The Complete Guide to Men’s Fragrances and Which One May Suit You


Much in the same way that there is a language of flowers and colors, there is also a language of scents. This goes across the board for both men and women, with different aromas having different intentions and meanings.

But rather than delve too much into that, in the modern era, most people want a scent that makes a statement about themselves and, most importantly, keeps them smelling good on a warm summer day or evening. When you are a man, it can be tough to choose the right fragrance for yourself, as the market now goes far beyond just having ‘Old Spice’ in it.

You may be surprised to learn that, even when it comes to men’s fragrances, there are different fragrance types and, when worn to the appropriate occasion, they can make a good impression on all of those who inhale them.

So, gentlemen, this article will introduce you to the different fragrance families and will allow you to deduce which ones will make you feel sleepy, alert, or will help you to feel powerful.

The Families of Fragrances

As mentioned earlier, when it comes to understanding cologne, or Eau de toilette, the first thing you need to have a basic knowledge of is the family types that each scent belongs to. You may have heard of phrases like ‘oaky’ or ‘woody’ or even ‘oriental’ concerning fragrances and had no idea what they meant. It may also come as a bit of a surprise to note that when you spray a cologne, it may not have an immediate hit, or it may be mild; this is part of the strength of the smell and is not a reason to dowse yourself in it. Keep it subtle. So, concerning the scents of a man’s fragrance, here are the four main categories of aroma that you can expect to find when looking for your perfect cologne.


Most people are familiar with a fresh fragrance. It helps to wake you up and is usually made of citrus notes, like orange, lemons, or even mandarin. Bergamot falls under this umbrella of aromas too. However, fresh fragrances call also have salty undertones; think of fragrances with names related to the sea, or with boats or sea symbols on the bottles. These are signs that the cologne is a fresh-scented one.

Then, there are fresh ‘green’ scents, which move away from citrus notes and delve into leafy and herbal undertones. These are usually made up of scents such as basil, rosemary, or even mint (or lemon mint). All of these are designed to help you to feel more awake and should be worn sparingly, as they can be overpowering. Escentric molecules has based most of its line around fresh scents, so can be worth looking into if you want a fresh scent that will last.


Next, the floral family is composed of, well, floral aromas, with a masculine touch. This is one of the most popular fragrance families for both men and women and it is also one of the broadest. So, if you are curious about what scents go into the floral notes of that cologne on the internet, think of sweet, floral notes, such as those found with lilies or jasmine flowers. There was even a trend a few years ago with men’s fragrances also including wild rose hints too. Strong, yet subtle, these can be applied a bit more liberally, but don’t go overboard with it. Floral scents can range from being light and gentle, to intense. Therefore, it is worth testing out your new scent to see where it falls on this spectrum.


When most fragrances describe themselves as oriental, they are advertising that the aroma that you will get from them is warm, spicy, and even a little bit sweet. Of all the fragrance scents, oriental scents are considered the most luxurious and seductive and can vary from floral oriental tones to those that are woodier. Most aftershaves use oriental undertones, to create a scent that will stay on the skin and allow you to feel refreshed for the entire day.

Still not sure what an oriental scented cologne may smell like? Picture cardamom, cinnamon, and other spicy scents paired with softer ones, such as jasmine and orange blossom. The contrast of the 2 scents is why this is a favorite among men who are going on dates.


Finally, the woody scented fragrances are another family of warm aromas. However, much like the oriental scents, this is another favorite smell that many aftershave companies have based their products around. When trying to picture the smell of wood, it can be more than a bit tricky. So, imagine smells such as sandalwood, cedarwood, and even amber. These are all very warm and, in most cases, they will also have a sweet undertone of leather or smoke to them. Very alluring.

Fragrance Notes

Next, it is important to understand the spectrum of notes that these scents appear in, so when you choose a scent, you can determine which one is right for the occasion. Top notes hit you immediately after they have been sprayed and form a strong scent that will linger. Medium notes are what come out after the top note has evaporated and are usually the scent that lingers. These are the main scent of any cologne. The base notes are what is left when the former two have dissipated and is often the one that you smell when putting your clothes in the wash the day after.

Cologne Types

Now, finally, it is important to consider the different strengths that colognes come in, so you won’t overdo it when applying your spray or perfume. Eau de Parfum or EDP is the strongest type, as it contains between 10-20% of perfume oil. It will last around 8 hours from the time it is sprayed. Eau de Toilette or EDT contains between 5-15% of perfume oil and will be softer, lasting around 4-7 hours. Eau de Cologne is the lighter option, as it contains between 2-4% of perfume oil and, once sprayed, will last between 2-3 hours.