Now that our contact with friends and colleagues is limited to video or phone calls or — at the very least — interaction from six feet away, what we smell like may be the very least of our problems. Spending money on cologne may even feel frivolous, yet no other sense is so perfectly attuned to emotion and memory as smell. A spritz of a fresh new cologne can brighten your day and arouse all your senses, something badly needed in the repetitive wheel of working from home.
Here are our favorite colognes this summer.
Best Cologne Overall: Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau Fraiche
Picking the best cologne for men is a tricky business since it’s such a personal decision. Even so, Yves Saint Laurent’s Y Eau Fraiche was the biggest crowdpleaser according to our judges. Notes of lemon, geranium, and cedarwood make this the quintessential summer scent, and it smells fresh yet understated, so you can use it for any occasion. We’re sure you’ll keep wearing this long after temps have dropped. That’s why it’s a recipient of The Manual 2020 Grooming Awards.
Other Colognes We Love
Dior Homme Eau de Toilette
While Dior Homme’s original Eau De Toilette was already an iconic fragrance, the French brand managed to elevate its status with a new formula, featuring notes of atlas cedar, patchouli, and vetiver (a tropical essential oil) for a leading man vibe.
Kilian Bamboo Harmony
Kilian Hennessy told The Manual that he loves wearing Bamboo Harmony around his home as much as he loves wearing his favorite t-shirt, and it’s easy to see (or smell, rather) why. Notes of mimosa, white tea leaves, and bigarade (aka bitter orange) give this a calming, and refreshing aroma. In other words, it’s our favorite shelter-in-place fragrance.
Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper
We love Molton Brown’s scented lotions, and the brand’s fragrances are just as impressive. In particular this peppery cologne — with notes of bergamot, coriander, and cardamom (an Indian spice) — is ideal for well-groomed lumberjacks.
Calvin Klein CK Everyone
Everyone is built on Calvin Klein’s now-iconic CK One fragrance: Vegan and made from naturally derived alcohol. Organic orange oil layers over “blue tea” (think of the oolong variety of tea: Somewhere between black and green teas) and cedar. The recyclable bottle features an elastic band which is an homage to — what else — Calvin Klein underwear.
Diptyque Eau de Minthé Eau de Parfum
Our Mediterranean vacation plans may be put on hold, but spritzing this minty, Greek-inspired fragrance from Diptyque is the next best thing. Features notes of geranium and patchouli.
Henry Rose Queens & Monsters
Henry Rose, founded by Michelle Pfeiffer, conceives of all of its fragrances as genderless. This latest offering, Queens & Monsters, is also Environmental Working Group and Cradle to Cradle certified for sustainability efforts. Oh yeah, it smells good, too! With notes of violet, neroli, jasmine, vanilla, and sandalwood, the fragrance is initially soft and rich, yet eventually becomes fresh and woody.
Polo Deep Blue Parfum
Perfect for summer, Polo’s new Blue celebrates citrus and Hawaiian green mango fragrance, as well as the brand’s proprietary CristalFizz ingredient, designed to boost freshness. The parfum dries down to cypress and sage notes with a salty mineral finish.
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