Put down that cheap cologne, guys.

It is not doing you any favors. If you want to smell like an actual man with taste and good form, you can’t use a cheap drugstore cologne and think your job is done.

You need to start using some good old school colognes.

When it comes to smelling like a man, just think WWSMW. What Would Steve McQueen Wear? He would wear a 1970’s men’s cologne that smells timeless. So should you.

In this men’s cologne guide we will direct you to some of the sexiest men’s colognes of all time to help you smell better.

We’re going to focus on some vintage men’s colognes that will have you smell like your grandfather. Your grandfather in his prime, though, when he had that old school cool thing going on and not when he was yelling at you to stay off his lawn.

If you just want a run down on the sexiest men’s colognes then just below you’ll find a comparison table with our picks for the top men’s colognes of 2018. Otherwise, keep scrolling for the detailed reviews of the best smelling men’s colognes, at least in our opinion.

Fougère
montblanc cologne
  • MONTBLANC Legend Eau de Toilette
  • Season:
    All Year
  • Best for:
    Ideal professional cologne for the workplace or casual event.
  • Longevity:
    ★★★★
  • Price:
    $$$
Chypre
creed aventus cologne
  • Creed Aventus Eau De Parfum
  • Season:
    Spring and Summer
  • Best for:
    When on a date or trying to impress a special lady
  • Longevity:
    ★★★★
  • Price:
    $$$$
Tobacco
18.21 cologne
  • 18.21 Man Made Sweet Tobacco Spirits
  • Season:
    Autumn, Winter
  • Best for:
    Great for apres ski in the lodge by the fire, drinking a glass of scotch.
  • Longevity:
    ★★★★
  • Price:
    $$
Chypre
Burberry cologne
  • BURBERRY Weekend for Men Eau de Toilette
  • Season:
    Summer
  • Best for:
    Makes a great everyday fragrance that is simple and fresh
  • Longevity:
    ★★★★
  • Price:
    $$$
Woody
Taylor cologne
  • Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Cologne
  • Season:
    Any
  • Best for:
    Smells like an old school barbershop so works great for that masculine scent from times gone by
  • Longevity:
    ★★★
  • Price:
    $$
Aquatic
gio cologne
  • Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Eau De Toilette Spray
  • Season:
    Summer
  • Best for:
    When you want to smell like you’ve been out on the yacht all day
  • Longevity:
    ★★★★★
  • Price:
    $$

How to Choose the Right Cologne

Before I get into how to choose the best cologne, let me remind you that the cologne is not for you. It is for everybody else around you since they will be the ones smelling it all day.

The only time you come into the equation is how you want to be perceived and the fragrance you choose will reflect that.

Alos, take these guidelines very loosely.

What cologne smells the best is deeply personal and personal preferences are very fickle. They can change depending on mood, even.

In fact, let’s start on that note.

Moods

Since your mood changes it makes sense to have a variety of colognes to suit whatever mood you happen to be in.

Feeling flirty? Then a more floral forward scent might be best for you.

Feeling assertive? Perhaps a musk with some leather notes will be best.

There is a scent that will work for whatever mood you happen to be in that day and you can make sure everybody knows your mood by the cologne you chose for the moment.

Season

The time of year should also play a part in choosing a cologne. Earthy fragrances work best when there is a chill in the air. Brighter notes will fit the warmer seasons much better.

Personality

Your personality type will determine which scent will work best for you.

If you are very calm and subdued, you will probably do best with something subtle and understated.

A sporty type will likely want to wear something that is bright and somewhat herbal or grassy.

The brooding, determined type should look for something earthy like musk or amber.

And, the charismatic man that is usually the center of attention can get away with an assertive woodsy scent.

Try to match what you think your personal traits are with what the main characteristics of a cologne are.

Workplace

Being in a closed office setting means you have to really be careful with your cologne. If you want an everyday cologne that works in an office then make sure it is nothing too strong. Not to mention you should not use a heavy hand when applying it.

Something lightly spiced, or floral work well in close proximity of other people.

Try to avoid earthier scents like a deep musk or patchouli as these fragrances can be too much for certain people.

Who is it for?

If you are trying to impress a certain lady friend, then take her personality into account when choosing a cologne.

You want a cologne that will smell good to the target in question, so choose a cologne that you know will be that woman’s favorite.

Price

Since you get what you pay for, it is worth it to get the most expensive cologne your budget allows.

I’m not saying you have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good cologne. In fact, there is no guarantee that you will like the most expensive cologne out there.

It is just the more you spend the more quality product you get.

If you have $50 to play with then get the best one for that price. If you have $100 then pay up to that limit.

The main thing to consider is that the scent has to suit you, no matter what you spend.

What’s the Difference Between Cologne and Eau de Toilette?

The difference between eau de toilette and cologne is simply the amount of fragrance oil in it. There is a range from “parfum” or “perfume” which is 20 to 30% oil. The other end of the range is “eau de fraiche” which has only 1 to 3%.

Eau de cologne has 2 to 4% and eau de toilette has 5 to 15%.

It is important to understand the difference because of the intensity of the fragrance and how long it lasts is determined by the amount of perfume oil it has.

Keep this in mind when reading reviews about colognes. Many times people don’t actually know which version they are buying. Many times the reviewer will say they had bought the cologne a few years before and it was much stronger and this weaker version must be a fake.

The more realistic scenario is that they had bought eau de parfum or eau de toilette before and this time bought eau de cologne and didn’t realize that the previous purchase had a much higher percentage of fragrance oil in it.

For a more potent and longer lasting cologne, go for eau de toilette or eau de parfum. To go mild go for eau de cologne. Eau de fraiche is actually harder to come by.

Our Top Smelling Masculine Colognes

Best Cologne for Workplace

MONTBLANC Legend Eau de Toilette

Light, fresh and crisp, while still smelling masculine.

This eau de toilette is ideal for an office setting as it is very refreshing to smell and doesn’t go on too heavy.

It’s always a good idea to stay away from heady perfumes at work, so this is a very versatile cologne that works well to still remain professional while showing off your refined sensibilities.

If you can only have just one cologne, I do recommend this one. It works best during the daytime since it does have some citrusy top notes giving way to some light floral notes during the heart phase. But, that said, it can still be worn at night. Especially as the base notes come in with some subtle cedar and oak moss. In fact, it is very long lasting, so the top notes and heart notes will feature prominently during work hours, but the deeper base notes will start to come through around the time you head out for an after work drink.

Also, it is good year round. Best as a Spring or summer cologne, it isn’t so aromatic that it would seem out of place in the winter.

This is not exactly a seductive cologne. It is very non obtrusive which allows you to remain professional. Yet, at the same time, it is great for a modest man who doesn’t wish to offend or make a wrong impression while still exhibiting some sense of style.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Light and refreshing aromatic fougere
  • May be too lightweight for some
  • Long lasting
  • Very versatile
  • Not overbearing

Most Seductive Men’s Cologne

Creed Aventus Eau De Parfum

Hands down, the best men’s cologne to help get laid is Creed Aventus.

Women go crazy over the scent. Wear this and expect to get a ton of compliments wherever and whenever you wear it.

Starting out as soon as you apply it, the top notes are unmistakable roasted pineapple and bergamot. That may seem overly sweet, but that sweetness quickly dissipates after less than 10 minutes and gives way to some more aromatic notes like jasmine and crisp apple.

The base notes that come through after a couple of hours are more heady, like vanilla and oakmoss.

What makes this men’s cologne a women’s favorite? I’m really not sure. I mean, it smells intoxicating, but I can’t put my finger on what it is that stands out so much to make women go crazy for it.

It’s very complex. A little smokey, a little fruity and a little woodsy all wrapped up in one fragrance.

It is very long lasting so put some on in the morning and enjoy the ever changing scents as the day progresses.

A member of the fruity Chypre fragrance family, it works best in Spring and Summer. Especially since it also sports a slight marine quality that will make it seem like you walked straight off a Cape Cod beach.

I think it could definitely pass in winter, too, depending on when it is worn.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Ladies love it
  • Very high price
  • Great Spring and Summer fragrance
  • Great for workplace
  • Not overbearing

Best Winter Cologne

18.21 Man Made Sweet Tobacco Spirits

This is a perfume grade cologne made with 20% fragrance oil. It is perfect for a winter evening in front of the fire due to it being the best tobacco cologne I have ever smelled.

Think about the heady aroma of a tobacco shop with the heady scents of dried fruit, vanilla and a slight woodsy note and you’re on the right track with how this smells.

It is incredibly complex with an ever so slight sweetness.

I don’t smoke and have never even smoked a cigarette, but I absolutely love the smell of a tobacconist shop. This is the next best thing for non smokers then to be able to enjoy that scent without needing to fire up a pipe.

Keep in mind when applying this that a little goes a very long way. Since this is perfume grade, it has a high amount of oil so it will go on a bit greasy if you use too much of it. Not to mention that it would smell way too strong.

A couple of dabs on your pulse points like your wrist or neck and you are good to go for up to 12 hours.

The price makes this an excellent purchase as it gives some more expensive colognes a run for the money. I would take this vs Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille any day of the week and it costs a fraction.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Best tobacco fragrance
  • None. Seriously.
  • Very long lasting
  • Great Winter cologne
  • Complex masculine scent
  • Great price

Best Everyday Men’s Cologne

BURBERRY Weekend for Men Eau de Toilette

For a fresh, clean scent that lasts all day, it will smell like you just got out of the shower.

Starting out with some citrusy top notes like lemon and grapefruit, it evolves to a shaving cream aroma of sandalwood and then finishes with base notes of honey and musk.

In it very unobtrusive, making it ideal for the workplace or just a casual night out with friends.

It works best in Spring and Summer, but really could work any time of year. It goes on light but lasts a long time.

A Chypre fragrance, it is very uplifting and refreshing.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Great for everyday wear
  • Not very complex
  • Great for workplace
  • Refreshing scent
  • Perfect Summer scent

Best Barbershop Scent Cologne

Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Cologne

When you want to smell like you just stepped out of an old school barbershop, try this classic barbershop scent cologne.

Loaded with sandalwood it smells just like the shaving cream they produce that is so popular.

Let me make one thing clear, this is not an aftershave. For some reason people think the barbershop colognes are the same as aftershave. An Aftershave is splashed on the face after the shave and only lasts minutes to an hour.

A cologne is not meant to splash on and it used just like any other cologne, it doesn’t matter that it smells like an old school barbershop aftershave.

You should get about 6 or 7 hours before this one needs to be reapplied.

It isn’t just heavy on the sandalwood. It also has a slight vetiver scent to add a crispness to it and a bit of jasmine and lavender. With just enough spice notes to give it some depth. It smells very masculine in an old fashioned English way.

Lastly, it smells faintly of the talc that a barber dusts you off with as your haircut is finished.

All in all, this is a wonderful throwback to how men used to smell and id due for a comeback now that 1960’s style men’s colognes are making a comeback.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Classic barbershop scent
  • Lasts only 6 or 7 hours
  • Great for workplace
  • Classic old fashioned scent
  • Not overpowering

Best Men’s Cologne for Summer

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Eau De Toilette Spray

The best men’s cologne for summer is also the best aquatic fragrance for men. When you want to smell like you spent the day on a yacht, soaking up the sea breeze then this eau de toilette really hits the mark.

With top notes a bit on the citrusy side, it starts out crisp and light. As it dries down, it leads to some seaside scents from an ambergris-like fragrance.

This is great as an everyday cologne throughout the summer. It even works well in the evenings.

It is such a versatile fragrance that it is easy to believe how it is the best selling men’s cologne on the market.

It goes on easy and lasts all day. It makes for a good workplace cologne or a cologne for the gym or even any casual setting.

When you want a soft smelling cologne that is just simple then this classic definitely has a place among your toiletries.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Very fresh and aquatic
  • Not very complex
  • Great scent for Summer days and evenings
  • Works in an office setting
  • Lasts up to 10 hours

How to Properly Apply Cologne

The very first, and most important rule is to never overdo it. Everybody has had to deal with the guy that bathed in a tub full of cologne. It is disrespectful of the people around you and does you no favors when it comes to good will.

Another thing to consider is when to wear the cologne.

You wouldn’t want to wear a strong cologne to a fine restaurant as it will interfere with your food.

Also a funeral might not be the best place to wear a cologne.

Weddings, parties, dates, these are all obvious places where ti is ok to wear cologne. Work? That depends on where you work and what you wear.

Where to apply the cologne?

The best place to apply cologne is on your pulse points. On the inside of your wrists, your neck and your collarbone are all pulse points. Why apply on pulse points? These areas produce a lot of heat without producing too much sweat that invites bacteria. This heat can keep the cologne activated all day.

Where to not apply cologne? Don’t use it as aftershave and splash it all over your face. This will waste it and it will be overpowering for you and everybody else to smell.

Don’t put it under your arms like deodorant. The bacteria mixed with sweat under your arms will have the opposite effect and make you smell horrible. Wear a good neutral deodorant that won’t conflict with your cologne.

Lastly, don’t spray it on your clothes. It won’t last nearly as long as when you spray it on your skin.

The best time to apply is right out of the shower.

Your skin is clean and hydrated so the cologne doesn’t get absorbed by the skin too quickly keeping it fresh longer throughout the day.

If you have dry skin then it is best to use a hydrating lotion before you apply your cologne for the same reason. It will last much longer.

Wrapping up the Top Masculine Fragrances for Men

While this list is far from exhaustive, it should set you on your way towards finding some good, classic men’s colognes for guys that love those vintage scents.

Besides the fact that smells are subjective and what smells good to one person might be the opposite for another, it should also be noted that the same scent can smell different on different people. Skin types and pheromones mix with the cologne and can make it smell much different than you might have been expecting. Keep an open mind when trying out a new cologne.

On the pheromone note, I should address this common question that will probably be asked in the comments.

Do pheromone colognes really work?

The short answer is, no, they don’t. A longer answer is that there is a sort of placebo effect in play here. Somebody wearing a pheromone cologne thinking that the ladies will flock to him once the scent hits their nostrils are likely to act a lot different than if they weren’t wearing it. In that sense maybe the added confidence will attract some women, in which case it could seem like it works.

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