The 40 best men’s colognes to suit every budget and taste

Our pick of the best fresh, woody, and musky men's colognes – with expert tips to help you choose

Two of the best men's colognes from Givenchy and Tom Ford on a green and purple background
(Image credit: Future/Brand)

The best men’s cologne can be a contentious conversation. Why? Because the smells we are drawn to, and the fragrances we buy involve many individual choices. A certain scent can provoke personal memories, and whenever you want to draw on certain emotions, one specific perfume might be what takes you there.

Just as with the best perfume for women, picking the best men's cologne can be as simple as favoring a certain brand because they’ve never let you down before. Maybe you know that flower fragrances or rose perfume will always hit the spot. Or it might simply be because we like the way a bottle looks, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. 

Either way, rounding up the best male fragrances out there is a job worth doing because those boys are notoriously tricky to buy for. Whether you're looking for 50th birthday gift ideas, an anniversary treat or prefer traditionally 'masculine' notes yourself, you can never go wrong with a bottle of something that smells wonderful. But where to begin? 

How to pick the best men's cologne

To help you navigate, we've divided our guide into four fragrance styles:

  • Heavy and woody: Powerful and aromatic with notes of sandalwood, resins, and cedarwood. The best oud perfumes fall into this category, as do perfumes with patchouli and classic wood scents Aramis and Dior Homme.
  • Sparkling citrus: Zippy and zesty with citrus fruits or botanicals like neroli and bergamot. If he likes Clinique Happy or Acqua di Parma Colonia he'll love these.
  • Musky and sexy: Warming, heady, and a little bit comforting musk-based scents will be right for fans of iconic cologne 4711 by Muelhens or Burberry Touch.
  • Fresh and aromatic: Clean-smelling, with green botanicals and ocean-inspired notes. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and Davidoff Cool Water are great examples.

The best men's cologne, as chosen by our experts

Heavy and woody

Burberry Hero

(Image credit: Burberry)

1. Burberry Hero EDT

Best woody men's cologne overall

Specifications

RRP : $99/£76 for 100ml
Fragrance style: aromatic woody
Key notes: cedarwood, juniper, black pepper

Reasons to buy

+
Understated
+
Modern but feels like a classic
+
Classy bottle

Reasons to avoid

-
Might not be strong enough for everyone

If you judge a fragrance on how it looks and the advertising imagery surrounding it, then you'd be hard pushed to not fall head over heels with this new scent from Burberry. The face of the fragrance is the inimitable Adam Driver and the advert sees him running on the beach alongside a horse. And all of that is also reflected in the scent. It has an energetic edge to it, probably thanks to the bergamot and black pepper but there is a heavy earthiness in it too. This would suit anyone who wants to smell sophisticated and unique but doesn't necessarily want their scent to be the center of attention, It’s polished but also a bit raw at the same time. 

Chanel Bleu de Chanel Parfum

(Image credit: Chanel)

2. Chanel Bleu de Chanel Parfum

Best luxury woody men’s cologne

Specifications

RRP: $155/ £113 for 100ml
Fragrance style: woody citrus
Key notes: cedar, sandalwood, lemon zest

Reasons to buy

+
There is no dud Chanel fragrance
+
Satisfying magnetic lid 
+
Long-lasting on skin

Reasons to avoid

-
Some might find it a bit overpowering

After the overwhelming success of the eau de toilette and eau de parfum, it is probably no surprise Chanel created a parfum version to complete the Bleu set. It has all the familiarity of the other versions but with more cedar notes running through it, which makes it slightly heavier and potent as you would expect of a parfum. However, there is still also some lightness thanks to the lemon zest, which makes this a fragrance that can be worn equally comfortably in the height of summer as the depths of winter. 

Calvin Klein Defy EDT

(Image credit: Calvin Klein)

3. Calvin Klein Defy EDT

Best budget woody men’s cologne

Specifications

RRP: $70/£60 for 100ml
Fragrance style: woody and zesty
Key notes: bergamot, lavender absolute, vetiver oil

Reasons to buy

+
Set to become iconic
+
Works for both casual and formal occasions
+
Fresh top notes

Reasons to avoid

-
Others will be wearing it too

If there’s any brand that does the high-low mix well, it’s Calvin Klein and this fragrance is typical of that. It is a woody scent, but it has a freshness to it that prevents it from being too heady.  It’s low-key enough to be worn with a simple white tee and jeans (as the star of the ad campaign, actor Richard Madden does) making it a great choice for the more casual man in your life, but also works equally well with a tux and a tie and when formality is required. 

Hugo Boss Boss Bottled EDP

(Image credit: Hugo Boss)

4. Hugo Boss Boss Bottled EDP

Best mass market men's woody cologne

Specifications

RRP: $99/£76 for 100ml
Fragrance style: spicy and woody
Key notes: chestnut, cardamom and dark vetiver

Reasons to buy

+
It will suit every man in your life
+
A classic scent that will never go out of style
+
Nice and spicy

Reasons to avoid

-
They may already have it

If you’re looking for the ‘everyman’ of male fragrances, then Boss Bottled may be it. This eau de parfum version is a little punchier and stronger than the original eau de toilette. The bottle follows the classic design, but the juice inside has been slightly refined to have stronger spicy notes of cardamom. This is cut through with a slight sweetness of apple and cinnamon all with dark vetiver providing the long-lasting sexy aroma that lingers. It is strong but not overwhelming and sophisticated without being too OTT. If you're worried about how to buy fragrance online for a gift when you can't actually smell it, this ticks so many boxes it would be a safe choice.

Kingdom Scotland Metamorphic EDP

(Image credit: Kingdom)

5. Kingdom Scotland Metamorphic EDP

The best boutique woody mens cologne

Specifications

RRP: £120 for 50ml (UK only)
Fragrance style: rich, rugged and smoky,
Key notes: black pepper, Islay malt , rose, amber resin

Reasons to buy

+
Unique, luxurious fragrance 
+
Great storytelling behind brand 
+
Long lasting on skin

Reasons to avoid

-
An investment price

If you, or the person you are buying for, loves a unique scent with a romantic tale behind it then Kingdom Scotland Metamorphic could be the one. Unsurprisingly, every fragrance by this brand is inspired by the rugged beauty of Scotland. This one, in particular, is based on the unique geology of the landscape, with mineral and resinous notes, as well as peated single malt whisky from the island of Islay, and a lush dark rose heart. It smells intense and luxurious, and you could be almost certain nobody else you know would be wearing it. 

Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club EDT

(Image credit: Maison Margiela)

6. Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club EDT

The best modern woody mens cologne

Specifications

RRP: $72/£49 for 30ml
Fragrance style: sweet and smoky
Key notes: tobacco, rum, pink pepper

Reasons to buy

+
Evocative and unique
+
Great value 
+
Not overpowering

Reasons to avoid

-
May be a little sweet for some

Replica is an excellent line of fragrances from uber-cool designer brand Maison Margiela, all designed to evoke an exact place and time. This one, of course, is meant to smell like a Brooklyn Jazz Club in 2013, which means tobacco smoke, sweet rum cocktails, and a racy peppery over-note to balance things out. As well as being a cool concept and appealing scent, we love how well-priced this cologne is compared with many other niche lines that run into the hundreds. Although the rum note is undeniably sweet, which won't suit everyone, the overall impression of the fragrance is grown-up enough to get away with it. 

Diptyque Orphéon

(Image credit: Diptyque)

7. Diptyque Orphéon

Best niche woody men's cologne

Specifications

RRP: $188/ £125 for 75ml
Fragrance style: sensual woody
Key notes: cedar, juniper, mastic and galbanum

Reasons to buy

+
Master craftsmanship
+
Totally unique
+
Gorgeous bottle

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too eclectic

Behind every Diptyque scent is a story that gives even more meaning and understanding to what you smell. Orphéon was a nightclub bar not far from the location of the first Diptyque boutique in Paris. The notes in the fragrance all represent a different element of the club. There is cedar and vetiver to bring to life the old coffee tables and dance floor. Juniper and lemon are in there to conjure up gin fizz cocktails, while mastic and galbanum add a leathery note like tobacco and cigars. Then there’s powdery ylang-ylang, which represents the women that would frequent the club and amber for the men. The effect is heady, intoxicating and a scent like no other, which makes it all the more special. 

Best men's cologne from Byredo

(Image credit: Byredo)

8. BYREDO Mixed Emotions Eau de Parfum

Best unique woody men's cologne

Specifications

RRP: $196/£127 for 50ml
Fragrance style: Woody aromatic
Key notes: Mate, ceylon black tea, birch woods

Reasons to buy

+
Addictive and unique
+
Smells familiar and comforting
+
It evolves as it dries down

Reasons to avoid

-
It's a complex scent that's not for all

Landing on our shelves in 2021, Mixed Emotions from Byredo is inspired by the tumultuous times around its launch date. “I hope that people read the label and identify with that sentiment in its simplest form, and then find something deeper to relate to the juxtaposition between the familiar and the unfamiliar,” says Ben Gorham (opens in new tab), founder and creative director of Byredo. A comforting scent, sweet blackcurrant hits you first, before it evolves into a warming cup of tea that eventually dries down to a smoky bonfire. It's utterly addictive and will have you coming back for more. 

Best men's cologne from Le Labo

(Image credit: Le Labo)

9. Le Labo Thé Matcha 26

Best understated woody men's cologne

Specifications

RRP: $289/£200 for 100ml
Fragrance style: Soft woody
Key notes: Matcha tea, fig, vetiver, cedar wood

Reasons to buy

+
Soft comforting scent
+
Not overpowering
+
A great scent for day

Reasons to avoid

-
Not strong or long wearing

If you’re looking for cool yet understated, turn your nose to Le Labo’s latest launch: Thé Matcha. Described as a ‘skin scent’, this fragrance is designed to mirror the clean, soft scent of your skin that can only be detected by those who are close by. Far from overpowering, this scent is quietly present and ideal for everyday wear. In terms of the fragrance itself, it is inspired by Japanese Matcha tea with, you guessed it, Matcha tea accord laced with creamy fig, soft vetiver, and warming cedar woods. If we had to describe this fragrance in one word, it would be grounding. 

Best men's cologne from Givenchy

(Image credit: Givenchy)

10. Givenchy Gentleman Réserve Privée Eau de Parfum

Best floral woody men's cologne

Specifications

RRP: $86/£91 for 100ml
Fragrance style: Floral woody
Key notes: Cedarwood, vetiver, chestnut, orris concrete, benzoin siam, bergamot essence, whisky absolute

Reasons to buy

+
Comforting, warm scent 
+
Great for winter
+
Impressive longevity 

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too heavy for some 

Inspired by smooth, flavourful whisky, The Gentleman Réserve Privée Eau de Parfum from Givenchy is a rich and boozy number that’s perfectly suited to a man with mature tastes. Beautifully balanced, the fragrance combines delicate florals with warming woods and fresh bergamot. At first, expect to be struck by a strong, boozy scent that soon makes way for a warm and comforting base where deep woods and chestnut steal the show. And it's this cozy base that lingers on the skin - getting better over time. While it may be too strong for summer, this is a great choice for the cold, winter months. 

Best men's cologne from Tom Ford

(Image credit: Tom Ford)

11. Tom Ford Private Blend Oud Wood Eau de Parfum

Best long-lasting woody men's cologne

Specifications

RRP: $205/£195 for 50ml
Fragrance style: Woody and spicy
Key notes: Rosewood, cardamom, Chinese pepper, oud, sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla, amber

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive staying power
+
Good silage 
+
Unique fragrance 

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too smoky for some 

This has signature scent written all over it. Masculine, smoky, and boozy – this fragrance demands to be noticed with its sophisticated scent that’s rich and heavy. A great choice for cooler climates, you can imagine spritzing this on before heading to a bustling London pub with bourbon and cigar in hand. Laced with whisky, tobacco, amber, and vanilla, this is smooth and smoky with a hint of sweetness. As for staying power, this fragrance will seriously stick to the skin – staying put for 8-12 hours. Note that a little goes a long way and it can be overpowering if you spray on too much.   

Sparkling citrus

Valentino Born In Roma Yellow Dream EDT

(Image credit: Valentino)

12. Valentino Born In Roma Yellow Dream EDT

Best overall men’s citrus cologne

Specifications

RRP: $80/£55 for 50ml
Fragrance style: spicy and zesty
Key notes: mandarin, pineapple, baked gingerbread

Reasons to buy

+
Surprising fragrance
+
A brand he might not have considered
+
Juicy and delicious

Reasons to avoid

-
The bottle is quite heavy

There are lots of citrus notes in this fragrance making it quite zingy in nature, but they are paired with an equal amount of spice from ingredients like gingerbread and cinnamon, which create quite a warmth. It’s a fragrance that has the sophistication that older men might be after and a vibrancy that will appeal to younger guys too. Oh, and let's not forget that incredible studded bottle, which has visual drama aplenty.    

Jo Malone London Orange Bitters Cologne

(Image credit: Jo Malone London)

13. Jo Malone London Orange Bitters Cologne

Best luxury men’s citrus cologne

Specifications

RRP: $150/£102 for 100ml
Fragrance style: juicy citrus
Key notes: sweet orange, bitter orange, amber

Reasons to buy

+
It smells like nothing else 
+
Zesty without being sweet
+
You can steal it too

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for orange haters

It would be easy for this gorgeous cologne to tread into Jaffa cake territory, but of course, none of the best men's cologne options from the house of Jo Malone London will be anything other than fabulous. The musty amber in this fragrance cuts through the citrus zest of the orange notes, preventing it from being too sweet and giving it a sparkling edge. At the risk of stating the obvious, if you don't like citrus fruits this probably won't be for you. Oherwise, we think this is an excellent all-rounder. 

Clinique Happy Cologne Spray

(Image credit: Clinique)

14. Clinique Happy Cologne Spray

Best budget men’s citrus cologne

Specifications

RRP: $59/£44 for 50ml
Fragrance style: crisp citrus
Key notes: kaffir lime, mandarin, yuzu

Reasons to buy

+
Range of products with this scent 
+
It’s a classic
+
Mood-boosting 

Reasons to avoid

-
He’ll never wear anything else

Launched in 1999, this is a fragrance that has stood the test of time and for good reason. It is perfectly balanced; not too heavy, not too light, not too musky but not too sweet either. It’s the perfect amount of a little bit of everything and that makes it ultra-wearable for all ages and types. Of course, if you or whoever you are buying for like to push boundaries with scent and smell like nothing else then this might not suit. But as a nicely composed option many will love we can't fault it. 

Jo Loves Pomelo A Fragrance

(Image credit: Jo Loves)

15. Jo Loves Pomelo A Fragrance

Best mouth watering citrus cologne

Specifications

RRP: $100/£75 for 50ml
Fragrance style: fresh citrus
Key notes: pomelo, fresh grass, grapefruit, vetiver

Reasons to buy

+
Parfum strength so lasts well
+
Ultra juicy and citrussy
+
Energising aroma 
+
Unisex  

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be too fruity for some

It would be difficult to catch a whiff of this ultra-juicy and crisp scent without smiling. It is citrus overload with pomelo, grapefruit, fresh grassy notes, and a mossy green vetiver base. It's fresh, aromatic, and would be as popular with women as men. Citrus notes don't tend to last as long on the skin as others do, but including them here at high parfum-level concentrations gives this cologne a fighting chance of getting through the day. Obviously, anyone who isn't a fan of citrus need not apply, but otherwise, this is a modern, delicious scent and a total winner. 

Paco Rabanne Phantom EDT

(Image credit: Paco Rabanne)

16. Paco Rabanne Phantom EDT

Best innovative men’s citrus cologne

Specifications

RRP: $75/£55 for 50ml
Fragrance style: energising aromatic
Key notes: styrallyl acetate, lemon peel oil, lavender

Reasons to buy

+
The first of its kind tech 
+
Mood-boosting ingredients
+
Bottle will make you smile

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be too tech heavy for some

This fragrance is one of the first to utilize technology in its creation and delivery like no other. In terms of the juice, it contains a molecule called styrallyl acetate. It has been used in perfume before but normally in small amounts. Here it has been used with ten times the normal amount. The scent was then tested on young men, using A.I. technology, to find out which emotions it aroused in the brain. The creators discovered it made them feel good, more confident, and more energetic. Bringing new meaning to the power of perfume. Then there’s the bottle. By simply holding your smartphone up to the robot’s head you become immediately connected to the Phantom world where you can play games, learn the Phantom robot dance. But perhaps more importantly than all of that, it smells good. It smells really good.

Prada Luna Rossa Ocean

(Image credit: Prada)

17. Prada Luna Rossa Ocean EDT

Best understated men’s citrus cologne

Specifications

RRP: $75/£54 for 50ml
Fragrance style: leathery citrus
Key notes: citrus cocktail, lavender, vetiver

Reasons to buy

+
Simple and elegant
+
Not trying to be trendy
+
Ultra classy for gifting

Reasons to avoid

-
Citrus lovers might want more zing

Prada is the brand that excels in understated elegance and this cologne is true to that. It’s citrus by nature but it’s not an overwhelming zesty scent. There’s a subtlety and quietness to it, thanks to the vetiver and lavender, that make it modern and classic. Brooding and mysterious actor, Jake Gyllenhaal is the face of the fragrance and we can’t think of anyone that embodies this scent more than him.  

Best men's cologne from Louis Vuitton

(Image credit: Louis Vuitton)

18. Louis Vuitton Météore

Best men’s citrus cologne for summer

Specifications

RRP: $265/£200 for 100ml
Fragrance style: Citrus aromatic
Key notes: Mandarin, neroli, black pepper, vetiver

Reasons to buy

+
Aquatic crisp scent
+
Light and refreshing
+
Impressive staying power

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

The brand behind some of the best designer handbags has also launched several of our favorite fragrances, this one included. Météore not only sounds cool, but it also smells cool. With the crispness of the ocean and the heat of the sun, this scent is summer in the Mediterranean, bottled. Opening with bright citrus fruits, including Sicilian orange and bergamot, the fragrance soon dries down to a spicy pepper and green vetiver base that makes a lasting impression. We are hooked. 

Best men's cologne from Hermes

(Image credit: Hermes)

19. Hermes Concentre D’orange Verte Eau De Toilette

Best refreshing men’s citrus cologne

Specifications

RRP: $142/£92 for 100ml
Fragrance style: Citrus aromatic
Key notes: Orange, basil, cedar, patchouli, amber

Reasons to buy

+
Refreshing and light 
+
Realistic orange scent 
+
Great for summer

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak longevity 

This charming fragrance conjures up sun-drenched orange groves with its uplifting aroma that combines fresh orange with mandarin, mint, and blackcurrant. At the base, you’ll find oak moss and patchouli which add a woody, earthiness to this otherwise zesty scent. Perfect for the summer months, this uplifting scent is the ultimate mood booster. We're totally addicted - in fact, our only complaint is that the longevity is weak compared to an EDP. But if you’re after a fresh fragrance that’s suitable for everyday wear, this could be the pick for you.