Once upon a time, choosing your first fragrance was easy: You strolled into the store, picked out a bottle of Aqua Di Gio, and strolled back out. These days, choosing a beginner fragrance requires a little more thought. It should be a scent you like, a scent the boys will like, and a scent that won’t put too much of a strain on your bank account. It shouldn’t be something you’ve smelled on every other guy in your social circle, but it also shouldn’t be so distinctively strong that it overpowers you. These are our picks for the best men’s colognes and after-shave lotions for guys who are just getting into the scent game:
Best First Fragrance #1 – Christian Dior Dior Homme Sport Eau De Toilette Spray
Launched by Christian Dior in 2008 and revamped in 2012, Dior Homme Sport is a masculine, woody fragrance that was created as an homage to racing. The François Demachy-designed eau de toilette mixes Tanzanian ginger and Virginian cedar with Sicilian citron and Tuscany iris. The result is an understated scent with a touch of vintage luxury. (Price: $72.50 BUY)
Best First Fragrance #2 – Givenchy Gentlemen Only
Gentlemen Only is a new cologne unveiled by Givenchy in 2013. The most recent addition to Givenchy’s fragrance lineup is a modern homage to the house’s most notable fragrance: Givenchy Gentlemen from 1974. Notes of green mandarin, pink pepper, nutmeg, birch leaf, cedar wood, heart of patchouli, vetiver, and incense make for a refined and contemporary update on a classic.
Best First Fragrance #3 – Dolce & Gabbana The One Gentleman Eau De Toilette
A beginner can’t go wrong with this one from Dolce & Gabbana. The One Gentleman begins with bright top notes of grapefruit, coriander, and basil, then fades into a spicy heart of cardamom, ginger, and orange blossom. The final accord is a masculine blend of cedar wood, ambergris, and tobacco. Altogether, it makes for a scent designed for a confident and sophisticated man. (Price: $49.00 BUY)
Best First Fragrance #4 – Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’Homme After Shave Lotion
Yves Saint Laurent’s La Nuit De L’Homme is a seductive oriental cologne with notes of cardamom, cedar, and coumarin. The after-shave lotion uses the same deep, sensual fragrance to stimulate and moisturize, providing soothing, softening, and conditioning (and just a hint of scent) to freshly shaved skin. (Price: $66.00 BUY)
Best First Fragrance #5 – Giorgio Armani Armani Code Eau De Toilette Spray
Don’t worry – we weren’t going to leave Armani out completely. Our new favourite is Armani Code, a clean and spicy scent launched in 2005. Code combines a citron cocktail of bergamot and lemon with soft notes of olive tree blossom and sexy final notes of guaiac wood and tonka bean. Armani Code was the winner of the FiFi Award for Fragrance Of The Year Men`s Luxe 2006. (Price: $56.50 BUY)
Pro Tip: Try all fragrances in the store and wait at least 15 minutes before choosing the one you like the most. Your decision should be based on the way the cologne smells on you, not in the bottle.