The Best Colognes for Men

Like our forefathers that came before us, we like a quality cologne that leaves us feeling fresh and confident. Apply a little to the cuff and a little to the neck in the morning, and you will be ready to take on the world. But, as we all know, when it comes to cologne, subtlety is the name of the game. Pick the wrong product, and you risk inundating your colleagues' senses with a noxious chemical smell. So to take out the guesswork, we've done the research and found the best colognes for men. Here are our favorites.

Nautica Midnight Voyage, 1.6oz

Smell your best

As one of the most universally acclaimed fragrances on the market, this "adventurous" cologne is equal parts bold and balanced.
Best Overall

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Some colognes can be described as soothing, others as seductive, but few can be called invigorating in the same way as Nautica’s Midnight Voyage. It’s not overpowering, but the pink pepper and natural mint notes give it an undeniable kick. The name Midnight Voyage is super appropriate since this is the kind of scent we like to apply before a night on the town. Still, it’s a refreshing cologne that can be used for just about any occasion. Versatile and not wildly expensive, Nautica’s Midnight Voyage easily scores the top spot on our list.

Pros

  • The sleek glass bottle can serve as a decorative adornment in any room
  • Projects well without overwhelming others around you
  • A little bit goes a long way

Cons

  • It’s not the biggest bottle, so you may go through it quickly if you use this as your daily scent

Versace Eros by Versace Men’s Mini, 0.17oz

Pocket-sized bottle

Always keep a spritz of Versace Eros on hand with this mini blue bottle.
Best Mini

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You don’t need to hop on a plane to enjoy the rich fragrances of the Italian countryside. Instead, we suggest applying a little spritz from this quality cologne from Versace. Ideal for those looking for a fragrance they can take with them on the go, it’s the perfect option for both formal and casual settings. The balanced scent is refreshing. Perhaps it’s the Versace name, but we think the scent conjures up memories of the Italian countryside. Even in the workplace, you’ll feel like a sophisticated world traveler. For a fantastic price, this mini cologne comes in a stylish bottle that serves as an inviting visual reminder to add a little Italian fragrance to your day.

Pros

  • Small size fits perfectly in a pocket
  • The handsome bottle and box make for an excellent gift
  • Lasts a long time

Cons

  • The bottle is super small, so it won’t last long

Acqua Di Gio By Giorgio Armani For Men

One spritz is all you need

Besides being an excellent cologne in its own right, this option from Giorgio Armani has excellent longevity.
Longest Lasting

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For those looking for a great scent that will last all day, we recommend this classic cologne from Giorgio Armani. It comes from a world-renowned designer, so it’s not the cheapest option on our list. However, one bottle will last you quite a long time. With one spritz in the morning, you’ll carry the subtle smells of the sea and the woods with you for the rest of the day. Of course, we wouldn’t recommend a fragrance on its longevity alone. This option is a masculine scent that will garner compliments from men and women alike. The top notes are of mandarin orange and jasmine while the bass notes are of green tangerine and neroli. Its formula makes for an attractive aroma that has now been established as a timeless classic.

Pros

  • Trusted brand
  • Minimalist bottle and packaging

Cons

  • It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way

Kenneth Cole Black

A classy scent for a bargain

Kenneth Cole keeps it clean with this affordable yet sophisticated cologne.
Best Value

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What we love about Kenneth Cole’s Black is the juxtaposition between brash, masculine scents like musk and ambergris and warm, sensual ones like violet and nutmeg. Kenneth Cole’s idea here was to blend energizing herbal scents with spices and fragrant woodsy scents to create a balanced aroma that one can wear anywhere. By all measures, they succeeded at doing exactly that. And sure, the brand’s marketing might lead you to believe that the aroma best fits a cosmopolitan way of life, but you don’t have to be a city-slicker to fall in love with this one. With moderate longevity, impressive sillage, and projection that’s reasonable without being overbearing, this is an everyday scent for the everyman.

Pros

  • The sleek black glass bottle can serve as a decorative adornment in any room
  • Projects well without overwhelming others around you
  • A little bit goes a long way

Cons

  • The smallest size option won’t last very long, so you may want to size up

Davidoff Cool Water Edt Spray

Keep it casual

This cologne from Davidoff touts a pleasant aroma that you can make your signature scent.
Best For Casual Wear

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Another great overall option, this one from Davidoff is the kind of scent that you can wear to the club or during family movie night at home. It’s comfortably subtle enough that no one will blink an eye if you apply some during a day at home. The scent is both sweet and masculine. If you need a new everyday scent, you can’t go wrong with Davidoff’s Cool Water.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • The fairly large bottle lasts a while
  • Not overpowering but still noticeable

Cons

  • You may have to apply more than one spritz if you want it to last the whole day

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recommended way to apply cologne?

Once you have your cologne of choice, the next step is coming up with a simple routine for applying it.  We recommend applying your favorite fragrance after showering and shaving. Do not spray it into the air and walk into the cloud — this is a mistake men often make. Cologne works best when applied directly to the skin, not the clothes. Depending on the strength of your product, you will likely only require two or three spritzes for the desired effect.

The best area of the body to apply cologne has been debated for a long time. It is generally agreed upon that for the scent to emanate from your person, cologne is most effective when applied to the warmer parts of your body. This means the neck, the lower jaw, the armpits, the chest, and the pelvic region. Additionally, although they may not be the warmest, your wrists are an excellent place for a small spritz, as your hands are often the part of your body most frequently used in interacting with other people. Who knows? A firm, pleasant-smelling handshake could score you that promotion or job interview.

When is it appropriate to use a cologne?

A cologne should boost your confidence and be enjoyable for others as well. Remember, too little is always better than too much. With this in mind, there are scenarios where cologne isn’t appropriate. Because your body heat can “activate” the fragrance, we don’t recommend using cologne during your most active moments. The next time you go to the gym, engage in a sport, or go to the club, use your cologne sparingly or not at all.

The workplace, dates, and formal events are appropriate environments for applying your favorite fragrance. With that said, some people may have sensitivities or allergies to certain chemicals in colognes, so always respect your officemate’s special needs.