As I began my hunt, I found that the market is overflowing with simply far too many options: From fruity, sweet top notes to woody or musky base notes, there’s a million different combinations and possibilities. How am I to know what suits me best? Still, I went into the quest with an open mind, considering everything from light and fresh to heavy and musky – and in the process, I managed to find a number of crowd favourites that can appeal to just about anybody’s tastes.
Read more: 24 Of The Best New Fragrances For Women
Below, I sniffed some enduring classics – like Calvin Klein’s Eternity, which has been around since 1988 – and some new favourites too, such as the Last Day of Summer from Gucci the Alchemist’s Garden (Gucci’s high perfumery line), which smells like what I can only describe as a warm summer hug. (The latter ended up being my new spring pick – with Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and Maison Margiela Replica’s Jazz Club as runners-up.)
No matter what your sensory preferences are though, just remember that the perfect fragrance simply does not exist – some simply won’t match your personality, and what you like could also depend on the season, vibe, and mood you’re feeling that day. That’s part of the fun of experimenting with different fragrances – don’t be afraid to try something new.
From Maison Margiela, Tom Ford, Creed, and more, read on to discover the 26 best colognes for men in 2022.
Inspired by nature and its raw materials, this scent from Dior perfumer François Demachy is earthy and woody. Warm notes of bergamot, pepper, and amberwood take cues from a desert landscape – but can still be worn in the dead of winter, thanks to its refined, non-overpowering finish.
Fresh, clean, and sensual, this men’s scent from Chanel includes notes of citrus, labdanum, sandalwood, and cedar. It can easily transition from day to night (a musky undertone makes it perfect for a date).
This scent from Gucci’s haute perfumery line, the Alchemist’s Garden, allows you to cling onto a summer feeling year-round. It’s a warming, cosy scent made up of cedarwoods, cypress, and nutmeg, with woody undertones of patchouli and vetiver. Bonus: The lacquered glass bottle is super chic too.
Imagine yourself in a dimly lit jazz club with the perfect cocktail, surrounded by cigar smoke and leather chairs. This scent is the next best thing: Warm and spicy, it has notes of pink pepper, rum, and tobacco. Perfect for the autumn and winter months when you want to hibernate in full cosy mode.
Some classics never die, and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Black fragrance stands the test of time. A bold fusion of iced mango, lemon, and tangerine is combined with sandalwood, sage, and patchouli noir for a bittersweet end result. Bold and aromatic, it’s the ultimate scent to get noticed in.
You may know Le Labo for its signature Santal 33 scent, but Another 13 is one of its more slept-on fragrances that deserves just as much hype. A collaboration with Another magazine, the scent is equal parts musky and fresh, composed of ambroxan, jasmine petals, moss, and woody, amber-y notes.
For the well-read, this scent takes cues from old books and their leather-bound pages. It’s also inspired by one of Byredo’s best-selling candles – so you know it’s good. Top notes of peach, plum, peony, and violet add a sweet touch to an otherwise woody ground base of leather, patchouli, and vanilla.
Launched in 1998, this enduring cologne is a cult classic thanks to its timeless, masculine scent. Fruity and citrus top notes of apple, lemon, and plum are balanced against a hefty floral and spicy base, including geranium, sandalwood, and vetiver.
Designed to help you “reset at times of high stress,” this aromatic fragrance from The Nue Co. is clean, woody, spicy, and smokey. The unisex scent features notes of green cardamom, iris, palo santo, and cilantro. Consider it like a stress ball, only in cologne form.
Oud wood is one of the most precious and expensive ingredients for any perfumer, and this cologne by Tom Ford nails the woody scent. Combined with cardamom, sandalwood, and vetiver – with hints of tonka bean and amber – a few spritzes of this signature scent is like warming up to a nice cozy fire.
Created in collaboration with master French perfumer Dominique Ropion, this scent is described as “like an eccentric Englishman in a blue velvet jacket,” an appropriate takeaway. A bright fragrance, its top notes are mint, aniseed, and geranium, while the base notes include sandalwood and frankincense.
A bright, citrusy-scent, Hermès’s H24 fragrance – the label’s first perfume for “the contemporary man” – features notes of clary sage, narcissus, and rosewood. It’s perfect for the spring and summer, in particular, though the warming rosewood makes it a year-round favourite, too.
Drawn from the sap of the Namibian myrrh tree, this earthy scent is combined with warm almond and vanilla notes of the tonka bean for a rich, full-bodied finish. A hint of lavender and honey lightens it up and makes it a year-round scent for any occasion.
Released in 1996, this classic scent, inspired by the ocean, has stood the test of time for a reason. The earthy fragrance is the ideal everyday scent, combining cyprus, musk, bergamot, neroli, rosemary, and patchouli for a fresh finish.
Another enduring classic from 1988, Eternity is a romantic floral fragrance that was inspired by lasting love. Clearly, the love affair with this scent carries on too: It’s decidedly unisex, and works for both him and her. Notes of freesia, mandarin, sage, white lily, patchouli, and sandalwood make for a timeless blend.
In a chic, Art Deco–style bottle, Versace’s Eros scent is both fresh and tropical. Notes of mint, orange, and woody vanilla are all refreshing – like taking a dip in the pool on a hot summer day. It obviously wears well in the summer, but is a pretty universal cologne overall. Make your own rules on when and how you wear it.
Imagining what a “magnificent Parisian evening” would smell like, Maison Francis Kurkdjian came up with this wonderful blend of vanilla, amber, tonic beans, and cistus labdanum. Indeed, it’s the perfect scent for a night on the town.
This upbeat, zingy scent takes cues from the pulsing spirit of boat racing; it’s an awakening scent to boost your mood in the morning. Notes of lavender, ginger, juniper berries, tonka beans, and vanilla are the perfect thing to spritz on yourself post-workout – or when you’re about to hop on your first Zoom meeting of the day.
One of Acqua di Parma’s most popular colognes, Colonia is a fresh, citrusy scent that suits any occasion. It includes key notes of lemon, bergamot, lavender, and patchouli. A few sprays of this is like drinking a tall glass of orange juice.
This best-selling fragrance from Creed was introduced in 2010 and continues to be a fan favourite. It features crisp top notes of apple, blackcurrant, pineapple, and bergamot, with heftier heart and base notes including birch, patchouli, vanilla, and musk. It’s inspired by the life of a historic emperor and meant to symbolise strength, power, and success – who wouldn’t want that?
Paco Rabanne’s earthy, woody 1 Million Lucky scent features a unique combination of hazelnut, green plum, grapefruit, and cedar – making it a woody, sensual fragrance with a touch of citrus. The futuristic-looking bottle is also the perfect thing to flex in your medicine cabinet.
Through its pairing of fresh spices and tangy florals, Parfums de Marly’s Layton looks to evoke the essence of a sophisticated man. Geranium, jasmine, and violet are that the heart of its blend, enhanced by notes of vanilla, guaiac wood, apple, pink pepper, and patchouli to craft a contemporarily addictive cologne perfect for an evening out.
Carolina Herrera’s new fragrance, Bad Boy, strikes the right balance between bold and sophisticated. It combines notes of black and white pepper with citrusy bergamot. It’s an idyllic scent for every day, though can be amped up and layered for more of a spicy evening scent. Plus, the lightning-bolt bottle just looks great on the top shelf.
Launched in 1999, the Commes des Garçons 2 fragrance has lasting power. It’s a fresh, floral scent that’s perfect for summer: Top notes include lightweight mandarin orange, aldehydes, angelica, and tea. Middles notes of magnolia, nutmeg, and cinnamon warm up the scent without weighing it down.
Givenchy’s Gentleman bottle pays tribute to the sleek house codes that Hubert de Givenchy established at the house. But beyond being pretty to look at, the earthy and woody scent is also a no-brainer for everyday use. It includes key notes of pear, lavender, and patchouli – creating a unique blend of freshness, but with depth.
Alluding to Celine’s excellence in black-tie and tailored silhouettes, this evening scent is built for a night out. It’s composed of white orris butter, cedar, tree moss, and vanilla – striking the right balance between musky and sweet. Think of it like a sleek dinner jacket that will never go out of style.