There’s no sense as powerful and evocative as smell. The best colognes for men are not just the perfect final touch to your outfit. They also carry emotional significance.
Fragrances can convey a million moods—from relaxation and playfulness to authority and power.
This is why choosing the right men’s perfume is so important.
To ensure you put out the right olfactory signals, here’s a rundown of the 51 best smelling men’s colognes of all time—whether you need a fresh fragrance for everyday use or something dramatic and daring for those special moments.
Not to mention date nights. After all, it’s been scientifically proven that women have a better sense of smell than men. It’s time to make a lasting impression.
The 51 best colognes for men of 2021
Gucci Guilty For Men
Gucci Guilty is the anti-conformist, hedonistic, and extravagant fragrance that every bad-boy has been waiting for. It would suit any out and proud Casanova or pleasure-seeker.
Think intense and spicy pink pepper and citrusy lemon top notes followed by heart notes of orange blossom—impossibly seductive and romantic—alongside neroli and French lavender. Finally, patchouli, wrapping you up in its woody incense-like aroma, followed by ultra-masculine cedarwood.
The vibe is modern, exotic, and incredibly intense. Just as the name suggests, Gucci Guilty is an exquisitely guilty pleasure.
Best for: special occasions, especially date nights.
Creed Aventus by Creed
Creed delivers decadent fragrances that are favourites of celebrities such as George Clooney and Robert Redford. This is the scent for a natural-born leader. Think big, act bold.
Inspired by the courage and heroism of Emperor Napoleon, Creed Aventus is full of energy and totally fearless—a scent that certainly makes its presence known.
Contemporary and street-wise, Creed Aventus’ men fragrance opens with the natural performers that are pineapple, blackcurrant, apple, and bergamot. These combine with heart notes like juniper berries and patchouli, while dusky base notes call the final shots with musk and oakmoss.
Best for: wearing to the office for success, confidence, and determination.
Tom Ford Oud Wood Eau De Parfum
Oud is one of the most powerful, expensive, and most highly-coveted ingredients you can find in the world of perfumery. Tom Ford’s Oud Wood is thus pure luxury in a bottle and a true olfactory sensation.
A distinct and exotic concoction that stirs up impressions of far-away mysteries, this is a fragrance to whisk you away to otherworldly realms. Imagine rosewood and cardamom firing a blazing arrow straight into heart notes of oud wood, sandalwood, and vetiver. Rounding it all off are tonka bean and amber for warmth and intimacy. Like all Tom Ford colognes, this Oud Wood fragrance is instantly iconic and totally unforgettable.
Try layering it with other fragrances from the same Private Blend collection to create something even more unique and distinct.
Best for: proving yourself as a true perfume connoisseur.
1 Million Lucky By Paco Rabanne
Looking for the ideal post-sundown scent? Then this is the one. 1 Million Lucky would sit perfectly with diehard fun-lovers and epic party goers.
Like all Paco Rabanne fragrances, 1 Million Lucky Cologne pulls no punches in the olfactory department with its heady combination of tart fruits, nutty goodness, and rich woods.
Notes of plum green, grapefruit, and bergamot lead the pack alongside the major players of hazelnut, vibrant white cedar, patchouli, amber wood, and vanilla. 1 Million Lucky by Paco Rabanne is sharp and fresh but also deep and exotic. A surprising perfume perfect for the spontaneous fragrance-wearer.
Best for: an unforgettable date night.
Oud Silk Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
If you could bottle enigma, it would probably smell something like this.
This Oud Silk Mood fragrance was designed as a sort of olfactory bridge between east and west—Orient and Occident. Beginning with notes of Italian bergamot and Moroccan blue chamomile, it develops into the sensual aromas of Bulgarian rose, hedione, and guaiac wood. Closing with a serious flourish are the woody scents of Laotian oud and Indian papyrus.
The overall mood is light and breezy with a hint of mystery.
Best for: a versatile year-round wear.
She Came to Stay Eau de Parfum by Timothy Han
If you’re seeking a grown-up scent—as far removed from the locker rooms of your youth as possible—then this is a mature and refined fragrance.
Each fragrance by Timothy Han Editions is inspired by a famous work of literature. This one is an olfactory representation of philosopher Simone de Beauvoir’s existential novel, She Came to Stay.
Woody notes of labdanum, patchouli, and oakmoss set the stage. This dark and deep intensity then transitions gracefully into a lighter and more ethereal mood with notes of cedarwood and vetiver. The finale comes in the form of a zingy and uplifting basil and lemon.
Timothy Han’s She Came to Stay is masterful, memorable, and full of personality, ideal for wearing through the twilight hours and beyond.
Best for: an instantly recognisable signature scent.
Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau De Toilette
If you’re looking for a fragrance that expresses impeccable cool with just a single spritz, then check this one out. Y by Yves Saint Laurent is named for Generation Y and aims to capture the energy of modern millennials —fresh-faced, full of vitality, ready to take on the world.
Bergamot, sage, and ginger sit happily alongside geranium, lavender, and white aldehydes to create a mood of brightness and youth. Then comes the drama with balsam fir, cedarwood, and marine ambergris, bringing that all-important power and authority.
Yves Saint Laurent Y is a multi-faceted fragrance that lends effortless charisma to any modern man on the quest for success.
Best for: pair with evening wear to bring fresh energy to a special occasion.
Christian Dior Sauvage Eau De Toilette
You’d be hard pushed to find a list of best colognes for men that doesn’t feature Sauvage by Dior. It’s a best-selling fragrance for a reason. Probably something to do with its poster boy: anti-hero and heart-throb Johnny Depp.
The vibe is outlaw-meets-poet and the mood is untamed sensuality. Sauvage evokes a combination of raw masculine power and a fresh and playful sweetness. The fragrance greets you with juicy bergamot and pepper—strong and unapologetic. Next comes the ambroxan, woody and musky. Hitting bullseye, last but not least, is Papua New Guinean Vanilla absolute.
Christian Dior Sauvage is fierce and confident —but doesn’t take itself too seriously. It will be a hit with your partner, your colleagues, and any passerby.
Best for: casual wear and the occasional special event.
Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt
Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt captures the essence of the seaside. Think cheeky weekend escapades, lazy lie-ins, long lunches, and rosé at sunset.
One sniff of Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt’s cologne and you’ll almost be able to feel the sand between your toes. A combination of sea salt and sage form a base on top of which you have sophisticated ambrette seeds, grapefruit, and red algae.
Fancy taking it up a level? Combine it with Jo Malone’s Lime Basil & Mandarin perfume for something perfect for hot climates. The best summer cologne mix in our opinion.
Best for: everyday wear and beating the post-holiday blues.
Acqua di Giò Absolu Eau de Parfum
A reinterpretation of the classic Acqua di Giò, this is one seriously sexy scent.
It’s both elegant and masculine, sensual and down-to-earth, mixing aquatic and earthy inspirations to seductive effect. Woody and marine notes sit alongside sensual patchouli, while tonka bean and labdanum have the final say. It’s cosy, warm, and intense.
Acqua di Giò Absolu ticks all the boxes in terms of elegance, dependability, and great performance. It will quickly become an everyday essential—as integral to your outfit as your favourite watch. In other words, it’s already a modern classic.
Best for: exclusive parties and dinners.
Versace Eros Eau de Toilette
You’re setting yourself up for success when you wear a fragrance named after Eros, God of love and son of Aphrodite. Romance will certainly be in the air—or at least on your wrists—when it comes to this scent from Versace.
With its azure blue bottle and references to Greek mythology, even before you’ve taken the cap off, Versace Eros will whisk you away to idyllic sandy shores and summer love.
The love affair continues with top notes of mint, green apple, and lemon, followed by a warm embrace of tonka bean, geranium, and ambroxan. Base notes of Madagascan vanilla, vetiver, oakmoss, and a mix of Virginian and Atlas cedar are there with the closing kiss.
Eros is not a subtle scent. It’s a heart-on-your-sleeve kind of fragrance—a real aromatic explosion.
Best for: a romantic evening out.
Jimmy Choo Man
The epitome of modern sophistication, Jimmy Choo Man evokes confidence and daring and is one of the most popular men’s colognes. For alphas and action-lovers, this is the fragrance for you.
The fragrance opens with a zingy bouquet of mandarin and lavender, mixing sensual florals with powdery softness, plus the fruity notes of honeydew melon. A sweet sensation. Next are heart notes: pink pepper, geranium, and, rather unusually, pineapple leaf. The scent closes with a powerful parting shot of patchouli, suede, and ambery woods.
Jimmy Choo Man is a fragrance sure to win you a fair few compliments, both in the office and the bar.
Best for: day-to-day wear in the city.
Tom Ford Tuscan Leather
The name Tuscan Leather alone probably has you dreaming of Italian villas and sultry evenings by the pool with a gin ‘n’ tonic. The sun’s going down, the night’s ahead of you—a perfect picture of suave Mediterranean elegance.
The scent extends its hand to welcome you with Tunisian orange flower, black suede, and amberwood—animalistic and sophisticated simultaneously.
Moving aside, it makes way for leather, black pepper, and tobacco leaf—superbly intense. And, to leave a lasting impression at that special event or party, Moroccan grapefruit flower, unique to Tom Ford for Men, completes this enigmatic vision of raw yet refined sensuality.
Best for: accompanying a tuxedo.
Hailing from the design house of Nautica, this is a charming and dynamic cologne for the fragrance wearer who’s a nomad at heart. The perfect scent to accompany your journey through life on a day-to-day basis, it conjures up dreams of distant horizons and setting sail for far-flung lands.
Not at all overbearing, it’s fresh, contemporary, and masculine. Top and middle notes of green leaves, apple, and lotus lift your mood and boost your confidence. And delivering the impetus you need to pack a bag and go is a base of cedarwood, amber, musk, and marine notes.
With its inspiration drawn from voyages across oceans and journeys into unchartered waters, Nautica Voyage is a scent sure to speak to the travel-hungry modern man.
Best for: wearing on travels around the world.
Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’Homme
The best kind of fragrance is one that doesn’t try too hard. La Nuit De L’Homme nails this nonchalant mood with an effortless elegance that’s hard to find.
Think fresh and comforting notes of cardamom, Sicilian bergamot, cedar, and coumarin. Altogether, it’s an early morning stroll through newly-mown grass. Then, at its heart, Virginian cedar and lavender—a forest floor, carpeted in flowers. And, for base notes, the earthy and smoky aroma of vetiver.
La Nuit De L’Homme is a fresh, natural, but attention-grabbing scent. The perfect escort to private parties and special functions.
Best for: wearing with black tie to exclusive parties and romantic soirées.
Montblanc Legend Eau de Toilette
Are you someone people can count on in difficult situations? Cool and calm in an emergency? Then you need a scent that is steady and stable, assertive but approachable.
As a brand, Montblanc is synonymous with high-end craftsmanship and quality. And they’ve lived up to their reputation with this particular scent that’s robust and dependable—with a hint of daring and charisma.
Loaded up with top notes of lavender, citrus, and bergamot, Montblanc Legend opens strong. Next comes the heart, rooted in the soft and sweet notes of white cedar, rose, and fresh jasmine. Meanwhile, sandalwood and tonka beans provide the base notes—spicy and earthy.
Best for: a fresh scent that can be worn year-round.
Hugo Boss Infinite
Before you even take a sniff of Hugo Boss Infinite, it is worth knowing that the fragrance’s ambassador is Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor in the Marvel films. Wearing a fragrance that’s also the favourite of a Hollywood heartthrob is no bad thing.
Top notes are a disarming blend of mandarin—bright and energising—and apple warmed with a hint of cinnamon. Next get ready to charm and beguile with patchouli and lavender—musky and sweet at once. To round it all off, base notes of rich olivewood and sandalwood that keep you wanting more.
Best for: a refreshing and invigorating everyday fragrance.
19-69 Purple Haze
Each of 19-69’s scents evokes the atmosphere of a particular moment during the 1960s and 1970s—making them perfect for free spirits and nostalgic romantics.
19-69 Purple Haze is named after a Jimi Hendrix song and takes inspiration from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-Ins for Peace, as well as the excitement and idealism that characterised the counterculture scene during that decade.
Beginning with a heady and eccentric mix of Indian balsam, geranium, bergamot, violets, and even Cannabis accord, the fragrance whisks you off into an intoxicating realm of dry woods and white musk—with spicy black pepper coming in as a base note.
Best for: fragrance fanatics seeking something unique.
Cavin Klein Obsession
The best fragrances are those that you obsess over. Scents that become addicted to, and, of course, get others craving your smell too. Calvin Klein’s Obsession is one of those scents. With its spicy and smooth aroma, it’s intense, sensuous, and exotic.
Paving the way are top notes of mandarin, vanilla, peach, basil, bergamot and lemon. Then comes the showstopper: spicy coriander and sandalwood. And as a cheeky backhander, base notes of amber, musk, and incense.
This is not a fragrance to be worn lightly. You’re going to get noticed. But who doesn’t like a bit of attention?
Best for: evenings out on the town.
Calvin Klein Eternity Eau de Toilette
One of Calvin Klein’s best men’s fragrances, Eternity was designed as an ode to the classic values of love, family, and peace. It’s a light and easy-to-wear fragrance that smells as good on sunny Sunday mornings as it does dining out in an exclusive restaurant.
With Calvin Klein Eternity, it’s all about cool sophistication. The fragrance opens with an airy combination of mandarin, lavender, and green botanics. Sunrise on a summer’s day, windows open, a gentle breeze entering a warm room. Heart notes include basil, geranium, and sage. And, to close, a wonderfully woody bouquet of sandalwood, rosewood, and amber.
If happiness had a scent, it would probably smell like this.
Best for: a clean and crisp everyday fragrance.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis
Aqua Universalis is the original Maison Francis Kurkdjian scent. Clean, fresh, and light—but also potent. We’re talking spontaneity, novelty, and passion. A heart-over-head kind of perfume.
A burst of energy is provided by the Sicilian lemon and Calabrian bergamot. Sweet floral notes come from the orange blossom and lily bouquet—a happy-go-lucky sunny morning kind of smell. To round it all off with a bit of edge and attitude, a sensual masculinity is evoked by base notes of subtle musk and aromatic wood.
The simplicity of both the bottle and scent is deceptive. Fresh, zingy, and uplifting, Aqua Universalis is incredibly inviting without being overbearing.
Best for: any occasion, from dawn ‘till dusk.
Kenneth Cole Black
For a budget-friendly fragrance that will keep you smelling fresh as you go about your daily business, look no further than this sleek and sophisticated scent from Kenneth Cole. Incredibly moreish, Kenneth Cole Black is a fragrance for smart city-slickers, the ideal sidekick to urban antics and adventures.
It feels modern and urban with its blend of both mint—cool and fresh—and mandarin—zesty and exhilarating. Add to that notes of ginger, cedar leaf, and nutmeg, throw in some black suede—cool and aloof—and you have yourself a fragrance that has a definite presence. A very popular perfume for young men too.
Best for: a great value fragrance for everyday wear.
Boss No.1 by Hugo Boss
This energetic and invigorating fragrance greets you with a lively and captivating combination of nutmeg and cardamom. Think brisk morning walks through forests, dappled sunlight on your skin, the air fresh on your face.
Top notes are joined by pear tree leaves and basil, herbal and leafy, evoking a serene bucolic paradise. Meanwhile, Lebanese cedarwood, which symbolises eternal life, adds a dose of the deep and enigmatic. To cap it all off, an earthy, virile, and perfectly balanced blend of patchouli and sandalwood.
Boss No.1 is the ideal fragrance for the modern man looking for something distinct and memorable. Is it possible to smell famous? This is pure A-list and red-carpet material.
Best for: a gift for yourself or the important men in your life.
Tommy Bahama Set Sail St. Barts Cologne
The Caribbean island of St, Barts has become a byword for exclusivity and luxury and so there’s no better name for a perfume that evokes hot-weather opulence and seaside sensuality.
Tommy Bahama Set Sail St. Barts is anchored in a brisk and refreshing combination of scents inspired by the island itself. Think of everything that is carefree and fun-loving: guava nectar, salt, and blue agave tequila, with base notes that include delectable vanilla and fresh palm leaf.
Transport yourself to the beach with this fragrance from Tommy Bahama, a brand that seeks to capture everything that is special about island life.
Best for: escaping to a summer holiday somewhere tropical.
Monsieur by Frederic Malle
There’s something wonderfully simple about the name of this fragrance. Monsieur. It’s casually elegant and, of course, quintessentially French.
This is a high-end perfume for a high-fashion lover. An immaculate scent for the immaculate dresser.
Alongside patchouli, the heart of this cologne, you have an array of ultra-masculine notes: rum absolute, cedar, suede, and frankincense. Top notes of mandarin and orange ensure this fragrance remains light and easygoing, while the vanilla, amber, and musk add just a touch of mystery.
Monsieur by Frederic Malle is one of the top French colognes for men, and simply sings with poise and elegance.
Best for: stylish evening soirées.
Calvin Klein Eternity Eau de Parfum
A reinterpretation of the classic Eternity eau de toilette in eau de parfum form.
The first and most obvious difference is the emerald colour of the fragrance. Then we have the changes to the scent itself, with the addition of a more woody mood that would suit introspective and contemplative individuals. Anyone who leans towards things that are more understated and subtle.
Top notes of sage and apple immediately engage the senses with zing and punch. The heart is geranium and cypress—warm and spicy, as cosy and inviting as a patch of sun on a breezy day. Calvin Klein Eternity Eau de Parfum’s base is suede and vetiver—the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity. Think world-class hotels and Egyptian cotton sheets.
Best for: smelling timeless.
Calvin Klein Intense Euphoria
Intense and euphoria are two words that you definitely want to hear when it comes to fragrances. What else do the best men’s colognes seek to do other than create an aura of dark drama and sensuality? Calvin Klein nails the mood with Intense Euphoria.
This oriental fragrance is rich, daring, and deeply addictive. It opens with a heady garland of ginger pepper and hydroponic sage. These combine with oud wood, vetiver, and amber—woody and spicy like sultry evenings and hot summer nights. Base notes of myrrh and labdanum offer a cool yet smoky afterthought—the ultimate final goodbye.
For a smouldering date night—the kind to inspire lustful fantasies—then you need a scent as masculine and irresistible as Calvin Klein’s Intense Euphoria.
Best for: inspiring romance on an evening out.
L’Occitan Eau de Toilette
L’Occitan by L’Occitane seeks to capture the rustic beauty of France’s Provence with a fragrance that blends distilled lavender with the peppery and slightly spicy notes of burnt wood.
L’Occitan Eau de Toilette is a cologne to satisfy your cravings for summer holidays in Europe. Sun hats, siestas, and white wine ready and waiting in the cooler.
The scent opens with black pepper and lavender, a heady combination suggestive of sun-tanned skin, artisanal markets, and fresh sheets blowing in the wind. Middle notes of nutmeg and cinnamon create a mood of rugged masculine mystery, while a tonka bean base is like a warm evening at the end of a sun-drenched day.
Best for: wearing every day and dreaming of holidays in France.
Calvin Klein Ck One
For the ideal balance between everyday energy and a complexity more suited to after-dark outings, Calvin Klein One—one of the top men’s colognes—is a pure and clean scent. An office-friendly fragrance, it perfectly captures the essence of contemporary life: bold, confident, and always one step ahead.
Fruity top notes of pineapple, papaya, lemon and apple feel modern and invigorating, while the middle notes are floral: rose, lily of the valley, and jasmine. These sweet aromas are perfect daytime companions, but the scent has an extra card up its sleeve. Earthy base notes of musk, sandalwood, cedar make this the ideal scent for the man wanting to make an impression.
Designed to be used in abundance, Calvin Klein’s Ck One cologne was also intended for use by either men or women, so be aware that your significant other might insist on a spritz too.
Best for: wearing from morning until evening.
Oud Immortel by Byredo
Once used in Chinese medicine and known as the King of Incense, demand for agarwood—or oud—has rocketed in recent years, earning the precious resin the nickname liquid gold.
Who wouldn’t want a spritz of liquid gold? The mysterious and complicated scent of agarwood is the essence of this enigmatic fragrance by Byredo. Oud Immortel will carry you away to an otherworldly realm with its notes of herbaceous moss, patchouli, and spiced cardamom. Incense and tobacco leaves make this a go-to scent for dinner parties and date nights, while limoncello arrives like a highly welcome encore, a final burst of energy.
Byredo’s Oud Immortel is one of the best perfumes for men that also lasts a long time.
Best for: making a fragrant statement on a special occasion.
English Laundry Oxford Bleu
English Laundry is a fashion brand that takes inspiration from rock and mod culture and seeks to provide fragrance fans with scents that are refined and sophisticated, but with an edge.
With Oxford Bleu, the fragrance journey begins with refreshing mint and zingy lemon. Bright mornings, out and about, making the most of the day. Next come the warm notes of tonka bean and geranium, like afternoon strolls in an English garden. Finally, base notes of sandalwood and vanilla bring a rich woodiness.
The overall effect? Calm, cool, and relaxed. A glass-half-full kind of scent that is the perfect complement to lunch dates and casual business meetings.
Best for: any occasion befitting a distinct but subtle scent.
Jimmy Choo Man Blue
Jimmy Choo delivers an exquisite balance between memorable and subtle with Blue, a fragrance that feels contemporary, fresh, and elegant all at once.
Perfect for wearing out and about in the city, this masculine scent is well suited to casual everyday use. Woody and leathery, Blue has top notes of earthy sage and the inimitable citrusy spice of bergamot—big dreams, plenty of ambition. Heart notes of cypress and grey amber bring a fresh cleanness, generous and genial. The base is sandalwood, vanilla, and vetiver.
A wearer of Jimmy Choo Man Blue is a dynamic personality, an eye-on-the-prize individual ready to take on the world.
Best for: all occasions and eventualities.
Jack Black JB Eau de Parfum
JB by Jack Black has been designed to meet the demands and needs of the busy modern man. Anyone with a way with words and bold plans in the pipeline.
Start the day as you mean to go on with a zesty tangerine explosion, while spicy black pepper then picks up the pace. Keep it clean with notes of eucalyptus, while geranium adds a lemony zing. You’ve also got elemi in there for added panache. Later on, the evening awaits, with base notes of papyrus, black amber, and the warm and alluring notes of blonde woods.
JB Eau de Parfum feels authentic and masculine—with just a hint of exotism.
Best for: wearing anywhere, at any time of day or night.
Lacoste Pour Homme Eau de Toilette
Lacoste Pour Homme is an easygoing companion for daytime activities. Whether you’re executing your ‘A’ Game on the golf course or shooting off emails at your desk, this is the ideal olfactory accessory for everything life has in store for you.
Lacoste Pour Homme is fresh but refined with a warmth and complexity that would suit fragrance-wearers of any age. Top notes of ruby grapefruit, Italian bergamot, plum accord and apple keep things cool. Heart notes add a little intrigue with juniper berry, cardamom, pink pepper and cinnamon. Base notes of sandalwood and vanilla bean make this the perfect scent for a strong-minded and assertive personality.
Best for: a laidback sporty vibe.
Guess Seductive Homme Blue
Guess Seductive Homme Blue is a brisk and breezy scent but with an undeniable sensuality —as the name might suggest. Indeed, this is bound to be one of women’s favourite men’s colognes.
Citrus caviar, cardamom, and black pepper will send anyone nearby immediately into a tailspin. Keep their attention with sea-inspired notes including Blue Coral AquaSpace accord. Base notes of cashmere wood, moss, and Rippled Sand accord seal the deal with an olfactory whirlwind that evokes twilight romance and a gentle waltz.
The general aura is laid-back holiday luxury. You wouldn’t have thought you could flirt simply by means of a fragrance but Guess Seductive Homme Blue shows that you can.
Best for: an everyday wear that will quickly become your signature scent.
Montblanc Legend Night
Looking for an everyday, crowd-pleasing perfume you can reach for in a hurry, knowing that with a single spritz, you’ll smell fresh and ready for action? You can stop your search now.
Legend Night will enhance your inner charisma and magnify your magnetism in spades.
A fragrance that is statement-making and subtle simultaneously, with the first spray, you’ll detect sunny morning bergamot. Next is clary sage, sweet and herbal, adding to the light and lively mood. Then come heart notes of violet and vetiver to keep it warm, strong, and instantly recognisable. To round it all off are captivating base notes of black vanilla and patchouli.
Best for: casual weekend wear, garden parties and evenings out.
Kenneth Cole Mankind Hero
Hard not to leave the house feeling confident and self-assured when you’re wearing a fragrance called Hero. The perfect scent to inspire boldness and daring as you go about your day-to-day life. The ideal work hard, play hard scent.
Kenneth Cole Mankind Hero’s top notes include Italian lemon and coriander. Think fresh mountain air. Cool, breezy, and enriched by the woody scent of black vanilla. Next are heart notes like plum wood and lavender—powerful and unapologetic. These are followed by base notes of coumarin and musk. Intimate, sultry, and ready to hit the open road.
Best for: feeling fearless.
A complex fragrance with multiple layers and an evolving nature, Diptyque Vetyverio is perfect for the enigmas out there. Anyone who likes to keep their cards close to their chest.
Vetiver takes on unusual guises in this fragrance, with two different varieties of the plant used, one from Indonesia, one from Haiti. At times, it smells smoky. At other times, more floral.
The cologne makes an initial entrance with a burst of Italian mandarin orange, followed by more citrusy Sicilian lemon and Florida grapefruit, plus bergamot. Then comes the ylang-ylang, rose, and geranium, from Madagascar, Turkey, and Egypt respectively—a heady concoction of scents that will whisk you around the world and definitely get people leaning your way.
Best for: a fragrance to turn heads.
Azzaro Wanted seeks to evoke a uniquely Mediterranean brand of luxury. Think cocktails, sun loungers, and plenty of sunset glamour. The ideal scent for hotheads and lotharios, this fragrance is all about vibrancy and energy.
In an explosion of passion and power, top notes of lemon, ginger, lavender and mint grab you by the senses. Next come cardamom, juniper, and geranium, a combination that’s a hard act to follow, but tonka bean, vetiver, and amberwood do the job perfectly, guaranteeing a good lasting impression.
Best for: hot summer nights.
Jimmy Choo Intense
Cutting straight to the chase, Jimmy Choo Intense is as sensual as it gets. The kind of fragrance you could wear to a romantic dinner, not just to the set mood but to get you both in the mood.
We’re not kidding. This cologne opens with an exhilarating amalgamation of floral scents like lavender—elegant and timeless—followed by fresh and fruity honeydew melon and mandarin.
Next comes the spirit and vigour with spicy black pepper and powerful artemisia. As for the parting kiss? Masculine tonka bean, patchouli, and the warm and leathery smell of labdanum.
Best for: amorous adventures.
Hugo Boss Intense
People turn to Hugo Boss for sleek sophistication, and an aura of authority and success. And so Hugo Boss Intense is the kind of fragrance to immediately evoke glittering nights, exclusive parties, VIP dinners, and luxury hotels.
This perfume is a definite natural aphrodisiac. Get ready to fend off a whole queue of admirers.
It’s a woody, spicy, and potent cologne featuring top notes of bright and energising apple alongside soothing orange blossom. At its heart are notes of cloves, cinnamon, and geranium—audacious, sure, but what’s not to like about that? Base notes of vanilla, sandalwood, vetiver, and cedarwood ensure a memorable exit.
Hugo Boss Intense feels very masculine and assertive on the skin, luxurious without being fussy. The classic men’s cologne and the ultimate power move.
Best for: an all-day scent for both the office and after-work drinks.
Calvin Klein Man
If you’re a man who knows what he wants—whether that’s at work or at play—then this Calvin Klein fragrance is the scent you need.
Simply named Man, this is a cologne that already feels iconic. It cuts straight to the chase with notes of rosemary and citrus alongside violet leaves for a delicate floral addition. Heart notes include bay and nutmeg—plus spearmint for ultra-cool freshness.
The final word? Smooth intensity with guaiac tree, sandalwood, amberwood and musk.
Best for: a timeless scent that transcends fashions and trends.
Tommy Bahama Eau de Cologne
Top notes of watermelon, tangerine, tangy pear, and spicy ginger set the scene: lazy days with nothing to do except relax. Tiare flower—fruity and languid—plus violet leaf and a hint of coriander add to the chilled-out vibe.
Meanwhile, in the background, amber, tonka bean, and Australian sandalwood complete the overwhelming impression of a balmy Caribbean night.
Best for: wearing during a heatwave, teamed with a nice summer shirt.
Amen by philosophy
If you’re looking for an everyday perfume that you can spritz liberally without worrying too much about price, you want a wallet-friendly fragrance like Amen by philosophy. This one will take you from the shower to the office and later to the bar. And, perhaps, onwards to the club.
Amen makes a fresh and citrus-infused opening. Next come spicy middle notes, followed by base notes of musk and sandalwood. The overall mood is breezy and peppery at once. A light and easy-to-wear fragrance, perfect for everyday use.
Best for: something to freshen up before work.
English Laundry Notting Hill
Hailing from British brand, English Laundry, this cologne takes its name from the iconic district of Notting Hill in London—a neighbourhood that has long been one of the most desirable in the capital.
Only fitting, therefore, that this is a fragrance that evokes a clear mood of exclusivity and luxury. We’re talking top notes of bergamot, lemon, and lime, stirring up thoughts of lazy brunches with friends and family. Next comes opulent jasmine and the spice of peppercorn—making one think of more after-dark delights.
To top it all off? Cedarwood, sandalwood, amber, and musk give this perfume the potential to become your new signature scent.
Best for: a fragrance to make you feel luxurious, even in your favourite pair of sneakers.
Calvin Klein Euphoria
Euphoria by Calvin Klein is an oriental fragrance—warm, rich, and heady. Greeting you when you first apply it are notes of ginger and pepper, Raindrop accord, and chilled sudachi lime. Heart notes include black basil—intriguing and enigmatic. As for base notes, you’ll be sure to hit your mark with amber, patchouli, Brazilian redwood—plus the powdery freshness of creamy suede.
When it comes to self-expression, Calvin Klein Euphoria is worth a thousand words.
Best for: setting a sultry tone on date night.
Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua
Inspired by the freshness and energy of the sea, Eternity Aqua bursts with marine scents, evoking exotic delights and all the enigma of great ocean depths.
The cologne opens with an explosion of chilled cucumber, citrus cocktail, water lotus, and water-drenched green leaves. Heart notes include Szechuan pepper, lavender, and white cedarwood—an utterly compelling combination. And, to close, sandalwood, guaiac wood, patchouli, and musk.
Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua is the kind of scent that never goes out of style, and the perfect pick for summer. You know the feeling of finally drinking water after being really thirsty? That’s the feeling you get from this scent.
Best for: summery weather and evening wear.
The perfect detail to complete a mood of classic elegance. This Vince Camuto cologne is exactly that.
With its musky, masculine and authoritative aura, it combines ingredients including tree moss and vetiver with a deep and rich Tuscan leather at its heart. Cedar and a distinct Indian sandalwood are thrown in the mix too as the perfect sign-off.
It’s a scent that you could wear from winter through to summer and from breakfast through to dinner.
Best for: A fail-safe everyday scent that smells as good in a board meeting as it does during a day at the races.
Embark on a sensory adventure with this Montblanc men’s cologne.
Montblanc Explorer captures the thrill of ascending summits and exploring uncharted terrain. Beginning with an unconventional and adventurous blend of Italian bergamot, pomarose, and sage, joining you on your quest is Haitian vetiver, leather, and sandalwood. Wrapping up is patchouli, Ambrofix, and Akigalawood. A true olfactory odyssey around the world.
Evoke a sense of the intrepid as you go about your day with this perfume that’s not for the cowardly. You’ve got to have the confidence to pull it off. But you’ll be rewarded by an endless barrage of compliments, and more than a few admiring strangers.
Best for: evoking the spirit of adventure.
Costume National Homme
Costume National is an Italian fashion house designing luxury fragrances for both men and women that add a unique Japanese edge to classic Italian craftsmanship.
Capture the metropolitan spirit and lust for life of the modern man with an original and distinct fragrance that will get people’s attention and—what’s more—hold it.
Costume National Homme blends the sparkle of citrusy grapefruit with intriguing spices like cinnamon, thyme, and clove. It’s punchy and brazen, ready to rock the boat if necessary. To end? Mysterious woody notes like patchouli, sandalwood, and labdanum.
Best for: a scent that stands out from the crowd.
L’Occitane En Provence Eau D’Iparie
An oriental scent that seeks to transport the wearer along the ancient incense road that linked Mediterranean Europe to Egypt, Northeastern Africa, and India.
The fragrance opens with unique top notes of peony and pink pepper. Dive into an aromatic floral bath with heart notes of rose and cyclamen—sweet and light. And to close, nothing less than musk, olibanum, moss, patchouli, and myrrh.
We wouldn’t be surprised if people stop you on your way to work to ask you what you’re wearing with L’Occitane En Provence Eau D’Iparie.
Best for: escaping the every day with a truly otherworldly scent.
Buyers guide to men’s cologne
Cologne vs Fragrance vs Perfume
The terms cologne, fragrance, and perfume all refer to different things. Fragrance refers to any scent that you choose to wear. It’s an umbrella term for scents of all concentrations.
Within the world of fragrances, you have colognes and perfumes. The difference between men’s colognes and men’s perfumes lies in the level of concentration of scented oil in alcohol. This determines how long the fragrance lasts and how far it carries—also known as sillage.
Perfume—parfum or extrait de parfum—is the highest concentrated fragrance that you can buy. We’re talking between 20 and 40% perfume oil. You can apply a couple of sprays in the morning and you’ll still be able to smell it in the evening. Perfumes are expensive but good value because you don’t need to use much for it to be detected—even up to forty-eight hours later.
Next are eau de parfums. These have a concentration of between 10 and 20% perfume oil—slightly less potent but the scent will still be noticeable for four to eight hours. Eau de parfums are the most popular fragrance choice.
Then you’ve got eau de toilettes—5 to 15% concentration of perfume oil—and a good choice for wearing during the day as they are fresh and light. The smell only lasts around two or three hours but if you want something to wear to the office that won’t be too overpowering for your colleagues, eau de toilettes are a good option.
Finally, we have eau de colognes. Today, a cologne is frequently used as a catch-all word to describe masculine fragrances. But if you want to get technical, eau de cologne actually refers to the lightest concentration of perfume oils, at 2 to 4%. These fragrances last only a few hours—perfect if you simply need to freshen up before a date or meeting.
How and when to wear cologne?
Choosing a cologne to wear depends on the context. Are you planning to wear it every day and to the office? You probably want something fresh, floral, or citrusy. Something with grassy or herby notes could also work well.
Looking for a perfume for a special occasion or to wear on a date? The best perfumes for the evening are those that are a little musky, woody, or spicy. Fragrances featuring amber and ambergris are a good choice.
When choosing a cologne, try it out on your skin rather than on the paper strips as the chemicals will react and smell different. Remember that it takes up to 15 minutes for a fragrance to settle so wait before making a judgement.
Scents also smell different over time so live with it for a day or so to see if you are sure. While you might like the top notes —the first thing you smell when you take a sniff of a perfume—these fade and mellow out after around 10 or 15 minutes. Then you’ve got the heart notes followed by the base notes.
To wear cologne, you want to apply it to your pulse points—the areas on your body where the veins are close to the skin surface. They emit heat which encourages the fragrance to vaporise so you can smell it.
You might be surprised to learn that there are more pulse points than just your neck, wrists, and behind the ear. The inside of your elbows, for example. You could also add a dab to the top of your forearm to really make an impact.
If buying a cologne to add to your collection, consider fragrance layering—combining different colognes to create a scent that is totally unique to you. For example, you might make a summery scent more autumnal by adding something with woody or smoky notes.
Men’s cologne: Frequently asked questions
The most popular men’s cologne currently is Creed Aventus. This fragrance is celebrated for its innovative combination of different scent notes and dynamic and masculine vibe.
Tom Ford Oud Wood Eau De Parfum is the men’s cologne that gets the most compliments according to our readers. Oud is one of the most powerful, expensive, and most highly-coveted ingredients you can find in the world of perfumery.
The top 10 men’s colognes are Gucci Guilty Pour Homme, Creed Aventus, Oud Silk Mood, 1 Million Lucky, Tom Ford Oud Wood, She Came To Stay, Y by YSL, Sauvage by Dior, Jo Malone’ Wood Sage & Sea Salt, and Acqua di Giò Absolu.