What Are The Best Colognes For Men? Inside My Dizzying Quest To Find Them

By Christian Allaire



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Photographed by Craig Cutler, Vogue, August 2010


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Searching for the best colognes for men is quite the daunting task. I would know—I’ve been on the hunt for weeks. Earlier this year, I decided I wanted a new scent. I’ve never been a big cologne person in general—I’ve met far too many people who overpower you with their scent the minute you meet them, their lavender or citrus notes punching you right in the face—but there’s something about this past year that’s made me want to invest in a new cologne. The idea of spritzing myself at home, with nobody around to smell it, seems like the ultimate act of self-care, like it’s a part of my morning ritual that’s purely for me, myself, and I.


As I began my hunt, I found that the market is overflowing with simply far too many options: From fruity, sweet top notes to woody or musky base notes, there’s a million different combinations and possibilities. How am I to know what suits me best? Still, I went into the quest with an open mind, considering everything from light and fresh to heavy and musky—and in the process, I managed to find a number of crowd favorites that can appeal to just about anybody’s tastes


Below, I sniffed some enduring classics—like Calvin Klein’s Eternity, which has been around since 1988—and some new favorites too, such as the Last Day of Summer from Gucci the Alchemist’s Garden (Gucci’s high perfumery line), which smells like what I can only describe as a warm summer hug. (The latter ended up being my new spring pick—with Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and Maison Margiela Replica’s Jazz Club as runners-up.)


No matter what your sensory preferences are though, just remember that the perfect fragrance simply does not exist—some simply won’t match your personality, and what you like could also depend on the season, vibe, and mood you’re feeling that day. That’s part of the fun of experimenting with different fragrances—don’t be afraid to try something new.


Below, the 27 best colognes for men in 2022.


Gucci the Alchemist’s Garden, the Last Day of Summer



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Gucci the Alchemist’s Garden the Last Day of Summer eau de parfum


SAKS FIFTH AVENUE $352


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This scent from Gucci’s haute perfumery line, the Alchemist’s Garden, allows you to cling onto a summer feeling year-round. It’s a warming, cozy scent made up of cedarwoods, cypress, and nutmeg, with woody undertones of patchouli and vetiver. Bonus: The lacquered glass bottle is super chic too.


Ralph Lauren, Polo Black



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Ralph Lauren Polo Black eau de toilette


AMAZON $66


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Some classics never die, and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Black fragrance stands the test of time. A bold fusion of iced mango, lemon, and tangerine is combined with sandalwood, sage, and patchouli noir for a bittersweet end result. Bold and aromatic, it’s the ultimate scent to get noticed in.


Le Labo, Another 13



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Le Labo Another 13 eau de parfum


NORDSTROM $280


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You may know Le Labo for its signature Santal 33 scent, but Another 13 is one of its more slept-on fragrances that deserves just as much hype. A collaboration with Another magazine, the scent is equal parts musky and fresh, composed of ambroxan, jasmine petals, moss, and woody, amber-y notes.


Hugo Boss, Boss


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Hugo Boss Boss eau de toilette


AMAZON $90


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Launched in 1998, this enduring cologne is a cult classic thanks to its timeless, masculine scent. Fruity and citrus top notes of apple, lemon, and plum are balanced against a hefty floral and spicy base, including geranium, sandalwood, and vetiver.


Celine, Black Tie



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Celine Black Tie eau de parfum


CELINE $240


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Alluding to Celine’s excellence in black-tie and tailored silhouettes, this evening scent is built for a night out. It’s composed of white orris butter, cedar, tree moss, and vanilla—striking the right balance between musky and sweet. Think of it like a sleek dinner jacket that will never go out of style.


Tom Ford, Oud Wood



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Tom Ford Oud Wood eau de parfum


NORDSTROM $390


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Oud wood is one of the most precious and expensive ingredients for any perfumer, and this cologne by Tom Ford nails the woody scent. Combined with cardamom, sandalwood, and vetiver—with hints of tonka bean and amber—a few spritzes of this signature scent is like warming up to a nice cozy fire.


Frédéric Malle, Geranium Pour Monsieur



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Frédéric Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur parfum


NEIMAN MARCUS $315


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Created in collaboration with master French perfumer Dominique Ropion, this scent is described as “like an eccentric Englishman in a blue velvet jacket,” an appropriate takeaway. A bright fragrance, its top notes are mint, aniseed, and geranium, while the base notes include sandalwood and frankincense.


Dior, Sauvage


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Dior Sauvage eau de toilette


SAKS FIFTH AVENUE $165


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Inspired by nature and its raw materials, this scent from Dior perfumer François Demachy is earthy and woody. Warm notes of bergamot, pepper, and amberwood take cues from a desert landscape—but can still be worn in the dead of winter, thanks to its refined, non-overpowering finish.


Byredo, Bibliothèque


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Byredo Bibliothèque eau de parfum


MR PORTER $276


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For the well-read, this scent takes cues from old books and their leather-bound pages. It’s also inspired by one of Byredo’s best-selling candles—so you know it’s good. Top notes of peach, plum, peony, and violet add a sweet touch to an otherwise woody ground base of leather, patchouli, and vanilla.


Jo Malone London, Myrrh & Tonka Cologne Intense


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Jo Malone London Myrrh & Tonka Cologne Intense


SAKS FIFTH AVENUE $205


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Drawn from the sap of the Namibian myrrh tree, this earthy scent is combined with warm almond and vanilla notes of the tonka bean for a rich, full-bodied finish. A hint of lavender and honey lightens it up and makes it a year-round scent for any occasion.


Giorgio Armani, Acqua di Gio



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Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò eau de toilette


SAKS FIFTH AVENUE $98


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Released in 1996, this classic scent, inspired by the ocean, has stood the test of time for a reason. The earthy fragrance is the ideal everyday scent, combining cyprus, musk, bergamot, neroli, rosemary, and patchouli for a fresh finish.


Maison Margiela Replica, Jazz Club


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Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club eau de toilette


SEPHORA $144


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Imagine yourself in a dimly lit jazz club with the perfect cocktail, surrounded by cigar smoke and leather chairs. This scent is the next best thing: Warm and spicy, it has notes of pink pepper, rum, and tobacco. Perfect for the fall and winter months when you want to hibernate in full cozy mode.


Calvin Klein, Eternity for Men


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Calvin Klein Eternity for Men eau de toilette


ULTA $90


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Another enduring classic from 1988, Eternity is a romantic floral fragrance that was inspired by lasting love. Clearly, the love affair with this scent carries on too: It’s decidedly unisex, and works for both him and her. Notes of freesia, mandarin, sage, white lily, patchouli, and sandalwood make for a timeless blend.


Versace, Eros


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Versace Eros eau de parfum


NORDSTROM $102


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In a chic, Art Deco–style bottle, Versace’s Eros scent is both fresh and tropical. Notes of mint, orange, and woody vanilla are all refreshing—like taking a dip in the pool on a hot summer day. It obviously wears well in the summer, but is a pretty universal cologne overall. Make your own rules on when and how you wear it.


Chanel, Bleu de Chanel


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Chanel Bleu de Chanel parfum


CHANEL $160


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Fresh, clean, and sensual, this men’s scent from Chanel includes notes of citrus, labdanum, sandalwood, and cedar. It can easily transition from day to night (a musky undertone makes it perfect for a date).


Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Grand Soir


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Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir eau de parfum


SAKS FIFTH AVENUE $235


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Imagining what a “magnificent Parisian evening” would smell like, Maison Francis Kurkdjian came up with this wonderful blend of vanilla, amber, tonic beans, and cistus labdanum. Indeed, it’s the perfect scent for a night on the town.


Ermenegildo Zegna, Essenze Florentine Iris


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Ermenegildo Zegna Essenze Florentine Iris eau de parfum


AMAZON $210


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Florals? For men? Groundbreaking. Velvety and complex, this scent is floral heavy but masculine, with notes of jasmine, violet leaves, bergamot, and musk. An ideal choice for spring as the leaves and flowers bloom.


Prada, Luna Rossa Sport


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Prada Luna Rossa Sport eau de toilette


ULTA $100


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This upbeat, zingy scent takes cues from the pulsing spirit of boat racing; it’s an awakening scent to boost your mood in the morning. Notes of lavender, ginger, juniper berries, tonka beans, and vanilla are the perfect thing to spritz on yourself post-workout—or when you’re about to hop on your first Zoom meeting of the day.


Acqua di Parma, Colonia


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Acqua di Parma Colonia eau de cologne


NORDSTROM $181


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One of Acqua di Parma’s most popular colognes, Colonia is a fresh, citrusy scent that suits any occasion. It includes key notes of lemon, bergamot, lavender, and patchouli. A few sprays of this is like drinking a tall glass of orange juice.


The Nue Co., Functional Fragrance



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The Nue Co functional fragrance


THE NUE CO $95


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Designed to help you “reset at times of high stress,” this aromatic fragrance from The Nue Co. is clean, woody, spicy, and smokey. The unisex scent features notes of green cardamom, iris, palo santo, and cilantro. Consider it like a stress ball, only in cologne form.


Creed, Aventus


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Creed Aventus eau de parfum


SAKS FIFTH AVENUE $350


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This best-selling fragrance from Creed was introduced in 2010 and continues to be a fan favorite. It features crisp top notes of apple, blackcurrant, pineapple, and bergamot, with heftier heart and base notes including birch, patchouli, vanilla, and musk. It’s inspired by the life of a historic emperor and meant to symbolize strength, power, and success—who wouldn’t want that?


Hermès, H24



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Hermès H24 eau de toilette


SAKS FIFTH AVENUE $82


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A bright, citrusy-scent, Hermès’s H24 fragrance—the label’s first perfume for “the contemporary man”—features notes of clary sage, narcissus, and rosewood. It’s perfect for the spring and summer, in particular, though the warming rosewood makes it a year-round favorite, too.


Paco Rabanne, 1 Million Lucky


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Paco Rabanne 1 Million Lucky eau de toilette


SEPHORA $100


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Paco Rabanne’s earthy, woody 1 Million Lucky scent features a unique combination of hazelnut, green plum, grapefruit, and cedar—making it a woody, sensual fragrance with a touch of citrus. The futuristic-looking bottle is also the perfect thing to flex in your medicine cabinet.


Carolina Herrera, Bad Boy


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Carolina Herrera Bad Boy eau de toilette


NORDSTROM $100


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Carolina Herrera’s new fragrance, Bad Boy, strikes the right balance between bold and sophisticated. It combines notes of black and white pepper with citrusy bergamot. It’s an idyllic scent for every day, though can be amped up and layered for more of a spicy evening scent. Plus, the lightning-bolt bottle just looks great on the top shelf.


Bvlgari, Man


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Bvlgari Man eau de toilette


AMAZON $144


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The Bvlgari Man, launched in 2010, remains a classic for a reason. The fragrance includes top notes of crisp violet, leaf, lotus, bergamot, and white pear. Meanwhile, the middle notes pack more of a punch with notes of cashmere wood, sandalwood, amber, and Cypriot oil.


Comme des Garçons, 2



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Comme des Garçon 2 eau de toilette


SSENSE $145


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Launched in 1999, the Commes des Garçons 2 fragrance has lasting power. It’s a fresh, floral scent that’s perfect for summer: Top notes include lightweight mandarin orange, aldehydes, angelica, and tea. Middles notes of magnolia, nutmeg, and cinnamon warm up the scent without weighing it down.


Givenchy, Gentleman


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Givenchy Gentleman eau de parfum


ULTA $111


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Givenchy’s Gentleman bottle pays tribute to the sleek house codes that Hubert de Givenchy established at the house. But beyond being pretty to look at, the earthy and woody scent is also a no-brainer for everyday use. It includes key notes of pear, lavender, and patchouli—creating a unique blend of freshness, but with depth.


Originally Published: https://www.vogue.com/article/best-colognes-for-men