The Best Classic Fragrances For Men
Don’t underestimate the power of a fragrance. With smell linked so closely to memory, the scents you wear can create impressions and evoke emotions—whether it’s intrigue, attraction or nostalgia.
So why go for a classic scent? Yes, it is fun to stand out with new seasonal colognes—from floral summer scents to winter spice bombs—but the classics are time-honored favorites for a reason. After all, fragrances interact differently with every unique natural scent, so wide appeal means many of these colognes are more versatile and approachable. Spring or autumn, day or night, you know you’re going to smell good.
But how to choose?
To help you get started, here are eight of the best classic men’s fragrances. You’ve probably smelled them before at some point in your life, whether you knew it or not. From Burberry and Chanel to Acqua di Parma and Ralph Lauren, here are the essentials.
Acqua di Parma Colonia
Meet Italian luxury in citrus- and wood-scented form. With one spritz, you’re transported to the shores of Sicily surrounded by bergamot orange, lemons and rosemary. Created in 1916, Colonia presents a musky, masculine base of woody vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli that opens up to lavender, Bulgarian rose and aromatic ylang-ylang. It takes a certain energy to rock the fragrance, but if you can, you’re joining notable Colonia fans like Cary Grant.
Burberry Brit For Men
Launched in 2004, this fragrance proudly touts both the modern and traditional sides of its English spirit. A strong departure from leathery and spicy men’s scents, Burberry Brit could be practically unisex—opening with bright notes of bergamot orange and green mandarin before unfolding to ginger, wild rose and tonka bean. Spicy cedar wood, nutmeg and gray musk offer a distinct London accent, but it’s relaxed enough to work wherever you are in the world.
Chanel Bleu Eau de Parfum
Bleu de Chanel is no doubt one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved eaux de parfums. Released in 2010 by French couture house Chanel, it’s become the standard for the “blue,” or clean, aquatic scents that have become popular today. For what it’s worth, I’ve worn this scent for more than six years because: It always gets compliments, it works anywhere anytime, and it just puts me in a good mood. Also, there are strong notes of grapefruit, which I think makes anyone smell nice. But that freshness isn’t one-note—it’s still a men’s cologne with vetiver, cedarwood and incense layering the finish.
Lalique Encre Noire Pour Homme
A spray of this smoky, woody cologne recalls a forest campfire at sunset. The dominant note here is vetiver—which, for reference, has been called “the fragrance of soil”—layered with cedarwood, cashmere wood and musk. You either love it or hate it. But fans of the cologne have sworn by its powerful, hypnotic appeal since it came out in 2006.
Sauvage by Christian Dior
Another staple in my rotation, Dior Sauvage is frequently (and maybe unfairly) compared to Bleu de Chanel given that they’re both versatile, clean-smelling scents. While the Chanel scent is more sexy and playful, Sauvage offers a bit of an edge with warmer peppery notes up-front to complement its bergamot citrus, and a sweet woody finish, fusing amber, cedarwood and vanilla. I’d recommend Sauvage for the one-bottle-only kind of guy given its balance and versatility.
Isssey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme
A staple of signature scents since 1994, L’Eau d’Issey is easily distinguished by its opening notes of yuzu, the Japanese citrus fruit, along with lemon and bergamot. But balance comes in the form of nutmeg, tobacco and vetiver, which make it a sophisticated fragrance for mature men. Spray it on a warm summer night, maybe for a special occasion.
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male
Easily spotted by its distinctive chiseled torso bottle, Le Male explodes with vanilla, mint and lavender. Originally debuting in 1995, the best-selling fragrance strikes a delicate and pleasant balance of citrusy, floral and sweet. Nearly 25 years later, it’s still a favorite of young men who want to turn heads and take numbers.
An American classic since 1978, Ralph Lauren Polo Green is for the star athlete who grew up and became a dapper modern gentleman. You won’t find florals here, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t balanced: Its heady base of leather and smoke is amped up by notes of coniferous wood, moss and vetiver. But remember that less is more here—so use it sparingly. The whole room doesn’t have to know what scent you’re wearing.
Culled from Forbes