Are you tired of your go-to favorite fragrances and stuck in a scent rut? Then it’s time to discover the undiscovered. Our guide to the 20 best smelling colognes for men will get you on the right scent to see you through 2022.
Instead of settling for the mainstream, take time out to experiment and expand your collection. A signature scent should match your mood and personality, so make your cologne count.
“Fragrance is an invisible but powerful accessory—a punctuation of personal style,” says Greta Pagel, the fragrance director at Good Chemistry. “Often, no one single form of self-expression or scent style defines our multi-faceted personalities and preferences.”
In 1971, according to Fragrances of the World, there were 20 new men’s and women’s fragrances launched. In 2021, this figure was over 2700. So, surfing through the thousands of fragrances to choose from is a daunting task. But now you don’t have to!
So, what is the best smelling cologne for men? By researching countless colognes, I will help you find the perfect combination of the best smelling men’s colognes to see you through every occasion, season, and time of day with style.
From the best men’s fragrances of all time to the latest launches, scroll down to reveal the 20 best smelling colognes to try in 2022.
Does your signature scent no longer make a statement or are you looking to reinvent yourself? This foolproof guide is your insight into the 20 best smelling colognes for men. Adding new fragrances to your aromatic arsenal makes a great impression. I’ve calculated the costs, tested longevity, and determinted the seasonal suitability of these scents to take the struggle out of scrolling. All that’s left to do now is ‘Add to Cart’.
Our Top Picks
No round up of the best smelling cologne for men is complete without mentioning Tom Ford.
Oud is exotic, animalic, and powerful. In the wrong hands, oud-heavy cologne can feel like a punch in the nostrils. With the expert nose of Tom Ford, however, this potent ingredient blends with smoky wood, spices, soft vanilla, and tonka bean for a well-rounded juice.
Tom Ford Oud Wood is seductive, chic, and mysterious. This cologne is what I would expect a modern-day James Bond to wear. Tom Ford has designed 007’s silver screen suits since 2008, after all. If you’re looking to bring a touch of dark elegance to your fragrance “wardrobe”, the search stops here.
Top Notes: Oud, Chinese pepper, pink pepper, cardamom | Middle Notes: Birch tar, incense | Base notes: Sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, cedarwood, vanilla, tonka bean | Size: 3.4oz | Type: EDP
Proving that you don’t have to splash the cash to smell good in 2022, is Halloween Man X. The Halloween fragrance house is an extension of Spanish designer, Jesus Del Pozo’s name brand.
Halloween Man X is an amber, fougere fragrance with an irresistible gourmand element. The opening is spicy and citrusy while the heart and base reveal coffee, whiskey, cinnamon, leather, tonka, amber, and incense notes.
Whether you’re looking for a budget pick or great gift, at just over $40 for 4.2oz, you can’t deny that this fragrance is wallet friendly. Halloween Man X is an ideal cold-weather or nighttime scent.
Top Notes: Cardamom, lavender, lemon | Middle Notes: Coffee, whiskey, cinnamon, leather | Base notes: Tonka bean, amber, incense | Size: 4.2oz | Type: EDT
When I imagine the best smelling cologne for men in summer, I think of juicy fruits and light citrus. Saying that, I still like my summer scents to have some depth.
The opening is fruity and lighthearted with the red apple, citrusy bergamot, and spicy cardamom immediately present.
Over time, the sweetness develops into something deeper and more grounded. The middle and base notes include geranium, lavender, clary sage, tobacco, patchouli, and vetiver.
This floral, woody combination is aromatic and warm, yet fresh enough to avoid being cloying in warm weather. This Valentino cologne is perfect for guys who want a signature summer scent with substance that wont fade away after 2 hours.
Top Notes: Red apple, cardamom, bergamot | Middle Notes: Geranium, lavender, clary sage | Base notes: Tobacco leaf, patchouli, vetiver | Size: 3.4oz | Type: EDT
If, like me, you spend the whole of September mourning the loss of warmer, summer days, then opt for a fall fragrance that lifts your mood.
Ralph Lauren Polo Black carries some tropical, sunny notes but has a deep and rich base. The combination of these warm and cold weather notes makes it the best smelling cologne for men to wear in this transitional season.
Mango is a prominent note throughout the scent and lingers on. The second most dominant note is sandalwood. Other notes include tangerine, patchouli, tonka bean, sage, lemon, and wormwood.
I find Ralph Lauren Polo Black transitions well from day to night. I just customize the potency for the daytime by opting for fewer spritzes.
Top Notes: Mango, tangerine, lemon | Middle Notes: Sage, wormwood | Base notes: Sandalwood, patchouli, tonka bean | Size: 6.7oz | Type: EDT
To project through cooler temperatures, the best smelling men’s colognes in winter should have more penetrating notes than their summer counterparts. This doesn’t mean that your winter cologne must be overpowering though. La Nuit de L’Homme is a winter-weather fragrance that’s refined and fresh.
The opening is spicy and fresh thanks to the key top note, cardamom. Bergamot brings a bright, citrus element which blends with lavender, cedar, vetiver, and caraway. Longevity is moderate so I boost the staying power by spritzing my clothes too.
If your idea of the perfect winter night is sipping a fine wine in a dimly lit bar rather than downing shots in a packed club, you’re a La Nuit de L’Homme guy.
Top Notes: Cardamom | Middle Notes: Lavender, cedar, bergamot | Base notes: Vetiver, caraway | Size: 6.7oz | Type: EDT
Have you ever loved a cologne so much you wanted to keep it to yourself? Me too, but lucky for you I’m not a gatekeeper, so here’s my all time best smelling men’s cologne for spring.
My wife, a die-hard Bottega Veneta fan, decided it would be “cute” for us to wear matching his and hers fragrances. Yes, I scoffed too. That was until I smelled the men’s version of Bottega Veneta Illusione.
Bottega Veneta Illusione smells like Italian springtime in a bottle. The bitter orange, lemon, white cedar, fir resin, vetiver, and tonka are a sparkling aromatic blend.
Longevity is decent for a springtime fragrance, offering around 5-6 hours of wear before a top up is needed.
Top Notes: Bitter orange, lemon | Middle Notes: White cedar, fir resin | Base notes: Vetiver, tonka bean | Size: 3oz | Type: EDT
If longevity is your most important box to tick when choosing which 2022 best selling cologne for men to try, Montale has you covered. This French fragrance house is infamous for creating uber long-lasting scents.
Montale Wood and Spices is rich, earthy, and smoky. Thanks to its heavy-hitting notes of incense, oud, vetiver, and sandalwood, Wood and Spices lingers on the skin for around 8-12 hours. Although not listed in the notes, my nose definitely picks up on a subtle touch of citrus.
Needless to say, projection is also beast mode. Just a few spritzes of this will have your scent filling the room.
Top Notes: Sandalwood | Middle Notes: Incense | Base notes: Oud, vetiver | Size: 1.7oz | Type: EDP
Carolina Herrera Bad Boy is the perfect wingman for nights out, dinner dates, and special occasions. Colognes for younger guys can fall into the trap of being immature, one-note wonders. Luckily, this isn’t the case with Carolina Herrera Bad Boy.
Spicy, sweet, woody, and warm, Bad Boy is everything you’d want from a youthful, amber fragrance. One of my favorite elements is the cacao in the base which adds a dose of fun. The cacao isn’t a milky, gourmand chocolate but rather a bitter, green cocoa that pairs well with the pepper.
Carolina Herrera Bad Boy is the best smelling cologne for men who love getting complimented on their scent. This crowd-pleasing fragrance is a pretty safe blind buy.
Top Notes: Black pepper, white pepper, bergamot | Middle Notes: Sage, cedar | Base notes: Tonka, cacao, amberwood | Size: 1.7oz | Type: EDT
Inspired by the opulence of Versailles, Parfums de Marly Layton is an elegant, high-end scent that’s calling out for a special occasion. Layton is the best smelling men’s cologne for when you want to elevate your style.
Parfums de Marly balances cardamom and pepper with creamy vanilla and fresh-cut florals. The zesty citrus fruit and apple opening awaken the senses before settling into a green, woody concoction.
Spring, summer, fall, day, and night; Layton is as versatile as it is luxurious. In winter, I don’t reach for this fragrance so much. The cold weather dampens Layton’s projection.
Layton has its foot firmly in the premium scent category. Luckily though, longevity is an impressive 8-12 hours of average wear.
Top Notes: Apple, lavender, bergamot, mandarin | Middle Notes: Geranium, violet, jasmine | Base notes: Vanilla, cardamom, sandalwood, pepper, patchouli, guaiac wood | Size: 2.5oz | Type: EDP
The inspiration for Acqua di Gio came from Giorgio Armani’s go-to vacation spot, the beautiful Sicilian Island of Pantelleria. With the most sensational scents the Mediterranean has to offer, it’s no wonder this cologne is light and aquatic yet still warm and sensual.
Not overpowering and never cloying, this office-friendly fragrance will keep you smelling fresh. It’s the one to buy if you want to make a positive, put-together impression.
To make sure I always smell approachable, I keep it light by never spraying it directly onto my clothes. Thanks to its confidence-boosting fragrance Acqua di Gio is the best-smelling cologne for men to wear to work.
Top Notes: Lime, lemon, bergamot, jasmine, orange, mandarin, neroli | Middle Notes: Sea notes, jasmine, peach, freesia, rosemary, hyacinth, cyclamen, violet, coriander, nutmeg, rose| Base notes: White musk, cedar, oakmoss, patchouli, amber | Size: 6.7oz | Type: EDT
This modern fragrance is a best smelling cologne for men and the epitome of the elegant Hugo Boss brand in a bottle.
This sophisticated signature scent won’t let you down. While at first, it presents as crisp and clean, later, the base notes come to the table, bringing with them their warm and spicy wood notes. It’s mass appealing and easy to wear.
It works for all age groups, 20-30s included, but it’s not exclusive to younger guys. More mature men could definitely wear this in casual settings.
Hugo Boss Bottled is my fail-safe when I don’t know which cologne to wear. I wouldn’t ever be without of bottle of this timeless cologne; it’ll always have a place in my collection.
Top Notes: Apple, plum, bergamot, lemon, oakmoss, geranium | Middle Notes: Cinnamon, mahogany, carnation | Base notes: Vanilla, sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, olive tree | Size: 3.4oz | Type: EDT
Fragrance has the power to boost confidence and level up our style. It’s reasonable to say that a premium-quality fragrance is a sound investment.
When I think luxury men’s fragrance, Creed is the first brand to come to mind. So, what is the best smelling cologne for men in the Creed lineup? For me, it’s the invigorating and outdoorsy Viking.
Creed Viking has it all; citrus, florals, spices, herbs, and woods. Yet the scent is a clean, fresh blast that isn’t over-complicated or domineering. Imagine hiking through a Norwegian fjord, inhaling crisp, glacial air. That’s the Viking scent in a nutshell
Rugged, daring, and adventurous; does that sound like you? If the answer’s yes, you’ve just found your signature scent.
Top Notes: Pink pepper, mint, bergamot, lemon, orange | Middle Notes: Lavender, rose, clove, allspice, jasmine, orris root | Base notes: Vetiver, cedar, white musk, tonka bean| Size: 3.3oz | Type: EDP
Do you find cologne sometimes makes you sneeze or gives you a headache? You’re not alone; exposure to strong smells, like cologne, for just 2 hours triggers a migraine in 20% of sufferers, a study found.
There’s no need to give up on smelling good. Instead, opt for a lightweight scent and go easy on the spritzes. The best smelling cologne for men after something easy on the nose is Issey Miyake L’eau D’issey Pour Homme.
L’eau D’issey Pour Homme is a gentle, green citrus and floral scent that wears best in spring, summer, and daytime.
For added comfort, avoid spritzing your cologne close to your nose. Skip the neck and chest; instead, opt for wrists and inner elbows.
Top Notes: Yuzu, lemon, bergamot, lemon verbena, mandarin, cypress, coriander, tarragon, sage | Middle Notes: Lotus, nutmeg, lily, saffron, geranium, cinnamon | Base notes: Vetiver, cedar, must, sandalwood, tobacco, amber| Size: 6.7oz | Type: EDT
This cult scent is a best smelling cologne for men in the fresh fragrance category. Light Blue Pour Homme is aquatic and zesty. If this cologne were a drink, it would be a gin and tonic with a fresh twist of lemon peel.
The opening brings together grapefruit, bergamot, Sicilian mandarin, and juniper. The heart of the fragrance reveals pepper, rosemary, and Brazilian rosewood, which transition to a musky oakmoss and incense base.
Light Blue Pour Homme is the perfect accessory to a crisp, clean white linen shirt. This fragrance is a warm weather wonder, performing best on spring and summer days.
Top Notes: Grapefruit, bergamot, Sicilian mandarin, juniper | Middle Notes: Pepper, rosemary, Brazilian rosewood | Base notes: Musk, incense, oakmoss | Size: 6.7oz | Type: EDT
A modern re-telling of a two-decade-old fragrance, Dolce & Gabbana Intenso is a rich, woody offering.
Intenso opens fresh and green with botanical notes of lavender and basil. Yet, its scent is characterized by a note that’s a new discovery to the fragrance world; Moepel accord. This exciting, niche note adds a luxurious honey balsamic character to the blend.
Dolce & Gabbana didn’t stop there, pushing the boundaries. The base is a smoky tobacco defined by soft, dry bran and hay absolutes.
It’s the uniqueness of this cologne that makes it sexy and draws people closer. Intenso is distinctive yet unexpected and will leave a lasting impression long after you leave a room.
Top Notes: Lavender, water notes, basil, marigold, geranium | Middle Notes: Tobacco, hay, clary sage, moepel accord, bran| Base notes: Sandalwood, cypress, musk, amber, labdanum | Size: 4.2oz | Type: EDP
The fragrance house of Maison Francis Kurkdjian is so much more than social media scent sensation Baccarat Rouge 540.
In 2022, oud is a key player in terms of popular notes in the best smelling men’s colognes. If you’re on the fence about this heavy-hitting note, just take a whiff of Oud Satin Mood.
This complex scent is a masterclass in how to create a fragrance that is as delicate as satin yet still substantial and unforgettable. Bulgarian and Turkish rose plus vanilla and candied violet soften the edges of this masculine note.
Fall and winter nights are when this rich, sensual perfume really shine.
Top Notes: Rose, violet | Middle Notes: Benzoin| Base notes: Vanilla, oud | Size: 2.4oz | Type: EDP
Jimmy Choo Man Intense is ideal for important meetings, special occasions, and whenever you want to get suited and booted.
The top opening notes are smooth, sweet, and fruity, with hints of melon and mandarin. I know what you’re thinking; melon and sophisticated aren’t words you’d expect to see together. You’ll have to trust me, though, when paired with geranium, pepper, tonka bean, and patchouli, this fruity blend is elevated to a whole other level.
For me, this is the best smelling men’s cologne in my collection to use when I want to boost my confidence for an important event or command respect.
Top Notes: Melon, lavender, mandarin orange | Middle Notes: Geranium, black pepper, artemisia| Base notes: Tonka bean, patchouli, labdanum| Size: 3.4oz | Type: EDP
From its sexy and intense fragrance to its sleek matt black bottle with the iconic embossed G logo, nothing says I’m ready for a night out like
Fragrant rose, hot chili peppers, and balsamic vinegar top notes are a powerful opening for this 70s-inspired best smelling men’s cologne. Then the mid notes of orange blossom, French lavender, and neroli kick in. But after 15-20 minutes, it’s all about the base. It doesn’t get much better than the woody cedar and sweet, smoky patchouli dry down.
If you like to attract attention and are looking to raise the bar for your buddies on a night out, this is the one to do it.
Top Notes: Rose, balsamic vinegar, chili pepper, salt | Middle Notes: lavender, orange blossom, neroli | Base notes: Cedar, patchouli | Size: 5oz | Type: EDP
As the name suggests, this cologne is the bomb! It’s an extrovert fragrance that combines oriental, spicy, and woody notes, blending fire and ice.
It has above-average longevity with moderate to high projection. While you can wear this fragrance day or night, it excels once the sun goes down thanks to its powerful and sensual scent.
The top notes of bergamot and citrus provide the initial explosions. While the spicy mid notes are pleasurable, it’s the calming tobacco, leather, and vetiver dry down that do it for me.
The stand-out, custom-designed bottle says it all; it’s in the shape of a hand grenade, so pull the pin and release this weapon of mass olfactory seduction.
Top Notes: Pink pepper, elemi, bergamot, grapefruit| Middle Notes: Cinnamon, saffron, paprika| Base notes: Tobacco, leather, vetiver | Size: 1.7oz| Type: EDT
Elegance and irony aren’t two obvious playmates, but in this floral best smelling cologne for men, they come together perfectly. Toy Boy is a cologne of contradictions; it’s complex yet easy to wear and a total compliment gatherer.
While you can wear it all year round, I think it works best in the springtime for flirty occasions. Forget a warm beer in a sticky-tabled pub and think more of a chilled negroni on a rooftop bar with Florence Pugh.
Apart from its outstanding longevity, the other most unmistakable feature is its bottle. Some may find the teddy-bear-shaped flacon somewhat juvenile, but I’m a sucker for a novelty bottle. It’s a must-have cologne for carefree, confident guys with a playful sense of humour.
Top Notes: Pink pepper, pear, Indonesian nutmeg, elemi, bergamot | Middle Notes: Rose, magnolia, clove, flax | Base notes: Casherman, Haitian vetiver, sandalwood, amber| Size: 3.4oz| Type: EDT
What to Looks for in the Best Smelling Colognes for Men
Is it long-lasting
For longevity, you will get different results depending on your skin and the type of cologne you choose. The lightest, best smelling cologne for men on this list will come as an eau de toilette, such as Issey Miyake L’eau D’issey Pour Homme. This type has a 15-20% concentration of fragrance oil and will typically last on the skin for 3-5 hours.
If you want real staying power, dig deep and splash out on an Eau de Parfum. This option will give you the highest staying power with 20-30 per cent of fragrance oil concentration. When looking for a long-lasting scent, I reach for Montale’s Wood and Spices. This particular fragrance lingers on my clothes for days rather than hours.
Is it seasonal?
Changing your signature scent with the season is a choice. Some guys may think it’s not worth the hassle, but for me, it’s a no-brainer. I wouldn’t step out in summer wearing a thick sweater or in winter wearing board shorts. It’s the same concept when it comes to wearing the best smelling cologne for men.
Jonny Webber of Perfume Direct explains, “summer scents are designed to work in a different way with our bodies. This is why perfumes being promoted for summer use tend to be fruity, lighter and less volatile, which means they can last longer and aren’t as overwhelming as a perfume more associated with winter.:”
In spring, I love Bottega Veneta Illusione EDT with its zesty Italian citrus. As the sun sets on my summertime Valentino Uomo Born in Roma Coral Fantasy, and September comes around, I get back in black with Ralph Lauren Polo Black. When the winter cold descends, I can’t wait to reach for Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit de L’Homme.
The best smelling men’s colognes come in all different sizes and price points. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly fragrance and like oriental fougere scents, you can’t go far wrong with Halloween Man X EDT. Its blend of coffee, cinnamon, tonka bean, incense, and leather is a steal at less than 50 bucks for 4.2oz.
However, if your pockets run a bit deeper and you’re looking to indulge, check out Creed Viking. Creed Viking is one of the most unique and best smelling men’s colognes I smelled in 2022. Plus, launched only a year ago, it’s still unique and not mainstream.
Discover the undiscovered and raise your head above the perfume parapet. Instead of sticking to your signature scent, express yourself by expanding your fragrance repertoire. If you intend to add only one fabulous fragrance to your cologne collection, make it count. Tom Ford’s Oud Wood is the best smelling men’s cologne. The inspiration behind this hedonistic fragrance is the composition of exotic, rare woods and heady spices.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all regarding the best smelling men’s colognes for wowing women. But, I can say that I get the most compliments when I wear Gucci Guilty pour Homme or Dolce and Gabbana’s Intenso. Both are warm, spicy, sensual scents. My partner tells me her ultimate favourite of the two is Gucci Guilty. This scent of attraction, though, may be more about Jared Leto, the celebrity face of this fragrance, than my actual powers of seduction!
The definition of a fresh cologne is one that’s crisp, revitalizing, and not overpowering. Nothing smells quite as fresh as a burst of citrus. My vote for the best fresh-smelling fragrance goes to D&Gs Light Blue Pour Homme. Top notes of mandarin, orange, and grapefruit balance perfectly with the mid notes of sea water and juniper. I reach for this fragrance in spring and summer. To continue enjoying the fresh trend in cooler months, I spritz Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit de L’Homme.