There are a lot of things to look for when it comes to choosing the best cologne for men – each and every man (not to mention each and every cologne offering) has a unique personality and emotional reaction, and what works for some might not work nearly as well for others.
A distinctly personal choice, choosing the right cologne for you or the man in your life can quickly become a bit of hassle and headache if you haven’t done your research.
Sure, you could just head to any reputable department store and begin sniffing all the offerings, but did you know that after exposing yourself to a specific amount of strong odors that your sense of smell becomes weakened and it becomes difficult to differentiate between scents?
Not only that but you’ll often be able to find incredible and significant savings if you do your cologne shopping online where you’re unable to smell and sample. Hopefully this quick primer will give you the kind of information and insight necessary (as well as a couple of solid “starter” brands to check out) so that you are able to painlessly and easily choose the best cologne for men.
Brief history of cologne
Named after a small city in Europe and invented by an Italian living in Germany but selling his products to people in France (yeah, walk through that one) our modern conception of cologne is far different than the more historical versions that have been with us since the dawn of time. In fact, ancient Egyptians had all kinds of scented oils and waters that were believed to have curative and magical powers, and only high priests and royals were allowed access.
This trend continued throughout history with the Romans and Greeks, and then saw a real boom in medieval Europe. Most everyone chose the use of cologne and perfumes instead of a regulated bathing schedule (there was no central plumbing and on demand hot water, and people would commonly go weeks, maybe even months between bathing) to mask their less than pleasant odors.
This all changed when the era of the Black Plague hit, as people began to awaken to the importance of personal hygiene and how cleanliness actually protects against disease. Scented oils, colognes and perfumes were then thought to be a contributing or at least masking factor that lead to the spread of the plague, and use just about dropped off from the face of the Earth.
Then our little friend in Cologne discovered a market for his scented water, and he was soon transformed from your regular man to the first fragrance baron. Shops all throughout France were raving about the Eau du Cologne – literally Water of Cologne – and the more modern, simplified and less powerful and potent colognes and perfumes were firmly established.
Choosing the Best Cologne for Men
There are so many different options available to the modern man when it comes to selecting the best cologne that it’s almost amazing. These little bottles of scented water and alcohol sell at incredible margins, and the fragrance industry alone is a multibillion dollar market. Just about every popular celebrity (and some less than famous people as well) have their own signature brands, and almost every single brand and type has a totally unique and sometimes complex scent.
To make the best decision, you’re going to need to go into it with a bit of a game plan.
General idea of what you’re looking for
This can be pretty difficult for first timer to the cologne marketplace, but you should at least try to strive for at least a basic idea of what smells and scents you’re looking for. We’re talking about the most basic components – light and airy, strong and powerful, woody, fruity, etc. These general guidelines (no matter how basic and simple) will be a gigantic boost when it comes time to selecting the best cologne for men.
You’ll be able to completely eliminate some scents and basics that you wouldn’t want to have on your body for any reason and can focus on the types of smells you’d love to incorporate. Different brands often focus on different styles of smell (Stetson very woody and manly, Armani lighter and more friendly) so you can often times write off whole houses of cologne producers with this simple information.
Draw on past experiences
It’s likely that you’ve bumped into someone that you know that has had a smell you’d love to incorporate into your own personal style. And while you may not feel totally comfortable walking up to someone and saying “Dude, you smell nice, what is it?” some indirect questions or hints can often be probe enough to have your friend tell you what they think is the best cologne for men.
You may also have a relative that has a distinct and unique smell about them, and these are often more approachable situations. Be aware though if you’re digging your Grandfather’s particular brand of cologne – while these older school scents can be some of the best, they can also be somewhat difficult to pull off without the proper personality and experience that years of life bring.
Remember to match your personality to your scent
The best cologne for men is always the best cologne for you, and what works for others (even an incredibly popular scent like Armani’s Aqua di Gio) make not be the best decision you could make. Your scent should be uniquely you in its personality and embodiment – it will probably be one of the first things people pick up on when they meet you. A persons scent and smell can cause triggers to react in other’s brains so you should always be conscious of what kind of message you’re projecting with your new scent.
All in all selecting the best cologne for men is a pretty easy process, and you shouldn’t treat it as serious as something like brain surgery. Know ahead of time that it will probably take a couple of purchases and trying different things to really lock into your new smell, and don’t be afraid of experimenting and looking outside the box.
There are some fantastic colognes out there that’s for sure. Below I have a video for you, on what are the most complimented colognes for men.