Starting a new job paves the way to a huge question: what will you wear? Sure, daily ensembles serve as significant first, second, and third impressions, but your cologne of choice can make a big difference as well. And while choosing the right vial is no walk in the park, it should still smell like one.
Like a firm handshake or a well-ironed button-up, picking the best cologne for work is a major element of any man’s wardrobe—any working man, anyway. After all, you don’t want to be drowning in any overwhelming scents, and I guarantee whoever sits at the desk next to you is hoping to avoid it, too.
Luckily for you and, most of all, your co-workers, I’ve narrowed down all the best scents you can wear to work no matter what time of year it is. Whether you want something that smells like a bundle of sage or the manliest rose that ever bloomed, keep reading to find the best colognes for work.
Barring a couple of winter-ready exceptions, the best colognes for work are often bursting with notes of citrus, bergamot, and anything that lies on the lighter side—in other words, nothing too leathery or even remotely boozy.
And while there are several gender-specific choices out there, several unisex fragrances offer a subtle balance of sweet-and-spiciness that make a great choice for workdays.
My favorite of the bunch is BYREDO’s De Los Santos, the Stockholm-bred perfumery’s crisp option that’s still musky and unique enough to differentiate you from all your coworkers that smell like Dior Sauvage.
On that note, If you prefer something classic, you can’t go wrong with CHANEL’s Bleu de Chanel, my woody-scented runner-up that speaks for itself. Ready to find the one that’s calling your name? Let’s dive in.
Our Top Picks
BYREDO has made quite a name since hitting the scene over 15 years ago, as founder Ben Gorham has dabbled in everything from candles to cosmetics.
To no surprise, its catalog of fragrances was bound to offer one of the best colognes for work, as De Los Santos is one of the freshest you can find. While I may be biased, this was the first fragrance I ever picked up from the brand, and it still remains a go-to in my collection.
Ideal for dry weather, the EDP’s top notes of clary sage and Mirabelle hit you in a heartbeat, ultimately settling into a subtle, floral musk that’s downright addictive and perfect for any work environment—indoor, outdoor, you name it
Above all else, the brand’s vegan formula showcases its strive for sustainability in a scene that arguably lacks it.
Top Notes: Clary Sage, Mirabelle | Middle Notes: Orris, Ciste Oil | Base notes: Musks, Ambroxan, Palo Santo | Size: 1.7oz, 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Annual
Second, on my list is a modern classic from a fashion house as iconic as any. Sure, Bleu de Chanel has had its fair share of changes through the years, but it remains a must-have.
Chanel describes its flagship offering as “the essence of independence and determination.” Hyperbolic? Sure, but every fragrance tells a story. With its citrusy top notes leading into an ever-present aroma of ginger, cedar, and sandalwood, this fragrance suits any workspace, and you won’t offend anyone—as has been proven through years of others wearing it to work on a day-to-day basis.
Yes, there are a lot of notes to keep up with here. While I don’t recommend layering one fragrance on another, just know Chanel makes its signature blend work, as this will always be one of the best men’s cologne for work. Wear it with a polo, button-up, t-shirt, or whatever you had in mind.
Top Notes: Grapefruit, Lemon, Mint, Pink Pepper, Bergamot | Middle Notes: Ginger, Nutmeg, Jasmine, Melon | Base notes: Incense, Amber, Cedar, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Labdanum, Amberwood | Size: 1.7oz, 5oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Annual
While Issey Miyake’s untimely passing shook the fashion world last year, the iconic designer lives on through more than just pleated trousers, with this being one of the countless examples.
The Japanese brand’s flagship male cologne is surprisingly affordable when accounting for most of its high-fashion catalog. Most of all, when you compare spraying this on your skin with most other colognes, it lingers longer than the average expectation. Basically, you’re getting a major
L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme kicks off similarly to a walk through your local farmer’s market, with top notes of yuzu and mandarin orange for a citrusy entrance, before segueing into middle notes of seawater, sage, and cardamom for an aquatic balance.
Top Notes: Yuzu, Mandarin orange | Middle Notes: Sea water, Sage, Cardamom | Base notes: Vetiver, Amber | Size: 1.3oz, 2.5oz, 4.2 oz, 6.7oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Spring and Summer
Virtually any fragrance you choose from Creed is bound to do you well, and none are more in line with a freshly dry-cleaned suit than this undeniably masculine pick.
Green Irish Tweed may not be as popular as Aventus, but it remains one of the boutique’s best-selling scents by far, much in part to its combination of fresh, top notes like peppermint and bergamot, floral notes of lavender and Egyptian geranium, and the earthy, lingering aromas of sandalwood and oak moss.
Truly, this EDP is fit for anything, be it work or an off day, so consider it a worthy investment since it’s such a versatile pick. And while it’ll cost you a bit more than most, a single spray on the wrist can last up to 10 hours.
Top Notes: Lemon Verbena, Iris | Middle Notes: Violet Leaf | Base notes: Ambergris and Sandalwood | Size: 1.7oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Spring, Summer, and Fall
If Bleu de Chanel is old enough to be labeled classic, then Acqua di Parma’s signature scent is in a class of its own. Born in 1916, the timeless fragrance remains one of the best overall, let alone one of the best colognes for work.
With balanced aromatics courtesy of lavender and Sicilian orange top notes flowing along florals, patchouli, and just a touch of spice (thank you sandalwood), it’s clear why the stars of yesteryear were using this versatile option.
While it operates well in most environments, it’s a great, safe choice for anyone working in customer service. Channel your inner Cary Grant the next day you head to work; you won’t regret it
Top Notes: Bergamot, Lavender, Civilian Orange | Middle Notes: Lavender, Lemon Verbana, Bulgarian Rose | Base notes: Vetiver, White Musk, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber | Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Cologne | Season: Spring and Summer
Montblanc is known for pricey pens, leathery notebooks, and, in this case, one of the best affordable colognes for work. The German accessory maker’s signature scent does its job in any work setting, boasting a woody aroma that parallels a misty forest. Interlace this with bergamot and a touch of sage and you’ve got a fragrance so fresh it’s almost as if you brushed your teeth a second time every morning.
With longevity of 5 to 6 hours, you truly do get a
Top Notes: Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Clary Sage | Middle Notes: Haitian Vetiver, Leather | Base notes: Ambroxan, Akigalawood, Cacao | Size: 1oz, 2oz, 3.3oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Spring, Summer, and Fall
Grabbing drinks after hours is still part of the average workday, and it’s an area that allows you to roll with a deeper scent. While my picks for the best cologne for work play it pretty safe, going out to the local bar is your chance to experiment or, in this case, teleport.
Maison Marigela’s REPLICA line features several fragrances that channel distinct points in time, and By the Fireplace is as warm of choice as any of them—literally.
The surprisingly syrupy sweet option features lingering vanilla notes, but is mainly highlighted by spicier scents, including clove oil and chestnut accord. The pub-approved pick gets its much-needed freshness from floral orange blossoms to ensure it doesn’t get old. Spritz it when you’re wearing your favorite blazer and you’ll be damn near irresistible.
Top Notes: Cloves, Pink Pepper, Orange Blossom | Middle Notes: Chestnut, Guaiac wood, Juniper | Base notes: Vanilla, Peru balsam, Cashmeran | Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Fall and Winter
PERFUMEHEAD is a luxurious up-and-comer, and its Los Angeles-inspired debut collection is as premium as it gets. Of the unique septet, Somewhere practically transports you and your peers to the place you really want to be: a shoreside oasis.
If you want something hard to pin down, this is it. Plump aromas of blood orange and lemon blossom intertwine with dewy palm leaves and smoky palo santo, serving as the liquid form of a bonfire at Dockweiler Beach.
The cruelty-free concoction is an extrait de parfum, the most concentrated form of fragrance you can buy, so it’s made to last throughout the day for an enduring, complex aroma you won’t tire of anytime soon. Wear daily to spice up the workday or save it for adventure-filled getaways.
Top Notes: Palm leaves, Bergamot, Blood Mandarin | Middle Notes: Lemon blossom, Neroli | Base notes: Palo Santo, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Sandalwood, and Skin musk | Size: 1.7oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Spring
This award-winning pick comes courtesy of a boutique so niche, you may not even come across it in person.
All things considered, Arquiste’s MISFIT is luxury liquified. It’s smooth, decadent, and, luckily, nowhere near as expensive as it smells. The independently-crafted cologne takes inspiration from 19th-century bohemians and their boundless passion for patchouli.
That grounding aroma is accentuated by an olfactive melting pot parallel to a department store aisle of essential oils, with other notes including patchouli, tonka bean, and tolu balsam.
Top Notes: Lavender, Calabrian Bergamot, Carrot Seeds, Angelica | Middle Notes: Agigalawood, Ambrette, Styrax, Bulgarian Rose | Base notes: Patchouli, Tolu Balsam, Labdanum, Tonka Bean | Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Fall and Winter
If I’m being honest, few fragrance houses, if any, can hold a candle to Tom Ford, and that’s been made clear time and time again—just ask Drake.
Like Tuscan Leather, Noir De Noir is a conversation starter, featuring spicy saffron top notes met by robust scents of truffle and black rose for an earthy finish.
These are capped off with a warm, spicy blend of patchouli, oud, and vanilla, so it’s invigorating enough to hold you and any nearby co-workers through the day. This cologne also makes for an easy transition to after work outings, especially in the colder months.
As part of the premium designer’s Private Blend Collection, it’s safe to say that this is far from your typical option. Much of this is courtesy of esteemed perfumer Jacques Cavallier, who now helms Louis Vuitton’s fragrance line.
Top Notes: Saffron | Middle Notes: Black rose, Truffle, Floral notes | Base notes: Patchouli, Vanilla, Oud, Oakmoss | Size: 1.7oz, 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Fall and Winter
Remember when I mentioned the manliest rose that ever bloomed? Well, here we are.
French perfumery Maison Francis Kurkdjian is arguably the fragrance space’s most popular name right now, barring the people who just found out about Le Labo and still can’t get enough. Moreover, the undeniably crisp L’Homme Á la Rose is about as bright as any male fragrance can get; that said, it’s ideal for work, but I recommend you consider this option a vacation.
With notes of citrusy grapefruit intertwined with woody accord and roses from around the world, this remarkable concoction is practically a trip to a foreign garden, blending everything from the warm, ambery winds to the floral aromas. Set a new standard for workday attire by switching things up with a formal pair of shorts and a couple sprays of this.
Top Notes: May Rose, Damask Rose | Middle Notes: Grapefruit, Amberwood | Base notes: Sage, Spanish Labdanum | Size: 1.1oz, 2.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Spring and Summer
Louis Vuitton’s fragrances are made to last, but few of them allow you to daydream on the job quite like Imagination..
Citrusy, bright, and concocted for the young at heart, the pricey fragrance’s top notes of citron, Calabrian bergamot, and Sicilian orange are as inviting as any Then, the middle notes of Nigerian ginger and Ceylon cinnamon add an intoxicating zing, while base notes of Chinese black tea and ambroxan keep it manly and musky.
Keep in mind that a good amount of what you’re paying for here is name, size, and presentation, as the French fashion house’s elixir is generously packaged in a gorgeous glass vile, letting the water-colored EDP shine. If you plan on breaking out an all-white outfit soon, this is the right way to spray.
Top Notes: Citron, Calabrian Bergamot, Sicilian Orange | Middle Notes: Tunisian Neroli, Nigerian Ginger, Ceylon Cinnamon | Base notes: Chinese Black Tea, Ambroxan, Guaiac Wood and Olibanum | Size: 3.4oz, 6.8oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Spring and Summer
What To Look For In The Best Colognes For Work
As you probably realized by now, the best cologne for work will often be based around something with citrus-or-spice-centric notes.
Ultimately, this conjures the perfect balance of daytime wearability and distinct allure, keeping your scent of choice even more exciting than the trousers or tie you wear.
And in case you’re too accustomed to wearing leathery, musky fragrances and aren’t sure which of these fresher notes suit you best, I recommend trying your hand at samples of options that are calling out to you.
Though it’s common sense, size, like price, will dictate just how long your bottle will last.
But say you operate in a hybrid environment—how often will you spray the cologne you bought specifically for work? On the contrary, if you’re going into the office every day, odds are it’ll be the last thing you do before waltzing out the front door (although it should actually be the first thing you do when hopping out of the shower).
So, all jokes aside, yes, size does matter; the bigger your bottle is, the more shifts it will last you.
EDT vs. EDP
Eau de toilettes and eau de parfums have been compared and contrasted to death, and there are only a couple of things you need to know when considering one or the other.
EDTs are the less potent of the two, often lasting between 3 and 7 hours. These often inexpensive options often consist of 5 and 15 percent fragrance oil.
On the other hand, EDPs boast up to 20 percent fragrance oil, which can linger as long as ten hours—that comes in handy when working overtime.
Overall, the best cologne for work is highlighted by non-offensive, light notes that anyone can appreciate. If you want an option that’ll last through the work day and keep people looking over their shoulders in the best way possible, pick up a bottle of BYREDO’s De Los Santos.
If admitted, of course it is—but you know what’s not appropriate anywhere? Too much cologne. That said, there are certain offices that do issue a fragrance policy, so make sure there’s no implication of such before spritzing all your pulse points.
Let’s answer this with another question: do men like to smell good? In virtually all cases, yes. So, if approved by office standards, the workplace is not an outlier. A word to the wise, it’s worth checking that your workplace doesn’t have a scent policy before going all out on your next best male fragrance for work.
In case you don’t know where your pulse points are, the key spots to spray cologne are the neck, wrist, inner elbow, and behind the ears, while some people even do so behind their knees. These areas emanate heat more than any, making the scent stronger in the long run. Please note that you don’t have to (and simply shouldn’t) spray all of these.