Top 10 Best Colognes for Men 2021

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sparrow jack March 23, 2021
Updated 2021/04/15 at 7:25 AM

How It Starts: Pure Essence Of Perfume

The production of cologne all starts with a base, called “perfume essence.” This is the stuff you actually smell.

Perfume essence is a combination of things like lime oils, jasmine, and synthetic fragrances.

This essence is highly concentrated. By itself, its scent would be overpowering, so cologne manufacturers mix it with alcohol and H2O.

Perfume (15 – 40% Pure Perfume Extract)

Stopper bottle

For men, perfume for men isn’t very common. Sometimes called “parfum,” this is the least-diluted fragrance, and therefore, often the most expensive type.

Since it’s slightly thicker than normal cologne, it’s usually sold in a stopper bottle.

Notice that it looks different from the sprayer bottle you’re probably used to. That’s because perfume is strong. You don’t want to spray it on…you want to dab it on.

Top 10 Best Colognes for Men 2021

 

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Be careful to not overdo it with this stuff. You want to attract the attention of a room, not clear it out.

Eau De Toilette (4 – 15% Pure Perfume Extract)

Eau de Toilette is a more diluted version of perfume.

Since it contains more alcohol, it doesn’t last quite as long, which means you might have to apply it more than once a day.

This is the most common form of cologne, and also the most common type on our list.

Cologne (2 – 4% Pure Perfume Extract)

Fun fact:

The word “eau” means water. “Cologne” is the French word for the city of Köln, where some of the first colognes were made.

So, “Eau de Cologne” translates to “water of Köln”.

This is the most diluted version of perfume. It typically contains only 2% to 5% of the original Fragrance.

Which Is Best?

The best choice depends on your needs and preferences. Some guys want a strong scent that will stick to them all day, while others need something lighter, that will fade after a quick business meeting.

Now that you know the difference between the three types of men’s cologne, you’re more prepared to make a good purchase. Just remember, when I talk about “best cologne for men,” I’m referring to all three types.

While they’re technically different, they all serve the same purpose: they make you smell good.

With that, here are 10 tips to picking the best men’s cologne for you.

10 Important Cologne Buying Rules

Here are 10 really important rules to follow when buying a new cologne.

Click on the “read more” button for an explanation of why each rule is so important.

1. Every Man Should Have His Own Signature Scent

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2. Look For Colognes With A High Average Rating (At Least 4/5 Stars)

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3. And A High Number Of Reviews (Over 100)

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4. But Not Too High (Under 600)

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5. Focus On The Cologne’s General Scent (And Not Top Notes, Middle Notes, And Base Notes)

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6. Buy Your Cologne Based On The Scents That You Like

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7. And Never Based Off Of What The Bottle Looks Like

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8. Always Check The Price Of Larger Bottles

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9. The Best Place To Buy Cologne Is Online

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10. Always Buy Your Cologne From A Reputable Source

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The 10 Best Colognes For Men

Here are the 10 best colognes for men :

10. Eternity Aqua

by Calvin Klein

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
1.7 oz.

Scent:
Spice, Wood, Citrus

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Either

Eternity Aqua, along with Aqva MarineEau Fraiche and Acqua di Gio, are members of the “Water” group of men’s colognes. Hallmarks of this group are aquatic or marine fragrances that are reminiscent of the ocean. Their scents are typically subtle, refreshing, and crisp.
Calvin Klein’s Eternity Aqua is a great introduction to the water group of colognes. Its scent blends spice and wood to give you a subtle, oceanic fragrance.

It’s a great cologne for men, and would be ranked much higher if it wasn’t so costly.

9. Seductive

by Guess

Cost:
$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
3.4 oz

Scent:
Mandarin, Sandalwood, Black pepper

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Nightime

Guess Seductive is one of the best-selling men’s colognes on the market.

Typically, I recommend you follow rule #4 above, but Guess Seductive, and Acqua di Gio, are my two exceptions.

Seductive made our list of the 10 best men’s colognes for two reasons:

  1. Its incredible, sexy scent
  2. Its ridiculously affordable price tag

Seductive’s fragrance is musky, woodsy, and intriguing. The cologne opens with scents of sandalwood and light citrus, and finishes with notes of black pepper.

At $21 dollars a bottle, you’re getting a high quality cologne at an very affordable price.

8. Aqva Marine

by Bvlgari

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
5 oz.

Scent:
Seaweed, Grapefruit, White Cedar

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Daytime

Our second member of the water group of colognes is, in a lot of ways, similar to the first (Eternity Aqua):

  • Classic water group scent.
  • Light, crisp, and fresh

Bvlgari masterfully blended scents of pine needles, cedar wood, and citrus to create a refined and refreshing fragrance.

Aqva Marine was ranked higher than Calvin Klein’s Eternity Aqua because of its affordability. You can get a bottle of Aqva Marine that is almost three times the size of Eternity Aqua for $30 less!

This is a limited edition version of Bvlgari’s classic Aqva cologne, so grab it while you can.

7. Terre D’Hèrmes

by Hermès

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
3.3 oz.

Scent:
Orange, Gunflint, Wood

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Either

The famed scent maker Jean-Claude Ellena, created this distinct men’s cologne for luxury retailer Hermes.

Unlike many men’s colognes that come off as sweet or flowery, Terre D’Hermes has a manly, earthy fragrance (“Terre” is French for “earth”).

The fragrance starts with scents of smoked wood and citrus and finishes with notes of black pepper and spice.

It’s a classically manly scent that makes it a great everyday cologne for men.

6. Eau Fraiche

by Versace

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
3.3 oz.

Scent:
Cedar, Amber, Lemon

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Either

Another cologne from the water group, Eau Fraiche literally translates to “water fresh.”

It was developed and mixed by famous cologne maker Olivier Cresp, the man behind some of the most popular fragrances on the market.

Eau Fraiche is a wonderful mix of deep woodsy scents, like cedar and rosewood, and crisp citrus and spice notes, like lemon and sage. This produces a light yet invigorating fragrance.

Eau Fraiche is one of the top colognes for men and, at only $37 for a 3.3 oz bottle, is one of the most affordable.

5. Fahrenheit

by Christian Dior

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
6.8 oz.

Scent:
Sandalwood, Honeysuckle, Lemon

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Daytime

Christian Dior’s Fahrenheit is a timeless, manly scent.

It blends sandalwood fragrances with spicy, citrus notes that are strong but not overpowering.

Not only does Fahrenheit have one of the most unique fragrances on the market, it’s also less well-known (meaning you won’t smell like every other guy out there).

Even though it’s one of the more expensive men’s colognes on our list, you get what you pay for: an extremely high quality cologne with a unique and timeless scent.

4. Acqua Di Gio

by Giorgio Armani

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
3.4 oz.

Scent:
Citrus, Woodsy, Spicy

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Either

Acqua Di Gio, created by the clothing magnate Giorgio Armani, is the most well-known member the water group of colognes.

Its fragrance is often described as a mix of sweet and salty. It blends scents of citrus and spice over a woodsy base.

Now:

This is one of the most popular colognes on the market (meaning it conflicts with rule #4 above). It’s on this list of the best colognes for men for two reasons:

  1. Its distinctive, incredible scent (thus, the popularity)
  2. Its ability to smell very different on different people

While well-known, Acqua di Gio is one of the best smelling colognes for men, and is a great everyday scent.

3. 212

by Carolina Herrera

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
6.75 oz.

Scent:
Sandalwood, Ginger, Musk

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Either

212 is iconic Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera’s flagship fragrance.

212 masterfully blends ironwood undertones with crisp citrus notes of mandarin and grapefruit. This creates a clean, fresh fragrance that’s similar to the water group of colognes, but with a more earthy and spicy scent.

It’s a completely unique fragrance that makes a manly, signature scent.

Side note 1: While Carolina Herrera recommends daytime use, this is a great cologne for both day and night.

Side note 2: I linked to the larger size above because it was the only one both shipped and sold by Amazon. You can see all the reviews and other purchasing options for 212 here.

2. La Nuit De L’homme

by Yves Saint Laurent

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
3.3 oz.

Scent:
Cardamom, Cedar, and Vanilla

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Either

Yves Saint Laurent’s La Nuit De L’homme is probably the least well-known men’s cologne on our list.

The best word to describe it is contrasting. It combines earthy overtones, like cedar, with spicy, sensual undertones, like cardamom and couramin (vanilla scent). This is the type of scent that makes guys stray from on the colognes they’ve worn for years…and for good reason.

Woodsy yet elegant, manly yet intimate, La Nuit De L’homme is without a doubt one of the best men’s colognes on the market today.

1. 1 Million

by Paco Rabanne

Cost:
$$ @ Amazon.com

Size:
3.4 oz.

Scent:
Leather, Mandarin, and Peppermint

Type:
Eau-de-Toilette

Best Time to Use (Daytime, Nighttime, or Either):
Either

Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million—our best cologne for men.

World renowned French perfume house Givaudan created this unique fragrance for designer Paco Robanne.

1 Million expertly blends leather and woodsy overtones with mandarin and peppermint undertones to create an incredible, one of a kind scent.

Bold, exciting, and unique, Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million is our best cologne for men.

Side note: I know I said not to pay attention to the bottle, but I couldn’t resist…1 Million comes in a badass bottle!

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