Spray Starting at $72.00
19. Hawthorne Tailored Fragrances
Today’s man is all about having his subscription services groom him. However, having a different cologne sent to your front door every month does make it more difficult to identify your signature scent. Well, what if there was a company that could personalize a cologne based on your body chemistry and personal style? Meet Hawthorne.
This innovative men’s grooming brand has you take a 22-question quiz and uses that lifestyle data to create personalized scents with natural ingredients. What you end up with are two awesome options (Play and Work) that work interchangeably throughout the day and smell phenomenal. (Check out SPY’s Hawthorne for Men review for more insight.) Spy’s e-commerce editor Tyler Schoeber swears by this cologne, which he wears on an almost daily basis.
Most Affordable Colognes
20. Acqua di Parma Colonia Futura
Since launching in 1916, Acqua di Parma has always been a deeply Italian brand, emphasizing the juxtaposition of both the simpler things in life and ultimate luxury. Their new cologne is all about Italian citrus, with the right mix of clary sage, lemon and vetiver. What makes it even more impressive is it’s made with 99% natural ingredients — a first for the brand — and the packaging also underwent an eco-conscious makeover.
Buy: Acqua di Parma Colonia Futura Starting at $70.00
21. COACH For Men Eau de Toilette
Who says you can’t find cheap cologne from designer labels? You don’t always have to trust us, so in this case, you can trust The Fragrance Foundation, who named the COACH For Men Eau de Toilette was named the winner of the company’s 2018 Frangrance Awards. By combining fresh-smelling, electric, zingy top notes such as green nashi, kumquat and bergamot with a woody, suede, amber base, this scent is deeply masculine yet refreshing in nature. No wonder why COACH is considered a luxury because spraying this on will make you feel as high-end as it gets.
Buy: COACH For Men Eau de Toilette Starting at $55.00
22. Kiehls Musk Eau de Toilette Spray
From the company that makes your favorite face cream comes an incredibly well-crafted genderless fragrance ready for no matter what your day calls for. Made with bergamot nectar, orange blossom and musk, this loosely luscious scented cologne is great for guys who like to rock a brighter spritz on the daily. It’s definitely one of the lighter, more floral scents on our radar, but the musky overtone really hones the bottle down into with a very masculine overtake you still love and need in your everyday scent.
Buy: Kiehls Musk Eau de Toilette Spray $44.00
23. Fulton & Roark Palmetto Solid Cologne
Fragrance in wax form sounds odd at first, but the best solid cologne is actually a more practical and discrete option for guys who want to apply their favorite scent in an inconspicuous spy fashion. Fulton & Roark Palmetto Solid Cologne lets you have your James Bond moment. Palmetto features a complex layer of scents compiled of citrus, cedar, incense, magnolia flower, and pepper spice, which culminate in a refreshing, clean aroma that takes you back to your morning shower. The tiny metal tin also makes it an ideal EDC item to keep at your work desk drawer or gym bag.
Buy: Fulton & Roark Palmetto Solid Cologne $52.00
24. Signature Manscaped Refined Cologne
Reimagine your masculinity with one of the best colognes for men in 2021, coming to you straight from your go-to grooming brand: Manscaped. Their signature scent is a one-of-a-kind, mouth-watering scent that opens with light citrus around sambac jasmine before showing off deeper notes of vetiver and light woods. It’s relatively light but still tremendously masculine, so you won’t feel overwhelmed but you’ll still smell spot on.
The Best Expensive Colognes
25. Ermenegildo Zegna Essenze Roman Wood
The forest bathing trend is a fad that’s actually good for you — and it only seems to be getting more popular. If a walk in the woods isn’t feasible, this earthy and woody fragrance is the next best thing. Roman pine mingles with bergamot, cedarwood, amber and cypress for a complex but instantly refreshing scent. if you close your eyes, you can pretend you’re in the middle of a forest.
26. Tom Ford Oud Wood Eau de Parfum
Just like the brand’s refined clothing, Tom Ford’s fragrances are distinctive and crafted from the most expensive ingredients, but they’re not so in-your-face or gaudy. This special formulation is made using a resinous wood called agarwood — the most expensive wood in the world — to create a fragrance that smells, quite frankly, phenomenal. It’s for the artisanal man with exquisite taste.
Buy: Tom Ford Oud Wood Eau de Parfum Starting at $163.00
27. D.S. & Durga Cowboy Grass Fragrance
The American West: open roads, dusty trails, arrowheads, horses and one-time met friends for life. A scent we can imagine, a scent we can dream about, a scent we can bottle. D.S. & Durga’s Cowboy Grass fragrance is a dreamlike aroma that nods to rodeo and life out on the prairie. Using American sagebrush, prairie switchgrass and flowering white thyme, this scent hits an odd specificity to a historic past we never got to know for ourselves. But now, we can wear it.
Buy: D.S. & Durga Cowboy Grass Fragrance $260.00
The Best Colognes for Warm Weather
28. Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum
Unisex fragrances are becoming more and more popular each year as gender roles for men and women diminish year after year. Which, in our eyes, is dope. Treat yourself with the genderless fragrance of your dreams with Le Labo Santal 33. This fragrance is as intoxicating as it gets by introducing a use of cardamom, iris, violet and ambrox (a component of ambergris), which situates perfectly to bring to a smoking wood sensation of Australian sandalwood, papyrus and cedarwood. If you thought that wasn’t enough, you’re right, it wasn’t. The scent is topped with some spicy, leathery and musky notes to give Santal 33 an almost confusing delicate and brut fusion. This is something you genuinely just have to give a shot on your own to know.
Buy: Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum Starting at $86.00
29. Creed Aventus Eau De Parfum
Creed cologne is a name synonymous with exclusivity, top-grade performance, and wealth. If you can swing an expensive cologne, you’ll find Aventus to be well worth the price tag it carries. This is a luxury cologne built for strong, confident men who know what they want and almost always get it. The name is derived from the words “from” and “the wind”, and Aventus inspires men to live a life of power wherever the wind takes them. Having this high-end bottle sitting on your grooming shelf also stands as a declaration of your taste in upscale scents.
Aventus is also the best-selling cologne in Creed’s four centuries of history, and it has a complex fragrance that men and women alike will appreciate. Top notes of bergamot, apple and blackcurrant blend with heart notes of juniper berries, birch wood and jasmine. Base notes of vanilla, oakmoss and ambergris complete this musky cologne.
Buy: Creed Aventus Eau De Parfum Starting at $335.00
30. Calvin Klein Eternity for Men
Calvin Klein’s Eternity is an absolute powerhouse of a cologne that dudes have been rocking all over the globe for years. It has an OG-centric aesthetic that makes it a must-have for any guy’s cologne collection. Eternity is sensitive yet masculine, strong yet well-mannered. It has a back and forth-ness to it that feels very balanced with even the subtlest of spritzes. Right now, you can get Calvin Klein Eternity for Men for a solid 25% off, too.
Buy: Calvin Klein Eternity for Men $50.00 (orig. $67.00) 25% OFF
31. Nautica Voyage Eau de Toilette
Great colognes don’t have to break the bank. Nautica currently sells one for as little as $14, and according to its rave reviews, it smells quite expensive. The fashion house’s water-inspired theme is upheld with a scent that one reviewer calls “a bowl of honeydew and cantaloupe at a Jamaican all-inclusive resort.” You’ll want to spray it sparingly as it is powerful; spray it in the air and walk through instead of applying directly onto your body.
32. Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden The Last Day of Summer Eau de Parfum
One of Gucci’s newest unisex fragrances celebrates none other than the dog days of summer. Keep it hot and steamy all summer long with this deliciously influenced cologne, featuring a mix of cedarwood, cyoressm, nutmeg, patchouli and vetiver. Just a couple of sprays whenever you go out will have you fitting the summer aesthetic day in and day out. It’s a must-try, for sure.
Not sure about trying a unisex cologne? This partticular Gucci cologne has plenty of masculine woodsy notes but is also light and airy for summer. We highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a new summertime cologne and aren’t afraid of a bolder scent.
Buy: Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden The Last Day of Summer Eau de Parfum $330.00
33. Byredo Lil Fleur
Ben Gorham founded Swedish company Byredo in 2006 to express emotions and memories in products. It’s no coincidence that fragrance is linked to memory, and Byredo’s fragrances are especially great at triggering specific moments in time. Their latest unisex floral offering, Lil Fleur, was inspired by teenage emotions, with top notes of cassis, tangerine and saffron, with a heart of damascene rose and leather, and a base of blonde woods, amber and vanilla. We also highly recommend the Byredo Night Veils collection, a line of highly concentrated perfume extracts with complex fragrance profiles. In addition to Lil Fluer, also check out the Tobacco Mandarin eau de parfum from the Night Veils line.
34. Henry Rose Fog Eau de Parfum
Henry Rose is far from a celebrity fragrance cash grab. Actress and climate activist Michelle Pfeiffer created this unisex fragrance line with “100% ingredient transparency,” creating non-toxic scents made from safe synthetics and natural ingredients. Of their options, we love Fog for its fresh and musky aroma, which calls back to the light, breezy days of fall. Effervescent notes of vanilla and vetiver will serve as an open invitation for those around you to take a closer whiff.
35. Baxter of California Pacific Cannabis Eau de Parfum
Inspired by late nights at the Venice Boardwalk, this cologne is perfect for enjoying summer nights outdoors. From patio hangs to beach bonfires to sitting in a car parked in a random parking lot as the rain falls down with a friend, Pacific Cannabis is a scent that creates memories to last a lifetime. It has top notes of pink pepper, rosemary and bergamot, a heart of tempered cannabis accord with lavender and sage with an ending featuring patchouli, Tonka bean and driftwood.
Buy: Baxter of California Pacific Cannabis Eau de Parfum $98.00
The Best of the Rest
36. GUCCI Guilty Pour Homme
Guilty by Gucci is a good way to sport the brand (in scent-form) because unlike the fashion house’s clothing, you don’t have to shell out thousands — or even hundreds — to rock it. Right now, you can order Guilty by Gucci for just $95. It features an aromatic scent with notes of lavender, lemon and orange flower that make it highly versatile, so you can wear it anytime.
Pro Tip: If you go looking, you can find great deals on Gucci Guilty cologne. However, buyer beware. This is a commonly counterfeited cologne, and there are a lot of fake Gucci colognes for sale online. We strongly recommend purchasing this scent from official retailers like Sephora or Nordstrom.
Buy: GUCCI Guilty Pour Homme Starting at $80.00
37. Ellis Brooklyn Salt Eau de Parfum
Spritz, inhale and say hello to the beach. Essentially summer in a bottle, it’s all about salty skin and the sun on your face. Ellis Brooklyn recently introduced Salt, along with Sweet, as their first gourmand fragrances and it was worth the wait. Warm and spicy, Salt features notes of ylang-ylang, Tahitian Tiare and ambergris. Encased in an eco-conscious glass bottle sourced from an Ecocert supplier, the clean fragrance is made in the USA, vegan, cruelty-free, and free of parabens and phthalates.
Buy: Ellis Brooklyn Salt Eau de Parfum $105.00
38. Henry Rose Smyth Eau de Parfum
The newest unisex scent from Henry Rose will be the apple of your nose. That’s because wearing it is like sporting a crisp green apple. The other top notes are water and melon-pineapple sorbet; the middle notes are apricot nectar, star jasmine and white tea; with a dry down of sheer white woods, sandalwood and layered musks. If you aren’t afraid of unisex fragrances, then this up-and-coming brand is the name to know.
Buy: Henry Rose Smyth Eau de Parfum $120.00
39. 1 Million Lucky by Paco Rabanne Eau de Toilette Spray
He’s so lucky, he’s a star. This cologne for men doesn’t only smell delicious, but it’s one of the most affordable options on this entire list. It has a long life on your body to ensure the scent will stay for quite some time. Amazon reviewers love it so much that it has a 4.7-star rating after more than 3,600 reviews. It’s sweet but subtle, so dudes that like smelling more on the lighter side, this one’s for you.
Buy: 1 Million Lucky by Paco Rabanne Eau de Toilette Spray $79.99 (orig. $94.00) 15% OFF
40. Skylar Willow Woods
When Cat Chen found out her then four-month-old daughter was allergic to fragrance in 2015, she decided to do something about it. She created Skylar, one of the first hypoallergenic fragrance companies, which is also clean, cruelty-free and made in Los Angeles. Unisex scent Willow Woods is cool and woodsy, delivering a calming sense of serenity. Top notes of heliotrope and willow, middle notes of pine and fir balsam and a base of incense and wood will bring you right into nature.
41. Paco Rabanne Invictus Legend
There is something about Paco Rabanne’s fragrances that exude spirit and vitality. Invictus Legend is a manly, energetic scent that opens up with sweet tones of grapefruit, then leads into floral notes of geranium and soft spices, culminating in a mature blend for coming-of-age and playful types. Wear it to work if you want to feel and smell like the CEO, or at fancy lounges to outshine every seasoned bachelor posted up at the bar. For college-aged men, this scent will instantly set you apart from your peers wearing Nautica cologne or, god forbid, Axe body spray. And thanks to the notes of citrus, it’s also one of the best colognes for summer use.
Buy: Paco Rabanne Invictus Legend Starting at $80.00
42. Carolina Herrera Bad Boy
An oriental-inspired scent that has left its mark with critics, cologne reviews and fragrance connoisseurs alike, Carolina Herrera Bad Boy takes you by surprise with herbal and spicy accords that awaken your olfactory senses. Hints of mint, cacao and vanilla tickle your nostrils and give the body plenty of vigor, making this a great morning cologne. Bergamot and sage add a layer of botanical refreshment into the mix as well. Then there is the dope lightning bolt bottle design that can double as a decor piece for any bachelor’s bedroom.
Some FAQs About the Best Men’s Cologne
What is the best cologne for men?
The best cologne for men is very dependent on individual taste. Right now, we think Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau de Parfum is the best men’s cologne because it hits the nail on the head in numerous ways. It has an attractive scent that isn’t overwhelming, it doesn’t feel too young or too old and one spritz in this case really goes a long way, saving you money in the long run.
What is the most popular cologne for guys?
It seems that the most popular cologne for guys is Chanel Bleu De Chanel Eau de Parfum. No matter where you go, this cologne is always one of the most top-rated picks you can purchase online. Though it does smell excellent and we do have it listed, we suggest you give something else a whirl — because you’re not like other guys.
How to apply cologne?
Cologne application is pretty simple. First and foremost: don’t spray cologne and walk through it, all that will do is make the air smell better than you. Apply cologne instead to pulse points around the body, such as your neck, chest, shoulders, wrists and inner elbows. These areas project heat most effectively and will make your scent known to people around you.
What is the best smelling men’s cologne?
As mentioned, the best-smelling men’s cologne will be determined by what you find most attractive when you’re looking at scents. We love each cologne in this list for various reasons, but our top three choices (Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau de Parfum, Tom Ford Black Orchid Parfum and Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum) are the best-smelling men’s colognes in our opinion.
Does cologne go bad?
Yes, cologne does eventually expire. It depends on which cologne bottles are sitting in your collection, but for the most part, cologne will expire in around one to three years.
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