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In this day and age, it can be hard to stand out as a man.

We have so many angles to consider when it comes to crafting a unique style and attracting the opposite sex. Would you guess that a man’s most important angle, and the one men most often overlook, is his scent?

But why is scent so important?

According to Askmen, the most physically attractive thing to women is a man’s scent.

That’s right.

Women care more about how men smell than their hair, face, body, or height.

I like a man who smells good. Puts on cologne… It keeps me wanting. I like feeling that way.” (Jill Scott, singer)

So, besides showering, how can you smell great?

Cologne.

There are different scents, types, and price points to cologne, so it’s important to do your research before buying a bottle.

Perhaps you have no experience with cologne…other than that bottle of AXE you loved as a kid.

That’s ok.

I’ve put together an in-depth guide to help you discover the top 10 best colognes for men.

The Best Colognes for Men (And a Guide to Picking Your Signature Scent)

Buying cologne might seem pretty straight forward, but there are actually several important factors to consider.

It can also be an expensive purchase, so you want to make the right decision and buy a cologne you’ll be happy with. While I recommend you read through the entire guide, if you want to jump to our list of 10 best men’s cologne, use the table of contents below.


Cologne Buying Lingo: Eau De Toilette vs. Perfume vs. Cologne

Most guys understand the purpose of cologne. You spray it on, and it makes you smell better.

But most guys don’t know there are three main types of cologne.

Before you buy your signature scent, you should educate yourself on these types. If you don’t understand the difference between them, you might purchase a cologne that doesn’t suit your needs and style.

Quora.com does a pretty good job of explaining the difference here, but I’ll simplify it for you.

How it starts: Pure Essence of Perfume

The production of cologne all starts with a base, called “perfume essence.” This is the stuff you actually smell.

Perfume essence is a combination of things like lime oils, jasmine, and synthetic fragrances.

This essence is highly concentrated. By itself, its scent would be overpowering, so cologne manufacturers mix it with alcohol and H2O.

Perfume (15 – 40% pure perfume extract)

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Stopper bottle

For men, perfume for men isn’t very common. Sometimes called “parfum,” this is the least-diluted fragrance, and therefore, often the most expensive type.

Since it’s slightly thicker than normal cologne, it’s usually sold in a stopper bottle.

Notice that it looks different from the sprayer bottle you’re probably used to. That’s because perfume is strong. You don’t want to spray it on…you want to dab it on.

Be careful to not overdo it with this stuff. You want to attract the attention of a room, not clear it out.

Eau de Toilette (4 – 15% pure perfume extract)

Eau de Toilette is a more diluted version of perfume.

Since it contains more alcohol, it doesn’t last quite as long, which means you might have to apply it more than once a day.

This is the most common form of cologne, and also the most common type on our list.

Cologne (2 – 4% pure perfume extract)

Fun fact:

The word “eau” means water. “Cologne” is the French word for the city of Köln, where some of the first colognes were made.

So, “Eau de Cologne” translates to “water of Köln”.

This is the most diluted version of perfume. It typically contains only 2% to 5% of the original Fragrance.

Which is best?

The best choice depends on your needs and preferences. Some guys want a strong scent that will stick to them all day, while others need something lighter, that will fade after a quick business meeting.

Now that you know the difference between the three types of men’s cologne, you’re more prepared to make a good purchase. Just remember, when I talk about “best cologne for men,” I’m referring to all three types.

While they’re technically different, they all serve the same purpose: they make you smell good.

With that, here are 10 tips to picking the best men’s cologne for you.

10 Important Cologne Buying Rules

Here are 10 really important rules to follow when buying a new cologne.

Click on the “read more” button for an explanation of why each rule is so important.

1. Every man should have his own signature scent

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There are many articles out there that suggest matching your colognes to the seasons.

You’re not a fireplace mantle. You don’t need to be fragranced for the season.

Choose a cologne, not based on the time year, but based on your personality.

Make it something for which you are remembered.

2. Look for colognes with a high average rating (at least 4/5 stars)

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Reviews and ratings are one reason why you should buy cologne (and almost everything else) online.

If you purchase cologne from the department store, you have two opinions:

#1: Your opinion.

#2: The salesperson’s opinion.

When you buy online, you have the opinion of literally hundreds of other guys who have bought the same product before you. By checking the average rating and reviews of a cologne before you buy it, you can greatly increase the likelihood that you make a good purchase.

Keep in mind though:

Because there are hundreds of colognes for sale online, the bar for one to be “good” is pretty high. I suggest you only buy colognes with 4 stars or higher.

3. And a high number of reviews (over 100)

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It’s equally important to pay attention to the number of reviews collected to rate the cologne.

Consider this scenario:

You might find a cologne with a perfect 5 star rating, but only 4 reviews. 4 reviews aren’t enough to truly know that the specific cologne is a good product.

Maybe those 4 people work for the company or were paid to write the review.

Now, if a cologne has an average of 5 stars based on two hundred reviews, it’s a safe bet that this is a really good cologne. There’s no way two hundred people are lying.

So, make sure the cologne you’re considering has both a high average rating and a good number of reviews.

4. But not too high (under 600)

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The review game is a double-edged sword

On one side, the more good reviews a cologne has, the more likely you and your lady will enjoy the way it smells.

However, if you buy a very popular cologne, you risk smelling like other guys. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (especially if it’s a great scent), it just means that you won’t smell 100% unique.

Instead, you could also take a gamble, pick a cologne with fewer reviews, and be rewarded with a truly personal signature fragrance.

I suggest you choose a cologne

  • with enough reviews that it obviously smells good (over 100)
  • but not so many that you’ll smell like everyone else (under 600)

To help you out, I’ve included colognes on both sides of the spectrum in our list of the 10 best smelling colognes for men.

5. Focus on the cologne’s general scent (and not top notes, middle notes, and base notes)

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You’ll see certain cologne descriptions reference top notes, middle notes, and base notes.

These “notes” are just subtle scents that people claim to distinguish in cologne at different times after you’ve applied it.

If you can smell the difference, that’s awesome. Most people can’t.

It’s much better to focus on how the cologne smells to you and your girl, not the different notes it contains.

6. Buy your cologne based on the scents that you like

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Since not all colognes smell the same, know which scents you prefer. At the end of the day, you’re the person who will smell your cologne the most.

Some have an earthy scent (think cedar forest), some smell fruity, and others smell more like a tropical ocean.

To help you make your decision, I’ve included a brief description of each cologne’s fragrance on our list.

7. And never based off of what the bottle looks like

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Marketers in all industries have tricks and gimmicks to sell you junk, and cologne is no different.

Sometimes, when a cologne looks flashy or gimmicky on the outside, it’s to compensate for low quality product on the inside.

Great cologne doesn’t need a flashy bottle…

…the scent speaks for itself.

8. Always check the price of larger bottles

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In many cases, you can save money in the long run by purchasing larger bottles of cologne.

To see this rule in practice, get online and check out the top two most popular sizes of Acqua Di Gio. You’ll notice that you can buy either a 1.7 ounce bottle for $40 or a 3.4 ounce bottle for $50.

That’s double the cologne for only $10 more!

9. The best place to buy cologne is online

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Online shopping should be your rule of thumb for almost anything that isn’t a car or a bed.

Retail stores buy products in bulk at wholesale cost and sell them to us for a huge profit.

Even when they advertise a “sale,” you’re just getting the product with less of a price mark-up.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though. The next time you’re at a department store sale, cross check the prices on Amazon or Ebay.

10. Always buy your cologne from a reputable source

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If you look at online reviews of colognes, you’ll notice complaints of buyers receiving fake product. To protect yourself from this, always buy from a reputable source.

I recommend Amazon.com because you can buy cologne that is fulfilled and sold by Amazon.

This is because Amazon will, in most cases, refund your purchase if you do happen to receive fake product. Although there is always a risk, buying cologne that is actually fulfilled and sold by Amazon significantly reduces it.

Now that you have some great knowledge, it’s time to consult our list of the 10 best colognes for men and chose the best cologne for you.

The 10 Best Colognes for Men

10. Eternity Aqua

by Calvin Klein
best-cologne-for-men-eternity

Cost:

$74 @ Amazon.com

Size:

1.7 oz.

Scent:

Spice, Wood, Citrus

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Either

Eternity Aqua, along with Aqva Marine, Eau Fraiche and Acqua di Gio, are members of the “Water” group of men’s colognes. Hallmarks of this group are aquatic or marine fragrances that are reminiscent of the ocean. Their scents are typically subtle, refreshing, and crisp.

Calvin Klein’s Eternity Aqua is a great introduction to the water group of colognes. Its scent blends spice and wood to give you a subtle, oceanic fragrance.

It’s a great cologne for men, and would be ranked much higher if it wasn’t so costly.

9. Seductive

by Guess
best-cologne-for-men-seductive

Cost:

$21 @ Amazon.com

Size:

3.4 oz.

Scent:

Mandarin, Sandalwood, Black pepper

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Nighttime

Guess Seductive is one of the best-selling men’s colognes on the market.

Typically, I recommend you follow rule #4 above, but Guess Seductive, and Acqua di Gio, are my two exceptions.

Seductive made our list of the 10 best men’s colognes for two reasons:

  1. Its incredible, sexy scent
  2. Its ridiculously affordable price tag

Seductive’s fragrance is musky, woodsy, and intriguing. The cologne opens with scents of sandalwood and light citrus, and finishes with notes of black pepper.

At $21 dollars a bottle, you’re getting a high quality cologne at an very affordable price.

8. Aqva Marine

by Bvlgari
best-cologne-for-men-aqua

Cost:

$45 @ Amazon.com

Size:

5 oz.

Scent:

Seaweed, Grapefruit, White Cedar

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Daytime

Our second member of the water group of colognes is, in a lot of ways, similar to the first (Eternity Aqua):

  • Classic water group scent.
  • Light, crisp, and fresh

Bvlgari masterfully blended scents of pine needles, cedar wood, and citrus to create a refined and refreshing fragrance.

Aqva Marine was ranked higher than Calvin Klein’s Eternity Aqua because of its affordability. You can get a bottle of Aqva Marine that is almost three times the size of Eternity Aqua for $30 less!

This is a limited edition version of Bvlgari’s classic Aqva cologne, so grab it while you can.

7. Terre d’Hèrmes

by Hermès
best-cologne-for-men-terre-dhermes

Cost:

$65 @ Amazon.com

Size:

3.3 oz.

Scent:

Orange, Gunflint, Wood

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Either

The famed scent maker Jean-Claude Ellena, created this distinct men’s cologne for luxury retailer Hermes.

Unlike many men’s colognes that come off as sweet or flowery, Terre D’Hermes has a manly, earthy fragrance (“Terre” is French for “earth”).

The fragrance starts with scents of smoked wood and citrus and finishes with notes of black pepper and spice.

It’s a classically manly scent that makes it a great everyday cologne for men.

6. Eau Fraiche

by Versace
best-cologne-for-men-eau-fraiche

Cost:

$37 @ Amazon.com

Size:

3.3 oz.

Scent:

Cedar, Amber, Lemon

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Either

Another cologne from the water group, Eau Fraiche literally translates to “water fresh.”

It was developed and mixed by famous cologne maker Olivier Cresp, the man behind some of the most popular fragrances on the market.

Eau Fraiche is a wonderful mix of deep woodsy scents, like cedar and rosewood, and crisp citrus and spice notes, like lemon and sage. This produces a light yet invigorating fragrance.

Eau Fraiche is one of the top colognes for men and, at only $37 for a 3.3 oz bottle, is one of the most affordable.

5. Fahrenheit

by Christian Dior
best-cologne-for-men-farhenheit

Cost:

$74 @ Amazon.com

Size:

6.8 oz.

Scent:

Sandalwood, Honeysuckle, Lemon

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Daytime

Christian Dior’s Fahrenheit is a timeless, manly scent.

It blends sandalwood fragrances with spicy, citrus notes that are strong but not overpowering.

Not only does Fahrenheit have one of the most unique fragrances on the market, it’s also less well-known (meaning you won’t smell like every other guy out there).

Even though it’s one of the more expensive men’s colognes on our list, you get what you pay for: an extremely high quality cologne with a unique and timeless scent.

4. Acqua Di Gio

by Giorgio Armani
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Cost:

$50 @ Amazon.com

Size:

3.4 oz.

Scent:

Citrus, Woodsy, Spicy

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Either

Acqua Di Gio, created by the clothing magnate Giorgio Armani, is the most well-known member the water group of colognes.

Its fragrance is often described as a mix of sweet and salty. It blends scents of citrus and spice over a woodsy base.

Now:

This is one of the most popular colognes on the market (meaning it conflicts with rule #4 above). It’s on this list of the best colognes for men for two reasons:

  1. Its distinctive, incredible scent (thus, the popularity)
  2. Its ability to smell very different on different people

While well-known, Acqua di Gio is one of the best smelling colognes for men, and is a great everyday scent.

3. 212

by Carolina Herrera
best-cologne-for-men-212

Cost:

$70 @ Amazon.com

Size:

6.75 oz.

Scent:

Sandalwood, Ginger, Musk

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Either

212 is iconic Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera’s flagship fragrance.

212 masterfully blends ironwood undertones with crisp citrus notes of mandarin and grapefruit. This creates a clean, fresh fragrance that’s similar to the water group of colognes, but with a more earthy and spicy scent.

It’s a completely unique fragrance that makes a manly, signature scent.

Side note 1: While Carolina Herrera recommends daytime use, this is a great cologne for both day and night.

Side note 2: I linked to the larger size above because it was the only one both shipped and sold by Amazon. You can see all the reviews and other purchasing options for 212 here.

2. La Nuit De L’homme

by Yves Saint Laurent
best-cologne-for-men-La-Nuit-De-L’homme

Cost:

$54 @ Amazon.com

Size:

3.3 oz.

Scent:

Cardamom, Cedar, and Vanilla

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Either

Yves Saint Laurent’s La Nuit De L’homme is probably the least well-known men’s cologne on our list.

The best word to describe it is contrasting. It combines earthy overtones, like cedar, with spicy, sensual undertones, like cardamom and couramin (vanilla scent). This is the type of scent that makes guys stray from on the colognes they’ve worn for years…and for good reason.

Woodsy yet elegant, manly yet intimate, La Nuit De L’homme is without a doubt one of the best men’s colognes on the market today.

1. 1 Million

by Paco Rabanne
best-cologne-for-men-1-million

Cost:

$58 @ Amazon.com

Size:

3.4 oz.

Scent:

Leather, Mandarin, and Peppermint

Type:

Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):

Either

Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million—our best cologne for men.

World renowned French perfume house Givaudan created this unique fragrance for designer Paco Robanne.

1 Million expertly blends leather and woodsy overtones with mandarin and peppermint undertones to create an incredible, one of a kind scent.

Bold, exciting, and unique, Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million is our best cologne for men.

Side note: I know I said not to pay attention to the bottle, but I couldn’t resist…1 Million comes in a badass bottle!

In Conclusion

Don’t forget guys…scent is crucial.

Not only will a great cologne help you make that crucially important first impression with women, but it will help you feel more confident as well.

In fact, according to The Smell Report, fragrance contained in cologne can go a long way toward reducing stress, anger, and depression, inevitably resulting in more confidence.

Use the tips we’ve given you in our list of 10 best colognes for men and you’ll have no problem picking a perfect signature scent.

 

If you have any questions or comments about what cologne you should choose, drop us a line in the comments section.

 

Photos Courtesy of:

Ume-y | Austin Calhoon