Let's talk cologne!

I like dressing nice as much as the next guy and I'm now deep into exploring more & more men's fragrances. I haven't been in an office in 2 years now, and I probably wouldn't wear most scents to the office anyways. But I love putting some on when I go out and love exploring new ones. So, what are you guys wearing? Give me your top 5 (no more than that!) and please be specific since fragrances have so many variances in their names.

Here's mine:

  1. Chanel Platinum Egoiste - incredible scent, fresh, elegant. Definitely says you're an executive. If I could only wear one for the rest of my life, this would be it
  2. Hugo Boss Man - I have been wearing this forever, literally 20+ years. If you like being complimented when you go out, wear this one. 
  3. Louis Vuitton Meteore - a recent addition to my collection. I was actually disappointed on my last visit to my local LV, I just didn't like any of their offerings. But this one was the exception. Smells light and fresh but still very subdued. Only people that get up close to you will even notice it but when they do, they will love it. I wore it on Sunday and my female went crazy over it. 
  4. Gucci Black Guilty - Love this one, you can't help but smile when you wear it. My gripe with this one is that its not very strong. You will go through a lot very quickly if you're someone that likes strong projection from your fragrance. 
  5. Burberry Mr. Burberry Indigo - amazing scent, really fresh and young. I usually don't shop Burberry, so it was a nice find on a random trip there. Once you've worn it, you will want to order it again.

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Comments (58)

Nov 23, 2021 - 9:38pm

I have some Tom Ford that smells nice and used to rock Dolce Gabbana Light Blue in college, but my question for you guys is does the cologne not interact with your deodorant?

I wear Old Spice whatever the fuck is on sale and most of them have a pretty strong scent. I feel like using cologne on top of this would be too many smells. Before I see a girl I usually just shower and use coconut conditioner and put on my Old Spice - have always gotten told I smell nice. I'd love to get some more "manly" smells but the deodorant works great and I just use Dove unscented bar soap. Have used Dove Men's in the past (aka college) but the smells seem sort of childish imo.

My question is, for those of you that use expensive cologne, what deodorant do you use? How do you limit scent interaction?

Nov 24, 2021 - 12:04am

I'm not sure I've ever had an issue with my deodorant affecting cologne like that. But if  it's a concern for you then you can try to find a fragrance that has a matching deodorant. A little harder to find but it can be done. 

Also I will use old spice every once in a while when I'm not meeting a lot of people or it's a slow day. It indeed does get compliments, there's a reason why it's been around so long!

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Nov 24, 2021 - 3:28am

I've worn Nautica Blue ($20) along with Old Spice Swagger deodorant for the past 7 years, and damn near every girl I've slept with has commented that I smell great. Even girl friends regularly comment on my good smell.

I bought fancier scents (e.g. Versace, Gucci) a few times and wore them some months, but they always resulted in reduced compliments.

🤷‍♂️ Save money, smell better. Waddaya gonna do about it

Nov 24, 2021 - 11:54am

Hey theres absolutely nothing wrong with that! I know I listed some high dollar items because that's what I've come across recently but the Hugo Boss Man is something that I pick up at Wal Mart for like $40 and it always gets me compliments. So if you find something that works for you and is easily affordable, then more power to you!

Nov 24, 2021 - 11:52am

I was in Hermes recently and was looking forward to trying this one for the first time . . . and I was disappointed. It was just a little too "terre" for my tastes. Definitely requires the right attitude and outfit (and maybe even age) to wear it successfully. I ended up buying some of their unisex mandarin offerings instead. 

Nov 24, 2021 - 7:45am

For winter its Azzaro Wanted by Night and Viktor Rodolf Spicebomb Intense. Looking to add Armani Code and Bvlgari Terra Essense pour Homme. 

  • 1
Nov 24, 2021 - 9:21am

I recently started using Scentbird and find it's a pretty good way to try a range of cologne's that you probably wouldn't otherwise. Unexpectedly became a fan of Chris Collins' Harlem Nights which is something I never would have purchased myself. With this said, as mentioned above - Tom Ford's stuff is fantastic (but rather expensive).

Nov 24, 2021 - 6:10pm

Le Labo is a house that I'm only now getting into. Funny thing is that they have a boutique in my town (I know there's not many) and I've passed it multiple times on my nights out, but I never even realized they were a fragrance house! Their store is always so minimalist and androgenous that I never knew what they were until very very recently. I need to make it a point to stop in there. 

Nov 24, 2021 - 7:27pm

My top five in no particular order:

1. Bleu de Chanel Parfum (best one of the line imo)

2. Green Irish Tweed by Creed - Debuted in the 80's but still kills it today

3. Pure Malt by Thierry Mugler - They got sold to L'Oréal and have recently discontinued the Angel Men line. Pure Malt is my winter go to; it smells incredibly unique

4. Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme by Chanel

5. Layton by Parfums De Marly - Opening is this horrible menthol vanilla but the dry down smells ridiculously good. 

Nov 24, 2021 - 8:52pm

Personally, I don't think they smell the same. I have a full bottle of GIT. Green Irish Tweed has a very fresh, green, rich, masculine, natural type of smell. It has a lot of depth and doesn't smell cheap or synthetic at all. Cool water has a similar base but it has a cheap deodorant type of smell (like most of what is sold at a Macy's or similar retailer). The people who say that GIT is identical to CW are downplaying that they can't afford luxury or they bought a bottle or decant from some discounter that kept the juice in poor conditions, thus destroying the original fragrance or they got a ten year old batch. 

Nov 25, 2021 - 7:59am

Many years ago, all the stores used to have a little bowl of coffee beans that you could smell to bring your nose back to a "neutral" in between tests. I don't know of any stores that do that any more. Bring your own handkerchief or something with a neutral scent (like your fabric softener or whatever) and smell that in between. And of course take breaks in between, walk around the store and then come back to try some more. 

Nov 25, 2021 - 2:04am

I'm Persian so obviously I would say Dior Sauvage, just kidding but I do have some great recommendations.

  1. Dior Homme - This is actually a replacement for Dior Sauvage (don't like sauvage smells like axe body spray to me). It is very versatile and smells woody. It's fresh and masculine and a great everyday fragrance. Gotten a lot of compliments on this one.
  1. YSL La Nuit de l'homme - This is my favourite one, really nice cardamon based fragrance perfect for dates or for occasions with close contact with chicks. This is my most complimented fragrance and every girl and guy that has smelt this loved it.
  1. Armani Code Absolu - This is another sweet fragrance, really strong tonka notes. It's actually pretty classy sweet smell that's pretty mature. Lot of compliments on this one as well.
  1. Bleu De Chanel - I don't think any explanation necessary this is a go to for a lot of people and I think a must-have for a lot of collections.
  1. Valentine Uomo Intense - This is a pretty unique scent that a lot of people don't have that is a pretty classy scent. I definitely recommend this one for nights out and it helps you stand out in a good way.
  1. CH Men Prive - This is also another night out fragrance that is an amazing scent. Also got a lot of compliments from this one (especially during college).
  1. Prada L'homme - Go to office or professional fragrance, smells super clean and fresh.

Those are some basic designer brand fragrances that a lot of people own but if you want more unique or "niche" fragrances I'm going to recommend some brands to look into. I won't tell you specific ones since they are unique smelling and different so you gotta smell a bunch of different fragrances in the house to find your scent.

  1. Creed
  1. Bond number 9
  1. Xerjoff (favorite house)
  1. MFK
  1. Roja Parfums
  1. Initio Parfums
  1. Parfums De Marley
  1. Amouage
  1. The Great House of Oud
  1. Clive Christian

If you want more recommendations let me know.

Nov 25, 2021 - 8:06am

As a niche perfume hipster, I am a little bit embarrassed for the commentary in this thread. Most people here clear 6-digits and you guys wear cologne that's cheaper than a DoorDash for two. And I say this with no ill intent.

So I'm around $5k deep into this hobby now, you can with confidence say that I'm as passionate on the topic as some guys here are about watches and cars. I don't think you need to be deep into perfume to realize that Creed 'Aventus' basically dominates Wall St, seen comments on this in so many threads actually. Aventus is the most popular niche perfume in the industry. And before I go more in depth, the word 'niche' refers to perfume houses that almost exclusively work on perfumes (they'll usually also do hair sprays, hand creams, candles etc - they just don't do clothes) vs. 'designer' which mainly refers to fashion houses who also dabble in perfume.

My entire post will be around niche since I enjoy the idea of wearing something that is both high in quality and unique. And no, not Creed 'Aventus' isn't among these. I'm genuinely a hater cause Aventus breaks the rules of niche by being far too popular. Aventus has additional problems - it has significant variance batch-to-batch, meaning when the scent first came out, it had better longevity vs. now it's more watered down. They also made a change from selling 125ml bottles to 100ml while keeping the price the same. As a whole, the house of Creed is no longer good value and I mean that wholeheartedly. I will still, however, include them in my recommendations to not seem biased. Before I start: avoid blind-buying, always test/sample your fragrances. Only blind-buy if you are experienced.

So what is good value? The first thing to understand is what are the other well-recognized niche houses. I list these based on my personal understanding of demand, price, and quality. 

1. Parfums de Marly - popular, mostly safe scents that are easy to wear, leaning mostly summer-fall with a few winter fragrances 

2. Xerjoff - diverse offering wall-to-wall, elite blend quality, 10/10 design for bottles/packaging (bottles come in nice leather cases and the perfumes are covered by a silky sheet)

3. Roja Parfums - Roja to many is the market leader for masculine fresh scents, price in terms of top 3 is on average the highest, very high quality bottles. Has one of the main competitors to Creed 'Aventus', that being Roja 'Elysium'.

4. Amouage - offering just as diverse as Xerjoff, blend quality has recently fallen off with some scents not performing as good (see Amouage 'Jubilation XXV')

5. Kilian - the king of winter fragrances. This house almost entirely builds fragrances you want to wear in tight circles and for dates as the gourmand profile (gourmand means edible smelling fragrance) can be musky/alluring

6. Initio - Initio is a sister-house of Parfums de Marly, they mainly design musky/alluring scents like Kilian does, but they do it from a more standard profile that isn't always gourmand. 

7. Nishane - another diverse house that has one of the main competitors to Aventus, that being Nishane 'Hacivat'. Nishane also has what many consider to be the best vanilla scent in Nishane 'Ani'.

8. Royal Crown - this is basically luxury-tier Italian perfumery. On average the bottle price is the highest out of anything on this list.

9. Mancera - 1st of 2 budget niche houses. Have perfumes that are very similar to those of Montale, high quality clones that take popular scents and slightly twist them.

10. Montale - 2nd of 2 budget niche houses. Have perfumes that are very similar to those of Mancera, high quality clones that take popular scents and slightly twist them.

Very specific recommendations on a scenario basis:

1. All-year: In the niche realm, there are two types of all-year scents, i.e. scents you can wear all through-out the year in every climate.

  • The first is the classic manly bergamot-shower gel type profile, the profile that is ruled by Sauvage in the designer realm. In designer, the fragrances here are Nishane 'Hacivat', Roja 'Elysium' and Creed 'Aventus'. It is hard to stand out with this profile, but if I wanted this profile, I would look for an older batch of Aventus. 
  • The second is a sweet-fresh hybrid that has more pull in terms of its abilities in a cold fall/winter. The #1 scent for this profile without a doubt is Parfums de Marly 'Layton' which in designer terms does have some similarities to Jean-Paul Gaultier's 'Ultra Male'. After Layton, I would also recommend M. Micallef's 'DesirToxic' and less popular L'Arc Parfums 'Argentium'.

2. Summer: In the summer you don't want to wear heavy fragrances that are too sweet since they can be suffocating. The profile here wants to remain fresh, maybe moderately sweet. Given my recommendations above, the next scents that come to mind are Roja 'Oceania', Roja 'Burlington 1819', Atelier 'Orange Sanguine' (subpar performance, this can be a great wind-down scent or to throw on after the gym, it's not that expensive), and Creed 'Viking'.

3. Fall/spring: This is where you can get away with mix-and-match styles. A good example is Initio's 'Rehab' which is the niche version of Viktor&Rolf's 'Spicebomb' - a creamy-woody scent that is pushed through pepper. Another great idea is Xerjoff's 'Naxos' which is a fresher take on a tobacco-based fragrance. My favorite fall/spring scent is Amouage's 'Enclave' which is a sweet peppermint fragrance. 

Very specific recommendations on a per-house basis that I haven't listed above:

1. Parfums de Marly - After Layton the next most popular scents are Herod, Percival, and Pegasus. To me, Herod is the most attractive here as a tobacco-vanilla based winter fragrance, the profile which actually received a lot of attention thanks to Tom Ford's 'Tobacco Vanille'. You could realistically buy Layton, Herod, and Percival/Pegasus which would cover almost all weathers/scenarios.

2. Xerjoff - the key fragrance here to me is Alexandria II. It is a unique standout the same way that Dior's 'Fahrenheit' is. It is also very expensive - I paid 500 for a 100ml, but for business means, I enjoy having something that is both pleasant to smell and a bit more expensive.

3. Roja - while this scent does not work on my skin, Roja's 'Creation-E' or 'Enigma' as it is known in Europe can be a very appealing scent for some. Smells of coca cola and honey, to me that coca cola part of the profile does not last long.

4. Amouage - a bit surprising I haven't mentioned this yet, but Amouage's 'Reflection Man' is a slightly different take on the popular manly profiles. Think you can draw some comparisons to Prada 'L'Homme' for example or even 'Luna Rossa'.

5. Kilian - not sure where to start as the options are huge here, but the main two you want to focus on are 'Intoxicated' and 'Black Phantom'. Spray your clothes if you want to completely fill a room.

6. Initio - my 'begging for attention' scent has been 'Oud for Greatness', a dirty-animalic oud scent that remains inviting thanks to the saffron note making the scent more sweet.

7. Nishane - after 'Hacivat' and 'Ani' my recommendation would be 'Suede et Safran'. This is a different take on Tom Ford's 'Tuscan Leather' without the raspberry note. Smells very much like a sweet leather.

8. Royal Crown - this is a very hard sell from me to make cause each bottle is more than 400 I believe, but hey, the bottle cap is a legitimate crown. I think I'd suggest Royal Crown 'Sultan' here which is a smoky version of Initio's 'Absolute Aphrodisiac'. Scent is a combination of vanilla/amber and wood vs. 'Absolute Aphrodisiac' being vanilla/amber and leather. 

9. Mancera - so Mancera as a house has a lot of cheap fragrances that can be recommended here since they all hover 120-150$ for 120ml. Top recommendation for sweet: 'Aoud Vanille'. Top recommendation for fresh/all-year: 'Cedrat Boise' which is a fruity version of Aventus.

10. Montale - again, a lot of possible recommendations here. The most popular one is 'Intense Cafe' and its recent flanker 'Ristretto Intense Cafe'. Think rose and coffee, but the coffee note isn't that strong? At least not to me. After that I'd say 'Honey Aoud' - it's honey and wood in a dark masculine way, best niche comparisons to this are Parfums de Marly 'Oajan', and Kilian 'Gold Knight'. We can also include 'Arabians Tonka' which is a budget version of Initio's 'Oud for Greatness'.

But yeah, think that about covers it. One thing I didn't touch on are the private blends / private lines of designers. These have niche-type quality for niche-type prices, but they might be a bit more popular than you'd like. Most popular example without a doubt is Tom Ford's private line which includes scents like 'Tuscan Leather', 'Noir de Noir', 'Tobacco Vanille' etc. These are, in essence, what a lot of the popular niche fragrances are based of and I pay homage to this throughout my post.

Most Helpful
Nov 25, 2021 - 8:27am

Wow, what a post! You've clearly been around the block, respect! 

But I've got to say, that your post started a bit rocky. How can you call out people that like cheap colognes and then in the very next sentence complain that Aventus is no longer a good value??? I don't think people buying any of the Creed selection is interested in "value". 

Let's be honest with each, 98.7263% of the motivation for us to wear a fragrance is to catch the attention of women. Of course you'll catch the occasional compliment from another guy, but we're all looking to attract women. For that need, price simply does not matter. Women will like all kinds of scents (they say that women & men smell things differently) and some of them are going to be cheap things and that's completely OK. Some people will want more projection from their fragrance than others and some expensive ones do that and others don't. That's OK too, wear what fits the need you have. 

I liken your post to people that buy watches not for the brand name but for the mechanical intricacy and wonder. Both are expensive but people like them for different reasons. Hey, you do you. It's a fun hobby and I hope to try some of the higher lines you mentioned, I've definitely been curious about some of the ones in your list and make the income to easily afford them. But I think it's completely OK to wear something else that is super affordable, catches female attention and, of course, still smells good. People will buy what they can afford and are comfortable with and I think that just adds to the fun that people can have with fragrance. 

Nov 25, 2021 - 10:09am

This is fair analysis, I can at times be a bit gate-keepery and snobbish on my passion that is perfume. It is a part of the reason why I had to get it out there at the top of the post since I view Aventus in the same realm as I view the usual designer cornerstones for masculine fresh/shower gel/office scents, whether it is Aventus, Sauvage, Prada l'Homme, Bleu de Chanel etc. All of these suffer from popularity and as a result push me away from them - uniqueness is a selling point for me, it's why you see houses like Royal Crown and L'arc mentioned in my post.

My criticism regarding the cheapness of some of the heavily-mentioned perfumes is that they have high-quality niche alternatives that aren't as synthetic. The TLDR of my 'cheap criticism' is: If you like the profile of a scent then buy a better (niche) version of it since the designer version probably isn't the best version.

Regarding your 'looking to attract women' comment - that's where I differ from a lot of people. I got to the point in the hobby where I started wearing perfume for myself cause I enjoyed (and still do) the way it makes me feel. Gambling on compliments became low ROI behavior. If you look around on forums, even on the Fragrance sub-reddit, you'll see a lot of I guess complaints? from people that they're not getting the attention/compliments they thought they would. I used to think I'd wear the Johnny Depp fragrance (this refers to Johnny Depp being in a Dior 'Sauvage' commercial) and women would ooze all over me, and I was doing double digit sprays. It didn't pan out.

My conclusion isn't to discourage people from buying scents - almost any scent is better than no scent. As people in finance, we have the ability to own something of higher quality which is why I think we should stray away from the designer versions of scents that have existing niche alternatives. As for Aventus/Creed, my personal experience and knowledge is what makes me believe Aventus and the house of Creed as a whole aren't great. People who aren't as deep into the hobby might not understand it - you won't find older batches in the stores, so your only basis of comparison are dupes like CDNIM, L'Aventure, even Musc Imperial. Aventus will always be a safe pick, but to me, Aventus is a little bit like shadow inflation for food or the sugar tax in the UK - the stuff is still there, but not how it used to be. If you never had "the good one", how can you know if you missed out?

Thanks for calling me out on it though.

Nov 26, 2021 - 5:01am

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