Allow us to state the obvious: the best smelling colognes for men are very subjective. Men’s fragrances can convey a million moods—from relaxation and playfulness to authority and power.

In fact, 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 (be it casual wear or formal attire). They also carry emotional significance and make for great gifts.

To ensure you put out the right olfactory signals, we handpicked the best smelling colognes for men of all time—from the time-honored classics to the cult favorites. 

One thing is certain: these scents will make you smell great and reward you with an endless barrage of compliments and more than a few admiring strangers.

Here are the best fragrances for men to enhance inner charisma and magnify magnetism in spades.

The 25 best men’s colognes that hit the right notes

  1. Tom Ford Oud Wood
  2. Gucci Guilty
  3. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Silk Mood
  4. Boss Bottled by Hugo Boss 
  5. Timothy Han She Came To Stay
  6. Creed Aventus
  7. Bleu de Chanel
  8. Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt
  9. 19-69 Purple Haze
  10. Diptyque Vetyverio
  11. Yves Saint Laurent Y 
  12. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis
  13. Byredo Oud Immortel
  14. Frederic Malle Monsieur
  15. Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden, The Last Day of Summer
  16. Tom Ford Tuscan Leather
  17. Christian Dior Sauvage 
  18. 1 Million Lucky By Paco Rabanne
  19. Versace Eros
  20. Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò Absolu
  21. Valentino Uomo Born In Roma
  22. LE LABO Santal 33
  23. Acqua di Parma Arancia di Capri
  24. MALIN + GOETZ Dark Rum
  25. Calvin Klein CK For Everyone

Tom Ford Private Blend Oud Wood 

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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 a signature fragrance even more unique and distinct. 

Best for: Proving yourself as a true perfume connoisseur.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Earthy & Woody
Size: 1.7 fl.oz. / 50 ml
Key notes: Rare Oud Wood, Sandalwood, Chinese Pepper

Gucci Guilty For Men

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Gucci Guilty is the anti-conformist, hedonistic, and mysteriously elegant fragrance that every bad-boy has been waiting for. It would suit any out and proud Casanova or pleasure-seeker. 

Think intense and spicy hot chili pepper and fresh rose 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 provocative. Just as the name suggests, Gucci Guilty is an exquisitely guilty pleasure. 

Best for: An intense vision of masculinity.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Woody Aromatic Spicy
Size: 3 fl.oz. / 90 ml
Key notes: Fresh Rose, Chili Pepper, Neroli, French Lavender, Patchouli, Cedarwood

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Silk Mood

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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.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Floral Woody
Size: 2.4 fl.oz. / 70 ml
Key notes: Rare Oud Wood, Rose, Bergamot 

Boss Bottled by Hugo Boss

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People turn to Hugo Boss for sleek sophistication and an aura of authority and success. 

This iconic classic men’s fragrance greets you with a lively and captivating combination of fruity and citrus notes of apple, lemon, and plum⁠. Think brisk morning walks through gardens, dappled sunlight on your skin, the air fresh on your face. 

Top notes are joined by geraniums and seasoned with just a dab of clove. To cap it all off, an earthy, and perfectly balanced blend of sandalwood, cedar, and vetiver evoking a serene bucolic paradise. 

Boss Bottled is the timeless masculine fragrance for the modern man- confident and contemporary. The classic men’s cologne and the ultimate power move.

Best for: A cult classic scent for both the office and after-work drinks.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Woody Spicy
Size: 3.3 oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Bergamot, Geranium, Clove, Sandalwood, Cedar and Vetiver

Timothy Han She Came to Stay

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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 recognizable signature scent.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Aromatic Fougere
Size: 2.03 fl.oz. / 60 ml
Key notes: Geranium, Lemon, Basil, Indonesian Clove, Nutmeg, Patchouli, Cedarwood

Creed Aventus

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Creed delivers decadent fragrances that are favorites 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.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum 
Scent family: Chypre Fruity 
Size: 1.7 fl.oz. / 50 ml
Key notes: Pineapple, Bergamot, Black Currant, Apple

Bleu de Chanel

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An aromatic-woody men’s fragrance that is statement-making and subtle simultaneously, Bleu de Chanel—the luxury French house’s most popular cologne—is an ode to masculine freedom. Housed in a bottle of deep and mysterious blue, Bleu de Chanel unites the vivacity of citrus and the dry whisper of ginger and incense—big dreams, plenty of ambition. 

An original and distinct fragrance that will get people’s attention and—what’s more—hold it. It’s a gentleman’s cologne: crisp, refined, and sensual. Think crisp white button-up shirt during the day, Egyptian cotton sheets in world-class hotels come midnight.

Best for: A likable, dependable scent for the man who defies convention.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Woody Aromatic
Size: 3.4 oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Citrus Accord, Labdanum, Sandalwood Cedar

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt

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Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt captures the essence of the windswept seaside. Think cheeky weekend escapades, lazy lie-ins, long lunches, and rosé at sunset. 

The closest thing to bottling actual ocean air and waves crashing against the rugged cliffs, 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 the woody earthiness sage form a base on top of which you have sophisticated ambrette seeds, grapefruit, and red algae. 

Fancy taking it up a level and beating the post-holiday blues? Combine it with Jo Malone’s Lime Basil & Mandarin perfume for something perfect for hot climates.

Best for: Escaping the everyday along the windswept shore.

Intensity: Eau de Cologne
Scent family: Earthy Aromatic
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Ambrette Seeds, Sea Salt, Sage

19-69 Purple Haze

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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 characterized 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 nostalgia fragrances to encourage creativity and freedom.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Woody Spicy
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Cannabis Accord, Violet Leaf, Patchouli

Diptyque Vetyverio

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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: An equally complex and easy-to-wear fragrance to turn heads.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Floral Woody
Size: 1.7 fl.oz. / 50 ml
Key notes: Vetiver, Florida Grapefruit, Italian Mandarin, Nutmeg and Clove

Yves Saint Laurent Y

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If you’re looking for a fragrance that expresses impeccable cool with just a single spritz, then check this intense men’s cologne 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: A modern take on traditional masculinity—think white t-shirt and black blazer.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Fresh & Woody
Size: 3.3 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Sage, Geranium, Sensual Wood

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis

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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: A simply fresh and airy fragrance for any occasion, from dawn ‘till dusk.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Aromatic
Size: 2.3 fl.oz. /  70 ml
Key notes: Orange Blossom, Lily, Musk, Wood, Bergamot, White Flowers

Byredo Oud Immortel

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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.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum 
Scent family: Woody Chypre 
Size: 1.7fl.oz. / 50 ml
Key notes: Agarwood, Moss, Patchouli, Patchouli, Cardamom, Tobacco, Limoncello

Monsieur by Frederic Malle

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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 soirées.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum 
Scent family: Amber Vanilla
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Patchouli, Rum, Amber

Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden The Last Day of Summer

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Part of Gucci’s haute perfumery line, this fragrance is luxury at its best. Combining cedarwoods, cypress, and nutmeg, with woody undertones of patchouli and vetiver, Gucci The Last Day of Summer is all about cool sophistication. Sunrise on a summer’s day, windows open, a gentle breeze entering a warm room. It’s a fragrance that smells as good on sunny Sunday mornings as it does dining out in an exclusive, Michelin-starred restaurant.

Sumptuous and warm—a few spritzes of this Gucci perfume is honestly the closest thing to a chic summer party in an Italian garden. 

Personalize this Gucci fragrance by layering it with perfumed oils and acque profumate (“scented waters”) from the collection to create a one-of-a-kind blend.

Best for: That summer feeling year-round.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum 
Scent family: Woody Spicy
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Cedarwoods, Cypress, Nutmeg, Patchouli, Vetiver

Tom Ford Private Blend Tuscan Leather

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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.

For truly stand out scents, no one does it better than Tom Ford. Wear Tom Ford Tuscan Leather’s scent on chilly winter’s day when you’re dreaming of roaring fires and a glass of the good stuff—be it Scotch whiskey or bourbon.

Best for: Wearing with black tie to exclusive parties and romantic soirées.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum 
Scent family: Woody Spicy
Size: 1.7 fl.oz. / 50 ml
Key notes: Leather, Saffron, Black Suede

Christian Dior Sauvage

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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. Inspired by unspoiled desert landscapes under a blue-tinged night sky, Sauvage evokes a combination of raw masculine power and 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: Evoking a sense of the intrepid as you go about your day.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Fresh & Woody
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml 
Key notes: Bergamot, Pepper, Amberwood

1 Million Lucky By Paco Rabanne

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Looking for the ideal post-sundown scent? Then this is the one. Shaped like a gold bar, 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: The perfect companion to the fastest cars and unforgettable date nights.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Earthy & Woody
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Hazelnut, Green Plum, Cedar

Versace Eros

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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. 

Best for: A heart-on-your-sleeve kind of fragrance—a real aromatic explosion.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Fresh & Oriental
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Mint, Green Apple, Lemon, Vanilla, Cedarwood

Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò Absolu

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A reinterpretation of the classic Acqua di Giò, this enticing men’s cologne 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 cozy, 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 favorite watch. In other words, this aromatic and masculine fragrance is already a modern classic. 

Best for: The perfect complement to lunch dates and casual business meetings.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Fresh & Woody
Size: 4.2 fl.oz. / 125 ml
Key notes: Marine Notes, Amber, Patchouli

Valentino Uomo Born In Roma

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All roads lead to… (Uomo Born in) Roma—a cologne to satisfy your cravings for summer holidays in Europe. Sun hats, siestas, and wine ready and waiting in the cooler.

Presented in a stunning bottle with Valentino’s iconic stud, this warm men’s cologne is all about the good life. 

Reminiscent of the Italian city’s elegant contrasts, this Valentino men’s fragrance is an explosion of passion and power: aromatic sage, violet leaves, and smoked vetiver are shaken up with cool, mineral salt and spicy ginger.

Best for: A fragrance to make you feel luxurious, even in a pair of sneakers.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Woody & Spicy
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Ginger, Vetiver, Sage, Salt, Gaiac Wood

LE LABO Santal 33

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Call it something of a nostalgia perfume—lassoing nostalgic notes from the American westerns. 

Think leather saddles, desert winds, and crackling fires. 

Le Labo’s most iconic scent and now a cult classic, Santal 33 combines soft leather, rich smoky wood notes, and aromatic spices—like sultry evenings and hot summer nights—with sweeter notes of iris and violet to create a truly otherworldly, intoxicating aroma that is both addictive and utterly alluring. 

Best for: Escaping the every day with an olfactive fantasy of smoke and crackling firelight.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Woody Aromatic
Size: 3.4 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Cardamom, Iris, Violet, Australian Sandalwood, Papyrus, Cedar Wood

Acqua di Parma Arancia di Capri

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A relaxing, radiant, and bright fragrance, Arancia Di Capri greets you with a lively and captivating combination of Italian citrus mixed with a light touch of creamy caramello and sensual notes of musk.

Think summer vacation on the island of Capri, dressed in Luca Faloni, Italian sunshine on your skin—hot-weather indulgence and seaside sensuality.

Transport yourself to Italy with this fruity fragrance from Acqua di Parma, a brand that seeks (and manages) to capture true Italian elegance. 

Best for: Escaping to a summer holiday in the Italian Mediterranean.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Fresh & Fuity
Size: 2.5 fl.oz. / 75 ml
Key notes: Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Caramel


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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. 

A refreshing reinvention of the historic bay rum cologne, Malin + Goetz  Dark Rum leaves you longing for the Caribbean sun, cocktails, late nights with friends, and a whole world of adventure.

Combining dark rum, leather, and creamy milk, with ripe plum and crisp bergamot, this warm yet fresh fragrance is both alluring and addictive—with just the right hint of exotism. 

Best for: The next best thing to drinking a Dark & Stormy in a swanky nightclub in Havana.

Intensity: Eau de Parfum
Scent family: Aromatic Fruity
Size: 1.7 fl.oz. / 50 ml
Key notes: Dark Rum, Bergamot, Plum, Vanilla

Calvin Klein CK For Everyone

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An office-friendly fragrance, For Everyone—a modern twist on the iconic Clavin Klein CK One—is a pure and fresh scent that perfectly captures the essence of contemporary life: multifaceted, confident, and always one step ahead. 

Uplifting top notes of organic orange essential oil and ginger on top of a heart of blue tea and a warm and sensual base of cedarwood make this the ideal scent for the man wanting to make an authentic impression. 

Natural, sensual and exciting, Calvin Klein CK For Everyone can be worn by, well, everyone. So be aware that your significant other might insist on a spritz too. 

Even better: This clean fragrance is vegan, made from naturally derived alcohol, and full of ingredients of natural origin. The fragrance comes in a pure, streamlined bottle embellished with an iconic Calvin Klein waistband—just like the brand’s popular underwear.

Best for: The ideal balance between everyday energy and complexity more suited to after-dark outings.

Intensity: Eau de Toilette
Scent family: Woody Floral
Size: 3.3 fl.oz. / 100 ml
Key notes: Orange, Ginger, Blue Tea, Cedarwood, Patchouli

Buyers guide to men’s colognes

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. 

Eau de Parfum has 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 Parfum is the most popular fragrance choice.  

Then you’ve got Eau de Toilette⁠—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 an Eau de Toilette is a good option if you want something to wear to the office that won’t be too overpowering for your colleagues.

Finally, we have Eau de Cologne. Today, 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 men’s fragrances 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. 

Layers of fragrance notes

Scents also smell different over time so live with it for a few hours 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 (or middle notes) followed by the base notes.

Fragrance layering

If buying a men’s 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. 

Best way to apply cologne

To wear cologne, you want to apply it directly onto clean, dry skin targeting 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.

Frequently asked questions about men’s fragrances

What is the most popular men’s cologne right now?

The most popular men’s cologne currently is Tom Ford Oud Wood. This fragrance is celebrated for its innovative combination of different scent notes and dynamic and masculine vibe.

What men’s cologne gets the most compliments?

Tom Ford Oud Wood 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.

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