What Are The 5 Best Smelling Colognes for Men in 2023

Having a pleasant scent can have a significant impact on one’s overall impression and social interactions. Smelling good can make a person feel more confident, attractive, and approachable

There is a broad range of fragrances available on the market, which can make shopping for colognes a chore. With all of the variety out there, how can you determine which colognes are right for you?

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the five best smelling colognes for men. We’ve done all the research for you, so you can skip the lackluster colognes and head straight to the most alluring fragrances on the market today.

Now let’s get into the five best smelling colognes for men in 2023.

1. Blu Atlas Atlantis

The Scent: Upon the first spritz, you’ll be transported to the vibrant coastal jungles of Bali, and will understand why Blu Atlas Atlantis is at the top of our list. The cologne is endlessly fascinating, taking you on an aromatic journey that will awaken your inner sense of adventure.

Top: Bergamot, lemon and black currant make for an invigorating opening.

Middle: The heart opens up with an aromatic blend of lavender and clary sage mixed with a hint of sweetness from peach and apricot.

Base: Atlantis shines in its base, with a mix of powdery, musky scents that create a sensual, smoldering effect. Orris gives an almost suede quality to the base, oakmoss adds an earthy element, violet softens and ambrette seed works along musk to provide a stirring finish.

The Brand: Blu Atlas may be a relatively new arrival on the men’s cologne scene, but they’ve made quite an impression since launching Atlantis – from being named the best men’s cologne by Forbes to being hailed the “best citrus cologne going into 2023” by Bespoke Unit. The brand is known for combining premium, clean ingredients. Their impressive men’s skincare line includes everything from face wash and vitamin C serum to shampoo, conditioner and aftershave. The idea behind Blu Atlas is simple: Men deserve high-quality grooming products, too! With Blu Atlas, grooming can be a luxurious form of self-care, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The brand now boasts a loyal following, and their products have endless five-star reviews. Blu Atlas is definitely a brand to watch. We’re excited to see what emerges from them in the future.

The Reviews: One reviewer claims that Atlantis is “what a king should smell like,” while another says, “This cologne is absolutely timeless…it’s the best cologne I’ve ever used.” A third user says, “Couldn’t be happier with the scent, longevity, and the presentation.”

2. Bleu de Chanel 

The Scent: Bleu de Chanel has been around since 2010, and in that time, it has established itself as one of the best smelling colognes for men. Many even credit Bleu de Chanel with starting a craze, inspiring dozens of similar colognes after its release. The cologne provides a seamless transition between the top, middle and base notes, making for an iconic scent that every man must experience at some point in his life. It also pairs well with all seasons and occasions!

The cologne is so popular that the line also includes several Bleu de Chanel scented products: deodorant, shower gel, aftershave, spray, shaving cream, moisturizer and even an aftershave balm. So if you love it, go ahead and double or triple up during your grooming routine!

The Fragrance Notes:

Top: A citrus accord mingles with mint and pink pepper for a refreshing head.

Middle: Ginger and nutmeg make for an alluring spice mix, jasmine adds an attractive sweetness, and Iso E Super lends a light earthiness.

Base: The base is an earthy, smoky mix of incense, vetiver, woods, labdanum and white musk.

The Brand: Chanel is a high-end French fashion house that began in the early 20th century. They are well-known for their luxury goods and Chanel No. 5, one of the world’s most famous fragrances. The brand boasts several A-listers among their ambassadors, including Brad Pitt and Keira Knightley.

The Reviews: One user says, “This smells fantastic. The transition between the initial sharpness and the light, almost powdery dry-down makes this very wearable on my skin.” Another says, “Such a nice, young, fresh, fragrance! The EDT is particularly beautiful for summer and spring as it’s lighter but doesn’t lack any sexiness.”

3. Dior Homme

The Scent: Robert Pattinson is the face of the sport version of Dior Homme, the iconic fragrance that captures raw sexiness and masculinity better than anything else. There’s a playfulness to this scent, but wearing it also shows that you mean business.

The fragrance is so beloved that the original has spawned several new iterations, including Dior Homme Sport and Dior Homme Intense. All of them are prized for their longevity. Take your pick and find the scent best suited to you, but know you can’t go wrong with any colognes in the Dior Homme family.

Top: Dior Homme opens up with a light and energizing blend of lavender, bergamot and sage.

Mid: Next comes iris, along with warm cacao and irresistible amber.

Base: Leather, vetiver and patchouli seal the deal and steal your heart.

The Brand: Dior is the luxury fashion house that turned Paris into the world capital of fashion again after a lull in the mid-20th century. Beginning in 1947, Christian Dior established himself as both a fashion expert and a master perfumer with the release of Miss Dior.

In the near-century since, the brand has released hit fragrance after hit fragrance, with Dior Homme topping the list of men’s cologne. The brand relies on high-quality raw materials for its fragrances, like the Tuscan iris that shines in Dior Homme.

The Reviews: Users love Dior Homme for romantic occasions, with one reviewer claiming it is “great for dates and nights out, very seductive.” Another raves, “What a great fragrance this is. One of the best dry downs period, designer or niche.”

4. Acqua di Giò Pour Homme

The Scent: It is said that the paradisiacal Sicilian island of Pantelleria inspired Giorgio Armani to create Acqua di Giò. You’ve probably seen an ad for the fragrance at some point: A man wearing classic jeans and a white button-down jumps into the water in some gorgeous Italian location. It turns out that these ads are spot-on when it comes to the confidence this fragrance elicits. This cologne is probably the best example of an aromatic aquatic fragrance, and it’s high time you discovered it for yourself.

Top: The Acqua di Giò experience begins with lime, lemon, bergamot, jasmine, and a mix of orange, neroli and mandarin orange.

Mid: Sea notes carry you to the Sicilian coast, and then jasmine, peach, freesia, hyacinth, herbs and spices toss you in the waves.

Base: A calming and sensual base of white musk, cedar, oakmoss, amber and patchouli makes for a memorable finish.

The Brand: Giorgio Armani is an Italian brand best known for its elegant yet laid-back style. The brand has created some unforgettable colognes over the years, including Armani Code, the Armani Prive unisex line and the feminine answer to Acqua di Giò – Acqua di Gioia. All of them share the unique Armani DNA, focusing on the complexity of the effortlessly simple.

The Reviews: One enthusiastic reviewer says, “One of the best fragrances ever created!” Another says, “Perfect for summer. It has straight-out-of-the-sea vibes.”

5. Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

The Scent: If you’re looking for the perfect wintertime by-the-fire scent, an ode to all that is cozy and sensual, look no further than Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille. This cologne, along with many others from designer Tom Ford, has garnered praise because it’s a dynamic take on a classic fragrance. In this case, you get a honey-like sweetness tempered with the smokiness of tobacco that feels classically masculine.

Top: An earthiness oozes from tobacco leaf, paired with spicy autumnal notes at the head.

Mid: In the heart you get sweet-scented tobacco blossom mixed with warm cacao, vanilla and tonka bean for a truly alluring experience.

Base: The dry-down of Tobacco Vanille leaves you with dried fruits and woody notes at the base.

The Brand: Tom Ford is an American fashion house that provides glamor in spades. The brand produces everything from ready-to-wear fashion to statement eyewear, fragrances, shoes and even an underwear line. Tom Ford’s many fragrances have won all kinds of awards, with favorites being Oud Wood, Mandarino di Amalfi and the slightly more feminine Velvet Orchid.

The Reviews: One reviewer says, “This is a classic ‘get chased down the street because you smell so good’ fragrance.” Another reviewer agrees that this is a favorite, saying, “This is gorgeous. Like drinking a vanilla chai latte on the balcony in the autumn leaves.” A third says, “Smells sweet on my skin, but it’s never cloying; it’s gentle and sexy and clean at the same time.”

Essential Vocab for Understanding Fragrances

If you are new to the world of fragrances, it’s important to learn the key components of fragrance by understanding the words used by master perfumers.

  • Fragrance Notes. These are the scent compounds that go into a fragrance. Each one represents a different scent that you may be able to identify. Fragrance notes consist of everything from artificial molecules to real essences from plants.
  • Accord. An accord is made up of six to 10 fragrance components, which together create the desired aromatic effect. Think of fragrance notes as “ingredients” (like cinnamon or clove), while accords are blends (like pumpkin pie spice, which is made up of a number of spices).
  • Sillage. The sillage of a fragrance is its scent trail, or the fragrance you leave in your wake when walking around. Depending on what effect you’re hoping to have, you may want high or low sillage.
  • Aftershave or Mist. This is the least potent type of perfume, with a concentration of 1% or less. Typically, aftershaves or mists last up to an hour.
  • Eau Fraiche. Eau fraiche is the next lightest type of scent you can buy. Expect eau fraiche to last up to three hours at the most, thanks to its low concentration of 1-3%.
  • Eau de Cologne. If you’re looking for a fragrance that lasts three to four hours, opt for an eau de cologne, which is made up of a concentration of 2-4%.
  • Eau de Toilette. Eau de toilette is probably the most common cologne concentration out there, as it provides four to six hours of wear with a concentration of 5-15%.
  • Eau de Parfum. If you have a long day ahead of you, you’ll probably want to choose an eau de parfum, which will get you through six to eight hours of your day thanks to its 15-20% concentration.
  • Parfum. While parfum is not common, it’s the highest concentration of a fragrance you can get, at 20-30%, and can last upwards of 12 hours!

How Do Cologne Scents Work?

Perfumers are true artists; it takes expert blending to create a fantastic fragrance from diverse scent notes. To create a fragrance’s overall effect, perfumers combine top, middle and base notes.

Top notes are usually light and fresh, and stick around for five to 15 minutes after spraying. Because of the light molecular structure of the top notes, they are short-lived. That doesn’t mean they are irrelevant to the fragrance, though! On the contrary, top notes form your first impression of a fragrance, so they’re extremely important.

The middle, or heart, notes come out as the top notes fade, and provide an aromatic experience that lasts about 20-60 minutes on average. Since the mid notes are typically more robust than the top, they create the bulk of the fragrance’s impression. Typical mid notes include florals, spices and herbs.

Since base notes have a heftier molecular structure, they linger the longest. Base notes typically last for at least six hours, so they’re the notes you’ll experience the most. This fragrance note is usually rich and intense, like musk, wood or vanilla.

The key to the perfect cologne for men is a balance among the three levels of notes, and the colognes on our list all have perfect equilibrium!

What Makes a Great-Smelling Cologne?

A great-smelling cologne comes down to your personal taste. The best way to find your signature scent is to follow guides that point you to the finest fragrances, then experiment.

As we’ll learn in the next section, there are several classic types of men’s fragrances, so discovering which kinds of scent notes appeal to you the most is the best way of finding a perfect fit. Also, remember that the same cologne can smell different depending on who’s wearing it, thanks to your body chemistry, so a cologne your best bud loves may not be right for you.

A Guide to the Most Common Scent Notes

Although there is a ton of variety on the men’s cologne scene, in general, you can expect to find fragrances that fit into one of the following fragrance families:

  • Woody. True to the name, this fragrance family represents the best scents of the forest and will have you smelling like a lumberjack in no time (if that’s your thing). Woody scents are considered masculine, so now most men’s colognes feature at least a note or two of cypress, cedar or oakmoss.
  • Citrus. Citrus-forward fragrances smell zesty and fresh, and use notes like grapefruit, lemon and bergamot for this effect. Along with fruit essence, citrus fragrances typically feature blossoms and leaves from citrus trees, like neroli. This fragrance family wears well in summer and appeals to a broad range of people.
  • Aromatic. This type of fragrance is similar to the woody family in that it relies on earthy notes, but is different in that it focuses more on herbs and greens. When paired with musk or leather, notes like rosemary, thyme and clary sage have a wonderful, smoky, masculine effect.
  • Aquatic. As you might imagine, aquatic fragrances bring to mind the ocean and typically have fresh and uplifting notes paired with a hint of sea salt. These cooling, summery scents are also called “ozonic” because of their crispness.
  • Floral. You may think that floral scents are feminine, but the reality is that some of the most enthralling men’s colognes are made up of floral notes. You don’t have to smell like a rose garden when wearing a floral scent; sometimes, a hint of violet or a dash of jasmine makes for an intriguing aromatic experience when paired with other types of notes.
  • Leather. You can think of leather fragrances as smoky, musky and classically masculine. Sometimes leather or musk notes directly do the trick; other times, leather fragrances rely on synthetic blends that smell powdery or even like fine tobacco.
  • Oriental. You’ll find spices and resins in this fragrance family, which brings to mind the seduction of old spice routes through the Far East. Because oriental fragrances rely on expensive extracts and oils, they are often the priciest of colognes but also the most hypnotic. Think vanilla, cardamom, ginger and amber.
  • Fougère. Think of fougère as the greenest fragrance category, with pungent herbaceous notes that smell like grass and leaves. The word means “fern” in French, which should help you picture the vibrant, earthy, aromatic effect this type of fragrance has.
  • Chyprè. Chyprè perfumes are known for being warm, dry and sophisticated, with a delicate balance not found in most other fragrance families. Typically, this type of cologne contains a citrus element, along with patchouli or other woods and something musky or smoky.
  • Gourmand. Any fragrance that smells like a trip to a candy store or chocolate factory is classified as gourmand. Fragrance notes in gourmand colognes include chocolate, coffee, vanilla, tonka bean or anything else delightfully sweet.

How to Smell Fantastic All Day and Night

Now that you’ve learned about the five best smelling colognes for men and the basics of what makes a fragrance, it’s time to understand how to draw out their aromatic experiences for as long as possible to make the most of them. Here are a few tips to increase the longevity of your cologne:

  • Apply After a Shower. To diffuse throughout the day, a fragrance needs some moisture, so applying cologne after a shower and a coat of lotion on your skin is a good idea. A shower will also help open up your pores and release steam in the room, which can help your cologne distribute scent more efficiently.
  • Focus on Pulse Points. Your pulse points are the areas of your body where your skin is thinnest and you can feel your heartbeat. This includes behind your ears, at the side of your neck and inside your joints. Applying cologne to these points ensures the scent is diffused from the warmest points in your body so the fragrance wafts over you for hours.

Layer Products. Some of the scents on the list are part of lines that include products that have a complementary or identical scent. By applying these products altogether – by shampooing your hair, applying deodorant, wearing cologne or using aftershave from the same line – you effectively layer the scent, buying yourself plenty more time with the fragrance.!



Author Profile

Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.

Email Adam@MarkMeets.com

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