In much of the same way that there are good and bad artists, but no single ‘best’, we are of the mindset that there is no single best cologne. A scent is an expression of who you are in much the same way a considered outfit is. Sure, we can lay out a list of what we think are the best for us, but that isn’t much help to the guy looking to get his first bottle.
So instead of singling out just one or two, we pulled together selections from labels we think are exceptionally good at creating distinct, articulate fragrances that any guy would be happy to put on. We hope you consider this list of the best men’s colognes as more of a roadmap to finding the cologne you want rather than a definitive ranking. We’re confident that you’ll be able to use these selections to help guide you to a scent you’d be proud to wear anywhere.
Nautica Voyage Toilette Spray
You don’t have to break the bank in order to wear a great scent. This spray cologne from Nautica comes in a 3.4-ounce bottle and boasts notes of “dewy moss” and “woody amber”. The more affordable price point makes it easy to wear regularly and an easy gift for college-aged guys.
Old Spice Classic Cologne
Coming in a pack of 2, this classic cologne that Old Spice likes to claim was “worn by your grandfather” is a solid pick for the guy looking to wear a scent daily without emptying out his wallet.
Juniper Ridge Topanga Canyon Field Lab Pafrume
This limited scent from the solid cologne makers Juniper Ridge boasts a woodsy scent to it. As they describe it, the fragrance was developed in an attempt to capture “…the transcendent, sun flare moment when the whole California coast is a wash of color and light”. Lofty goals, we know. But with notes of nectar, sage, coastal air and wildflower, we can’t say they fell short.
Ralph Lauren Double Black
An American made fragrance that smells like a freshly pulled shot of espresso thrown into a wicker basket full of spiced mango. We’re not sure in what context anyone would ever want to do such a thing, but at least it smells great.
BOSS Bottled Unlimited
Some scents take their inspiration from moments, other from plants – this cologne from Hug Boss is inspired by a color; green. It has a fresh, minty scent to it paired with tart citrus and boasts notes of sandalwood and musk. The limited fragrance comes in a 3.3-ounce bottle and features a spray top for easy application.
Fresh and raw – that is what Dior’s Perfumer-Creator Francois Demachy was aiming for with this scent. It has a “juicy freshness” to it that mixes well with woodsy and natural bergamot and generally gives off a clean but masculine vibe.
DSMNY Andy Warhol “You’re In”
Part of a six-part series by Comme des Garcons Parfum, this Warhol-inspired scent features base notes of wood, musk, cashmere, top notes of orange, lime zest, and aldehydes, and middle notes of jasmine coroner leaves and pittosporum. To top off the great fragrance, it comes in a fun 3.33-ounce bottle featuring a famous Warhol’s quote.
Art of Shaving Sandalwood And Cypress Cologne
One of the most distinctive scents out there is that of a barber shop. The smell of soap, aftershave, shaving cream, and different hair oils all commingle to make something totally unique. This Sandalwood and cypress cologne from the Art of Shaving endeavors to capture some of that masculine fragrance. It boasts a woodsy base with olibanum, styrax, and sandalwood, and head notes of bergamot and chamomile.
Hawthorne For Men
Finding the ‘right’ scent for yourself is hard. It takes time, trial, and error. Hawthorne tries to do away with all of that entirely. Go their website and plug in information about your age, what kind of food you eat, your preferred beverages, etc. and Hawthorne will custom make your own cologne for both the office and play.
Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood
If you are the kind of guy who can’t get enough of the woods, this Wonderwood cologne from Comme des Garcons could very well be for you. It blends notes of cedar and sandalwood as a base and throws in sharper notes of bergamot, pepper, and incense. A warm cologne perfect for the cold weather.
Replica Jazz Club Fragrance
This fragrance from Maison Marginal captures the unique scent of cigars, music, and good times with its Jazz Club fragrance. It features base notes of tobacco, vanilla, styrax, a miss of rum, clary sage oil, and java. The top end of the scent boasts fun, pink peppers, lemon, and neroli as well.
D.S. & Durga Freetrapper
This fragrance from D.S. & Durga attempts to transport the wearer to an early America. The cologne features notes of amber wood, incense, orange, and cedar.
Ermengegildo Zegna Indian Spice
A warm, distinct scent from the inimitable Ermenegildo Zegna. This 4.2-ounce bottle (packed specifically to clear customs without any issues) contains a potent cologne that proudly mixes aromas from cardamom, star anise, coriander with Turkish rose, yang heart notes, and cedar wood. A truly top of the line pick for the guy looking for something independent and strong.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Fragrance Wardrobe
Why go for just one cologne when you can sample a whole flight? This Fragrance Wardrobe from Maison Francis Kurkdjian has 8 different colognes for you to try on. They range from the more earthy, leathery tones you’d find in coffee or spices, to lighter, citrusy smells sourced from lemon, orange blossom, and more.
Tom Ford Beauty Costa Azzura
Tom Ford manages to capture the scent of the ocean in this wonderful cologne dubbed Costa Azzurra. The fragrance combines the smell of evergreen trees with the salty, briny aroma of the sea to give the wearer a whiff of the coastal woods.
8 Best Solid Colognes For Men
Not quite a fan of liquid fragrances? No worries. There’s also a whole host of great solid colognes for men for you to choose from.