Most guys are introduced to men’s cologne in high school with that one dude who would rather use it than take a shower. Your remember him: So potent, he could take down low-flying birds with the miasma of Axe body spray that hovered around him. Well, if you swore off even the best cologne for men that day out of a desire to not kill native songbirds, there’s hope in this simple maxim: a little goes a long way. Like your grandfather’s Old Spice of yore, selecting the right scent is a calling card, something that’s unmistakably you (albeit not as overwhelming as that of your former secondary school peer). Cologne for men adds another dimension to a tailored appearance, and it harnesses the power of memory to those around you, flashing you into their minds when the wind blows the right way. Even if you’re not a wear-it-all-the-time type, there’s a cologne to suit any event, be it date nights, work events, or special occasions.
When shopping for a men’s cologne, there are some things to keep in mind. Aside from personal preference, know that eau de parfums have the highest concentration of essences, while eau de toilette and eau de cologne have the lowest. So if you’re using something perfume-based, beware of dousing yourself. One great way to avoid over-saturation is to do the old spray and walk-through technique: spray one pump of scent in front of you and walk through it. This ensures that the scent is evenly spread instead of concentrated in one area.
How you smell matters. According to Rutgers University-New Brunswick neuroscientist John McGann, humans can tell about one trillion different odors apart. So trust us when we tell you that whatever cologne you spray on as we head into spring and summer is worth thinking about. You don’t want to shut down a room with the stench of musk, nor do you want to cause people to sneeze uncontrollably. To help you navigate all the olfactory offerings out there, we’ve sniffed a slew of different colognes and perfumes. Some are great for work. Others are ideal for outdoor activities. But trust us, there’s one for you, and your significant others will thank you.
The Best Colognes for Men
Don't let its jumble of French throw you off; this scent smells like spring. It's floral, sure, but the type of flowers Hemingway might write about. As the long winter comes to an end, this is your scent to wear as the trees come into bloom.
You can end up smelling like a French snob or you can move toward the manly, woody scent of The Nue Co's latest. It does this by chemically reproducing phytoncides, the molecular compounds found in trees. It makes you smell like a refined lumberjack while relaxing you throughout the day.
Before your job interview, before your board meeting, before you sit down with investors, try some Burberry Touch. It's fresh and invigorating, and has subtle hints of moss and wood as well as notes of violet, mandarin, cedarwood, and nutmeg. It's assertive, without making you smell like you own the room.
Spray on this Calvin Klein fragrance before heading out to pre-dinner cocktails. It's fresh, crisp, modern, and aromatic.
This oldie but goodie remains a go-to fragrance classic. It's woodsy and sensual, and stands out without making you the center of attention. It's alluring without being overpowering, and has notes of rosemary, basil, tarragon, neroli and herbs.
This citrus-forward scent is beloved for a reason: It's fresh, clean, and invigorating. There are sharp notes of grapefruit, lime, and pepper as well as sea salt and a few deep, woodsy notes.
This woodsy cologne by Tom Ford is not subtle. But that's the point. The notes of sandalwood, vanilla, orange, and more combine to create a sweet, smoky scent that recalls a cigar store in an orange grove. If classically masculine scents are your style, this is an excellent choice.
A sharp, grassy cologne that's ideal for spring rotation. It's a bright, fearless scent.
If you're at home on the water, and would always rather be boating and fishing, this is your scent. It's citrus-y and ocean-y, without ever being over powering.
This unisex Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Eau de toilette scent is light, upbeat, and works for any occasion, formal or not. Perhaps because it's created by one of the world's master perfumers.
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