Whether you're looking for your first signature scent or a fragrance to mix up your collection, you are presented with an incredible range of options either on the shelves of your favorite department store or online perfume retailer.
Choosing a scent is as important as choosing what you wear. It tells a story about you and creates and leaves an impression.
With so many different men's fragrances, you have to start somewhere. Maybe you prefer a fashion house (like Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne, or Giorgio Armani). Or you've seen a media ad online or on TV that has made a particular brand stand out.
The problem is that to make a choice, you have to smell the fragrances. Except, and it's a big issue, it is not recommended you smell too many at one time. The nose becomes saturated after three different fragrances, and you become unable to distinguish the individual scents from each other.
Finding the right one can be challenging. This guide lists a wide variety of men's fragrances. Some names will be familiar, others less so. There are classics old and new and maybe a surprise or two.
Brand - Calvin Klein
Eternity has become cemented into the annals of classic men's fragrances. Introduced in 1990 and developed by perfumer Carlos Benaim, Eternity has become timeless. It is a signature scent chosen by many. This fragrance has mass appeal, making it ideal as a gift for any man, especially as a first cologne. Refined, elegant, and sensitive yet still masculine, it is green and refreshing yet earthy to the nose.
Eternity belongs to the citrus perfume family.
Top notes: Lavender, bergamot, lemon, orange
Middle notes: sage, juniper, basil, coriander, geranium, lily-of-the-valley
Base notes: Sandalwood, amber, rosewood, musk
Similar to Eternity: Chanel Egoiste Platinum, Wings for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills
Brand - Dior
Introduced by French fashion house Dior in 2011 but given an update in 2020, the nose behind Homme is Francois Demachy, also responsible for Dior's Eau Sauvage. Noble, virile, and powerfully charming, Homme is a universally-appealing crowd pleaser. This super fragrance Pour Homme by one of the world's most lauded Maison de Parfum is a wonderfully intense woody and musky blend that lingers to leave a lasting impression.
Homme belongs to the woody perfume family.
Top notes: Bergamot, lavender, sage
Middle notes: Iris, amber, cacao
Base notes: Vetiver, patchouli, leather
Similar to Homme: Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio, Creed Aventus, Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men
Brand - Louis Vuitton
One of the best colognes for summer, Imagination, was only launched in 2021. Created by Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud using the highest quality ingredients, it evokes the longest of sunny, summery days when you long to be outside. It creates an instant and long-lasting impression, but from light, fun, and smoothly fresh notes rather than the nostalgic musk tones so many other tops and classic men's fragrances rely so heavily upon. If you want a summer scent with the potential to conjure up dreams of exotic holidays, rely on a spritz of Imagination.
Imagination belongs to the citrus perfume family.
Top notes: Orange. bergamot, citron
Middle notes: Cinnamon, ginger, neroli
Base notes: Chinese black tea, Olibanum, guaiac wood
Similar to Imagination: Bleu de Chanel, Opalon Bulgari
4. Oud Wood Intense
Brand - Tom Ford
Introduced to Tom Ford's stable of fabulous men's fragrances in 2017, Oud Wood is lavish and unrestrained. Inspired by the eponymous oud wood, which is burned as incense in Japanese temples, yes, it has undeniably woody notes. Still, there’s also a smokiness, spiciness, warmth, and undertones of exoticism. With its woody scents, it's ideal for wearing in the daytime in the winter to engender that snuggly jumper feeling, but by evening it will be as sensual and sexy as you want a signature scent to be.
Oud Wood Intense belongs to the woody perfume family.
Top notes: Ginger, cardamom
Middle notes Cedarwood, angelica,
Base notes: Oud wood, musk, cypress
Similar to Oud Wood: Versace Homme Oud Noir, Carved Oud by Thameen
5. Sylt Style 2202
Brand - Krigler
Most Krigler scents for men are released only as Eau de Parfum, enabling them to have the deepest, wealthiest notes. Sylt Style 2202, released in 2021, was inspired by Sylt Island. Although little-known outside of the country, the island is one of Germany's favorite holiday destinations. It was a favorite of legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld. The fragrance is designed to release its scent in opulent layers like the island. Each layer is exceptionally long-lasting as this woody and spicy fragrance is left to develop for three years before being bottled. If you want a hint of exclusivity in your signature scent, you won't find this one for sale on Amazon or even top perfume retailers like Nordstrom or Sephora.
Sylt Style 2202 belongs to the green perfume family
Top notes: Pink pepper, black pepper, tree moss
Middle notes: Almonds, incense, ginger, hazelnut
Base notes: Vanilla, amber, frankincense
Similar to Sylt Style 2202: Jo Malone London 154, Cuir de Russie by LT Piver
6. Luna Rossa Sport
Brand - Prada
Luna Rossa embodies the same spirit you want in a sport scent. Created by Daniela (Rocha) Andrier and released in 2015, it's a slightly sweet, uncomplicated, fresh scent. Like all men's fragrances in the sports genre, it is designed to be high impact quickly. Luna Rossa Sport is a bestseller, available as eau de toilette rather than a more concentrated perfume. It's floral fresh with a hint of spice suitable for use in the day, any time of year. It’s a pleasant and energizing spritz to use as a body spray after a post-workout shower rather than a signature scent you'd think of as a classic.
Luna Ross Sport belongs to the Fougere perfume family
Top notes: Juniper berries, ginger
Middle notes: Lavender
Base notes: Tonka bean, vanilla
Similar to Luna Rossa Sport: Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Male, Caroline Herrera 212 Sexy Men
7. Musgo Real
Brand - Claus Porto
One of the oldest surviving men's fragrances on this list, Musgo Real, has been around since 1935. More of a favorite with mature men, this scent is an excellent year-round option, particularly as an aftershave cologne. There's a delightful soapiness to the fragrance reminiscent of antique barbershops and invigorating hints of spices and greenery that provide an almost oriental vibe. It's a long-lasting, light-ish fragrance that lingers on your skin all day.
Musgo Real Classic Scent belongs to the spicy-green perfume family
Top notes: Patchouli, neroli, bergamot
Middle notes: Lavender, violet, sandalwood
Base notes: Vetiver, musk
Similar to Musgo Real: Caldo Legnosa, Juicy Couture Dirty English
8. Polo Cologne Intense
Brand - Ralph Lauren
This update on the classic was released in 2021 as an Eau de Parfum. It is elegant and sophisticated, and it still manages a freshness that many men crave in a signature scent they want to wear all weekend. You can feel equally confident wearing it for daytime activities and nights out, thanks to its multifaceted nature. There's familiarity in the patchouli heart but a modern touch in the cooling sage and citrusy burst of grapefruit.
Polo Cologne Intense belongs to the Fougere perfume family
Top notes: Basil, mint, grapefruit
Middle notes: thyme, clary sage, violet leaf
Base notes: Patchouli, vetiver, ambroxan
Similar to Polo Cologne Intense: Acqua di Palma Colonial Mirra
9. Scent Intense
Brand - Costume National
One of the fragrances on our list marketed as unisex, Scent Intense, is by the Italian fashion house Costume National. Based in Milan, it was founded in 1986, so it doesn't have a heritage like the biggest brands. However, it has, thanks to perfumer Laurent Bruyere, produced a fragrance of note. Introduced in 2012, the scent is enchanting and contemporary without any trace of being synthetic. There are some heavy scents in its formulation, yet the result is light and easy to wear. Choose if you want something modern yet a little bit mysterious.
Scent Intense belongs to the woody/spicy perfume family
Top notes: Cinnamon, tea, green apple, bergamot
Middle notes: Jasmine, hibiscus, davana
Base notes: Sandalwood, amber, patchouli, leather, olibanum
Similar to Scent Intense: Isabey L'ambre de Carthage Isabey for men
10. L’Homme à la Rose
Brand - Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Who said men can't wear floral scents? With its rose heart notes and amber wood base, there's masculinity to this scent that makes it one of the best men's fragrances for spring. It bursts onto the skin fresh and green. It then segues into rosy and woody notes that more than hint at growth and vitality - the essence of spring. In developing this fragrance, nose Francis Kurkdjian has also imbued a sense of frivolous sensuality.
L’Homme à la Rose belongs to the floral perfume family
Top notes: Grapefruit
Middle notes: Damask rose, May rose
Base notes: Amberwood, sage, Spanish labdanum
Similar to L'Homme a la Rose: Mister Marvelous Byredo, Loewe Esencia
11. Danger Pour Homme
Brand - Roja Parfums
Developed by Roja Dove, Danger Pour Homme first hit the shelves in 2019. An ideal choice for date night, Danger is sensual and just a little bit flirty. With its complex menu of ingredients, It's a bit on the heavy side for daywear. Masculinity in a bottle is a bit much for the office! If you want a signature scent with a punch of sweetness, followed by leafy freshness, ending with earthy warmth, you'll find Danger irresistible.
Danger Pour Homme belongs to the Fougere perfume family
Top notes: Bergamot,lavender, lemon, tarragon
Middle notes: Jasmine, lily of the valley, violet
Base notes: Ambergris, cumin, cedarwood, clove, oakmoss, patchouli, rhubarb, tonka bean, vanilla, vetiver, musk, galbanum
Similar to Danger Pour Homme: Guerlain Heritage, Givenchy Gentleman
Brand - Diptyque
another fragrance new to the market in 2021 with the potential to become a classic, Orpheon is also unisex. The scent is unusual because it's one of those that you can't place. It seems familiar, yet you can't quite pin it down. On the one hand, you might imagine a murky bar on the Left Bank in Paris filled with tobacco, and on the other, the powdery smell of makeup being applied after a fresh shower. If you want something that will intrigue others who smell it on you, it's a gamechanger.
Orpheon belongs to the Fougere perfume family
Top notes: Juniper berries
Middle notes: Jasmine
Base notes: Cedarwood, tonka bean, powdery notes
Similar to Orpheon: Hermes Voyage D'Herme
13. Terre D'Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver
Brand - Hermes
It was 2018 when this fragrance developed by Christine Nagel for Hermes was introduced. Basing the original Terre d'Hermes Eau Intense around vetiver has produced a remix that is arguably better than its first incarnation. The olfactory emotion is unreservedly spicy, yet there is a vivacity in its woody notes that make you immediately think of fall. This carnation of Terre is intensely masculine yet fresh with a subtle citrusy undertone. Choose for day and nightwear in the fall.
Terre D'Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver belongs to the woody perfume family
Top notes: Bergamot, grapefruit, lemon
Middle notes: Sichuan pepper, geranium
Base notes: Vetiver, patchouli, amberwood, olibanum
Similar to Terre D'Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver: Fattan Rasasi, Guerlain Vetiver
14. "Y" Eau Fraiche
Brand - Yves Saint Laurent
When a men's fragrance (or even female fragrances) includes Eau Fraiche in its name, you know it will be on the lighter side. "Y" introduced by YSL in 2020, is a subtle, barely-there fragrance. The subtlety belies the fact that this scent makes you feel awake and alive and is quite complex due to the mix of heady ingredients. Somehow they combine to produce fruit and spicy notes and woody nuances and floral accords—ideal for summer or daywear.
"Y" Eau Fraiche belongs to the citrus perfume family
Top notes: Lemon, ginger, pepper
Middle notes: Geranium, mint, lavender, juniper berries
Base notes: Cedarwood, olibanum
Similar to "Y" Eau Fraiche: Versace Man Eau Fraiche, Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme Intense
Brand - Arquiste
Rodriguez Flores-Roux has created a lovely unisex fragrance that came to the market in 2020. Equally appealing to men and women, Misfit sits across all perfume families thanks to a clever mix of contrasting and complementing ingredients. It is one of those scents that seems to fit precisely the occasion/day/time of year you choose to wear it despite its name.
Misfit belongs to the spicy/woody perfume family.
Top notes: Lavender, bergamot, carrot seeds, angelica
Middle notes: Musk mallow, damask rose, Akigalawood, styrax
Base notes: patchouli, tonka bean, labdadum, tolu balsam
Similar to Misfit: La Haine Moth and Rabbit Perfumes
Choosing a Men's Fragrance
It's not an easy decision to find a fragrance you love instantly. It is undoubtedly very haphazard if you choose to buy online just from a description without having tested it first.
The way a fragrance reacts with your skin may give it a different scent to the one you smell just on a test paper. If you can, visit a store where you can spray some on your wrist to get a true sense of the scent.
Remember testing that men's fragrances come in different strengths, so even when you find a scent you think you may fall in love with, test the eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and Eau de toilette Parfum versions.
You should feel as comfortable in your scent as you do in your favorite shirt!