Choosing a good cologne is one of those monumental moments in a man’s life; it’s true when you completely break off from the usual and start developing your own taste and style. Free from your dad’s Drakkar Noir, you probably started experimenting with your own signature scent as a teenager.
Now, we all know everyone who has that specific scent, as soon as you smell it you know it’s them entering the room.
It’s a defining feature of any man, and it doesn’t even have to be just one. Perhaps you like having different scents on different occasions like the gym, work, a night out…etc.
Because there are so many fragrances and choices out there, you need to find one that not only reflects you and your personality but also be appropriate considering different factors.
Eau De Toilette Vs Eau De Parfum
You’ve definitely seen this on a bottle of cologne before and thought “Toilet water? What?!” Don’t worry, it’s not actually toilet water. The labels Eau De Toilette and Eau De Parfum refer to two different kinds of men’s cologne differentiated by strength and concentration.
You see, all colognes are made from the same basic ingredients: Water, alcohol, and oils. The oils are the ones that give the smell, so the more oil you have, the stronger your cologne will be.
Eau De Parfum is longer lasting, with a higher concentration of oils at around 15-20%, which makes it last from around 6-8 hours.
On the other hand, Eau De Toilette has a lower concentration of oils at around 8-15% lasting you from 3-6 hours. For that, you want to go with Eau De Parfum for a longer-lasting scent, but be careful with how many spritzes you… spritz.
How Do I Choose The Best Cologne?
Choosing the best cologne isn’t such a simple process. There are so many things to take into account before you even take a sniff and decide that’s the one.
While most of us just find a scent we like without any of the research or knowledge, that’s not optimal. There are several things to take into account when choosing your signature fragrance such as:
Yes, the season does make a difference in choosing your scent. Like clothes, fragrances, perfumes, and colognes also have differences depending on the season. Just like you can’t wear a coat in summer or shorts in winter, you need to make sure the scent fits the weather and vibe.
For example, winter scents are more spicy, woody, and oriental. The woody family includes scents such as moss, vetiver, and sandalwood, while the oriental family has scents like amber, vanilla, and musk. These two scent families make up the ideal winter smell.
For summer, we have several other scent families that fit the sunny weather more such as the Herbal family (Such as lavender, thyme, mint, and others), the Green family (such as grass, leaves, trees, jungles), the Floral family (Such as rose, lilies, rosewater), the Citrus family (Such as grapefruit and bergamot), and the Water family (Anything like the ocean or sea or humidity).
The fruit family is another big player in the cologne game, such as strawberries and berries. One thing to keep in mind though is that citrus doesn’t last very long, so it might not be the ideal family for an all-day cologne.
Usually, you associate the season with the common scents you find in it. For example, leather doesn’t reflect the summer vibe, so it’s more of a winter scent. On the other hand, smelling like the beach or ocean in winter just feels out of place, as that’s more of a summer location.
Despite all this, a lot of colognes actually mix between families to provide you with the best, most unique smell. For example, you may find a green herbal scent or a water citrus scent.
You may have heard this term before, but perfume notes are different from music notes, even though they have the same basic idea.
The cologne notes are basically the levels of intensity of the scent and how long it lasts. The smell of a cologne actually shifts and changes the longer you wear it, and it goes through three levels:
- The Top Note: It’s the first level you bombard your nostrils with when you wear cologne. At first, it’s the rawest and strongest smell which lasts for about the first 30 minutes. The top note is spicy and powerful, with strange scents sometimes.
- The Heart or Middle Note: The heart note is often floral and tends to give you more juice than the top note. It’s a sort of transition phase between the top note and the base note.
- The Base Note: That’s our final note and the one that lasts you all day. The base note encapsulates the scent family such as wood, water, or herbal.
How do you choose the best scent for you? Well, the best way is experimentation; not just with colognes, but with everything in general. Smell around the house and see what you like.
Do you like the leathery smell of your wallet or belt? Maybe take that as your start and look for scents in that area. If you’re a fan of flowers, then the floral is the one for you.
You’ll find that most people actually like to mix smells together, such as flowery and woody. A combination of rum and leather makes a very nice smell.
Do you have to choose two colognes, one for winter and one for summer? Well, not really. If you can find a neutral enough scent that can work for both seasons and for most occasions, then you’re set.
Just don’t choose something too spicy that will feel out of place in summer or something too floral or watery that will feel weird in winter. Balance is key.
#6 Best Cologne for Black Men of 2023
What is the most attractive cologne? If you’re asking yourself “What men’s cologne gets the most compliments?”
Then we have the list for you. While there are thousands of fragrances for men, only a few manage to nail all the different bells and whistles that are perfect for any occasion or season. With one of these, you’re guaranteed to be the best smelling guy in the office.
#1. Jimmy Choo Man Blue
We’ve got one that’s perfect for the night out. It’s long-lasting and quite elegant. The word that can best describe this cologne is masculinity. Its cocktail of scents encompasses every smell you would associate with manliness.
Its best described as oriental, with top notes of pepper, sage, and bergamot. With the heart notes, you’re looking at (Or smelling) cypress, amber, and leather, while the base notes are sandalwood, vetiver, and vanilla.
This mixture of smells gives you the rough and rugged smell of wood and leather, with the fine sweet scents of bergamot and vanilla. So, you’ve got the best of both worlds; it’s not afraid to show softness and vulnerability with masculinity.
Reviewers were quite shocked at how strong the scent is, and how it lasts for such a long time without the need to reapply. Longevity means you also get to spend less money on colognes in general, as the bottle could last you a full year.
The design of the bottle is another important factor that not a lot of people care about, but still, it’s important for grip, carrying, and it looks nice on your dresser. The blue and chrome-look fancy and the cap with the leather-y crocodile-y finish look cool.
The strong scent is a plus for many but could be overpowering for some. The downsides of this fragrance are the high price tag, as well as its night-out nature that may not be perfect for the workday for everyone.
#2. Montblanc Legend
The Montblanc Legend is a confident man’s ideal summer/spring smell. We have top notes of lavender, pineapple, bergamot, and lemon verbena.
The heart notes are apple, dried fruit, oakmoss, geranium, coumarin, and rose with the base notes being tonka bean and sandalwood.
As you can tell, the smells are very musky, fruity, and herbal-y. Freshness is key here, as well as sweetness so you can imagine this being perfect for a hot summer day, but maybe not so much a cold night. The smell is subtle, and not overpowering.
The bottle design is the most striking, with the sleek and elegant Montblanc staple. The black and silver are mysterious and attractive, and the star on the cap gives it a nice touch.
It’s affordable and pretty good, but perhaps best paired with another scent to last you year-round.
#3. Jack Black, Blue Mark
A very refreshing citrusy scent, the Blue Mark is one of the top colognes Jack Black offers. Listen, Jack Black has been in this game for a long time, so they know what they’re doing.
The refreshing nature comes from its top notes of watermint, cilantro, and bergamot. The middle or heart notes give you Japanese Juniper, ginger, and vetiver, while the base notes give you patchouli and white woods.
As you can tell, you’ll smell fresher than a freshly shaved face with this one. The most striking and impressive feature is that this cologne is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, meaning no animals were involved in its manufacturing or testing. This is a step that more companies and fragrances need to take.
Reviewers commended its fresh scent that’s optimal for business or a busy day. It’s not too strong, which can err on the not-so-long-lasting side.
If you’re not a fan of strong scents or you don’t even like wearing cologne that much, go for this one. It’s nice and subtle, and won’t overpower the people sitting next to you. Its downside is its short-lasting nature, but you can always double spritz.
#4. Gucci Guilty For Men
Gucci is no stranger to the elegant fragrance game, and they came a-knockin’ with this highly floral, fruity scent. The top notes are lavender and Amalfi Lemon, with the middle notes being African orange flower, and the base notes of Virginia Cedar, Patchouli, and Vanilla.
The main goal of this perfume is to be attractive and appealing. The scent is strong and reliable for whatever occasion you need it for, as the mix of three scent families makes it quite flexible.
However, it’s still somewhat of an acquired taste as some reviewers say that it smells slightly sour or bitter. It depends on your style, if you like your fragrances citrusy and strong, this is for you. If you’re more on the subtle side, then this might be too much.
The bottle design is quite creative with the metal and glass symbolizing toughness and luxury. The metallic finish is very elegant, though the bottle itself can be a bit difficult to deal with and open.
#5. Acqua Di Gio By George Armani
With Armani, the name speaks for itself. You’re looking at class, elegant, and refined nature. This fragrance mainly summons the waters, with a mix of sea and wood. Armani actually came up with the idea of this fragrance while on vacation, which explains the earthly natural scent.
The top notes are lemon, lime, bergamot, Jasmine, orange, mandarin orange, and neroli. The middle notes are sea notes, Jasmine, Calone, peach, freesia, hyacinth, cyclamen, rosemary, violet, nutmeg, rose, and Mignonette. With the base notes, we have white musk, cedar, oakmoss, patchouli, and amber.
As you can tell, this is a behemoth of cologne, and for good reason. You have so many scent combinations that actually mix into one cohesive fragrance, that has enough for any occasion or for special summer.
This is the epitome of a classic perfume, it’s old, but not obsolete. Men still wear it with pride and last a good few hours. It’s not offensive or overwhelming, so you can wear it to the office comfortably.
Some people think the scent is now too generic or safe with so many different options out there, but a classic is classic.
#6. One Million By Paco Rabanne
The Paco Rabanne One Million is irresistible, sensual, and edgy. It’s sure to fire up your nostrils. The scent is spicy, with top notes of blood mandarin, grapefruit, and mint.
The middle notes are those of cinnamon, spicy notes, and rose, while the base notes are amber, leather, woody notes, and Indian patchouli.
With this cocktail, you’ve got a cologne that encompasses spiciness and style. This fragrance gives the impression that you’ve got an edge, that you’re unconventional.
Reviewers noted that the scent is very sweet and very spicy, which may or may not be your thing, depending on taste. Even though there are elements of fruitiness, it’s mainly a very spicy fragrance.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE CHOOSING A COLOGNE?
Other than the scent families and notes, there are several things to keep in mind before choosing the best cologne for you.
Why This One?
Why are you choosing this cologne, specifically? To answer this question, you need to do some soul searching about yourself. Are you trying to impress co-workers, friends, or your partner? Do you want it just as a scent if someone sits close to you, or to make an impact and signature?
Of course, you don’t want to overwhelm or overpower with your scent, you really don’t want to be that guy who’s trying too hard.
So, if you’re a big cologne person, you’ll go for a certain scent, perhaps something strong and spicy. On the other hand, if you’re not looking to leave a big impression, you’ll choose something more subtle.
Another big factor is where are you wearing this cologne? Are you going to wear it just around the office, or is it more for nights out and your important occasions? Some people get the fancy stuff only for weddings or big events and leave the day-to-day stuff for the smoother, cheaper brands.
At work, you don’t want to overwhelm the sense of smell of your co-workers, but at a big gathering, for example, you want to stand out.
Yes, your body and its unique composition does affect which cologne you should buy. Just because it smells nice on him doesn’t mean it will smell nice on you, considering things like water, acid, and more.
The kind of diet you’re on also makes a difference, since the spread of the scent itself might differ. Your body chemistry changes whether you’re on keto, vegan, or more. Medication and stress levels can also largely affect how the smell of the fragrance eventually comes out.
Should I Try This Cologne?
Yes, you can do all the research in the world but at the end of the day, it’s all about taking a whiff and deciding whether you want to smell like that all the time or not.
Several companies make testers that you can try at the store or have them sent to you or check fragrance sites like fragrantica.com to see what the people think about the cologne and get deeper insight.
An important aspect of trying cologne is that you need to give it time. Everyone goes to the store, tries on a couple of spritzes from this one and this one and the scent is not even ready yet. Give it 30 minutes on your skin to really get the different notes and see if you like it.
While everyone likes to stick to one cologne once they find it, it’s good to switch it up; have one for summer and one for winter, one for a different occasion. People associating you with a certain smell is nice, but variety is the spice of life.
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HOW TO APPLY A COLOGNE?
This seems like an obvious answer, but believe me, there’s more to it than just taking a bottle and spritzing away. First of all, one pitfall that many fall into is that they buy the cheap stuff, and apply too much of it. While you think you’re saving money, you’re actually not.
When you buy a high-quality cologne where you only need to apply one or two sprays a day, it will last you longer than something cheap that you’ll have to apply 20 sprays of a day. It’s a worthwhile investment.
The optimal time to wear your cologne is after a shower, where your skin will be clean, dry, and your pores are open and ready to hold on to the scent.
Wearing cologne on your clothes is not ideal if you want to switch between colognes, as you’ll end up making an unpleasant cocktail. However, you should only wear it on your clothes if you’re allergic to any of the components.
Where exactly should you apply the cologne, you say? Well, there’s a bit of disagreement here. The hotter the area on your body, the better it is because heat helps project the scent.
The rule of thumb is to spray your neck and chest, but some research suggests applying it to your wrists is good because of your pulse. Here are some Dos and Don’ts:
- DO Spray Directly: You’ll find some people spraying the air around them; that’s weird and doesn’t do much, so don’t do that.
- DO Keep a Distance: 3-4 inches is a good distance to keep from your hand to the skin. Don’t apply it super close to your skin, especially on clothes where it might stain.
- DON’T rub it: Friction and scent projection don’t mix too well, so you want to avoid rubbing your wrists together so as not to change the smell.
- DO Use Vaseline: Yes, applying a bit of Vaseline on your skin before spraying helps the smell stay for longer.
- DON’T Use Too Much: Just 2 or 3 spritzes are more than enough, please spear the noses of those in the elevator next to you. Even if it’s a nice smell, don’t beat them with it.
- DO Reapply; Nothing wrong with taking out your bottle and giving yourself a couple of spritzes in the middle of the workday when the scent eventually wears off, especially when the fragrance itself isn’t very long-lasting like Eau De Toilette.
How Do I Store Cologne?
Storing your bottle can actually make or break the cologne. Temperature and humidity hugely impact the composition and structure of your cologne, so you have to choose a dry, cool, dark area. Avoid sunlight, humidity, and heat. It’s best to store it in a closed place.
The world of fragrances is one deep down rabbit hole if you don’t know what you’re looking for. What’s important is that you find the signature scent of your liking first.
Research, and familiarize yourself with the different scents, notes, families, so you end up having a more refined sense of smell and be able to pick up on the scent you really want.
The best combination of elements for perfume is one with a diverse scent that can be used for summer, winter, day, and night.
For that, we recommend Jimmy Choo Man Blue. Once you find your scent, hold on to it, but still experiment enough with it to change things up.