Choosing the right cologne for you isn’t quite as difficult as, say, disarming a field of landmines. On the other hand, choosing the wrong cologne can blow up on you in less obvious ways, including the fact that you may offend a roomful of people.
You don’t want to be that guy; the one who creates actual distance between himself and others, and ruins a potentially hot evening before the flame ignites. Choose wisely, friends, and we’re here to help. As they say, knowledge is power, and we hope to provide you with the kind of knowledge that makes your buying choice easier – and appropriate.
- DO A PATCH TEST
Never buy a cologne, perfume, or eau de toilette without first trying it on your skin. It’s one thing to do the bottle-sniff test, but another to put it on your skin and allow to interact with your skin chemistry. And how it smells on your skin is slightly different than how it smells on the next guy’s skin, and the next guys, and … you get the picture.
- BE PATIENT
Put it on your skin and be patient. A quality fragrance needs about 15 minutes to react with your skin and for its essence to come fully forth. As a general rule, the spicier the scent, the stronger it becomes when given time to linger on your skin.
- TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS (AND YOUR NOSE AND GUT)
You can do a ton of research, read reviews, look at labels, and find out plenty of detail about the base notes and to notes of each fragrance. Not that it’s bad information, but how you react to its scent is an emotion, one you won’t find on a label. Trust your instincts.
- TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU
Or, even if you do trust your instincts, why not bring someone with you, especially a significant other or trusted female friend? Let’s cut the b.s., one of the reasons you wear cologne is that it’s a seduction tool. We’re not saying that cologne guarantees that you’ll get laid, but its good to have every tool (pun intended) at your disposal. Or, bring a man. Just make sure it’s someone you trust enough to tell you that a certain cologne works on your skin or it doesn’t.
- RELEASE YEAR
Colognes, like wine, go through slight variations every year so be aware of a cologne’s release year. A certain brand might seem a bit different one year from the next, while some scents we’re geared to the fashion and style changes of a certain era. The good ones, however, survived the changes while remaining a popular choice.
- WHAT’S YOUR FASHION?
Cologne experts will tell you that everything from the way you dress to your skin tone should influence the type of fragrance you wear. Subtler scents work if you prefer a laid-back appearance such as jeans and a t-shirt, while a spicier scent is more appropriate if you dress in pinstripes and oxford shoes.
“Composition” refers to the different elements that make up a scent, such as notes of leather or sandalwood, and the best colognes typically have a unique composition that separates them from the rest. It’s tough to judge composition and what you see on the label is often written by marketers.
- THE SEASON
Experts advise that you change your fragrance for each season. For example, summer-appropriate scents are fresh, fruity and floral, while wood and spice scents – the kind that “warm” you up – are best when the temperatures start to drop.
- DON’T BE AFRAID OF SMALLER BRANDS
Don’t just reach for a designer brand that is celebrity-endorsed. Smaller brands often concentrate on one thing – colognes and perfumes – and their focus is on making the things they produce the highest quality. Don’t be distracted by the brand or the name behind it.
- IF COLOGNE ISN’T NECESSARILY YOUR THING, BUT YOU’D STILL LIKE TO TRY ONE …
Some men don’t mind cologne but don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. However, they still may want to try a cologne, and if you fall into that category choose one that’s not too complicated. Look for a cologne with a small list of ingredients. Many classic – and high-quality – colognes have an ingredient list that’s in the double digits.
- WHAT YOU EAT MAY INFLUENCE WHAT YOU WEAR
Experts even suggest that the cologne you wear should complement what you eat: if you eat a lot of spicy food, you probably have a weaker sense of smell and taste than the next guy. So, buy a cologne that has a bit of spice to it.
OK, let’s move on to the best cologne for men in 2019. We’ll review nine colognes – and perfumes and Eau de toilettes – that we think you and others will appreciate.