Men's Cologne Buying Guide

Whether attracting women or smelling good for yourself, men's cologne is a fine way to show off your personality. There are so many different colognes out there, however, that choosing just one can seem daunting. While many great colognes smell fabulous in the store, they do not always smell so great on you.

Types of Men's Cologne


Aromatic scents are those that smell rustic, but have a freshness. To the point, if it is an herb, it is likely an aromatic note. Examples of aromatic scents include rosemary, thyme, mint, and tarragon. These scents are excellent for the minimalist personality.


Chyper scents are a harmony of three key notes: bergamot, oakmoss, and labdanum. Often, patchouli is mixed in as well. Together, these notes make for a woodsy scent with a hint of bitter. This type of cologne is best suited to the sensual and mysterious personality.


Citrus scents are made from fruits like orange, grapefruit, and lemon. Others that fall into this category are lemongrass, verbena, and yuzu. These scents have a sharp fruity scent that everyone will recognize and are excellent for clean-cut, sporty type men. Apply this type of cologne several times in the day for new energy.


This is the largest fragrance group and also the most self-explanatory. Floral scents to consider are rose, jasmine, lavender, violet, and immortal. Some of these scents can be used in their natural state, while others have to be re-created in a laboratory. If you are a romantic type, this traditionally alluring scent type will be just the thing for you.


All leather scents, no matter what notes they use, fall into this category. Historically speaking, leather was perfumed with many scents to mask the musky animal scent. Nowadays, this scent is created using birch, juniper, safraline, and synthesized sweat. This scent category is best for easygoing optimists who are extroverted and enjoy infecting everywhere they go with their carefree laughter.


Oriental scents are warm and sensual, with amber being a dominant note. Other scents used are musk and vanilla, as well as a wide variety of resins, woods, flowers and spices. They usually have a top note of orchid, bergamot, or mandarin, while others have food-type top notes like caramel and chocolate. Choose this scent category if you have a determined nature with a mysterious allure.


Woody scents are, of course, dominated by wood scents, from sandalwood to cedar. Other notes in woody scents include amber, patchouli, and vitaver. If you are a charismatic type who is always searching for your next adventure, you might want a woody type cologne.

Pay Attention to


When cologne retailers talk about composition, they discuss it in notes. Notes are the ingredients used to make the cologne. While they can often be found listed on the box, do not buy a cologne that you have not tested. Different compositions have different amounts of ingredients, so the list of notes is going to do little to help you to decide if the scent is going to be the right one for you.

Oil content

Oil content determines how long your cologne will last. The more oils the longer and stronger your cologne will last. This can be a good thing, since it means you get more cologne out of the bottle before it loses its strength. However, it can also be a bad thing, as the more oil there is the more careful you have to be as to how much you put on.


The strength of the cologne affects its range. The stronger the cologne the further away you can be to smell it. Stronger is not necessarily better, as anything that can be smelled more than a step away is overdone. However, you can wear a strong cologne; you just have to be very careful about its application.


The advertising and note marketing on the package often give you a sense of the cologne's concept. With concept, think in adjectives. Is it romantic or musky? Sensual or rugged? It will take a lot of time to find the right concept for your desires, and you should always test a cologne before deciding the concept makes the cologne just right for you.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Giorgio Armani S.P.A.

In 1975, Giorgio Armani formed his own company to promote fashion with ready-to-wear clothes. It soon expanded to various clothes lines and colognes for men, one of which is called Aqua di Gio. This cologne has a sweet musky scent, but is quite strong. Be careful applying it, as many people overdo this cologne with disastrous results.


Created by Pierre Bourdon, Cool Water cologne is best described as a marine scent. Its top notes are mint, sea water, and rosemary. The latest scent, the 2015 Cool Water Summer Seas, has overtones of mandarin, mint, and sandalwood, and many say they cannot tell the difference between this one and the previous years' colognes.

Old Spice

Though the first product from Old Spice, introduced in 1937, was women's cologne, it was closely followed by men's cologne the next year. The spicy cinnamon of Old Spice is a recognizable fragrance to this day, though there are now many different scents in the Old Spice product line. Old Spice Classic is still sold in the package with the colonial ships on the front. This cologne is often overused by men to disastrous results, so be cautious when putting it on!

Dolce & Gabbana

Designed by Dominico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, this cologne is known the world over. The Italian cologne is easy to recognize by its spicy Oriental scent created by the harmonization of tobacco notes and spices. Top notes are grapefruit, coriander, and basil, while the bass notes are tobacco and amber.

Calvin Klein

Founded in 1968 by the designer of the same name, Calvin Klein originally created youthful coats and dresses. Now, the line includes hundreds of products from sportswear to lingerie. Calvin Klein has several different lines of colognes, including one called Eternity. The scent includes notes of mandarin, lavender, and sandalwood, and is considered a clean scent. It is a cologne that you can wear all day and it will not wear down.