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As the definition of masculinity evolves, the fragrance industry has yet to fully embrace the way men use colognes. Some men like to wear the same cologne for years, while others prefer to change it up every few months.
Most men are looking for a scent that evokes the type of guy they are or hope to be. You may see yourself as the sophisticated, brooding type or the spry, upbeat type. Whichever category you happen to fall into, we’re here to help you find the best cologne for you.
In the world of fragrance, it’s best to follow your nose (and your heart). Whether you’re looking for your new signature scent or for something to add to your grooming routine, this list is the best place to start. Before we dive in, here is a bit more information to help you navigate the landscape of men’s cologne.
What are the different types of cologne?
Classification of cologne
Fragrances are typically divided into categories like “fresh,” “woody,” “spicy” and “floral.” In addition, colognes are usually categorized by their strength. We’ll get more into these categories in the next section. You don’t have to know any of the technicalities to wear and enjoy cologne, but keeping this knowledge in mind can make finding what you want a bit easier.
Eau de cologne and eau de toilette
Eau de cologne and eau de toilette have the lowest fragrance concentration, between 2% and 15%, making them more suitable for young adults or those going on casual outings, as they wear off quickly. Since they carry a lower concentration, we suggest that you give yourself a few extra spritzes if you want to ensure the scent lasts throughout the day.
Eau de parfum
A cologne classified as an eau de parfum typically has a higher concentration, ranging from 15% to 20%. This level of concentration is generally found in more expensive colognes. These fragrances will last for a good portion of the day with just one or two sprays during application. The majority of the colognes on our list fall into this category. But just because something is popular, that doesn’t mean it will suit you. You’ll have to find the type of fragrance that matches your personality and lifestyle
Extrait de parfum
If you come across an extrait de parfum, it will most likely be expensive. The concentration in this type of cologne is high, usually falling between 20% and 40%. If you spray it on your clothes, the scent will linger for a long time, maybe even after a thorough wash.
Many high-end European designers use this concentration in their fragrances. If you’re using a cologne with this concentration, we recommend limiting it to one spray at a time. A little goes a long way with these.
How should you apply cologne?
Fragrances of any kind should be applied to the warmest part of your body to get the best effect. These are areas like the neck, cheek, wrist or forearm. Pick no more than two areas at a time. You don’t want to overpower people (unless that’s what you’re going for – in which case, spritz away!).
If you spray cologne on your wrists, avoid rubbing them together as you’ll risk breaking down the molecules of the cologne.
By layering two or more fragrances, you have the opportunity to create a scent that is unique to you. Keep in mind that no two fragrances are the same. So feel free to tinker until you come up with a combination that is as unique as you are.
Now that you have an understanding of what the types of colognes are and how to apply them, you’re probably eager to find the right one for you. We researched the best-smelling, best-selling and highest-rated colognes so you don’t have to. Here is our list of the 15 best colognes for men in 2023.
1. Atlantis Eau de Parfum by Blu Atlas
Our top pick, and the best cologne for men this year, is Atlantis by premium brand Blu Atlas.
This American-made fragrance was inspired by the stunning coastal jungles of Bali. You’ll feel the sun’s warmth on your face and the gentle spray of a waterfall tucked away in the rainforest every time you put it on.
The bright top notes are bergamot, lemon and blackcurrant. The citrusy notes will remind you of sunnier times. As they wash over you, they are deepened by lavender, clary sage, peach and apricot. This combination of floral, herbal and fruity will help you present yourself as subtly sophisticated.
Atlantis concludes with notes of orris, oakmoss, violet, ambrette seed and musk, which carry a sense of masculinity and confidence. The intoxicating scents of Atlantis will leave you ready to take on the world.
Blu Atlas uses only premium ingredients that are clean, vegan and cruelty-free. Their products are free of preservatives, parabens, synthetic dyes and phthalates, which is another reason why we have this eau de parfum as our top pick.
2. Sacred Wood Eau de Parfum by Kilian Paris
If you’re looking for a woody fragrance, you can’t go wrong with a smooth cologne with sandalwood notes. Kilian Paris Sacred Wood’s elegant concoction opens with the most coveted variety of Mysore sandalwood. With a spicy hit of ambrette seed, a generous dose of myrrh and subtle milky tones, this cologne smells incredibly sophisticated.
The fragrance itself is encapsulated in a classic yet modern-looking black lacquer bottle that gives off a distinctly mystical feel. Take your game and your scent to the next level with Kilian Paris Sacred Woods.
3. Le Gemme Onekh Eau de Parfum by BVLGARI
Le Gemme Onekh by BVLGARI is the scent for you if you’re a fan of leathery notes. Inspired by Black Onyx, this cologne has a cooling, masculine scent brightened by refreshing mint. It gives off that brand-new leather smell in a way that isn’t overpowering, and does so while providing a dark warmth to build intrigue around your essence.
Le Gemme Onekh is utterly intoxicating. The bottle itself is a heavy, luxurious conversation piece. It’s a distinctively sexy look that creates a sensation of true elegance.
If you’re looking for an all-around home run, Le Gemme Onekh is the cologne for you.
4. Noir Extreme Parfum by Tom Ford
The best boardroom fragrances are bold and authoritative without being aggressive or off-putting. Noir Extreme by Tom Ford strikes just the right balance. It is spicy and masculine in a way that commands attention but won’t overpower the room.
Noir Extreme opens with a smoky vanilla scent. That is followed by leather, amber and ginger notes. It’s the perfect creation for any season, giving off an air of chic confidence and intrigue for anyone wearing it. This is the smell of adventure encased in a gold bottle that will look good on any shelf. As Tom Ford himself says, “The Noir man knows his desires, vices, and what brings him pleasure.” Experience the boldness of this cologne for yourself.
5. Acqua di Giò Eau de Parfum by Armani
This cologne is a timeless incarnation of masculinity. Acqua di Giò by Armani provides a long-lasting, fresh, marine-like fragrance known for lasting wearability. If you’re looking for a fragrance that will remind you of the cool ocean breeze, Acqua di Giò is for you.
This fragrance strikes the perfect balance between gentle and daring. The green mandarin and sage create a subtle opening that makes an impression. These tones blend with the woody vetiver and musky patchouli, and will leave you yearning to take your next adventure.
Best of all, the cologne is eco-conscious. It’s made without parabens or synthetic dyes, giving it a clean look and feel. The elegant, transparent bottle is refillable, making this fragrance especially easy on Mother Nature. Get Acqua di Giò by Armani and carry a sensual ocean breeze with you year-round.
6. The Last Day of Summer by Gucci
Have you ever wondered what the last day of summer smells like? For some, it could be the smell of barbeque. For others, it could be the sights and sounds of clear waves crashing on the beach. Gucci attempted to encapsulate that nostalgia in this gorgeous cologne.
The high notes of The Last Day of Summer are warm, masculine and fresh. When you smell the top notes of cedarwood, you can feel your stress disappearing. The cypress and nutmeg middle notes will release a deep, enveloping fragrance similar to the warmth of the bonfire. The scent has patchouli and vetiver at its base, allowing you to feel a sense of cool confidence.
The Last Day of Summer is cased in a classy white vessel with elegant gold detailing that will elevate the look of any room it sits in.
7. Antaeus Pour Homme by Chanel
According to Greek mythology, Antaeus was the Greek demigod who drew strength from being close to nature and the earth. With his unparalleled strength, Antaeus was a hero no mortal or god could overcome. He was bold and daring, unafraid of any challenge. Antaeus Pour Homme by Chanel will inspire you to channel that confidence in your life.
Antaeus Pour Homme is a deep fragrance with notes of leather combined with fresh lavender, creating an alluring, sensual and revitalizing scent. However, the true character of this cologne is in its base notes of wood and spice, which give it the appeal of mystery and masculinity. Antaeus Pour Homme is an eau de toilette with a gentle concentration. It offers a sensation that is always alluring and compelling, yet never overpowering.
This will be a classic on any man’s shelf, and we feel it is one of the best colognes for men.
8. Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris
We couldn’t compile a list of the best colognes for men without mentioning the premier French perfumer of our time. Francis Kurkdjian has been tempting the world for decades with his awe-inspiring, luxurious perfumes and fragrances.
Baccarat Rouge 540 is a combination of the finest floral notes, which are expertly contrasted with earthy and cedar notes.
Baccarat Rouge 540 is the essence of the elegant Frenchman who confidently strolls the streets of Paris. The notes of this cologne are strong without being overpowering: The musk is gorgeous and the saffron is ethereal. You’ll be turning heads when you walk down the street wearing this fragrance.
If you’re a man looking to make a statement, look no further than Baccarat Rouge 540.
9. The Inimitable Mr. Penhaligon by Penhaligon’s
This cologne is exquisitely satisfying to the senses. It is infused with fresh notes of bergamot and warm vetiver, evoking soft luxury. The Inimitable Mr. Penhaligon is an excellent choice for the guy willing to step out of his comfort zone and take sophistication to the next level.
The unique bottle is capped with a golden bull’s head, which will look stunning on any shelf or cabinet. This timeless cologne is distinguished and guaranteed to elevate your presence in any situation.
10. Lauder by Estée Lauder
Although this cologne has been around for decades, Lauder for Men continues to earn praise for its clean, familiar, long-lasting scent. It is a classic composition of the finest notes that embody elegance and masculinity.
The fresh, citrus top notes of Lauder for Men will usher in a state of clarity. The deeper middle notes are filled with patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver, which provide the timeless element and offer a sense of warmth and enchantment.
This fragrance can be worn by any man looking to be remembered. It will undoubtedly make you feel classy when wearing it. Lauder for Men exudes prestige, from packing to scent. It is encased in a round bottle ribbed with vertical lines. Give Lauder for Men a try if you want to face the day with your suavest and most confident self.
11. Gentleman by Givenchy
Gentleman Eau de Parfum is for the man who enjoys the alluring scent of whiskey and is willing to put himself out there. This aromatic cologne has subtle floral notes, yet comes off as profoundly masculine. You will be drawn into the hypnotic amber wood tones that make this cologne so compelling.
You will also pick up iris and dense barley scents in this cologne. A spicy black pepper note in the background gives this scent a warm and dry dimension, providing an intoxicating tingle that draws the wearer in. This is a timeless cologne aimed at the gentleman of class and refinement. It is the perfect choice for the man who appreciates a grooming routine of elegance and modern style.
This Gentleman Eau de Parfum comes in a luxurious, polished bottle reminiscent of a top-shelf whiskey. This cologne is meant for the man who has a sense of drive and revels in seductive encounters on his way to greatness.
12. Eros by Versace
We don’t know what’s more stunning about this perfume – the beautiful Art Deco–style bottle or the subtle notes of mint in this refreshing and tropical scent. Eros by Versace has become the go-to fragrance for men looking to boost their confidence and feel great all day.
The inspiration for the bottle is derived from Eros, the Greek god of love. The effect this intoxicating scent will have on others speaks for itself.
Eros by Versace is blended with the freshest orange notes, Italian lemon zest, green apple for a touch of fruitiness, and tonka beans, amber, woody vanilla, vetiver and moss for warmth. This expertly crafted fusion of aromas wears well all day, and layers superbly with other colognes if you like to mix scents.
This cologne is sure to be one of the most sophisticated scents (and bottles) in your collection. When you walk into a room wearing Eros, you will not go unnoticed.
13. Y Eau de Parfum by Yves Saint Laurent
This fragrance makes its mark from the first spray with a combination of fresh notes, bergamot, ginger and fruitiness at its core. Y Eau de Parfum by Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most sophisticated masculine scents on the market. Juniper berries and geranium make the cologne feel fresh, while the vanilla tonka bean gives it a hint of sweetness.
At its base, sage and amber give this blend a warm, woody feel. Yves Saint Laurent has excellent longevity on the skin, so there’s no need to worry about reapplication – this cologne will last you all day (and night).
The classy black bottle gives off a sense of power, yet will be inviting to all who want to bring a little sweetness and spiciness to their day.
14. Oud & Bergamot Cologne Intense by Jo Malone
Jo Malone is known for creating high-end niche fragrances with unique scents.
At first spray, you’ll be transported to the Amalfi coast with citrus notes of lemon and orange, and woody notes of cedar and oud. These unite to form a clean, unforgettably masculine fragrance. Since oud can sometimes be polarizing, Jo Malone made sure to balance the blends in a fine cologne that anyone can wear. This is an especially good choice for those who want to experiment with their scents. It layers with lighter fragrances, so you can customize it to your liking.
While the fragrance is designed with a simple formula, the bottle offers a sense of timelessness and luxury. No matter how you wear it, Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot will linger on your skin, making it a long-lasting, durable cologne that will take you from the office to a night out on the town.
15. H24 by Hermès
Typically, bright citrus scents are described as feminine; however, Hermès’ first fragrance was crafted with the contemporary modern man in mind, carrying notes of fresh sage, narcissus and rosewood. It is the perfect combination for a summertime feel.
H24 starts off crisp with herbaceous clary sage and eventually settles with softer notes thanks to the Peruvian rosewood essence. If you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t like to wear the same cologne every day, H24 may change your mind. It’s long-lasting and unique, which is why we have included it in our list of the best colognes for men.
H24 is an ode to the modern man. It is environmentally friendly, with a sleek, contemporary glass bottle that is refillable to cut down on waste. The packaging is made from 100% recycled materials.
At the end of the day, the most important opinion is your own. You can ask for advice from friends, family or romantic partners, but the fragrance you end up getting should be one that you love and that you feel speaks to the person you are. If you’re having doubts, hold off on making a purchase decision. You’ll know when you’ve found the right cologne.
Another important step to take is to make sure you understand what the different tones in your cologne say about you. There is a wide spectrum of scents that span sweet, fresh, woody, musky, sophisticated and subtle. You have to discover what resonates with you and incorporate that into your decision. Some men want a soft and warm scent that brings them back to a comforting or calming memory. Others want a statement piece that turns heads when they walk into a room. There is no right or wrong scent, only a scent that is right for you.
Fragrances can be seasonal. The right cologne for summer isn’t always the right cologne for winter, and vice versa. As the weather changes, so can your essence. However, there is nothing wrong with using the same fragrance year-round. Some are specially created to offer that sort of longevity. That being said, if you’re a guy who likes to switch things up and keep things fresh, you should consider aiming your search toward colognes for different seasons. Certain tones work best in the spring (floral or citrus) while others are made for the fall (vanilla or musk). Find the fragrances that feel natural to you for the various times of the year.
One final practical tip: Regardless of the fragrance you choose, we recommend storing your cologne in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Doing so will help preserve the quality and essence of the fragrance. Understanding how to apply the fragrance, the type of scent you want to give off and how it makes you feel are all important factors when investing in cologne – and yes, it is an investment!
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