Best Men's Fragrances
Trying scent after scent when shopping for a men’s fragrance or a cologne for men can make the whole ordeal pretty tiring. Knowing what to look for in a perfume for men can help you narrow down your preferences - after all, the perfect fragrance might be right under your nose.
Notes of lavender, sandalwood, and musk all work together in the Davidoff Cool Water Man fragrance to leave those wearing it smelling fresh and aromatic.
Fresh, clean scent
Suits a variety of age groups
- Smell2.0 (1)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (1)
Joop! Homme has citrusy top notes, spicy heart notes, musky base notes that last for hours - one spritz and you’re ready to face the day or night.
- Smell4.0 (1)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (1)
Those after a fresh, simple fragrance might find their noses drawn to Calvin Klein’s CK One. With notes of green tea, nutmeg, and musk, the unisex eau de toilette is worn by many as an everyday scent.
Clean, enjoyable smell
Suits all seasons and climates
Can start to fade fairly quickly
- Smell5.0 (1)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (1)
Bottled in a glass torso featuring Jean Paul Gaultier’s signature striped sailor shirt, the Le Male Eau De Toilette has notes of mint, cinnamon, and sandalwood to offer up a delectable scent.
Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million Eau De Toilette has notes of blood mandarin, cinnamon, and leather, making for a fresh, spicy scent that will have noses following you wherever you go.
Latest review: One of the best fragrances available for men - long lasting and not overpowering. Nice woody tones that are not sickly sweet. Fahrenheit is well priced and affordable making it ideal for daily use -
Latest review: I have been a long time user. It is my Wife's favorite. The After Shave Balm is almost impossible to get in W. Aust. but thanks to Chemict online have been successful. Great for my
Latest review: it smells so nice i have never smelt another cologne like it it even has the best projection and longevity anybody could ask for and it actually smells masculine unlike alot of other mens
Latest review: I feel in love with this aftershave after I bought it for my partner as a birthday present. Have never looked back. The smell is devine, it is long lasting and continues to arouse my nose (& other
Latest review: I have been using this fragrance on and off for many years and it has a unique and very pleasant aroma, which gets better with time. Spray your clothes with it the day before you want to wear them.
Latest review: Have bought many colognes/after shaves for my husband over the years but always come back to this one - it is the best by a long shot. Totally wonderful aroma, interesting bottle, not too difficult
Latest review: I got this fragrance given to me by my mother from duty free for xmas, and i wasnt all that keen on it initially, i had really wanted polo blue which i got and used. It wasnt until i got a new
Latest review: It seems to last really well and not go bad. I liked this one a lot on my husband as it is subtle yet inviting. The packaging is simple and user friendly. Not overpowering. A really pleasant scent
Latest review: Great product, I bought it because it was on sale, I was surprised that that the smell wasn't as strong as I thought. Adventure begins with the scents of creamy ‘fresh’ citrus and (hints of) pepper an
Latest review: JOVAN Deodorant stick (solid not liquid or fluid or spray) seems discontinued or unavailable : On label, Musk for Men, 85g .We last purchased this in Cairns & Melbourne, Australia, but now cannot get
Latest review: I simply love the masculine aroma of Kouros but my wife is not impressed with it at all so I looked around and found M7 by the same YSL. It has a softer, rather delicate aroma that lasts forever and
Latest review: The brand really speaks for itself. Trust me, this is among the best smelling perfumes for men. I have been a fan of Hugo Boss for years. My dad introduced me to this perfume. He would always wear
Latest review: Inhale the Liquid Gold...Stunning Fragrance and My favourite of all time and if you do want to get noticed then this is for you.This Men's Fragrance may leave you or your partner breathless as it has
Latest review: This fragrance is very masculine and strong i think it is a great fragrance for night wear. the bottle is so bold and different from any other bottle on the market. great perfume, great design and
Perfume 101: Fragrance notes
There are three types of notes - top, heart, and base - that when blended together, create a fragrance’s full scent profile. Each of these layers have their own purpose, so it’s important to know which is which when you’re out shopping.
Top notes are the lightest of all the notes, however they may seem the strongest at first because they’re immediately recognisable once the perfume is applied. Because of their molecular structure, these notes are the first to fade, but they should make way for a smooth transition into the heart notes.
Common top notes include citrus (such as lemon, orange zest, and bergamot), light fruits (such as grapefruit and berries), and herbs (such as lavender and clary sage).
Heart notes, or middle notes (but we prefer the former), balance the whole scent, and often influence the base notes. They’re named so because they’re the “heart” or main body of a fragrance. They mask stronger base notes, which become more pleasant over time.
Common heart notes include geranium, lavender, ylang ylang, neroli, lemongrass, and rose.
Base notes are those that emerge once the top notes have completely evaporated. They interact with the middle notes to create a fragrance’s full body. These are the notes that stay on your skin for hours - some are even detectable 24 hours after you’ve applied the fragrance.
Common base notes include musk, sandalwood, vanilla, and amber.
Understanding scent families
A fragrance will usually belong to 1 or 2 scent families. While different perfumiers may classify scents slightly differently, the following 4 families are commonly used.
- Floral. Unsurprisingly, this scent family includes floral ingredients, such as jasmine, rose, gardenia, and lily of the valley.
- Oriental. First things first: yes, the name is problematic and the perfume world should definitely consider revising the term, not only because it’s outdated but also because unlike the other family names, it doesn’t say much about its scents. This family is characterised by its warm, sensual notes, including ingredients like vanilla, musk, sandalwood and amber. and both fall into this category, although both are also classed as woody.
- Woody. These scents are damp and earthy, and include ingredients like sandalwood, vetiver, cedar, and patchouli. is a woody fragrance.
- Fresh. Fresh scents are clean and bright - often herby, citrusy, and oceanic scents fall into this family. Common ingredients include sage, bergamot, and grapefruit. is an example of a fragrance in this family.
There are also scent subfamilies, some of which are shown in the fragrance wheel below.
Usually, fragrance subfamilies that are side by side on the wheel blend well, and those directly opposite to each other on the wheel complement each other. This means, for example, that a soft floral scent will go well with a dry wood.
Common ingredients found in men's fragrances
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some common ingredients found in fragrances for men.
- Bergamot. This is a citrus fruit with a smell comparable to Earl Grey (which is made with bergamot rind).
- Musk. Musk is commonly described as earthy, woody, and intoxicating - there’s no wonder it’s a popular scent choice.
- Amber or ambergris. This has a sweet, earthy scent.
- Vetiver. A perennial grass native to South India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia (while vetiver oil mainly comes from Haiti), vetiver has a bit of a nutty smell.
- Oud. Derived from the Agar tree and one of the most expensive perfume ingredients in the world, this ingredient can be polarising - people tend to either love it or hate it. It’s often described as warm and woody, and sometimes smoky.
- Patchouli. A favourite among hippies and sometimes used in alternative medicine, patchouli has a smoky, musky, earthy smell.
- Sandalwood. Unsurprisingly, this ingredient has a deep, woody scent.
- Oakmoss. Oakmoss has an earthy, mossy aroma with leather-like undertones.
- Tonka bean. This has an aroma similar to vanilla, but also has hints of cinnamon, cloves, and nuts.
What to consider when looking for a fragrance
Type of perfume
- Eau fraiche has the lowest concentration of all fragrances, typically containing somewhere between 1 to 3% of perfume oil. This small amount makes these a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
- Eau de cologne usually contains 2 to 4% of perfume oil, and usually lasts up to 2 hours.
- Eau de toilette can contain anywhere from 5 to 15% of perfume, and usually lasts 2 to 4 hours. This low potency makes them cheaper than eau de parfums and also a popular choice for use day to day, as even if you spray a lot, they won’t be too overwhelming.
- Eau de parfum usually contains 15 to 20% of perfume oil, and usually lasts up to 6 to 8 hours. It’s more intense smell makes it a popular choice for those looking for an evening fragrance.
- Parfum is the most highly concentrated fragrance formulation, which means it’s also usually the most expensive. It contains anywhere from 20 to 30% of perfume oil, and usually lasts over 8 hours.
- Perfume oils are fragrances with an oil base, so they don’t contain alcohol or water like most other perfume types. The concentration of these can vary greatly, but most will have up to 20% of perfume.
If you’re wondering which men’s perfume lasts the longest, then in addition to looking out for the type of perfume, you can also look out for certain fragrance families. Long lasting perfumes for men are often more woody or “Oriental”, as these scents are more enduring than the citruses and florals in other scent families.
Although harder to test, your skin type can also affect the longevity and sillage (how much a fragrance lingers in the air) of a perfume you’ve applied.
Choosing between natural and synthetic ingredients
Fragrances usually either use natural fragrances, synthetic fragrances, or a blend of both.
- Essential oils can be therapeutic for the mind and body.
- Can offer deep, unique scents.
- Have more allergens.
- Because quality is affected by factors like the weather conditions an ingredient was grown in, different batches of natural fragrances may be slightly different.
- Have a shorter shelf life.
- Often more expensive.
- As they're lab-made, there's greater consistency across different batches.
- Last longer on the skin.
- Can be modified to minimise allergens.
- Often less expensive than natural fragrances.
Just because a fragrance is natural, it doesn’t mean that it’s more sustainable. To extract some essential oils, you often need a lot of raw material - the scale of farming of which isn’t good for the planet. For example, 4 tonnes of rose blooms only yield around 1kg of rose oil.
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your fragrance, look instead for companies who can trace the origin of their ingredients and source them in an ethical and sustainable way, as well as products that haven’t been tested on animals. You can also look out for biodegradable materials and minimal, plastic-free packaging.
What about custom blends?
If mass-produced designer fragrances aren’t piquing your interest, and you haven’t found the right scent in a more niche brand, then you might want to try out a custom blend.
In this case, a perfumier will usually ask you which scents you like, which fragrances you already own and use, and what kind of “feel” you want your scent to have.
You may need to pay for a consultation fee, or spend a bit initially to get a few testers of different fragrances before you commit to buying a full-sized bottle. Because of the labour that goes into making a custom blend, you should expect these to be more expensive than most fragrances you can buy off the shelf.
Male perfumes can cost anywhere from $10 to $500 and upwards. Male cologne and eau de fraiche will generally be quite cheap, while eau de parfums and custom blends will usually set you back anywhere from $100 to $200.
It’s also worth snagging the scent you’ve settled on at a mens perfume sale at a discount pharmacy - they often stock perfumes at much cheaper prices than you'd find at department stores.
Tips for when you shop and wear your fragrance
- Try to refrain from buying a perfume until you’ve worn it for a whole day. This will help ensure that you like the smell of all the perfume's notes, and will also help you see how a fragrance interacts with your own natural smell.
- If a store has coffee beans for you to smell between trying scents, then use them, as they help refresh your palate after each tester.
- Store your fragrance in a cool, dark, dry place (such as in a bedroom closet) to prolong its lifespan. Exposure to heat and sunlight can cause the molecules in your fragrance to break apart, which may change its smell.
The bottom line
Understanding notes and scent families can help you detect smells and assess how a fragrance’s smell will change over time, but ultimately, it’s all down to personal preference.
If you find yourself drawn to a , then go for it. If you find that you’re not a fan of some of the common ingredients found in most fragrances, then keep experimenting until you find a scent that you and your nose love.
At the end of the day, what matters most in a fragrance is that it helps give you the confidence to be who you want to be.