We rounded up a comprehensive guide to the best colognes for men because shopping for a fragrance can be tough—much less if you’re doing it online. But it’s one of our favorite grooming products because of the huge variety in sensation each fragrance summons—or the story each cologne tells, if you want to be a little grandiose. You can’t get much of a story from a moisturizer or shampoo. But a great fragrance can turn heads for the right reasons. It can build a positive association with a friend, a date, a total stranger.
For example, I’ll always have a soft spot for Le Labo’s Bergamote 22. It was worn by a friend of mine, and a sniff sends me right back to my late 20s, and reminds me of all the exciting changes life threw at me those years. That’s the power of fragrance.
I try to test as wide a range of cologne for guys as possible, and to put together this guide, I rifled through my personal fragrance “library” at home, to pick out the scents that get the most compliments from people I encounter. I can’t stick to just one scent, since the job demands I know them all. That’s a curse and a blessing, because I love helping others find the scents that best represent them, in hopes that they get to attach memories to these smells.
So here are 17 of the best fragrances for men, in all kinds of categories; perhaps these will help guide you towards one or two of them, to make shopping (even if online) all less stressful. Some of them are new, some classic, but each should make a favorable impression. Read on for the 19 best colognes for men.
Best Classic Cologne for Men: Dior "Homme"
Sometimes the fashion houses make things confusing by releasing new versions of a classic and not changing the name. Dior Homme is one such case—the original is a classic, but it's this 2020 woody, musky, ambrous remix that might be one of the most universally appealing scents on the market. That's to say, this eau de toilette is probably one you'll smell on a few other people—it’s a crowd pleaser. (Besides Homme, Dior also makes another stone-cold classic masculine sent, Dior Sauvage, that’s well worth checking out.)
Best Date Night Cologne for Men: Roja Parfums "Danger Pour Homme Parfum Cologne"
The terms “Danger” and “date night” aren't two things we'd like to tie together, but in this case, it's a match made in heaven. It oozes sensuality without being too forward and sultry, and it does so with universally loved notes like oakmoss, patchouli, cedarwood, and musk. I'd say it's a bit too, uh, horny for everyday office wear, but it's terrific for nights out, whether it's Date 1 or 1,000.
Best Spring Cologne for Men: Maison Francis Kurkdjian "Paris L’Homme à la Rose"
I want more men to wear florals. Floral notes take the edge off; they invite people in. Is anything more hospitable? Maison Francis Kurkdjian's recent release marries two rose notes together, one Bulgarian and one French, with an amber-woody heart and resinous base. I think it's as sexy as a woody or leather scent, but in a less obvious way: It doesn't demand attention. Instead, it stokes curiosity. It's flirtatious. We could all afford to try that approach—even if it's platonic.
Best Summer Cologne for Men: Louis Vuitton "Imagination"
I've said it a billion times, but I think Louis Vuitton's entry into men's fragrance is one of the most exciting changes of late. It's been a prolific few years for their in-house perfumer, Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud: First there were L'Immensité and Orage from the initial launch of 5, and then the exquisite summery collection "Les Colognes", with favorites like Sun Song and Afternoon Swim. Perhaps atop them all, though, is the latest, Imagination. Like the rest of the lot, it summons world-class ingredients—Chinese black tea, Italian citrus, Tunisian neroli, Nigerian ginger, and top-shelf ambrox. Its release into the world comes when it's needed most: An open-door summer, everyone ready to realize the potential that's been bubbling for a year or more. It is aptly named, and could eternally be the boundless smell of summer.
Best Fall Cologne for Men: Hermès "Terre D'Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver"
This is hotly debated, but as outstanding as Terre D'Hermes is... this vetiver remix is even better. Vetiver has never been better than in this —which is saying something. I've been able to convert many a friend to what I think is a sleeper hit—because too many people are hung up on the (also incredible) original!
Best Winter Cologne for Men: Tom Ford "Oud Wood Intense"
There are entire corners of the web dedicated to picking out the Best Tom Ford Colognes, and for good reason: They're all pretty fabulous. (So much so that he actually named one 'F*cking Fabulous".) In a barn burner race, though, Oud Wood might eke out the win, for its smokiness, spiciness, woodiness, oudiness... these broody notes also makes it a frontrunner in the winter category, since it warms on contact, and for lack of better word, smells incredibly masculine. It really is an Alpha Male kind of scent, despite the industry skewing unisex of late. (Along those lines, I also know a few women who wear it for dates and rainy days alike.)
Best Long-Lasting Cologne for Men: Krigler "Sylt Style"
Krigler makes some real top-shelf perfume for men. That's because many of its launches are parfums, some of the highest concentrations of perfume oils you can get. (Hence the price tag.) Thus, a little goes a long way with any Krigler scent. Their latest, Sylt Style, is an ode to the Germans' favorite island destination, Sylt. It's a blend of cashmere, almond, pink pepper, vanilla, moss, and amber. I'd prescribe it to the CEOs and professors among us, or anyone cosplaying as such. Plus, any true fragrance fan will ogle the bottle like it's Macallan 18-year Old Sherry Oak. (I Googled 'what is the best top-shelf whisky'.) There's a reason you won't find Krigler at a department store, and it's the same reason it runs laps around the (lack of) competition.