Cologne is every suave mans secret weapon. A spray before work, a date or aparty not only provides an instant boost in attractiveness, but also instillsextra confidencewhen wearing it in the company of others. How does the modern gent go about shopping for a top mens cologne? It starts with educating ones self in the science of scent.
When browsing through different fragrances youll often see scents described in three notes: 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 addition, there are several scent families to choose from, including woody, oriental, herbal, floral, and so on. Many experts recommend floral for all-season use, whereas herbal complements warmer seasons, and woody and oriental serve better during the winter months. Its all personal preference.
Lastly, theres the most important part of the whole equation: your own nose. Stick to a fragrance that doesnt clash with other strong scents and isnt overpowering to your senses (or anyone elses at that).
Below are some of the best cologne options that come from designers who know all about crafting an attractive scent, all of which are listed per category, price point, and lifestyle. Once youve finally come around to choosing a signature scent, make sure to read SPYs key tips onhow to apply cologne properly.
1. Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum
This aromatic stunner from Burberry proves that the prestigious fashion house isnt 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 a go-to for date nights and parties.
2. Versace Eros
BEST EVERYDAY SCENT
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. It features notes of seawater and leaves a hint of sunny warmth on your skin. The eye-catching bottle also speaks towards the fragrances divinity, highlighted by a bold design created by the fashion icon herself, Donatella Versace.
3. K by Dolce & Gabbana
BEST SUBTLE SCENT
Scent can be a powerful communicator and an overpowering one could send the wrong message. K by Dolce & Gabbana cologne is a subtle fragrance that is clean and effective without coming on too strong, while encouraging men to embrace their inner highness, thanks to the bottles cool crown-shaped stopper. The combination of cherry pepper with citrusy and woody notes results in a bold, standout redolence fit for a king.
4. Murdock London The Cologne Collection
BEST TRAVEL SET
Why carry around a big bottle of cologne when you can toss these portable-friendly sprays into your travel bag? Murdock Londons TSA-approved sizes of fragrances make it way more convenient to go through airport security and travel in style. You get four 1.4 oz. sprays in the bundle, each one housing a sophisticated scent made for distinguished bachelors: Avalon, Black Tea, Patchouli, and Vetiver. If not for travel, then consider this set as an elegant (and affordable) gift for someone whos ready for a new scent in their rotation.
5. Tom Ford Oud Wood Eau de Parfum
BEST COLOGNE UNDER $200
If you can swing an expensive cologne, Tom Ford is the way to go. No question. Just like the brands refined clothing, its fragrances are distinctive and crafted from the most expensive ingredients, but theyre 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. Its for the artisanal man with exquisite taste.
6. Acqua di Parma Cipresso di Toscana
BEST UNISEX FRAGRANCE
This gender-neutral fragrance is a perfect summertime pickup with refreshing notes that transport you to the Tuscan countryside with every whiff. Acqua di Parma infused its eau de toilette with balsamic notes of cypress and pine, which are natural scents that stimulate tranquil vibes. Many of the happy reviewers on Frangrantica happen to be women who love the scent. And if women love Cipresso di Toscana, it follows that theyll like it on you too.
7. Prada Luna Rossa Carbon Eau de Toilette
BEST FOR A YOUNGER DEMO
Many fragrances (even from hot brands) are angled toward older gentlemen, but weve finally found one for the young male: Prada Luna Rossa. A manly, dark scent that mixes lavender and wood beautifully, its 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.
8. Hawthorne Tailored Fragrances
BEST CUSTOM COLOGNE
Todays man is all about having their subscription services groom them. 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 mens grooming brand has you take a 22-question quiz and uses that lifestyle data to create a personalized scent 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 SPYs Hawthorne for Men review for more insight.
9. Dior Sauvage
BEST COLOGNE UNDER $100
The Benjamin mark is where youll usually find some of the top sellers and performers in the fragrance market. Complex in composition, yet raw in scent, Dior Sauvage evokes grandeur and summons compliments no matter the gathering. Powerful notes, bergamot, and spicy Sichuan pepper are what give this universally loved fragrance its aromatic moxie.
10. Fulton & Roark Palmetto Solid Cologne
BEST SOLID COLOGNE OPTION
Fragrance in wax form sounds weird AF, but 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 allows you to 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.
11. Chanel Bleu
BEST CLASSIC SCENT
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 its 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. Twelve hours after applying it and youll still notice hints of vanilla and sandalwood resonating from your skin.
13. The Nue Co. Functional Fragrance
BEST ALL-NATURAL SCENT
A sensuous solution fitting of its moniker, this all-natural cologne does more than just accentuate ones appearance. It can serve as aromatic therapy as well, utilizing organic scents to provide anxiety relief. Undertones of green cardamom, iris, and smoky palo santo help lower cortisol levels and calm nerves. As the scent lingers, notes of bergamot and cilantro boost your spirits to function in a more relaxed, confident manner. Its also a great unisex cologne to share with your partner.
14. Nautica Voyage Eau de Toilette
BEST COLOGNE UNDER $50
Great colognes dont 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 houses water-inspired theme is upheld with a scent that one reviewer calls a bowl of honeydew and cantaloupe at a Jamaican all-inclusive resort. Youll want to spray it sparingly as it is powerful; spray it in the air and walk through instead of applying directly onto your body.
15. Guilty by Gucci
MOST VERSATILE SCENT
Guilty by Gucci is a good way to sport the brand (in scent-form) because unlike the fashion houses clothing, you dont have to shell out thousands or even hundreds to rock it. Right now, you can order Guilty by Gucci on Amazon for just $66, where it boasts over 1,400 reviews and 4.3 stars. It features an aromatic scent with notes of lavender, lemon, and orange flower that make it highly versatile, so you can wear it anytime.