My Boyfriend Test-Drove 7 Popular Colognes for a Week—I Ranked My Favorites

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

Key notes: citrus accord, labdanum, sandalwood, cedar

By blending citrus accord with wood notes, this fragrance hits the perfect harmony between woodsy and fresh. It smells electric on the skin and isn't overpowering.

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

Key notes: bergamot, cedar, vetiver

If you're searching for a bright, fresh-smelling cologne, this one fits the bill. Bergamot really comes through in this scent and makes anyone who smells it feel instantly transported to the Italian coast. 

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

Key notes: tonka beans, cedar, juniper berries

Like a dark bar and a stiff drink, this heady fragrance should be able to fit into anyone's regular rotation.

Tom Ford Ebene Fume Eau de Parfum

Key notes: palo santo accord, ebony wood accord, rose

I think this fragrance would smell good on absolutely anybody. It's downright intoxicating, full of intricate woodsy notes that come alive on skin.

Gucci Guilty Pour Homme

Key notes: lavender, orange flower, cedar

Notes of lavender give this fragrance a surprising edge. This fragrance was made to be masculine, but it's not a traditionally masculine scent at all thanks to the lavender and white florals, which is refreshing. 

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

Key notes: bergamot, cedar, black pepper, juniper

Not only is this the cologne that spurred many Adam Driver memes, but it smells absolutely divine. Black pepper gives it an alluring spiciness, while bergamot keeps it fresh and clean. 

 Ralph Lauren Polo Earth

Key notes: bergamot, lavender, mandarin, sage, vetiver

This sparkling fragrance is full of bright, sunshine-inspired notes. Made withs sustainable ingredients, it's a true celebration of nature—perfect for anyone who's happier spending time outdoors. 

Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne

Key notes: ambrette seeds, sea salt, sage

If you ask me, this is one of Jo Malone London's best scents. It blends mineral notes with woodsy notes to create a scent evocative of seaside cliffs on a brisk day. 

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

Key notes: marine, bergamot, cedar

Like diving headfirst into clear blue water, this cologne feels refreshing. It's clean and fresh, making it the perfect everyday fragrance. 

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.