Call these best selling men’s cologne common or ubiquitous, if you must. There’s no mistaking the most popular men’s colognes. You’ve regularly smelled them on friends or spotted them in their fragrance stash. But just because these fragrances are loved by a lot of men (and women) doesn’t mean you should look down on them.
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Perfume snobs will claim these fragrances have become too popular for their own good. Au contraire! As if creating a quality perfume that brings pleasure and joy to many people – and yes, profits – is not worthy of praise and recognition.
Want to find the best selling men’s cologne in 2023? Below is a list – some are the perpetual best-sellers, scents that everyone loves and keeps on their nightstand. Others are oldies that have never gone out of style, and there are usually a few surprises on the list as well.
Our Top Picks: Best Selling Men’s Colognes Worth a Try
It’s easy to see why Bleu de Chanel’s woody-aromatic fragrance has become a best seller for the French luxury fashion house. It’s sophisticated and elegant without trying too hard – in that very French, very Chanel way – from the super-minimalist dark blue bottle to the juice.
Bleu de Chanel created by Jacques Polge (Chanel Antaeus), has a highly distinctive citrus-fresh opening, with grapefruit and lemon at the fore. Mint and pink pepper also give the opening some crispness. The spicy heart includes ginger, nutmeg, and jasmine before it settles into base notes of incense, vetiver, sandalwood, cedar, white musk, and patchouli notes.
Masculine, elegant, and clean, it’s remarkably versatile going from day to night and appropriate for every season — it’s easy to see why it’s a go-to cologne for many men.
Best For: Most Occasions can go from day to night, all-seasons
Main Accords: Woody & Aromatic
Dior’s Sauvage by perfumer Francois Demachy is tied for best selling men’s cologne. First launched in 2015, the name is inspired by the 1966 Dior fragrance Eau de Sauvage but scent-wise they are not in the same collection. Sauvage was inspired by wide-open spaces, wild and rugged western landscapes, and the desert sun.
Sauvage is a fresh and spicy opens with top notes of bergamot and black pepper followed by middle notes of Sichuan and pink pepper (lots of pepper in this one!), vetiver, geranium, lavender, and patchouli. The base is cedar, labdanum, and Ambroxan.
It’s a spicier, bolder alternative to Chanel Bleu but still very versatile — you can wear this day to night in all seasons. If you’re looking for a heavy lifting fragrance that works for most occasions and will get you compliments, Sauvage is one to try.
Best For Most Occasions can go from day to night, all-seasons
Main Accords: Fresh Spicy & Amber
Sillage: Moderate to strong
Sometimes a fragrance comes along that seems ordinary and almost generic, yet on closer inspection reveals itself to be so more than that. So it was a natural progression for Coach For Men EDT to become a market triumph. Coach For Men, created by Anne Flipo (Carolina Herrera 212 VIP Black EDP, Paco Rabanne Invictus EDT) and Bruno Jovanovic (Frederic Malle Monsieur EDP, Boss The Scent EDT), is one of those scents.
Released in 2017, it features notes of nashi pear, bergamot, cardamom, vetiver, suede, geranium and coriander. It’s a nice, versatile, easy-going fragrance that’s understandably found its way into many men’s fragrance wardrobes. Nothing innovative but also nothing offensive, it’s a pleasant, work scent that’s moderately priced.
Best For Work & Office
Main Accords: Citrus & Aromatic
When D & G Light Blue Eau Intense Pour Homme EDT was launched in 2007, it became one of the best selling men’s cologne for the Italian luxury label Dolce & Gabbana and is still going strong. Created by Alberto Morillas (Bulgari Man EDT, cK One EDT, Gucci Guilty Absolute EDP), Light Blue won the FiFi Award Fragrance of the Year Luxe in 2008 and it’s easy to see why.
It feels distinctly casual and summery with prominent citrus notes including grapefruit, bergamot, and Sicilian Mandarin. In the heart notes, there’s a touch of spice with pepper, rosemary, and juniper adding a sharper, more distinct vibe. The base is musk, incense, and oakmoss. All in all, it’s an uncomplicated, fresh scent and that’s equally easy to wear to the office or the beach.
Best For Casual & Summer
Main Accords: Citrus & Sweet Spicy
They’re called blockbusters in the fragrance industry and Paco Rabanne 1 Million is legendary for its phenomenal success. Much loved and much-maligned, its success continues more than 10 years after its initial release. It was created by three top perfumers with serious credentials, Christophe Raynaud (Calvin Klein Obsessed For Men EDT, Joop! Wow! EDT), Olivier Pescheux (Diptyque Tempo EDP, Montblanc Legend EDT) and Michel Girard (L’Homme Lacoste Intense EDP, YSL Kouros Silver).
It starts innocuously enough with citrus and patchouli notes, but it’s the notes of cinnamon, leather, amber, spice and rose that will decide if this is a love-or-hate fragrance for you. It’s a warm and slightly sweet winner that’s deserving of reconsideration.
Best For Night, Fall & winter
Main Accords: Warm Spicy
Azzaro Wanted EDT was pretty standard stuff and then Azzaro Wanted by Night was launched in 2018. And it seemed like everyone took notice of this woody and spicy amber cologne.
Created by Quentin Bisch (Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Essence de Parfum, Mugler A*Men Ultra Zest) and Michel Girard (Paco Rabanne 1 Million EDT, L’Homme Lacoste Intense EDT), the juice is quality stuff inspired by Loris Azzaro’s own hedonistic 1970s lifestyle.
It has a super cinnamon intro, with just the right amount of sweetness. Things get even better when the notes of red cedar, cumin, and tobacco kick in. It’s seductive, sensual, and the perfect fragrance for a sexy date night.
Best For Night, Fall & Winter
Main Accords: Woody Spicy
Not everyone will get the powerful powdery iris note in this fragrance created by Daniela Andrier, who has created all of the Prada fragrances in recent years, but many have been seduced by its undeniable beauty. The neroli, amber and violet notes just add to its allure.
Such is the success of the original that intense, L’eau, Absolu, and Velvet Edition versions have been added to the line-up, too.
L’Eau d’Issey is one of the best selling men’s cologne that came to define the 1990s aesthetic of super-fresh fragrances.
It was created by Jacques Cavallier (Bulgari Aqua Pour Homme EDT, Pasha de Cartier EDT, Louis Vuitton’s private collection). Twenty-five years later, it still remains one of the most popular men’s colognes and for a good reason.
It’s because of its opening note of yuzu (the Asian citrus fruit) that’s enhanced by notes of bergamot and lemon. But Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey EDT is not just a straight-up citrus scent.
Notes of nutmeg and cinnamon (among numerous others) give it an appealing spicy and woody contrast, too. It was also consistently named one of the most complimented fragrances and is one of those versatile fragrances that every man needs to have on his shelf.
Oud fragrances have been a huge trend in western fragrance markets for quite some time now, with a very mixed bag of results. Gucci Intense Oud EDP is released in 2016 and created by Aurelien Guichard (Issey Miyake L’Eau Majeure d’Issey EDT, Versace Eros EDT), and it stands out for all the right reasons.
This oriental fragrance many not be a hard-care oud by Middle Eastern standards, but it has so much going for it to compensate.
This Gucci fragrance achieves this by the combination of various other notes (incense, wood, leather, amber and olibanum) that create a seductive and sophisticated effect that’s pure compliment-bait.
An American fashion designer whose clothing has a rock ’n roll vibe, John Varvatos has released various fragrances since 2009, including Dark Rebel Rider EDT, John Varvatos EDT, Artisan Blu EDT and Artisan Pure EDT.
But in a collection of stand-outs, it’s 2015’s Dark Rebel Rider, created by Rodrigo Flores-Roux (Tom Ford Neroli Portofino EDT, Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Vetiver EDP), that’s hit the top of the best selling men’s cologne charts.
Wow! The boozy Jamaican rum opening of this one is incredible. So spray again and again with pleasure. But it’s the combination of sugarcane, tobacco leaf, leather, vanilla, cardamom and woody notes that make it really addictive.
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Pros: Reasons to Buy Best Selling Men’s Cologne
Great for Gift Giving
These best selling men’s cologne are great to give as gifts since they are typically crowd pleasers that most guys will enjoy. These are all fragrances that almost anyone would welcome — probably your biggest issue is whether they have it already.
Safe for Blind-Buys
It can be intimidating and time-consuming to go in-store and sample colognes but buying online can be uncertain since you can’t test the colognes beforehand. Popular, classic scents tend to be safe buys — they’ve stood the test of time and have been well-liked enough to be a best-seller.
One of the most frustrating things is hearing great buzz about a fragrance, only to find out later, it was all hype. These wouldn’t have made it consistently to the best selling men’s cologne list if they weren’t quality fragrances in the first place.
Cons: Downsides of a Best Selling Men’s Cologne
You Might Smell Like Everyone Else
Smelling like someone else might not seem like a big deal… until you’re out on a date and get told you smell like their dad, ex-boyfriend, brother, etc. Sometimes it’s worth branching out from the standards and updating your cologne collection.
End Up in a Scent Rut
It seems like American guys just can’t get enough of that “fresh out of the shower” smell and many on this list reflect a preference for it. Not that there’s anything wrong with it per se, but there’s a whole world of scent beyond that.
Not Supporting Niche Perfume Makers
If all you ever do is buy the best selling men’s cologne, you’ll miss out on some wonderful niche perfumes that explore scents beyond what’s on the best-seller list. Plus, it’s just nice to support the little guys sometimes.
Cologne Trends for Men
Based on this list, we can start to get a sense of where men’s fragrance is. There are several noteworthy trends to explore in more detail.
Aquatic Aromatics are Well Represented on the Best-Seller List
The first trend I noticed is how many of the most popular men’s colognes fall into the aquatics family. These colognes are designed to replicate the smells of the seaside, from salty air to sea to marine plants. Aquatic aromatics are relatively modern. Many credit Cool Water with being the first aquatic when it launched in 1988. However, they have already proved to be the most popular men’s colognes, as you can see from this list.
Classic Colognes Die Hard
With all the fragrances launches and emerging niche players, I tend to think of the cologne landscape as constantly changing. However, I was surprised by how many of the best selling men’s cologne are classics. Many of them have been reformulated over the years but I was still pleasantly surprised to see so many classic scents are still selling well.
In contrast to the heavy, musky perfumes your grandfather wore, many popular colognes feature bright citruses like bergamot, lemon, or grapefruit.
Men & Women List Their Fave’s For 2023
The Most Popular Cologne
Following are the most popular cologne trends among men in 2023:
Woody scents: Woody colognes are known for their ability to bring out the natural masculinity in a man. They often have elements of musk and sandalwood, making them a great choice for men looking to reflect strength and confidence.
Citrus scents: Citrus scents are a great choice for men who want to make a bold statement. They are zesty, fresh, and full of life, making them perfect for men who have a more outgoing personality. I would recommend fragrances like Eau de Pamplemousse Rose for this purpose.
Spicy scents: Spicy scents provide a unique and interesting twist to the traditional cologne. When a man wears spicy cologne, he exudes a sense of mystery and intrigue. Some popular spicy colognes for 2023 include Tom Ford Noir Extreme and Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf. You see, no matter what your personality type is, there is a scent out there that will suit you.
— John Smith / Design Specialist / Leather Skin Shop
As a Marketing Executive at Perfume Empire, a retailer, and wholesaler of genuine designer fragrances with over 22 years of experience, I would like to share my thoughts on the best colognes in 2023. Here are some fragrances worth mentioning:
Bvlgari Man Wood Essence – Combines patchouli, cedarwood, and vetiver for an aroma that will make you stand out from the crowd. The earthy and refreshing scent conveys an old-world feel updated with modern ingredients. Perfect for those looking to transition their wardrobe into the warmer months, the woody notes are accented with citrus and ginger accents, adding a hint of fruity delight. Fresh and masculine, this cologne is worth a try if you want to upgrade your fragrance repertoire in 2023.
Hugo Boss Bottled Night – Reminiscent of a crisp night sky in a bottle, this exhilarating masculine blend creates an invigorating sensation upon application. Its intensely woody scent makes it perfect for formal wear or special occasions where you want to stand out as sophisticatedly stylish yet down-to-earth simultaneously. With long-lasting base notes such as vetiver and sandalwood, this one won’t disappoint you even after hours!
Dolce & Gabanna Light Blue Pour Homme Eau de Toilette Spray – Based around citrusy scents like lemon, grapefruit, and juniper berry. This fragrant masterpiece also contains lush accords such as white rose petals and incense, giving off more depth than most other colognes. Suppose you are looking for something invigorating yet subtle enough that can last throughout whatever event may come your way, then without a doubt. In that case, D&G Light Blue pour homme is worth considering.
Tom Ford Noir Extreme – The rich blend of spices at its core makes this cologne absolutely unforgettable. Think saffron absolute combined with nutmeg essence alongside base notes like sandalwood accord or tonka bean absolute, resulting in an intoxicatingly masculine aroma. Wearing it will certainly raise your confidence!
— Jamie Irwin / Marketing Executive / Perfume Empire
Working within the beauty and nail industry over the years, I have built up a wealth of knowledge through education, product knowledge, and overseeing the general day-to-day running of the business. Here are some of the best cologne recommendations:
This personifies the European style. The spring-appropriate geranium overtones take this radiant smell into olfactory ecstasy. The d’Hubert has complex yet alluring notes that evoke a calm stream of water sprinkled with greenery, as well as citrus bursts, geranium (our favorite), and even mint to provide a new level of flavors.
With Must de Cartier, Cartier dominated the traditional musk fragrance market for many years. The French house’s newest fragrance is even more amazing now, and you’ll wear it all year long. Both hot summer nights by the beach and chilly winter getaways by the fire are suitable for the sweet vanilla and oud wood, of course.
The 1990s-era fragrance Armani Acqua di Gio Eau de Toilette is still in style today. This perfume, a favorite of many of my friends, simply does not stale and retains its allure over 30 years later. Even though it is not as well known as it was in the 1990s, Alberto Morillas’ brilliance is still highly regarded today. Who doesn’t love a trip to the Mediterranean? We are definitely in need of one!
— Marie Littlewood / Director / NSI
The Classic Sauvage
“The most popular one I see is Sauvage by Dior, it’s a good-smelling one and maybe it’s so popular because of Johnny Depp. But when people don’t know what to ask for they usually go for something safe like this perfume.”
— Laurens / Owner / Happy Giftlist
101 Guide: How to Choose Your Cologne
Sample It: Scents Smells Different on Different People
A fragrance that works for one person, may very well not work for you. This is because the essential oils that create the fragrance interact with each person’s body chemistry differently. Everything from the oil on your skin to your body temperature affects the way your cologne smells.
Style is less quantifiable but nonetheless extremely important. Part of this is just knowing your fragrance personality and what kind of impression you want to make. Some guys would like their scent to fly under the radar while others of us like to make more of a statement with our cologne.
Ideally, sample a cologne on your skin before you buy it. Experience the whole fragrance story from top notes (what you smell immediately), to heart notes (usually emerge after 20 minutes of wearing the fragrance) to basenotes (the lingering smell). Let it evolve and see if you still like it. If possible, experience all of them before you buy.
Understanding Essentials Oils and the Fragrance Journey
Linear: Scents that will not evolve or change as you wear them. Non-Linear: Will change and go through layers while you’re wearing them. Historically fragrances were designed to change during wear to compensate for unstable ingredients. Now many view it as an art form and enjoy the fragrance journey as the scent morphs while interacting with the skin.
However other people prefer a what you smell is what you get approach and like that the fragrance they picked out won’t suddenly change while they’re wearing it. Generally, higher-end fragrances tend to be non-linear while budget cologne for men are frequently linear.
Scent notes are the layers in a cologne. There are three types of notes. Top note, the heart note, and base note. The top note will melt away into the heart (middle) note and the heart note will melt into the base note. These notes make a fragrance more interesting and help them to have diverse scents.
The top note is very light and is usually floral or citrusy. The top note will last roughly 30 minutes and evolve into the heart notes which are usually the more heavy fragrances such as spice or grass.
The base notes will last the longest and support the rest of the fragrances with more rich and woodsy scents. Learn more about fragrance notes
Fitting the Cologne to the Occasion
While there are some of the best selling men’s cologne that are versatile and fit in nearly everywhere, many are designed for a specific setting and purpose in mind. Consider where you want to wear the cologne.
In general men’s fragrances fall into the woody, fresh and oriental categories on the fragrance wheel. Other scents are clean and crisp, designed for day time use, perfect for the office or at work.
Oriental = Date Night or Evening Out
In general, Oriental fragrances are sensual and spicy some of the best selling men’s cologne for a date or evening out. They have the spicy boldness to work well in the cool of the evening and have a more sexy edge to them.
Fresh = Daytime and Summer
Fresh scents are generally crisp and clean, good for summer or daytime wear. Aquatics or Water fragrances have been some of the most popular men’s colognes recently.
Woody = Versatile
Woody fragrances are earthy and natural, they are often quite versatile and could be used in a day or evening setting.
Floral fragrances are less common for men but tend to be light and good for daytime.
Match Your Cologne to the Seasons
How strong a fragrance smells also depends on temperature. It’s not just about setting the mood. In summer our sense of smell is heightened and the warmth brings out even delicate scents. Citrus and floral scents tend to be some of the best selling men’s cologne for the summer months.
Meanwhile, the best fall and winter scents are spicy, warm and bold. While this is not a hard and fast rule, it’s worth keeping in mind. Is the cologne you loved all winter suddenly too heavy? Is your summer cologne fading away in the crisp fall air?
You might find it necessary to rotate your cologne to match the seasons, especially if you live in a place that has pronounced seasons.
Understand Sillage and Concentrations
Cologne is commonly used to refer to men’s fragrance. However, it’s not technically correct. There is a whole lexicon of words to refer to the concentration of essential oils found in a fragrance. While the percentages aren’t officially regulated, generally the amount of essential oils increases the price as well and the longevity of the fragrance.
Sillage refers to the wake of a boat in French and is how far away the fragrance can be smelled. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. If you’re working in close quarters, your co-workers will appreciate your restraint.
Concentrations refer to how much essential oil is included in a fragrance. This often affects the strength of the smell and how long it lasts, not but there are other factors as well.
Common Concentrations For Men Include:
- Perfume/ Parfum: 15-40% essential oils, 6-8 hours
- Eau de Parfum (EDP): 15-20% essential oils, 5-6 hours
- Eau de Toilette (EDT): 5-15% essential oils, 4-5 hours
- Eau de Cologne (EDC): 2-4% essential oils, 2-3 hour
- Eau Fraiche: 1-3% essential oils, 1-2 hours
Whether you’re looking for a cologne that will last all day (and into the night) or a more subtle scent, pay attention to the sillage and concentration.
Fits your budget
Don’t feel intimidated by expensive niche colognes — there are quality colognes at every price point. If you really have your heart set on a pricy luxury fragrance, keep your eye open for promotions or special offers which will make it more affordable. Or check out our guide to the lower-priced best men’s colognes.
There’s some misconception that cheap colognes are more synthetic-based and expensive colognes are made with natural ingredients. This is not true — some rare ingredients such as oud do go for premium pricing.
However, in general, it’s a combination of the concentration of the fragrance and marketing that determines the price point. Budget perfumes are usually crowd-pleasing scents that are more diluted, targeted at a younger demographic, and have basic packaging. Niche luxury brands, on the other hand, can invest in developing new fragrances and innovative packaging that can get a premium price but might not have mass appeal.
How to Store Your Cologne
Short answer: in the dark, at a constant temperature, with the cap on — AKA the exact opposite of the bathroom window where it’s so tempting to store them.
If you have them in the bathroom, please don’t.
How to Apply Your Cologne
Here are some quick pointers on how to correctly apply cologne.
1. Spray on your body’s pulse points such as chest, neck, or wrist. The warmth will help develop the scent.
2. Spray into the air and walk through the cloud of scent. This is good for stronger perfumes or men who want a more subtle scent.
3. Apply right out of the shower and avoid putting fragrance on clothing as it can sometimes stain.
4. Don’t dump a lot on thinking it will last longer — it just makes you smell overwhelming and will wear off at the same time anyway.
And remember: fragrances should be discovered not announced.
Is it safe to buy colognes online?
The short answer is yes! But know what to look out for. This is a constant issue — let’s face it most guys don’t exactly relish a trip to the cologne counter. But there are also a lot of shady counterfeiters online. On this website, I try to link to reputable sources for the colognes — however, I’ve also put together some tips to help you and your wallet stay safe.
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Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.