How to Find the Perfect Cologne for Every Occassion

Perfume? For men? What?

If you’re asking yourself these questions just stop reading now. If you aren’t cultured enough to know this is a thing then you won’t gain any value from the rest of this review.

If however, you are just as much of a suave gentleman on the streets as you are an animal in the gym, then you are in for a treat.

In this post we will cover some of the top men’s colognes that we’re wearing in 2021. In fact, nothing in the below list is “brand new”. Some of the colognes we recommend are perennial winners.

These scents are all time tested and proven winners among both men and women. Yes, not only will she be even more attracted to you but you’ll also like how you smell yourself. Complete win-win scenario.

All of the colognes recommended below we have personally purchased, most of them multiple times. We’re not into pushing shit we don’t test ourselves, from supplements to training routines to yes, men’s fragrances.

With that said, let’s dig into the good stuff!

Why Invest In a Quality Scent?

First things first, cologne, along with watches and furniture are one of those things that you really get what you pay for.

Don’t flake out and pick up a bottle of “Ranger Randy” western-knockoff poison in a bottle from your local Wal-Mart.

Colognes are complicated things, again, just like fine time pieces, where history and craftsmanship really matter. The human nose is a sensitive organ and a women’s nose? well, that’s on par with bloodhound.

This leads us to one of the primary reasons for investing in a quality man perfume this year; to help woo the opposite sex.

fresh colognes

Seriously, if you have a half-decent personality, workout and have a solid body, don’t dress like a complete slob and rock a quality fragrance, well, you’re putting yourself in the top 5% of candidates.

Only way to get higher, like 1% would to be wealthy on top of it, but hey, one thing at a time right?

I’m already in a relationship bro! Cool. You like scratch ‘n sniff stickers? What about scented markers? Leather couches? Fresh brewed up of coffee?

Yeah, you like nice smelling things, might as well make yourself one of them!

Yeah we get it, there is a time and a place. If you work out in a hard-core gym then obviously, the goal is to sell as sweaty and angry as possible. But for other times, well, you have options.

Just like wearing clothes tailored for your specific physique can make you look more muscular, smelling nice makes for a nice impression. Whether you’re looking for a romantic partner or just going out with the love of your life, or hell, even heading out on a business trip, smelling nice only adds fuel to the fire that is your overall persona.

Make a good impression. Smell good. Capiche?

Best Colognes for Active Lifestyle Individuals

Workout scents? Wait what, I thought wearing cologne was about meeting people and making good impressions?

Well yeah buddy, and do you workout in a hole all by yourself? That’s what we thought.

Whether it’s because you’re hitting the gym at lunch time and you’ve been in the office all day, or whether you’re hitting the gym right after work and you already smell a bit, well, worked out, it’s good to have a small bottle of fresher-upper cologne in your gym arsenal.

Before your workout or after hopping out of the showers, having something light, athletic and fresh is clutch for continuing on with the rest of your day like a champion.

The below brands are two we alternate back and forth between. Pretty much we wait for one to go on sale and then just pick up a few bottles.

Workout scents should be affordable, since you’re well, working out. Save the spendy stuff for later on when you’re going out.

Gym Scent #1: Adidas Moves Him

Originally released in 1999 Moves is the quintessential gym scent. Light and fresh this cologne is a blend of cold, fresh cut green apple, freshly rained garden, dash of black pepper for a more serious note, some star anise and mint to keep it fresh, and some mandarin orange, ginger and pineapple to add a bit of exotic flair.

Adidas - Moves Him
163 Reviews
Adidas - Moves Him

Underlying the top notes of fresh vegetation, mint and citrus fruits is a more serious base of cedar, lavender, jasmine, sandalwood and thyme. A dash of juniper berry and oakmoss add that manly man oomph at the end.

Gym Scent #2: Pull & Bear Mens Sport

While Adidas Moves is the international soccer star scent that is well known and common enough for people to recognize, if you’re looking for something a little lesser known yet equally affordable then look no further than Pull & Bear Gym.

In case you didn’t know, Pull & Bear is a more casual Spanish clothing brand which is now owned by Zara. They’re clothes are affordable and compliment an lean athletic body type, which is why we frequent them.

Their sport scent, simply called “Pull & Bear Gym” doesn’t mess about. It’s light and fun, fresh and direct, although not quite as aggressive or powerful as Adidas Moves.

gym cologne

With introductory notes all in the “fresh” plant category “Gym” gets your attention with more green apple, lemon leaf, and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.

Underlying these light fresh plant-based notes we have notes of jasmine, bit of rose stem, violet and cedarwood. This is all underpinned with the more serious white musk, sandalwood and amber.

Overall this is a refreshing scent that does not take itself too seriously. Splash it on and forget about it. Unlikely to turn any heads on the sidewalk it will nonetheless guarantee you are smelling as fresh as you look post-workout.

There we have it, our two go-to “budget” fragrances we feel compliment that “active lifestyle” that instagram is all about these days.

Now let’s step it up and see what the big leagues have to offer…

Most Versatile: Top Men’s Fragrances for Every Season

Bet you didn’t know scents are classified by seasons did you? Oh you did? Yeah, well it does make sense. Just like Starbucks and beer companies alike wait until Winter to break out the heavy stuff so do fragrance makers.

Well that’s not true, they sell all scents year round, but people usually select based off a spring/summer-oriented scent and a fall/winter-oriented scent.

mens fragrances meme

This isn’t to say ALL colognes fall into either one or the other, there are a lot that cross the line.

The assignment of season is usually based off how light or “fresh” a scent is, which goes well with hot humid summer months but can be a bit over-whelming in colder temperatures, or how “heavy” a scent is, meaning how much leather, musk, wood notes it has, which are found to be more “cozy” and thus cool weather friendly.

Below we’ll touch upon a few scents that we have fallen into the habit of wearing during certain seasons.

They aren’t 100% exclusive to those seasons though, as a richer, darker, traditionally “autumn/winter” categorized cologne can still fit in perfectly at a nice Italian dinner or casual evening in the properly air conditioned cigar room.

So, keeping in mind the seasons aren’t hard and fast rules, here are some scents that will have you turning heads in no time!

Spring/Summer Scent #1: Armani Code Sport

Armani Code Sport has to be the most quintessential athletic gentleman’s scent on earth. Unleashed on the earth in 2011 it has been a best-seller ever since. It is unique in how it blends the fresh, citrus/minty characteristics of many sport-oriented scents with a more serious under-note that radiate authority and class.


Yes, we are not professional perfume critics we know, take our limited descriptions for what they are; a best attempt to capture the myriad of random thoughts that pop into our head when we give these the old sniff-a-roo.

Armani Code Sport has a sweet little bottle that isn’t overly pretentious so you won’t feel like a sultan for keeping it out on top of your dresser.

The freshness is abundant with the standard lemon, mandarin orange and three, yes three, different types of mint. We think the mint diversity plays a big part in how Code Sport stands out. I mean common, who doesn’t think spearmint is a million times better than peppermint?

Under those eye-watering fresh characteristics is a more serious combination of gray amber, ginger and vetiver. The vetiver is a unique one for what is designed to be a more light, athletic scent but we like it as it means business.

Spring/Summer Scent #2: Emenegildo Zegna Uomo

Uomo by Zenga is a more recent release from the famous Emenegildo Zegna line of men’s scents. Released in 2013 the goal of Uomo by Zegna was to capture what it is to be a stylish Italian man. “Uomo” means “man” in Italian after all.

Zegna Uomo By Ermenegildo Zegna 3.4 Oz/100ml Eau De Toilette Spray
782 Reviews

We put this in the Spring/Summer category because the initial impressions of citrus and bergamot are quite powerful. Combined with notes of violet leaf essence this is one very fresh, very “crisp” scent.

If you thought all things Italian were big, bruising, leather and cigars you were wrong. This scent is sleek and sexy, like a, dare we say it, Ferarri!

Underpinning all that freshness is the serious stuff comprised of cedar and vetiver, two solid staples proven to be classics across brands and cultures for thousands of years.

Spring/Summer Scent #3: Burberry Brit

Burberry Brit. This is one of THE classic scents for men. We’re warning you upfront though, if you aren’t a fan of Earl Grey tea or bergamot in general, this one isn’t for you.

Brit is a real all-arounder, appropriate for both warmer and cooler weather as it’s bouquet is quite temperature resistant. Initially launched in 2004 Brit has been a regular best seller for Burberry and thus maintains a classic Burberry checkered bottle.

BURBERRY Brit Eau De Toilette for Him, 1 Fl Oz
  • BURBERRY Brit for Men Eau de Toilette, 1.0 fl. oz

Burberry brit is pretty simple, which can be sometimes quite refreshing in a world of overly complicated colognes.

The top notes are all citrus but very bergamot heavy. This isn’t to say it is “peppery” or offensive in any way as the bergamot, while strong, is perfectly balanced out with mandarin, ginger, and a bit of cardamom for that exotic “travelled man” pizazz.

Under the fresh top layer is a more warm cedar and nutmeg blend, backed up further yet with gray amber, tonka bean and patchouli, again, all timeless classics.

Brit is probably our all time favorite scent that we’ve been rocking for years. It’s fresh but serious. It goes well with collar shirts, nice shoes and a watch.

This isn’t your hanging with the boys scent, it’s too serious for that. Think more dates, shopping, traveling or living that cafe lifestyle.

Fall/Winter Scent #1: Armani Code

We dip now into Fall/Winter with Armani Code, the one, the only, the regular best-seller.

There’s a lot to be said by choosing a scent that is a best seller. It means people like it.

Sure, some may say that would be playing it “conservative”, but when it comes to cologne, we’d rather be the timeless traditionalist than the guy making people’s eyes water..


Armani Code was launched in 2004 and is a serious cologne for serious guys. Think suits and bowties. We’d never wear this with anything less than leather dress shoes.

The fragrance opens up with a nice balance of bergamot and lemon, although the bergamot here is not nearly as intense as it is with the Burberry Brit.

Under that fresh and friendly opener are notes of star anise, olive blossom and guaiac wood. This is all underwritten with leather, tobacco and tonka bean.

We think it’s that foundation of leather and tobacco combined with the more fresh opener that makes this such a serious scent. It commands attention but in a subtle way, like the Godfather clearing his throught. It isn’t shouty but it is most definitely memorable. This is probably why it has won so many awards over the years.

Fall/Winter Scent #2: Burberry Brit Rhythm

While Armani Code is the tailored suit then Burberry Brit Rhythm is the leather-jacketed badass on the Ducati motorcycle. The newcomer here to this crowd, released in 2013, the whole “aura” behind this was “rockstar”.

Seriously, that was Burberry’s whole marketing angle, “rockstar”. Who doesn’t want to be a rockstar? That kind of bad-ass tough guy vibe is probably why we think motorcycle rider for Rhythm while Burberry thinks rockstar..although rockstar, we think..other…less pleasant smells.

Rhythm opens up with a unique, bold blend of safe, pepper, wormwood, peppermint and carraway. You’re not getting any mandarin or lemon here. Rhythm cuts straight to the point with some very recognizable yet serious notes.

Things get even more serious from there as these bold openers are backed up by patchouli, amber and leather, underpinned with guaiac wood, tonka and cashmere. There are subtle hints of vanilla and slightly over-ripe passionfruit to give just a spritz of sweetness.

While most of the other scents reviewed here are definitely best sellers, many considered “classics”, Rhythm is a bit of a curve ball and will definitely get people curious as compared to other more predictable labels.

Best All-Arounder: Emenegildo Zegna Intenso

We know we said Burberry Brit is a damn good all-arounder, we have actually been rocking Intenso by Zegna more often than Brit, simply because well, sometimes we just ain’t feeling that bergamot life ya know?

Intenso finds a very happy medium between serious and sexy, fresh but comfortable, formal but not quite as serious as Armani Code in our opinion.

Zegna Intenso By Ermenegildo Zegna For Men, Eau De Toilette Spray, 3.3-Ounce Bottle
276 Reviews
Zegna Intenso By Ermenegildo Zegna For Men, Eau De Toilette Spray, 3.3-Ounce Bottle
  • Launched by the design house of Ermenegildo Zegna in the year 2007.

While the intensity of, er, Intenso might lend it to be more often thought of as a fall/winter scent we think it is still light enough to be worn well into summer.

This is probably because the top notes of mandarin and lemon are so common with summer/spring scents.

Under that freshness lays a head turning blend of cardamom, pink pepper, iris, vetiver, cedar wood, amber, sandal wood, vanilla, tonka bean and musk. Yeah, did we mention this is a rather complex scent?

That was by design. Emenegildo Zegna tried to capture contrast in this scent that was positioned for a younger target audience from some of their other more traditionalist scents.

Daniela Andrier worked hard to contrast “light and dark” notes. The goal is to create intrigue by combining light and dark, similar to wooden slat shades on a window, allowing streaks of light in while keeping it from being overwhelmingly bright. It’s a tease.

This technique in Italy is reffered to as “chiaroscuro” and is most often applied to the visual arts. We like the idea of capturing that intrigue in a cologne.

The light and dark duality makes it very flexible, to be worn up or worn down, although it’s definitely not a gym shorts/sandals kind of thing.

Skinny Yoked Final Word

There are tens of thousands of scents out there and there are new ones every year. These brands and styles above are ones we’ve found personally quite pleasant and received compliments on from both men and women and thus feel are worth sharing with our readers.

Much like fine whisky though, it is always worth broadening your knowledge base so if you have a particular fragrance you think is the bomb tits please let us know in the comments below so we can take a sniff next time we’re passing through duty free!

Last update on 2024-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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