I’ve tested ten products and found Versace Blue Jeans and Man Eau Fraiche as classic best sellers.
As a mid-20s guy looking to build my cologne collection, I researched my favorite fragrances and combined my personal testing with my other younger friends, to help you find what fragrance you’re looking for — depending on your age, skin type, occasion, etc.
As for you: you’re not a kid anymore. It’s time to smell like a confident man.
Young men may even be hanging out with that special someone, and they’ll want to smell their best and make a great impression.
Versace colognes have been around for a long time. While they are a big brand, they are also for the budget-conscious consumer while getting that quality fragrance.
For example, which is the best cologne for young men in the summer? The best cologne for young men during the day or evening? Or the best cologne for young men while hanging out with that special girl?
Based on consumer reviews and reactions, I will take you through 10 of the best colognes for young men regarding usage and price ranges, including those Versace colognes mentioned above.
The colognes listed are geared for summer usage since many young men will be enjoying their time off school, getting jobs, hanging out with friends, and maybe going on long-distance adventures with friends and their families.
If this is your very first cologne, I’ve put together a guide, following that review of six of the best colognes for young men, to suggest what you should look for when picking that fragrance.
The Top 10 Best Colognes for Young Men
Maybe this will be a starting point for you if this is your first cologne. On the other hand, if you’ve already jumped into the world of fragrances, this list could give you an idea of what else is available.
1. Versace Blue Jeans – Best Starter and Budget Cologne for Young Men
This fragrance is a ‘classic’, released back in 1984 and geared towards young men and teens. Older men can enjoy this fragrance, but some have noted a cola/candy scent that may register more favorably among younger gents.
The citrus and lavender notes suggest casual usage during the spring or summer with satisfying longevity with a moderate sillage.
You can wear this cologne all year, but warm weather may allow enjoyment by you, the wearer, but also others who pass you by outdoors.
- To learn more about the best Versace colognes, check out our full guide.
|Citruses, Bergamot, Juniper, Anise, Brazilian Rosewood, Basil
|Lavender, Rose, Carnation, Heliotrope, Jasmine, Geranium, Fir, Sage, Lily-of-the-Valley
|Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood, Iris, Musk, Amber, Vetiver, Cedar, Patchouli
2. Versace Man Eau Fraiche – Best Cologne for the Summer and that First Job
Versace Man Eau Fraiche (pronounced like ‘oh-fresh,’ meaning free water) has an aquatic scent, which usually evokes the feel of summer: the beach, relaxation, and sunny days.
You might even have a summer job to make some money for yourself. Hence, this cologne is excellent for the summer season and your work wardrobe, adding to your professionalism and maturity with its moderate longevity and sillage.
Some consumers have stated the current version of this cologne feels reformulated; changed since its initial release in 2006. Others have felt a generic scent from this cologne.
Still, Man Eau Fraiche is the other Versace ‘classic’ we previously discussed shows up on various “best of” lists.
|Lemon, Bergamot, Rosewood, and Rose
|Cedar, Tarragon, Sage, and Pepper
|Amber, Musk, Saffron, and Woody notes
3. Nautica Voyage – Best Cologne for Casual Usage
Nautica Voyage is another cologne geared for summer — ideal for young men returning to grade school or entering college. The price also makes it suitable for a young gent starting with his first cologne.
Some consumers have mentioned the longevity of this cologne was around 6 hours, while others have pointed out it lasts all day. A few have said the aroma doesn’t last after applying to the skin, particularly after a shower.
Even consumers mentioned their experience after the ‘dry down’ of the fragrance. For some, that’s when Nautica Voyage shines. For others, it didn’t work for them. This cologne has a moderate sillage.
- Check our guide to the best Nautica colognes to learn more.
|Green leaves, Apple, Lotus
|Cedarwood, Marine notes, Amber
4. Cool Water by Davidoff – Best Evening Cologne
Yet another fragrance that also has a summer feel to its scent.
A mature sandalwood cologne with an aquatic, clean and fresh feeling.
Touches of lavender and rosemary help round out the bitter, dry sandalwood for a well-balanced fragrance.
Consumers have said this scent is not overpowering and recommended as an evening fragrance due to consumers stating they were getting compliments from the opposite sex.
As with the previous colognes, there are mixed reviews on the longevity of the fragrance. Some say there is no longevity, while others say the cologne lasts all day.
|Seawater, Lavender, Mint, Green notes, Rosemary, Calone, Coriander
|Sandalwood, Neroli, Geranium, Jasmine
|Musk, Tobacco, Oakmoss, Cedar, Amber
5. Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne – Good for Middle or High School
Some consumers have mentioned that Curve colognes aren’t as masculine as perhaps they’d like, even though the smell is good, or the longevity isn’t as long as expected.
While these can be negatives for the older man, this is a plus for young men in middle school or high school, who might want to be subtle as he starts out exploring fragrances.
Now, consumer experiences do vary. While some have stated the short longevity, others have noted moderate longevity. Also, other consumers have pointed out an average sillage.
|Pineapple, Lavender, Lemon, Juniper Berries, Neroli
|Cactus, Bergamot, Ginger, Violet, Cardamom, Sage, Coriander
|Musk, Tobacco, Oakmoss, Cedar, Amber
6. Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Male – Best Young Men’s Cologne for Hanging Out on a Friday or Saturday
Like Curve above, Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Male’s cologne has a few young consumers in their teenage years (or have used this in their teenage years and are now older men) that speak highly of the vanilla notes.
Not to say that older men cannot use this fragrance, but this could be a starter for those in high school. I say high school due to the sillage coming off a bit strong for some, and when you’re in high school, you want that middle ground between a lighter and more masculine scent.
Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Le Male could be an incredible fragrance to relax on the weekend with friends or when you chill on your own as a solo, confident man, taking in the world.
This fragrance could also be one to wear during class time as part of the wardrobe.
|Lavender, Mint, Cardamom, Bergamot, Artemesia
|Cinnamon, Orange, Blossom, Caraway
|Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Amber, Sandalwood, Cedar
7. Tom Ford For Men – Best Cologne for the Young Man Who Wants a More Masculine Scent
Filmmaker Tom Ford has also made a name for himself, creating unisex fragrances. The fact that many of Ford’s colognes are unisex may turn off young men.
However, this cologne may still give a young man a chance to try a cologne considered luxury or high-end. A cologne to make that young man feel more ‘grown-up.’
Due to a more potent sillage than the other colognes listed, Tom Ford for Men cologne suits those evening or special occasions.
|Lemon Leaf Oil, Ginger, Mandarin Orange, Bergamot, Basil, Violet Leaf
|Tobacco Leaf, Pepper, Tunisian Orange Blossom, Grapefruit Blossom
|Amber, Cedar, Virginian Patchouli, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Leather, Cypriol Oil or Nagermother
8. Adidas Team Five Special Edition – Best Young Men’s Cologne for Middle School or Pre-Teen Boys
The name of Adidas with grade-schoolers adds to the appeal of this particular fragrance. There is a possible familiarity with the brand due to footwear, backpacks, or duffel bags.
The sporty scent doesn’t last long with this fragrance, but it may be best for a teen, maybe a pre-teen, learning to work with cologne.The sillage is ‘intimate,’ meaning the scent lingers very close to you and not others.
And the price is best for those young men either saving up money from allowance or summer lemonade stands or parents who want to give their remarkable young man a gift.
Spray it on after the gym at school or on a Saturday when hanging out with friends.
|Green Apple, Lemon, Basil
|Lavender, Mint, Sage, Pine Tree
9. Liz Claiborne’s Curve Wave for Men – Best Young Men’s Cologne for the Summer or a Sunny School Day
Curve Wave for Men is a budget-friendly fragrance with minimal notes to give you a pleasant fruity scent.
Some have said this cologne has a weak performance, but it can work depending on your skin type. Also, the warm weather may enhance the performance.
Yes, this could be another fragrance for young men that could be a summer fragrance, but some adventurous young men might want to wear this during the school year, albeit on days when there is a forecast of a warm, sunny day.
|Musk, Cedar, Amber, Woodsy Notes
10. Hollister Wave Men Eau De Toilette – Best Young Men’s Cologne for Spring/Summer, or Vacations
Hollister Wave doesn’t have longevity. Also, the sillage is ‘intimate,’ but it makes up for it with its pleasing scent and a reasonable price tag.
Again, this is another fragrance for summer. One that may get enhancement from the warm weather that season brings and mileage during those spring seasons during the school year.
This cologne is also good for the young man going on those weekend getaways with family or friends.
|Yuzu, Bamboo Leaf, Grapefruit
|Lavender, Cypress, Neroli
|Salt, Driftwood, Musk, Tonka Bean
FAQ- What Young Men Should Know About Colognes
Understanding Fragrances- A Quick Explainer
What Are Notes?
As you noticed, the colognes listed above have different levels of notes or scents that come together.
For example, the top notes are what you smell after the initial application. The middle or heart notes are what you smell after those top notes have evaporated.
What about those base notes?
You got it. Those notes are what you smell after those middle or heart notes have evaporated. The smell as your cologne enters the ‘dry down’ stage.
When looking for a cologne, you want to find consistently pleasant notes.
What is Sillage?
Sillage (pronounced ‘see-yazh’) is how the scent broadcasts widely or narrowly. As you smell the levels of these notes, the sillage of the cologne is how others will experience the smell.
The Longevity of the Cologne
There are a few factors that affect the longevity of your cologne:
One is that different skin types affect this longevity. For example, a person with oily skin will have the fragrance last longer than a person with dry skin.
Another factor is the placement of your cologne. The initial thought of applying your fragrance is spraying on your neck, left and right.
However, the recommended application is on what we call pulse points: The wrists, back of the earlobes, and the base of the back of your neck.
It’s Time for Action
This moment of delving into the world of fragrances is an exciting time for you!
Choosing the right cologne is a sign of maturity for a young man as he pays attention to his hygiene and how he presents himself to the public.
There are many colognes out there, but this list will give you a start. In time, depending on your personality or what occasion you’re planning for, you may find yourself with a collection of different brands or different fragrances by the same brand.
Or, you might settle with one particular cologne you use for various occasions.
We updated this guide in January 2024 to reflect the most recent pricing information.