My first exposure to 1 Million (the best Paco Rabanne cologne) was back in college. Preparing for a night at the student bar, I glanced a solid gold brick, pride of place on my friend’s dorm windowsill.
It’s a bold design. If this fragrance is anything less than gorgeous, I thought, then this might be the most obnoxious bit of marketing I’ve ever seen.
“What’s this?” I asked.
A sudden seriousness shrouded his face.
“Trust me,” he said. “This stuff works”.
He shot me that terribly masculine eye contact that only means one thing. Well, let’s see.
I liked the fragrance just fine. It was pleasant, gourmand, sweet and energetic. Solid.
But, as I’ve come to learn, the appeal of Paco Rabanne lies less in the scent itself, but rather the results it produces.
That evening I felt like a celebrity. It was actually bizarre. At that point in my life I did just fine with women, but not like this. It felt like I had hacked my way through the social leaderboard from a solid 6 to a dark horse of an 8.
Women could just sense something different about me.
This was at an age where I was doing my best impression of someone who had themselves together but didn’t have masses of evidence to suggest so. It didn’t seem to matter.
After that night, I decided to dive a little deeper. As I “grew up” (yes, still a work in progress…), the XS range has energized my office presence, while Pour Homme lends deeper maturity for meetings that demand it.
In this guide, I’m going to be retracing my steps to show you the best Paco Rabanne colognes I’ve found over the years.
So, let’s get into it.
7Gents Guide to the Best Paco Rabanne Colognes
The Most Popular Paco Rabanne Cologne- 1 Million
1 Million is a beautiful blend of citrus and spice, perfect for a lively and youthful gent full of bustling energy.
It’s club-banger energy to the max. This is a fragrance that smells expensive, but is not stuffy or posh at all. One million is all about youth and revelry, perfect for the well-kept Gent in his early twenties looking to make an impression.
The opening is a bright and juicy blast of citrus, full of fresh blood orange, and grapefruit.
Once the citrus fades, One Million is all about the cinnamon. It’s bold, warm, and spicy- like a freshly baked cinnamon pie in the holidays.
It’s a delicious and comforting scent for cold weather– but if you hate cinnamon, you will 100% hate this. Think spiced Christmas cookies. It’s spiced, but sweet and hour and enough to appeal to girls and collect compliments.
In the base, there are some amber and woodsy accords to give One Million some much-needed stiffness and masculinity.
This is a classic fragrance that has become pretty ubiquitous with young men looking to impress women. It works 90% of the time, but I actually avoid wearing it on dates because too many people associate it with their exes.
I think a lot of the bad rep comes from young ‘uns who obnoxiously overspray, so keep that in mind. The projection is already powerful; you don’t need to bathe yourself in this stuff.
Longevity is similarly heft at a solid days 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|
Best Paco Rabanne Cologne for Schmoozing at the Club- 1 Million Lucky
The clue is in the name: Lucky is a crowd-pleaser for young lothario’s at the club with one thing on their mind.
This playful cologne takes the concept of gourmand to the next level. It’s a sweet and nutty blend that smells just like fresh caramel popcorn.
Lucky represents youthful hedonism, not measure or balance. It’s yet to be held down by politeness and convention, and the same ought to be true of the wearer.
It’s a sweet cub fragrance that plenty of Gents in their twenties would enjoy- but it doesn’t scream maturity.
It’s got the same 1 Million DNA, but with a tilt toward ”boyfriend material” rather than ”future husband”.
It starts with fresh and sweet plum before revealing an edible hazelnut center. It’s a little like Nutella- delicious and very sweet, appealing to everyone.
After a couple of hours, the nuttiness makes way for syrupy honey and amber dry-down that reminds me of YSL’s L’Homme Intense.
P.S If you’re a fan of citrus/sweet blends, do yourself a favor and layer Lucky With Tommy Bahama Saint Barts. The refreshingly creamy coconut and lime make for a winning spring/summer combo.
|Top Notes:||Plum, Grapefruit and Bergamot|
|Middle Notes:||Hazlenut, Honey, Cedar, Jasmine and Orange Blossom|
|Base Notes:||Amber, Patchouli, Oakmoss and Vetiver|
Best Paco Rabanne Cologne for Winter Adventures- Black XS
Like most Paco Rabanne fragrances, Black XS is sweet but not nearly as much as One Million or Lucky.
Despite it not being the most inventive fragrance of all time, Black XS is a hit with the ladies. Girls seem to adore it, and it’s one of the most complimented fragrances in my collection. Even my male friends ask me what I’m wearing when we’re out, and if they can borrow a spray.
It smells a little like dark chocolate filled with strawberry liquor. This is a rich and fruity fragrance that offers gothic, deep seduction. It smells good enough to eat, truly.
It’s a party banger, that’s for sure. It’s a youthful cologne that is probably best for Gents up until their mid 20’s. This is a relaxed and carefree fragrance and is probably best for someone with the attitude to match.
Worth noting if you’re an older gent; this is not a cologne to go with the pipe and slippers.
Black Xs performs best (and becomes 10 times more appealing in colder weather). It reminds me of a sweeter version of Burberry London, one of my favorite winter fragrances for frosty city escapades.
It’s got enough power to cut through the cold and last all day, too. Particularly if you spray a little into your overcoat, you’ll get 9+ hours of longevity, no problems.
|Top Notes:||Sage and Lemon|
|Middle Notes:||Praline, Cardamom and Cinnamon|
|Base Notes:||Rosewood, Amber and Patchouli|
The Most Energizing Paco Rabanne- Pure XS
If Pure XS doesn’t get you energized, I’m not sure what will.
The opening is an explosion of ginger and citrus. This unique, playful blend is perfect for casual wear, and the ginger heat makes it viable citrus wear for the cooler months.
Again, the trademark Paco Rabanne sweetness opens up in the heart with a vanilla-cola accord that leans a little towards sweet licorice. It’s a bit of a candy store, sugar-rush excitement, but in an alluring way rather than juvenile.
Still, it’s not a deep and earthy beacon of alpha-masculinity, so I’d probably recommend it to someone in their twenties. This is not for the grandpa in the armchair, put it that way. It would probably finish him off.
XS sticks around for 7-8 hours, with good projection for the first few while still moderate enough to be cuddle friendly. It’s probably a little too out there for the office, but to liven up a date night or bar crawl, it’s 10/10.
|Top Notes:||Thyme, Ginger, Bergamot, Grapefruit and Green Notes|
|Middle Notes:||Liquor, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Apple and Leather|
|Base Notes:||Sugar, Cedar, Woodsy Notes, Patchouli and Cashmere|
Best Paco Rabanne Cologne for Classic Masculinity- Pour Homme
This classic from the 70s is one of the oldest in my collection- and masculine enough to make you grow some chest hairs.
Pour Homme is an expression of simple, classic masculinity. It makes you think of a respectable, kind, and wise father. This is for the capable and stable leader in the boardroom, not the plucky upstart.
If you’re looking for a youthful and energetic fragrance to bounce around the club with, look elsewhere.
The opening of Pour Homme has a green herbal quality that resembles Polo Green. It’s got a bit of sharpness but only lasts for a few minutes before clean and soapy lavender takes charge. It’s a refined and sophisticated blend that combines strength and calm beautifully.
In the base there’s oakmoss and a little musk, providing some nice depth in the absence of any prominent woods. There’s a touch of honey sweetness, too, to round out some of the earthiness from the natural notes.
Pour Homme’s projection is hefty, even in the winter months. It dominates even in the winter months and can cut through the cold air with ease.
With that in mind, use sparingly in the office unless you plan on choking out your co-workers. I find just 1-2 sprays works best for me.
|Top Notes:||Sage, Rosewood and Rosemary|
|Middle Notes:||Lavender and Tonka Bean|
|Base Notes:||Oakmoss, Musk, Honey and Amber|
The Wildcard Paco Rabanne Cologne- Phantom
The future is here, and it looks like a robot.
Phantom is a world first from Paco Rabanne, using artificial technology to create a fragrance powered by neuroscience.
Their “augmented creativity” process considered over 45 million data points to come up with the perfect notes to make you feel sexier, confident, and more alert.
It combines a classic lavender note with a sharp dash of greenery. It’s a very wearable, young, and somewhat grassy cologne with a touch of citrus sweetness.
Sweet, creamy vanilla is also pretty prominent, paired with a light touch of patchouli. The patchouli isn’t the hippy, overly earthy variety- it just adds sweetness.
If you’re not a fan of lavender, steer clear. But otherwise, this sweet, fresh cologne is lovely for springtime in particular.
This attention-getter lasts from dawn to sunset and projects very well- particularly in the morning.
Phantom wins the award for the coolest bottle. The robot design is one-of-a-kind- you can scan the head with your phone to unlock exclusive content.
And if that wasn’t enough- it’s refillable. That’s great for the environment, and your robo-companion, too.
|Top Notes:||Lemon and Lavender|
|Middle Notes:||Apple, Patchouli and Earthy Notes|
|Base Notes:||Vanilla and Vetiver|
The Invictus Range
Outside of One Million and XS, Invictus is the most popular Paco Rabanne Range.
They’re a symbol of victory and success, combining intensity and freshness in intrinsically masculine blends.
I thought they deserved their own review. So, check out this link to find out what all the fuss is about.
Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:
- Invictus Classic- Clean and fresh- Sugary caramel sweetness with a nutty, popcorn finish.
- Invictus Victory– Woody and intense- Stiff and mature whiskey combines with warm spices in the gruff, masculine blend.
- Invictus Legend- Sweet and salty- Borders on aquatic, with salty marine notes and amber.
You can read our full review in the link below:
Bonus- Paco Rabanne Fragrance Discovery Set
I love it when designers offer sample sets. It’s a great opportunity to get hands-on with a variety of fragrances and find your signature scent before committing to a full-sized bottle.
Some of us can’t afford to go out and buy every fragrance, and I wish other high-end houses would follow suit.
I’m looking at you, Gucci.
Anyway, Paco Rabanne has lowered the barrier of entry significantly with their Fragrance Discovery Set.
You’ll get four 10ml travel vials of their most popular masculine fragrances for less than the cost of a night out. That’s a steal.
Available through pacorabanne.com
FAQ- What You Need to Know About Paco Rabanne Colognes
So- What Next?
Paco Rabanne, as you’ll have notice, have a wide and diverse range of colognes.
I mean, it took me two guides to do it justice.
There are plenty of popular colognes that I still didn’t get a chance to cover, but the ones I selected are going to give you the best introduction to the eccentric house.
If I were you, I’d start with one of the three core offerings, and work your way through the flankers from there. So, that’s either One Million, Black XS or the Original Invictus.
Once you’ve got a feel for your favorite range, you’ll be able to find a signature fragrance that feels a little more bespoke.
I’ve included links to the best prices I’ve been able to find for each cologne, so check them out and enjoy!