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7 Incredible Men’s Colognes to Give and Receive

Just like pulling on a crisp button-down shirt and a pair of chinos, a spritz of a fresh cologne can brighten your day, arouse your senses, and send a signal to your unconscious brain that it’s time to get up, get moving, and get something done for the day — something badly needed in the repetitive wheel of working from home. You may also be looking for an easy gift to help brighten somebody else’s day. This year has seen the debut of some great scents, and we’ve made a few selections for you and divided them up by their fragrance profiles. Cool, vegetal, or citrusy can be fresh for day, while something more earthy and elemental might be better for evening.

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Best Overall: Henry Rose Jake’s House

BEST FRAGRANCE Henry Rose Jake’s House
Genevieve Poblano / The Manual

Did you know that many of your favorite conventional fragrances contain hormone-disrupting ingredients? With Jake’s House, you’re not only going smell like a complete stud, you’re guaranteed fragrances that are clean and nontoxic. The Henry Rose fragrance is the perfect daytime cologne for the spring and summer seasons that was a certified crowd-pleaser for our judges. Capturing the scents of citrus, honey and musk, we’re sure you’re going to love this fragrance as much as we do. That’s why it’s a recipient of The Manual 2021 Grooming Awards.

Best Cologne For Spring: Acqua di Parma Colonia Futura Eau de Cologne

With its blend of Italian citrus, clary sage, and vetiver, this aromatic fragrance will transport you to the woods of southern Europe. What makes the cologne even better is Acqua di Parma’s dedication to sustainability. This cologne is 99% naturally derived and packed in a bottle that also is recyclable. A win for your senses and the environment.

Best Cologne For Date Night: Angels’ Share By Kilian Paris

Like alcohol, scents have the ability to alter your mood and state of mind. That’s why this cognac-inspired fragrance is a crowd-pleaser. With its perfect blend of sweet, spicy and warm, you’ll get the best notes of this sophisticated dark liquor with none of the “boozy” smells. This scent has also been described as “sophisticated, yet erotic,” which makes it a great way to seal the deal on date night. Or if it’s a first date, this fragrance will be sure to make you memorable.

Best Daytime Cologne: Byredo Mixed Emotions

Just like the name suggests, Mixed Emotions is a mixed bag of scents that evoke many emotions. This scent is designed to reflect the “tumultuous nature of our times” — a combination of highs and lows. Sometimes smelling sweet, and sometimes smelling a little more woodsy — it just can’t seem to make up it’s mind, and we love the versatility it delivers.

Best Solid Cologne: Fulton & Roark Clearwater

The Fulton & Roark Solid Cologne will keep you fresh on the go. This compact cologne comes in a durable metal tin that is convenient for travel and a great addition for your everyday carry essentials. Although small in size, this product is a dense one, which means it will last you up to seven months, depending on use. Just like a spray on fragrance, you can apply this to your pulse points, but more subtle than its liquid counterparts. Which means this cologne will provide a personal fragrance for you, and for those who are close to you.

Best Cologne For Autumn: Le Labo Santal 33

This unisex Eau de perfume is long-lasting with notes of leather, warm spice, and violet. This scent has a good oil base, which means it’s guaranteed to last all day.

Best Cologne For Summer: Kenneth Cole Mankind Unlimited Eau de Toilette

This fragrance by Kenneth Cole was launched in 2020 and includes notes of clary sage, mandarin orange and sandalwood. If you aspire to live your life boldly without limits, this cologne might make a great addition to your vanity tray.

What Is The Difference Between Fragrance, Perfume and Cologne?

When shopping in the fragrance section, there’s a lot to decode. You might see scents labeled as perfume, parfum, eau de cologne, and eu de toilette, just to name a few. When speaking of more masculine fragrances marketed to men, we tend to use cologne as an overarching term. And you might be thinking that this is simply a distinction without much difference. Well the truth is the difference lies in the concentration of essential oils and alcohol base. But before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s learn how these fragrances are distilled from their natural state and made into scents.

At the core of every scent is a fragrance. Whether it’s a floral base or perhaps a woodsy scent, the process of fragrance extraction is the same. Extraction separates the aromatic compounds from raw materials (mostly plants) using the distillation process. Raw materials are heated and fragrant compounds are collected as the distilled vapor’s condensation, resulting in essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and so much more.

Now that we have a preliminary understanding of how the base of these fragrances are created, we can examine what technically differentiates them.

Fragrance is the official U.S. Food and Drug Administration term used to describe any cosmetic product containing a mixture of essential oils and alcohol (sometimes more) that gives each perfume or cologne its unique scent. Fragrances can be found in many different products and can include body soaps, hair care products, and even house cleaning supplies.

Cologne, also known as eau de cologne, is usually formulated for people who want a lighter scent. Colognes are primarily made up of 2% to 5% fragrance oil concentration, which only lasts two to four hours. This diluted fragrance is not only lighter than perfume, it’s usually cheaper. Although cologne has evolved mostly for men, you still can find some fragrances for women categorized as eau de cologne.

Eau de Toillete is the most popular type of fragrance that usually comes in a spray bottle and is light. With an essential oil concentration of only about 5% to 15%, this fragrance is much more affordable than an eau de parfum, and you can expect this scent to keep you smelling nice from about two to four hours. Because these scents are typically very light, they make great scents for the day time and warmer seasons.

Eau de Parfum has the second highest amount of essential oil or “perfume extract” at roughly 15% to 20% and slightly less expensive than perfume. You can expect this scent to last between six and eight hours. Although often confused with the eau de toillete, the eau de parfum is richer and longer lasting, which can make it a better choice for evenings and cooler seasons.

Perfume, or Parfum (French) if you’re feeling fancy, contains the highest concentration of fragrance oil, which often times makes it the most expensive of scents. A traditional perfume will typically contain roughly 15% to 40% fragrance oil concentration, which makes it heavier and stronger. Only a few dabs on the pulse points is enough for the whole day and is usually always alcohol-based. It’s generally safe for those with sensitive skin.

How To Choose the Cologne That’s Right For You

Choosing the right scent that works with your body’s chemistry is truly an art and science. Cologne is that cherry on top of the proverbial cake that can make you feel more attractive and can complete your personal style. Not only will wearing cologne boost your confidence, but it also has a powerful effect on how you’re perceived and remembered. Which makes adding cologne to your arsenal even that much more important.

Why Should Men Wear Fragrances?

Adding a fragrance to your daily grooming routine is one of the fastest ways to boost overall attractiveness. You might be thinking how that might be? Well its, simple. Evidence shows us that humans are able to detect partners that are genetically preferable by scent. Women especially have better and more robust sense of smell that are sensitive to male pheromones. That combined with a fragrance that compliments your body’s chemistry can create sensational olfactory experience for the opposite sex.

Not only will fragrances make you more attractive when attracting a mate, it leaves a powerful overall impression. Bad odors can invoke negative thoughts and feelings, whereas pleasant odors can induce those around you to more relaxed and perceive you in a more positive light.

Fragrance Notes

In perfumery, notes are descriptors of scents that are separated into three main classes: top/head notes, middle/heart notes and base notes. These scents are grouped based on the time after application in which a fragrance can be sensed. Crafting fragrances is a complete science as once must have knowledge how these notes are sensed with respect to time after application. Essentially, top notes are perceived immediately after application and will often ties consist of small molecules that evaporate quickly that will also form a person’s initial impression. Think of citrus based fragrances.

In the middle, there are heart notes that will emerge right before the top notes dissipate.The purpose of the heart notes is generally to mask the strong initial impression of the base notes that become more pleasant as time goes on. Scents from this class will fully dissipate after about twenty minutes to an hour after application. You’ll often find floral scents as common heart notes.

And finally, the class that brings it all home: the base notes. Consisting of heavy and larger molecules, the fragrance in this class tends to evaporate slowly and usually not perceived until about 30 minutes after initial application. These scents are typically very rich and very deep such as the muskier fragrances.

Common Types of Scents

Now that you have a preliminary understanding of how fragrances are grouped by notes, let’s dive a little deeper in to some of the most common types of scents. And understanding fragrance families will be a step in the right direction towards you finding your new signature scent. There are four main scent category types: Floral, Oriental, Woodsy and Fresh. Each scent category comes complete with their own subfamilies which can make fragrance combinations quite endless.

On your quest to find your signature scent, it might behoove you to take the time to know which fragrance family you’re attracted to the most before you sample scents. Now, we don’t expect you to turn fragrance connoisseur and obtain the ability to decipher which fragrance belongs to which family over night, but hopefully this breakdown will help lead you in the right direction!

Floral- The Floral family is one of the most ubiquitous fragrance type and used for a lot of classic scents. Although most often associated with the feminine, they can also be found in men’s fragrances as well. The floral family can invoke the the freshness of nature such as rose, jasmine, orchid and water lily. Floral scents are perfect for spring and summertime because they’re sweet, soft and smells like fresh-cut flowers.

Oriental- Oriental fragrance family is broad and covers scents that features prominent notes that are often times associated with the East such as anise, vanilla, myrrh and cinnamon. Often times these scents are described as “spicy”, bold, alluring and intense. So if you’re out on a date, or want to leave a memorable and lasting impression, you might want to go for a fragrance that features heavy Oriental scents.

Woody- Scents in this family are usually warm mixing incense-like fragrances such as patchouli, vetiver and sandalwood. Often times these fragrances are used in aftershaves and great for wearing in the evening.

Fresh- Fresh fragrances are known for their refreshing and zesty smells that usually comprise of citrus and water notes. With hints of citrus from bergamot and grapefruit, they are often times added as top notes in fragrances to round out the boldness of woody or oriental notes.

Choosing the Right Fragrance For Your Body

The art of wearing a fragrance isn’t as complicated as you might think. But it is a very personal journey finding the right fragrance that works with your body’s chemistry. Well what do we mean by body’s chemistry? Our bodies are a combination of water, proteins, sugars and acids that can subtly change the way a fragrance smells on our bodies. In addition, medication and diet can also interact with how fragrances can smell when applied.

Here are some other things to consider when trying to find your signature scent:

Skin Type- Have you ever taken the time to really examine the skin on your body? Well turns out, your body’s skin type affects how fragrance interacts with your skin. If your skin is on the drier side, you might have skin that is slightly rough and gets chapped easily. Consequently. when applied to dry skin, fragrances will easily evaporate from your skin because of it’s lack of oil or moisture for the fragrance molecules to stick to and properly absorb. If you have skin that is on the drier side, simply add an unscented body lotion then apply the fragrance.

Other the other end of the spectrum is oily skin. Although oily skin on the face is not particularly seen as desirable, when it comes to fragrances, oily skin means fragrance adhesion which allows the scent to linger for longer.

Temperature- Temperature plays a major role in how the scent of your fragrance is projected and perceived. Hot weather and body temperature will undoubtably intensify the notes while cooler temperatures makes it harder for the scent to evaporate. That’s why when applying fragrance, you want to apply to certain pulse points that generate heat such as the back of the neck, wrists and inside of the thighs. Also, it’s noteworthy to take the seasons into consideration (which we will get to shortly); light and crisp scents for the Spring and Summer seasons while keeping it bold and musky for the Fall and Winter.

Seasons – Just as our wardrobe adapts with the advent of each new season, so do our fragrances. When the temperatures begin to drop, you’ll want to reel in the warmer and more intense scents. Think sweet and festive with spicy and woodsy scents with a hint of cinnamon or vanilla. Springs brings about a re-birth of nature, so you’ll want to keep your scents on the floral side such as vetiver and jasmine. When Summer rolls around, stick to scents with the light tang of citrus.

How To Wear Fragrance The Right Way

After spending time, effort and money on your new scent, it’s important not to waste it by applying it incorrectly. Unfortunately, many men are completely oblivious to the fact that there’s a right and wrong way to wear your scent. Do NOT:

  • Spray your fragrance into the air and walk into it- you’re only wasting the product because the molecules will not be able to stick to your body.
  • apply too much cologne- too much cologne is just as offensive (if not more-so), than bad body odor.
  • spray on the insides of your wrists and rib together- this causes the molecules to dissipate faster and the scent won’t last very long.

Instead, you’ll want to want to apply your favorite scent directly onto your body, focusing on the pulse points. The blood flow and body temperature at the pulse points enables the scent to intensify. For this we suggest applying to:

  • Behind the neck, right under your ears.
  • Your bare chest, but if you have sensitive skin, you might want to avoid.
  • Your wrists, but whatever you do, do NOT rub them together.
  • Bonus: The inside of your thighs generate a lot of heat and can also help the fragrance permeate throughout your body.

Mistakes Men Make With Fragrances

The first mistake men make with fragrances is not using them at all. A reported 80% of men are not using fragrances on a regular basis and by not incorporating them into their daily grooming routine you are missing out on the benefits that scents can add to your over all appeal, both sexual and non-sexual. As mentioned above, adding a scent to your grooming routine can not only help in possible mate selection, but it also can alleviate stress, increase your confidence and help give others a more positive perception of you.

Another tip in addition to finding your signature scent is to make sure you are finding the right fragrance for you. Yes, receiving them as gifts is always nice, however, going in person and sampling will help avoid wasting money on fragrances that simply won’t work with your body.

This one might be a little less obvious, but you’ll want to ensure that you are properly storing your fragrance correctly. A fragrance has the ability to last a couple years if stored properly, but can degrade quickly if it’s over exposed to sunlight and not kept in a climate controlled area. It is recommended that you store your fragrance in a dark room with a cool temperature to preserve the integrity and potency of the scent.

Now that we have given you a full background on fragrances, here’s are our favorite colognes for men in 2021. And gentleman, please remember that less is more!

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