If there's anything you should know about me, it's that I love fragrance above all else. I'm all for floral-leaning and sweet scents when the occasion calls for them, but I will always feel best in a unisex scent. My boyfriend is also a major fragrance person, so luckily, we get to share a lot of fragrances. The mark of a good unisex fragrance is that it can smell good on anyone, and I truly don't think fragrances need to be gendered.
This week, I had my boyfriend test-drive some of the best colognes out there. Many of these are marketed with men in mind, and others are meant to be unisex. I think they'd smell great on anyone, but if you have someone in your life who is male or male identifying, these would all be a fantastic choice for them. Keep reading for the scents I liked best that my boyfriend tried, plus other colognes that smell incredible.
1. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Eau de Toilette
Key notes: Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian lemon, white bouquet, light and musky woods
This is, without a doubt, the best cologne my boyfriend tried, in my mind. It's impossibly fresh and doesn't smell heavy at all. It makes him smell like laundry drying in the sun and fresh air.
2. Byredo Super Cedar
Key notes: rose petals, cedar, vetiver, silk musk
This scent was initially in my fragrance collection, but after my boyfriend kept stealing spritzes, I relented and gave it to him to keep. It smells so warm and inviting on his skin, and it's woodsy without making you think you're smelling sawdust.
3. Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette
4. Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme Eau de Toilette Spray
Key notes: mandarin, yuzu, verbena, cypress wood, coriander, sage, geranium, blue waterlily, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, sandalwood, vetiver, amber, musk, tobacco
My boyfriend told me he wore this to the office one day and asked someone what smelled so good, only to later realize the good smell was his own cologne. If that's not a ringing endorsement, I'm not sure what is. I can attest that it smells incredible—it's complex but still soft.
5. Acqua di Parma Bergamotto di Calabria
6. Byredo Vanille Antique
Key notes: freesia, plum, amber, cashmere woods, vanilla beans, cistus oil
Byredo's new scent, which is an exploration of vanilla, is a truly unisex fragrance. My boyfriend and I have been sharing, and it smells exquisite and different on both of us. On him, I think the earthiness rings through, giving him an air of mystery.
7. Dior Sauvage Elixir Fragrance
Key notes: grapefruit, heart of spices, essence of AOP lavender, rich woods
Citrusy, woodsy, and spicy, this has always been one of my favorite fragrances for my boyfriend. He's had it for years, and every time he puts it on, the day instantly turns into a special occasion.
Other colognes we love:
Diptyque Orphéon Eau de Parfum
Tom Ford Ebene Fume Eau de Parfum
Gucci Guilty Pour Homme
Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum
Key notes: violet accord, cardamom, iris, Ambrox, cedar, leather, sandalwood
I couldn't resist putting this cult classic on the list. Particularly if you live in a place like New York City, you're likely used to getting a waft of this as you walk down the street. There's a reason it's so popular, though—it truly smells good on everyone. It's distinctive but plays nicely with nearly every body chemistry.
Tom Ford Tuscan Leather Eau de Parfum
Key notes: leather, saffron, black suede
If you think the smell of leather is one of the best smells out there, this is the cologne for you. It smells like fine leather with a twist, making it the ultimate combination of rough around the edges and refined.
Burberry Hero Eau de Toilette
Ralph Lauren Polo Earth
Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne
The Nue Co. Forest Lungs
Key notes: vetiver, cedar, benzoin, pine, patchouli, bergamot
I love anything that's multitasking, and this fragrance is also functional. It has phytoncides—molecular compounds produced in forests—that help relieve stress and anxiety, so you'll not only smell good, but you'll also feel good.
Armani Beauty Acqua Di Gio Eau de Toilette
Maison Margiela Replica At the Barber's
Key notes: basil accord, lavender, tonka bean
If I were to choose which fragrance on this list smells the cleanest, I'd probably pick this one. You truly feel like you're transported to a barber shop when you smell it—it's like a cloud of aftershave and leather seats.