Every man needs his own signature scent–something classic, yet fresh and modern at the same time. When he enters the room, women stop, stare, and take note of his presence.
Cologne is just like a nice watch–it completes the picture and is something every man should own. From citrus notes in the summer to amber and musk in the colder months, you can define your masculine scent all year round. While the formula for cologne is simple–it’s really just water, alcohol, and fragrance oil–getting the scent perfect requires the work of a master.
While the concept of perfume has been a part of human history from the days of the ancient Egyptians, colognes for men have a much more modern history. Originally made from flowery fragrances, the chemistry and methods of developing these scents have evolved considerably over the years. Today’s scents range from easily accessible to very rare. Like any luxury product, the sky is the limit when it comes to price.
Dating back to the aristocratic years of the early 1700s, the history of men’s fragrances is rich, full of mystique and wonder. For centuries, these divine potions have led women to fall in love and helped men to claim their power. After all, our sense of smell is one of the strongest when it comes to memories living forever in our minds.
Eau de Cologne, or simply cologne, was the first-ever fragrance specifically made for men and remains one of the oldest colognes known worldwide. Launched in 1709 by Giovanni Farina, it was a hit with French royalty. Once the kings discovered how the inviting scents Developed mainly with citrus notes from the orange blossom, bergamot, and lemon, this signature scent was the genesis for many of the best smelling colognes we know today. Today, you’ll find hundreds of men’s colognes, hailing from regions all over the world.
Finding the right cologne is a lot like shopping for a car or planning your next hairstyle. There’s a ton of options, and you’ve got to narrow them down to fit your life. Some options are for guys with luxurious tastes, while others are more accessible to men of any stature. Depending on where you live and what your lifestyle is like, your choice for the best men’s colognes could be vastly different. Take your time and choose a fragrance that delivers long-lasting and confident results.
Wearing a nice cologne signifies to the world that you’re in charge, you’ve arrived, and you know exactly who you are. A signature cologne also gives you a base to build your entire personal care routine. You can mix and match fragrances for deodorants, aftershaves, and even soap. From the woody scents to various spicy notes, take a look below at our picks for the absolute best scents for men.
The Different Types of Cologne.
Eau de Parfum
Did you know that “perfume” and “cologne” are not exclusive to one specific gender? The difference actually comes from the concentration of oil in alcohol and water. An Eau de Parfum is defined as having 15-20% pure essence, and they’re long-lasting–up to eight hours to be exact. If you’re the type to work late at the office or spend a night out on the town until dawn, choose an Eau de parfum as your next scent. These sprays also last the longest when it comes to their shelf life due to the higher concentration of fragrance. If you see a hefty price tag on one of these scents, understand that it’s an investment that you’re making. That bottle could last you for years to come.
Eau de Toilette
A classic Eau de Toilette will have a much lighter fragrance and last for just a few hours. These are perfect if you’re headed out after working out or if you wish to keep a fresh scent throughout the day. At 5-15% essence, an Eau de Toilette is an excellent cologne if you’re just looking for something to brighten up your day. Many men will keep an eau de toilette in the car for keeping fresh on the go. Considered to be one of the “perfections” in the art of fragrance development, Eau de toilette is best for those summer days when you need to be at your freshest.
The most common masculine scent, your typical Eau de Cologne, is a light and fresh fragrance. These contain the smallest amount of fragrance and typically last only about two hours. Usually, this type of fragrance is strictly marketed towards men, although you may find women’s colognes when doing your research. You don’t need to worry about rubbing this one into your skin; in fact, this could break down the oils and simply reduce the amount of time that you can enjoy your fragrance. Many varieties will be “non-linear,” meaning the scent will progress throughout the day and change over time.
What Is the Difference between Top Notes, Base Notes, and Medium Notes?
Understanding the different terms and jargon when you’re shopping for cologne can get a bit crazy. Luckily, it’s really not that complicated. To put it simply, a cologne has three types of “notes.” Each note–the top, medium (or heart), and base describes the “experience” you get when the scent hits your nose. Some smells will be the first that you recognize, while others make take a few hours to come alive. For example, top notes can include the initial aromatic woody smells, while base notes such as green apple can take time to appear.
How To Apply A Fragrance.
Once you’ve picked your fragrance, you’ve got to make sure you’re applying it correctly. Too much cologne is never a good thing, and you can end up offending others if you’re just drenching yourself in too much of your signature fragrance. It’s always a good idea to start with a small amount and then work your way up to more potent sprays.
First, apply the cologne right after you get done showering, and you’re fully dry. Spray the cologne on your wrists or to the warmest area of your body. Your natural body heat will help project the fragrance, meaning you’ll need to use less. Stay away from your armpits and knees, though; these spots are not great for applying cologne. Two to four squirts are perfect; that’s plenty. Remember, the scents will radiate throughout the day, and you don’t want anyone talking about “the guy who wears too much cologne.”
Don’t over-do it, and never spray it in the air while you walk through it. You’ll end up wasting most of the fragrance and won’t get the full effect of the scent. This is a method you may have seen done before, but it’s been proven that most of the fragrance falls to the floor. If you’re paying top dollar for your men s fragrances, then you can’t afford to waste a single spray.
How To Store Your Cologne.
Once you’ve invested in your next fragrance, you’ve got to store it correctly to keep it fresh. Nice cologne isn’t like the aerosol sprays you had in high school. You’ve got to keep these bottles in the dark. Cologne is best stored in a closet or a shaded area of your bedroom. This keeps the humidity from the shower from killing the scent in the bottle.
Keep the bottle closed and in the original box if you’re looking to get the most extended life from your cologne. There’s no need ever to shake the bottle, just give yourself a few sprays and put it back until the next time you need your new scent. Keep cologne away from small children and teenagers–they may get into your collection and end up trying every single scent. Every smell is an investment, so it’s essential to treat each bottle special.
You can expect a quality artisan cologne to last for a few years if stored properly. While some of the notes may diminish over time, the original formula and alcohol concentration also play a factor in the life of your favorite scent.
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Top 5 Mens Colognes for 2021
Tom Ford: Costa Azzura Acqua Eau De Parfum
Tom Ford, known among the best men in Hollywood, is revered for his masterpiece collection across many different genres. When he’s not directing movies, this world-renowned designer and artist has seen his work end up on the world’s best cologne lists time and time again. With his Costa Azurra Acqua, Ford once again delivered an intriguing and irresistible fragrance to the elite men of the world.
First launched in 2019, Tom Ford created one of the best smelling fragrances for men today. If you’re looking for a bright spring day in a bottle, the Costa Azzura Acqua should be your first choice. You’ll find a delightful woody scent mixed with middle notes of Sicilian lemon and Italian bergamot on the base notes. This is a scent that is guaranteed to turn heads and get you the attention that you command.
Tobacco Absolute Eau de Parfum
Formulated by Molton Brown, this cologne is spicy with woody notes at the base and tobacco hints in the middle notes. On the top, notes of bergamot complete the masculine scent with a touch of classic ginger. Heart notes in the middle are comparable to the Oud Wood fragrance from Tom Ford.
Delivered straight from London, you can expect this Eau de Toilette to elicit top notes of tobacco, citrus, and musk. It’s heavy, but not too much. It won’t over-power the energy of the room, but you’ll be noticed. With a heart note of cedarwood, you can expect a classic and distinct scent wherever you go. If you’re looking for a cologne that smells like a dark forest, this is one men’s fragrance that you should look into picking up.
CREED Aventus, Eau de Parfum
Among the rarest and consistently one of the best-rated, Aventus is for the man who’s made the most of his life. Smoky, woody, and a favorite of men around the world, this long-lasting fragrance will never leave you wanting more. Top notes of bergamot mix with the confident notes of black pepper as the day progresses.
Aventus is priced for men who’ve found some financial success. Universally known to be among the best cologne options, it’s graced the collars of some of the best men on earth. This one celebrates masculine power, financial success, and great strength. Named after the Latin word for wind, this is a scent that will help you reach the top of the charts and enjoy every single day on this earth.
This is a fragrance that great if you’re just getting into cologne–you get the classic Eros Versace scent without having to drain your entire bank account. As an eau de toilette, you can expect to be greeted by a fresh aura throughout the day. Lightly scented, luxurious, and masculine, this cologne brings out fresh green apple notes and compliments from the ladies.
One of the more masculine scents, Versace Eros could be compared to the top notes found in another one of the best colognes for men, Armani Code. Versace always makes a statement, and if you’re the kind of man who thrives on being the center of attention, this is one bottle that you’ve got to add to your collection.
Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’Homme
Bright and masculine, this fragrance brings intense and bold notes of fresh cedarwood and cardamom. Sophisticated yet subtle, this eau de toilette is a fragrance reserved for only the best men. Out of our research, this fragrance and Armani Code are two of the best smelling colognes for summertime. It’s spicy, with a hint of cumin and vetiver for sensual arousal. Considered to be an excellent option for the man just getting into the world of fragrances, you won’t go broke buying this bottle. One thing to consider when going with La Nuit De L’Homme is that it’s a bit musky–making it the perfect scent for men seeking a unique masculine fragrance.
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