Cologne

12 Best Colognes For Men in 2022 (that are Actually Good)

Choosing a fragrance can feel a little overwhelming at first. I remember when I was starting out, I wished someone could just hand me a cheat sheet with the most popular men’s colognes – you know, the ones that are actually good.

To save you staring blankly into an abyss of bottles I’ve narrowed down the hundreds of colognes I’ve tested over the last year to my top 12 picks.

Best For summer
davidoff cool water

Cool Water by Davidoff

Dry, woodsy Sandalwood for hot days.
Retro masculinity that feels mature and energetic.
Available at:
Best for Winter
Spicebomb

Spicebomb Extreme

Warming winter spice that lasts a lifetime.
Projects well in the cold weather.
Available at:
Best cheap cologne
Armaf Club De Nuit

Armaf Club De Nuit

Bright citrus and musky vanilla combine to create a serial compliment-collector.
Perfect as an alternative to Creed Aventus for Gents on a budget
Available at:

These are the fragrances that every Gent should try at least once in their lives – a sort of Mount Rushmore of Eau de Parfums that each has its own unique strengths and occasions. 

By grabbing a few of these tried-and-true fragrances, you’ll be setting yourself up with a good base to start your fragrance journey.

You’re going to find your signature, one in a million scent naturally through time, but there’s nothing wrong with starting with a few classic bangers. 

They’re popular for a reason, you know. 

TOP PICKS

Best Colognes For Men in 2022

Davidoff Cool Water – Best Summer Cologne

Spicebomb Extreme – Best Winter Cologne

Armaf Club De Nuit – Best Cheap Cologne 

Ombré Leather – Best Leather Cologne for Men

Aventus by Creed – Best Cologne For Longevity

Versace Eros – Best Cologne to Attract Women

Boss Bottled Eau de Parfum – Best Cologne for the Office

Stronger With You – Best Vanilla Cologne for Men

Davidoff Cool Water- Best Summer Cologne

Cool Water by Davidoff is a classic Summer cologne, perfect for a more mature Gent looking for something refined and masculine. This dry, sandalwood woody aroma exudes confidence in a way that feels energetic and fresh.

davidoff cool water

The clean, laundry-detergent fresh effect is perfect for everyday wear, with powdery oakmoss masculinity in the base. Touches of herbs like lavender and rosemary provide a little green vitality throughout the dry-down, resulting in a retro masterclass. 

If you’re new to fragrances, Cool Water really is a must-try. It’s one of the most popular Eau de Toilette of all time and could be your new signature scent if you’re a Sandalwood-aficionado.

Top NotesSea water, Lavender, Mint, Green Notes, Rosemary, Calone, and Coriander
Middle NotesSandalwood, Neroli, Geranium, and Jasmine
Base NotesMusk, Tobacco, Oakmoss, Cedar, and Amber
Davidoff Cool Watr Fragrance Notes

Spicebomb Extreme – Best Winter Cologne

Spicebomb is synonymous with Winter fragrance, using warming notes of cinnamon and pink pepper to keep you toasty during the winter nights. 

These tingly aromatics rest on top of a stiff masculine base of tobacco, leather, and vetiver. They’re very well balanced, providing just enough darkness to exude masculinity without detracting from the main event: the spice.  

Spicebomb

I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a winter cologne that is sensible enough for the office, but with enough personality to intrigue over a mulled wine after work.

The flankers are also well worth checking out, too. My favorite, Spicebomb Infrared, swaps out some of the harsher fragrance notes with tart red berries, producing a sweet, date-friendly fragrance.  

Base NotesMusk, Tobacco, Oakmoss, Cedar, and Amber
Middle notesCinnamon, Saffron, and Paprika
Base notesTobacco, Leather, and Vetiver
Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Fragrance Notes

Armaf Club De Nuit – Best Cheap Cologne 

If you’re looking for a cologne that punches above its weight, Club De Nuit Man is for you. It’s one of the most complimented fragrances in my collection. It picks up plenty of female attention and lasts a full 10-hour day – what more could you want?

There’s a strong blast of citrus in the opening, which gradually mellows out into more moderated accords of musk, patchouli, and vanilla in the base. This is a masculine cologne at its core, but it still cares about the finer details and subtle inflections.

Armaf Club De Nuit

If you’ve ever tried Aventus by Creed, that will give you a good sense of Club De Nuit. It’s so similar that would be fair to call it a clone, which is pretty impressive considering the difference in price. Armaf Club De Nuit can really hold its own against colognes that cost ten times as much. 

This is the sort of cologne that tells people you’re serious and are capable of handling business. I’d recommend it to any young professional trying to add some gravitas to their outfit without blowing their entire paycheck.

Top Notes Lemon, Pineapple, Bergamot, Blackcurrant, and Apple
Middle Notes Birch, Jasmine, and Rose
Base Notes Musk, Ambergris, Patchouli, and Vanilla
Armaf Club De NuitFragrance Notes

Ombré Leather – Best Leather Cologne

Full disclosure: Tom Ford is my favorite house for luxury fragrances. Their attention to detail and high-quality ingredients set them apart from the crowd, and you just can’t help but feel more important when you’re wearing their Eau de Parfums.

And the best of that bunch is Ombré Leather. If you’re looking for confidence in a bottle, this is it. The leather here is deep and clean, unlike a lot of other more rugged leather fragrances I’ve tried. For me it’s got more of a “new supercar” sense than a “dirty biker” feeling, incorporating warm amber to produce a scent that is tempting and alluring.

Ombré Leather

It provides the sort of confidence that a CEO would want a public engagement. It’s clean and confident, but with enough of a brooding sense to point to a tamed monster within. Flickers of cardamom and vanilla also creep in to provide a little texture to an otherwise uncomplicated palate.

Top Notes Vanilla and Cardamom
Middle NotesJasmine and Leather
Base Notes Moss, Patchouli, and Amber
Tom Ford Ombré Leather Fragrance Notes

Aventus by Creed – Best Cologne For Longevity

Aventus is often heralded as the best cologne on the planet. When people think of high-end fragrances, it’s never far from their thoughts. I think everyone should try it at least once, even if only as a reference point to compare other colognes against. 

This is a masculine and versatile scent that would do very well in situations that demand a suit. The workplace, a formal dinner – basically anywhere that you want to let people know that you’re a man in control. 

The iconic element of Aventus is the crisp pineapple in the opening. Paired with juicy blackcurrant, it’s an idiosyncratic combination that is undeniably Creed. This takes center stage for the first 2 or 3 hours, before making room for stacks of patchouli and sensual musk.

Aventus

Aventus is also known as a performance beast, lasting 10 to 11 hours with no problem and projecting a considerable scent trail for the first 5 or 6. It’s one of the many reasons people are able to justify that hefty price tag. Per spray, you’re actually getting quite a lot of bang for your buck. 

With that in mind, this is one of those fragrances that you’ll want to apply with care. Any more than 2 – 3 spritzes in the morning might find you dominating attention when you walk into a room. This is a cologne to be applied subtly for best results. 

If there’s one drawback with Aventus, it’s that it has slightly become a victim of its own success. Because it’s so good, many people have selected it as their signature fragrance. In any given boardroom, 2 or 3 other people might be wearing it.

They say “if you can’t beat them, join them”, but if you’re looking for something novel that you will never encounter in the wild, you’re going to want to look elsewhere. 

If you like the sound of Aventus but don’t quite have the budget, check out our guide to the best Creed Aventus clones.

Top NotesBlackcurrant, Apple, Bergamot, and Pineapple
Middle NotesRose, Patchouli, Jasmine, and Birch
Base Notes Vanilla, Oakmoss, and Musk
Creed Aventus Fragrance Notes

Versace Eros – Best Cologne to Attract Women

If you’re a Gent in your twenties, it’s pretty much mandatory to have a bottle of Eros in your rotation. 

Versace Eros is a masculine club-banger, all about youthful exuberance. It’s a mass appeal fragrance that is pretty much guaranteed to pick up compliments from girls

Perfectly balanced woods and fruits combine in a sensual fragrance that is creamy, rich, and perfectly sweet. Bright notes of green apple and Italian lemon zest are paired against tonka bean and vanilla to remarkable effect here. 

Versace Eros

There are also fresh notes from a spearmint accord that adds a bit of greenery to an otherwise fairly gourmand palate. To my nose, the result is similar to a luxury mint ice cream. Top-tier.

Top NotesMint, Green Apple, and Lemon
Middle NotesTonka Bean, Ambroxan, and Geranium
Base NotesVanilla, Cedar, Vetiver, and Oakmoss
Versace Eros Fragrance Notes

Boss Bottled Eau de Parfum – Best Hugo Cologne for the Office

If you’re trying a Hugo Boss cologne, it’s worth picking one that relies on the accord they’re known for – apple. In Boss Bottled, juicy green apple pairs with cinnamon and spice cloves to produce a hot apple pie effect. 

It sits on top of aromatic woods like sandalwood and cedar, maintaining a masculine streak that would be ideal for young professionals looking for a confident and energetic workplace fragrance. It’s a versatile scent that you can wear all year round, apart from on very sunny days where I fear the apple sweetness may become a little cloying.

Boss Bottled

Like the other Hugo Boss colognes I’ve tried, Boss Bottled delivers impressive longevity and performance – particularly for a midrange Eau de Parfum. You’ll leave an 8-hour day at the office still harnessing a light skin scent.

If you’re looking for something that will make you feel empowered to speak your mind and assert yourself, Boss Bottled can provide exactly that sort of confidence. 

Top notesApple, Mandarin, Cinnamon 
Middle notesPatchouli, Rosemary, Lavender 
Base notesOlivewood, Sandalwood
Boss Bottled Fragrance Notes

Stronger With You – Best Vanilla Cologne

When you’re looking for a vanilla fragrance, you want something that feels like comfort in a bottle. Stronger with You does exactly that, combining sweet gourmand vanilla with a warmer heart of cardamom and chestnut to represent a refined and gentlemanly brand of masculinity. 

It moderates the vanilla sense with just enough warm spice to prevent itself from ever becoming “too safe”. It’s a hazy, cozy blend that would be perfect for a winter walk or nestling by an open fire with your girlfriend.

Stronger With You

As the fragrance develops, a nuttier sense begins to express itself through the dry down. It’s almost a little holiday season a homely, baked goods sort of way. By this point, at around hour 5, the projection is reduced, becoming an amber-heavy skin scent more suited for intimacy than turning heads.  

Top NotesCardamom, Pink Pepper, Violet Leaf, and Mint
Middle NotesPineapple, Cinnamon, Melon, Clary Sage, and Lavender
Base NotesVanilla, Chestnut, Amberwood, Cedar, and Guaiac Wood
Stronger With You Fragrance Notes

Dior Homme – Best Dior Cologne

Dior Homme is an exercise in classic masculine scents, calling upon traditional notes to produce a fragrance that still feels relevant today.

It has that great ability to last a long time but at a consistent pleasant level, rather than overpowering in the first instance and being hard to detect by the end. 

It’s a relatively light scent, but with enough woods in the base that there’s certainly a masculine sense. It is not a deep, brooding, alpha-male effort – but it does have a refined gentlemanly quality.

dior homme cologne

Dior Homme is a powdery and refined, sophisticated scent that embodies contemporary masculinity rather than blind bravado. Vetiver and musk do enough in the base to entice rather than overpower.

Top notesBergamot, Black Pepper and Elemi
Middle notesCashmere Wood, Atlas Cedar, and Patchouli
Base notesIso E Super, Haitian Vetiver, and White Musk.
Dior Homme Fragrance Notes

YSL La Nuit De L’Homme – Best YSL Cologne

If you’re after something casual for the evening, La Nuit De L’Homme is a great choice. It’s the perfect scent for a night at the bar where you’re still suited, but maybe you’ve taken off your tie and undone a button or two. 

This mysterious fragrance has stood the test of time and it’s not difficult to understand why.

You’ll project a masculine combination of cardamom and woodsy vetiver and cedar which will attract attention without being overbearing. 

YSL La Nuit De L’Homme

Accords like cumin, which I find to be criminally underused by other houses, make a pleasant appearance and bring something new to the table. This is not a generic scent, but it’s not a disruptive one, either. 

La Nuit De L’Homme is worth checking out if you need a cologne for a date night in the city – and particularly if you’re conscious of wearing something relatively unique as your signature scent.  

Top noteCardamom
Middle notesFloral Notes, Virginia Cedar, and Bergamot
Base notesVetiver and Caraway.
La Nuit De L’Homme Fragrance Notes

1 Million Eau de Parfum – Best Paco Rabanne Cologne

1 Million is a right of passage for every young man in terms of cologne. This is pure club-banger energy, designed to attract attention through a juicy blast of citrus and cinnamon. This bold and bright cologne is all about youth, revelry, and making an impression.

This Paco Rabanne cologne is perfect for a Gent in his early twenties to express bustling, lively energy. As a bonus, girls seem to absolutely love this stuff.

Just be aware, that once those fruits fade, the cinnamon does become pretty powerful. It’s sort of like spiced Christmas Cookies. Plenty of sweetness but bags of spice. If you’re not a fan of cinnamon scents, it’s probably best to give this one a miss. 

One Million

In the base, there are amber and woodsy accords to provide some masculine bite and prevent 1 million from wandering off into sickly-sweet territory. 

Longevity is similarly hefty at a solid day’s use of 10+ hours. 1 Million will carry you through a busy day and well into the evening entertainment.

For a top-tier energizer with the power to match, 1 million hits the jackpot. 

Top Notes Grapefruit, Mint, and Blood Mandarin
Middle Notes Cinnamon, Spicy Notes, and Rose
Base Notes Patchouli, Woodsy Notes, Leather, and Amber
1 Million Fragrance Notes

Burberry London – Best Burberry Cologne

This is an ideal cologne for winter, with warming notes of cinnamon and tobacco flower combined with deep woods and aromatic lavender. If you’re looking for a fragrance with crowd-pleasing qualities that still smells unique, it’s a great option.

This is not the sort of Eau de Parfum that’s going to fill the room when you walk in or command immediate respect and deference from your enemies. But it is a fragrance that will put those around you at ease, and leave them with an impression of you as a refined and tasteful individual.

Burberry London

It’s in the midrange of pricing at around $100, but to be honest it smells like it could cost a lot more. Perfect for holiday season events where you’re not looking to blow anyone away, but still what to feel like the man. 

Top notes Cinnamon, Lavender, and Bergamot
Middle notes Leather and Mimosa
Base notes Tobacco Leaf, Opoponax, Guaiac Wood, and Oakmoss
Burberry London Fragrance Notes

What to Look For in a Men’s Cologne

Colognes are an extension of your style and are a fairly subjective experience. Part of the fun of discovering what works best for you.

So when you’re choosing a new cologne, what sorts of things should you be considering?

Scent Profile and Seasonality

Do you want a cologne that is intended for a certain season, or something more versatile that you can wear across a variety of situations? 

Warmer weather causes fragrances to project more heavily, meaning that particularly sweet fragrances have to potential to become overly cloying in the heat. Similarly, a lighter fragrance designed for summer is going to lack the necessary firepower to cut through the cold air if used in winter. 

Lighter colognes will rely on brighter notes of citrus, light greenery, or aquatics, while you’re heavier fragrances will employ stiffer accords of leather and spice. 

Performance/ Longevity

Generally speaking, the longer a cologne lasts, the better. It really depends on what your schedule is like, but in an ideal world, you’d be able to apply your fragrance before you leave the house, and still be projecting by the time you get home. 

For the standard office worker, that means you’ll need at least 8 hours of meaningful performance.

As a general rule of thumb, you’d hope for at least five hours of performance from any budget cologne to consider it a decent buy. In the mid-range, the best colognes will provide around 8 hours of active fragrance, while the top-tier designer colognes can stack up to 10 – 12 hours if they’re particularly potent. 

You can make cologne last longer by spraying it on your clothes, but be aware that it has the potential to damage your fabric.

If you enjoyed reading our take on the best colognes for men, check out the guides below to find out how to get the most from your new favorite fragrance:

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