There comes a time in every man’s life when smelling nice is just as important as looking nice. Yes, you take showers. Yes, you practice good general hygiene. But beyond that, are you really taking the time to put your best olfactory foot forward?
If not, you’ll definitely want to spend some time researching the best cologne for young men. Though the options are seemingly endless, not all scents are created equal.
If you fancy yourself the citrus type, we’ve got you covered with our favorite picks. Same thing if you lean more toward woodsy, masculine notes. The list goes on and on. Consider your lifestyle, who you’d like to leave a lasting impression on, and, most importantly, the type of cologne that you’ll enjoy smelling throughout the day.
And if you’ve ever doubted the importance of dialing in the way you smell, never forget that scent is an incredibly powerful sense. So much so that people are more likely to associate their interactions with you based on how you smell versus how you look. When it comes to cologne for young men, consider our top picks your safest and best bets.
Our Top Picks
If you’re just dipping your toes into the cologne world for the first time, Cool Water’s subtle yet statement-making scent makes for an outstanding entry point. While its approachable price certainly doesn’t hurt the mass appeal of this O.G. men’s fragrance, the understated masculine top notes of tobacco, musk, and jasmine only serve to seal its status as one of the best men’s fragrances of all time.
It’s not so loud as to make you stand out in all the wrong ways at the office and not so quiet as to be overshadowed at the club. Consider this a fine choice for everyday use.
Notes: Tobacco, lavender, jasmine, musk, mint, coriander, rosemary, amber wood | Size: 6.7oz
Perhaps no single cologne for young men has found its way to more pulse points than
Its price point is approachable, and so is the scent, making Voyage a versatile option for work, dates, and most points in between. If you’re looking to stand out in the crowd, however, this won’t be the right choice for you. It’s so popular that you’re bound to run into a nose or two that’s familiar with your cologne of choice.
Notes: Green leaves, apple, lotus, cedarwood, amber, musk | Size: 3.4oz
In terms of pure, unadulterated nose-pleasery alone, Cremo’s Spice & Black Vanilla offering delivers. It’s a fitting cologne for young men since it will last most of the day and stand out in all the right ways no matter what you’re doing. It also rings in at less than 20 bucks, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
And though this scent is layered with some of the more traditional notes you’d expect in many colognes, its essences of tobacco, vanilla, and fall spices have a way of disarming those around you, sending them to their respective autumnal happy places. Yes, even during the dog days of summer.
Notes: Dark woods, tobacco, vanilla, fall spices | Size: 3.4oz
You can’t please everyone, but reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive for Kenneth Cole Black, and we think they’re well founded. You’re working with a sensual fragrance that’s always ready for whatever the night throws at it. Top notes of mandarin and ginger give way to cedar, nutmeg, and musk on the back end. This scent is a solid companion to a smoky mezcal nightcap with a date.
Select another option for your daytime adventures, reserving this statement-making cologne in the sexy black bottle for when you’re looking to impress after the sun goes down.
Notes: Watermint, mandarin, basil, ginger, cedar, nutmeg, lotus flower, incense, suede, musk, ambergris | Size: 1.7oz, 3.4oz
Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t smell your best. Inexpensive colognes are everywhere but rarely does actual quality factor into the equation. Geoffrey’s Beene’s Grey Flannel has an approachable price tag and an attractive, masculine scent, making it an ideal cologne for young men.
Though some fragrances are better suited to specific seasons, Grey Flannel toes the line with its wide range of notes, from lemon and rose to oakmoss and cedar. Bonus: it comes in a little flannel bag that you can use for… Well, we’re sure you can come up with something.
Notes: Bergamot, neroli, lemon, geranium, rose, sage, violet, oakmoss, almond, vetiver, cedar Size: 1oz, 4oz, 8oz
Come with us as we think warm, cozy thoughts…
S’mores by the campfire. Hot toddies and paperback mystery novels. Slipping under a flannel blanket in an A-frame cabin. Hot-tubbing your après-ski muscles into submission. We could go on all day, but we sense your nose is getting impatient.
Burberry’s Classic fragrance oozes winter warmth with its toasty notes of amber, cedarwood, moss, and sandalwood. These confident scents are the perfect compliment to a cable knit sweater, medium rare ribeye, and a date who can appreciate such things. Or, at the very least, a date who can appreciate your outstanding taste in winter-friendly cologne.
Notes: Bergamot, lavender, mint, moss, geranium, sandalwood, amber, cedarwood | Size: 1oz, 1/7oz, 3.3oz
After a glorious summer day of lounging by the pool or reading a book on the beach, there’s nothing better than hopping in the shower, tossing on something linen, and heading back out for dinner and a cocktail. Which is exactly why Giorgio Armani’s classic scent, Acqua Di Gio, comes in as our pick for best summer cologne.
Its refreshing citrus and jasmine notes will keep the summer vibes rolling all evening and well into the night. But this is far from a one-note wonder. Indonesian patchouli rounds things out to lend the fragrance a warm, come-hither scent.
Notes: Citrus, rosemary, spice, jasmine, woods, patchouli | Size: 1.7oz, 3.4oz
We’ve sung this everlasting cologne’s praises before, and for good reason. Not only is it simply a nose pleaser, but it’s got unbelievable staying power. The thing just won’t quit. And with notes ranging from pineapple to birch to sandalwood, it makes transitioning from work to play a seamless olfactory experience for you and those around you.
One of the only downsides is that there’s a potential barrier to entry with this best cologne for young men—it doesn’t come cheap. That said, you could pay way less for another cologne only to end up replacing it twice as often as you would with a longer-lasting fragrance like Aventus.
Notes: Pineapple, bergamot, blackcurrant leaves, apple, birch, pink berries, patchouli, jasmine, ambergris, sandalwood, oakmoss, vanilla | Size: 1.7oz, 3.3oz
As a young man, it doesn’t always make sense to splurge on something as superfluous as cologne, but we hope you make an exception in this case. Clear a spot on your dresser for this stunner from Amouroud. Yes, its price tag is in the triple digits, but a little bit goes a long way, and it certainly shouldn’t be considered an everyday cologne.
You’ll likely want to reserve this as your special occasion cologne. Important business dinners. Weddings. Big dates or anniversaries. That type of thing. But when those times come, get ready to treat your nose (and everyone else’s) to notes of champagne cassis, smoked caramel, vanilla, myrrh, and so much in between.
Notes: Purple violet, heliotrope, champagne cassis, golden oud, patchouli, oris, smoked caramel, guaiacwood, vanilla, myrrh, tobacco musk | Size: 75ml
If you’re looking for a gift for your dad, brother, friend, or very lucky doorman, this handsome trio from John Varvatos is sure to please. Though the individual notes vary, they stay relatively true to one another with a woodsy, masculine throughline.
All three scents—Blue, Artisan, and Vintage—would be perfectly suited to everyday use regardless of what you’re doing. They’ve also got a lot of lasting power to get you from work to play without skipping a beat. Oh, and a friendly reminder: Don’t forget that sometimes the best gifts are the ones you give to yourself
Notes: Range of spicy, woodsy, and sweet notes | Size: .5oz
Just because there’s a limit to how much liquid you can bring onto a flight doesn’t mean you can’t still smell your best. Keep it classy 36,000 feet in the air with Proraso’s anything-but-traditional cologne wipes.
This travel-friendly cologne won’t last as long as spray fragrances, nor will it be as powerful, but that’s a good thing in this case. The last thing you want when you’re on an airplane is to overwhelm your fellow passengers’ noses. The elegant notes of cypress and vetiver magically tucked away within these tissues are just subtle enough to make an impression and keep you smelling fresh all day.
Notes: Cypress, Vetiver | Size: 6 single-use tissues
The best cologne for young men isn’t always the most expensive, the biggest name brand, or what celebrities are wearing. Sometimes, all it takes to be the best option for you is having a pleasant, versatile scent. One that you can keep on your countertop all year round, knowing it will be put to good use.
That’s exactly what this reliable and solid offering from Dolce & Gabbana brings to the table. Citrusy top notes of lemon and orange make it a nice compliment to poolside mojitos. And its sexy, moodier scents like cedar and tobacco work seamlessly to carry you into the night.
Notes: Lemon, orange, lavender, sage, cedar, tobacco | Size: 4.2oz
Picking her up at eight turned into dinner. Dinner turned into a nightcap. The nightcap turned into dancing. And all the while, your cologne was working overtime in the background—there but not there. Covert effectiveness is exactly what you want when it comes to your date-night cologne, and that’s what Bleu De Chanel delivers.
She won’t necessarily know where those wafts of citrus and vetiver are coming from, but she’ll be drawn to them. She didn’t think notes of sandalwood and ginger would create a chemical reaction too strong to ignore, yet here you both are, in each other’s arms. You and Chanel are definitely doing something right.
Notes: Pink berries, citrus fruits, vetiver, incense, ginger, sandalwood, patchouli | Size: 3.4oz
If you want to smell nice but don’t necessarily consider yourself the “cologne type,” this unconventional cologne balm from Duke Cannon might be just what you’re looking for. Take it on road trips or longer flights to keep yourself smelling and feeling fresh. Or stash a tin in your desk for stealthy application throughout the workday.
It comes in eight masculine scents (Birchwood, American lager, and Bay Rum, for example), but we’re fans of the Bourbon offering. Its woodsy, oak barrel-y notes are inspired by Buffalo Trace Distillery’s rack houses. We mentioned it was unconventional, right?
Notes: Woods, oak barrel, amber | Size: 1.5oz
Much like our date-night cologne for young men pick, Kenneth Cole’s Mankind does its best work in the background. Gentle notes of pear and pineapple segue into the fragrance’s more prominent scents of cinnamon, sandalwood, and oakmoss. They all work together to create an “I don’t know where that’s coming from, but I like it” vibe.
This is also a good option if you’re dabbling with wearing cologne for the first time and don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Just keep in mind that while Mankind has plenty of lasting power, there are other options out there that last much longer.
Notes: Pineapple, pear, cardamom, tarragon, ginger, cinnamon, sandalwood, oakmoss, tonka | Size: 1.7oz, 3.4oz
Polo Ralph Lauren for Men (often referred to as “Polo Green”) is a classic fragrance for good reason. It’s a crowd-pleasing scent with all-masculine notes ranging anywhere from thyme and cloves to conifer woods and leather.
Show your pulse points some Green love any time you want to make an impression that’ll last. The only drawback is that this OG best cologne for young men has been in the rotation for so many years and found its way to so many necks that you risk smelling like that guy, and that guy, and… you get it. Though we can certainly think of way worse outcomes.
Notes: Basil, thyme, cumin, coriander, cloves, conifer woods, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, leather, tobacco | Size: 4oz
What To Look For When Searching For The Best Cologne For Young Men
The cologne decisions you make affect a lot of people, but especially you. It’s one thing to drop little olfactory gifts to those around you, but you’re the one living with it all day. So first and foremost, make sure you like it.
But also consider where you’ll be wearing it and try matching your cologne’s notes to the environment. Bright, citrusy notes compliment breezy summer days, while woodsy, masculine scents are typically better suited to the winter months.
How long it lasts
Do you rarely make it home between work and play? Do you work from home? Are you a date-night warrior? Carefully consider your lifestyle and how many chances you get to freshen up during the day before deciding which cologne for young men is best for you. The longer your days, the longer you need your cologne to last. The shorter… you get it. Dial in your days and fragrances in tandem.
Cologne is an investment. Sometimes that investment is significant, sometimes it’s less so. Before committing to a fragrance, think about how long it will last and how that time frame corresponds with your budget. It’s possible to get a fantastic cologne at a bargain price, but do your research, read reviews, and—most importantly—love how it smells.
There are several popular choices when it comes to the best cologne for young men, but a few stand out more than others based on several factors. Nautica Voyage, for example, is one of the most popular colognes for younger people because of its versatile, approachable scent and affordable price. Davidoff Cool Water is another popular option for many of the same reasons.
Though everyone is different, many young men typically gravitate toward less specific colognes that can be worn for long periods of time and in many different settings. Another huge deciding factor regarding cologne for young men (especially those on a budget) is how much the cologne costs.