Out of all the fragrances on the market, what is the best manly cologne? With so many options, it can be hard to tell, which led me down a rabbit hole of masculine scents. To determine the best, I tested out dozens of options and spoke to twenty people (men and women) to determine what they consider the best manly smelling cologne. And so, this article was born, with seven manly cologne scents to try, each offering something slightly different to cater to diverse guy’s preferences.
If you’re ready to upgrade your fragrance game, the best manly cologne will keep you as the alpha in any circle. Keep reading to understand the top manly scents and what to consider when choosing one.
On the quest for the most manly cologne, I searched the internet high and low to find that Diesel Only The Brave is the top choice. It’s energizing, masculine, and well balanced, with notes of citrus, herbs, and wood, making it a perfect option for daily wear year round. If you want something slightly spicier, opt for The Scent by Hugo Boss, which comes together with ginger and leather colognes.
Read on to discover more manly colognes for your rotation.
Our Top Picks
Why It’s Great: The best overall pick goes to Only the Brave by Diesel, and not just because it’s my macho boyfriend’s go to. Guaranteed to rack up the most cologne compliments, this fragrance is a bright and woody cologne, with enough freshness to turn heads wherever you go. As far as the best manly cologne scents, Only the Brave embodies everything we love about a masculine cologne. Plus, the blinged out fist-shaped bottle is a symbol of power, garnering plenty of counter appeal.
How it Smells: With punchy lemon, herby rosemary, and deep amber wood, this cologne is perfect for daily wear and will carry you through all seasons. Alluring, sophisticated, yet not overpowering, this masculine cologne will set you apart from the pack.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: The smallest bottle of Only the Brave is 50 milliliters, which is quite a lot of product if you aren’t positive you like the scent.
Top Notes: Lemon, mandarin, coriander leaves | Middle Notes: Labdanum, violet leaves, rosemary | Base Notes: Amber, leather accord, cedarwood | Size: 4.2 oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Year Round
Why It’s Great: Despite being around for a hundred years, Hugo Boss is the epitome of the modern man. The brand stays up to date with contemporary needs, pumping out manly colognes just as dependable as the brand’s staple clothing line. Their signature fragrance, The Scent, is as timeless as it comes. Plenty seductive, it’s one of the best manly scents if you’re hunting for a deep, mysterious fragrance.
How it Smells: The Scent is packed with spice, with notes of ginger and leather, and finished with an African Maninka heart for a touch of sweetness. It’s aromatic without being overwhelming, offering a distinctive manly cologne for any guy seeking an exciting signature scent.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: This is definitely a deeper scent that’s best reserved for cold weather wear. You may not get as much use out of it during summer.
Top Notes: Ginger | Middle Notes: African Maninka fruit | Base Notes: Smoky leather | Size: 3.4 oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Autumn, Winter
Why It’s Great: Aptly referred to as a “more sophisticated Old Spice” by one reviewer, Creed Viking is the best manly cologne on the luxury end of the spectrum. The scent doesn’t come cheap, but boy, is it worth every spritz. And since Old Spice is the epitome of masculine odor, this cologne is pretty much as manly as it gets, though it’s definitely more briefcase than gym bag.
How it Smells: Most famous for the fan favorite Aventus, Creed Viking offers another perspective. The brand describes it as “where the skies meet the seas,” combining distinctly fresh notes with light spice and musk. It’s energizing without doing too much, with masculine scents like vetiver and cedarwood for a strong, gentleman-focused fragrance.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Nearly $500 for a bottle of cologne hurts a bit, but is well worth the investment if you’re looking for a new signature scent.
Top Notes: Citrus, peppermint, pink peppercorn, absinthe | Middle Notes: Allspice, clove, jasmine, rose | Base Notes: Cedarwood, tonka bean, vetiver, white musk | Size: 3.3 oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn
Why It’s Great: While Polo Red and Blue are frequent chart toppers, Ralph Lauren Polo Black is arguably the most manly of the entire fragrance line. This cologne is undeniably masculine with a one of a kind scent profile. It’s stellar for daily wear and is a true head turner, considering it’s a less popular but equally exciting fragrance. If you’re seeking a versatile, unique scent, this is the one for you.
How it Smells: Compared to the fresher scents in the collection, Polo Black offers a deeper variant with special notes of juicy iced mango, masculine silver armoise, sensual patchouli noir, and creamy tonka bean.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Since this cologne is less well known than Polo Red and Blue, it’s often overlooked. But that doesn’t make it any less worthy of the bold man who wears it.
Top Notes: Iced mango | Middle Notes: Silver armoise | Base Notes: Patchouli noir | Size: 4.2 oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Year Round
Why It’s Great: Christian Dior is no stranger to masculine scents. Sauvage is the ideal choice for the modern don, a scent women love and an industry leading masculine cologne. When asking my female friends their preference for a guy’s cologne, Sauvage cropped up several times as a top choice.
How it Smells: It embodies attractive masculinity inspired by wide open spaces dripping in citrus, amber, and wood notes. Available in various intensities, the Eau de Toilette is best for daily wear, but if you prefer a long lasting cologne, opt for the Sauvage Elixir, which leans into a more spiced side of the fragrance with nutmeg, cardamom, and lavender.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Some may argue that Dior’s Fahrenheit is the most manly cologne in the collection. Though compared to Sauvage, I find it a bit dated (albeit plenty macho).
Top Notes: Bergamot | Middle Notes: Pepper | Base Notes: Vanilla, amber | Size: 2 oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Year Round
Why It’s Great: The best way I’ve heard this fragrance described is from a reviewer who said that “the bottle practically has a hairy chest.” While fougere fragrances (noted for their distinctive spicy grass scent) are suitable for daily wear, this also makes for the best manly smelling cologne for cold weather or evenings. The herbal heart combined with the masculine base invites whoever you’re with to draw closer and experience every nuance of this macho scent.
How it Smells: YSL Kouros is a proper fougere cologne with bright citrus top notes and an irresistible lavender heart grounded with masculine patchouli and leather.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Some may find this cologne a bit dated – it has been on the scene since 2000. That said, some scents are simply timeless, including Kouros.
Top Notes: Coriander accord, bergamot, mugwort | Middle Notes: Clove, jasmine | Base Notes: Ambergris, oakmoss | Size: 3.3 oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Year Round
Why It’s Great: If designer is a top priority, the best manly smelling cologne is
How it Smells: Employing uncommon ingredients like chili pepper and salt, it has a surprising scent rounded out with more frequently used notes of orange blossom, french lavender, neroli, and rose.
The masculinity shines through in rich cedarwood, which anchors the fragrance and makes it a wonderful choice for evenings and cold weather. However, if you’re looking to make a splash with your cologne choice, wear this year round to stand out from other men in your midst.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: If retro cologne isn’t your style, you may want to steer clear of
Top Notes: Fresh rose accord, hot chili pepper | Middle Notes: Orange blossom, neroli, French lavender | Base Notes: Patchouli, cedarwood | Size: 3 oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Autumn, Winter
Buying Considerations for the Best Manly Colognes
The main consideration when choosing the best manly smelling cologne is the scent profile, as this impacts what the fragrance actually smells like, as well as where and when to use it. Most masculine scents are either super fresh colognes (think Old Spice or Axe type scents) or deep and dark (your muskier, classic masculine fragrances).
The benefit of choosing fresh manly cologne scents is they tend to be easier to wear. Citrus colognes and herb-heavy fragrances balanced out by deeper notes of cedarwood or amber are prime for daily use. You’ll see this type of profile in colognes like Diesel Only The Brave and Creed Viking.
On the other hand, if you prefer a richer masculine cologne, opt for a scent that’s heavy on the spice, musk, and wood, like The Scent by Hugo Boss or Sauvage Elixir (as opposed to the lighter Sauvage Eau de Toilette). These are great as evening, autumn, and winter colognes, though you can certainly get away with using them as an everyday signature scent.
Intensity factors into how long lasting a cologne is, so it’s important to consider it when choosing manly cologne scents. Eau de Toilettes are the least intense, progressing to Eau de Parfums and Parfums, which have the highest concentration of fragrance oils. If you want a cologne that will last all day, opt for an Eau de Parfum or a Parfum, which will stay strong for several hours. However, if you prefer a subtle fragrance that you can reapply throughout the day, stick with a classic Eau de Toilette.
Manly cologne scents come in a huge array of price points, with the most common cost hovering between $60 and $80 for 100 milliliters of fragrance. That said, masculine cologne can be quite pricey, with Creed Viking at almost $500 a bottle. If you’re looking to invest in a signature scent, you may feel that the higher price tag is justified. However, it’s probably not worth the splurge if you’re only going to wear it on occasion or aren’t positive about the scent.
Why You Should Trust Us
Over the past five years, I have spent thousands of hours in department and fragrance stores sniffing and rating the best colognes for men. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of men and women of all ages to determine the most popular and timeless men’s fragrances on the market. Personal preferences aside, I strive to provide a well rounded view of guys’ colognes, especially if you’re after a distinctly masculine scent to showcase your macho side.
While there are plenty of options, the best manly cologne is Diesel Only The Brave, which is fresh, masculine, and an apt choice for daily wear. It also offers unbeatable value in terms of price and quality, making it a great choice as a signature fragrance to sport throughout the year.
Manly colognes come in all different profiles, but distinctly masculine notes include rich scents like tobacco colognes, vetiver, musk, patchouli, cedarwood, and neroli. These are often balanced out with bright citrus and soft herbs for a well rounded manly fragrance.
Some manly scents are deep notes like musk, patchouli, vetiver, tobacco, leather, and woods like cedar, amber, and sandal. Manly scents can also be distinctly spicy, with notes of peppercorn, chilis, and ginger. If you want a masculine cologne, consider fragrances like Diesel Only The Brave, The Scent by Hugo Boss, and Creed Viking.