The best long-lasting colognes for men are gifts that keep on giving. They work like any other scent on your bureau, but instead of fading an hour or so after application, they linger (in a friendly, unobtrusive way) long after weaker fragrances disappear. Which is great for your wallet and your schedule—you don’t have money to waste and you definitely don’t have time to haul it back to your pad for a re-up.
9 Legendary Scents That Are Designed to Last
We know it can be a little, uh, difficult to tell how long a cologne will last based on its bottle, so to get the low-down on what you actually need to know we rang up a couple of the biggest fragrance wonks in our rolodex. Looking for the ingredients to keep an eye on? We got you. Eager to extend the shelf life of the colognes already in your rotation? We got you, too.
If you’re still not sure which scent to go for, read on. We rounded up nine long-lasting colognes for men to keep you smelling good around the clock.
The Date Night Pick
“Patchouli is a cherished and versatile perfume ingredient, derived from the leaves of the patchouli plant, renowned for its earthy, woody, and slightly sweet fragrance,” says Almira Armstrong, a fragrance developer and founder of Sydney-based fragrance house Lumira. “In the base notes, it reaches its full potential, with an intensified sweetness and a lingering presence that acts as a fixative, anchoring the entire fragrance and enhancing its longevity.”
The Late Night Pick
“Orange blossom is my favorite ingredient,” says Arquiste founder Carlos Huber. “It’s got citrusy, floral, mineral, and even musky and animalic facets, so depending on how it’s treated in both concentration and how it’s blended with other notes it can be either extremely fresh or very deep and carnal.” Arquiste’s GQ-favorite Misfit scent blends citrusy bergamot with patchouli and sweet tonka bean—and it lasts way longer than the competition.
The Fresh and Clean Pick
Ever wish you could bottle the feeling of a fresh shave? Parfums de Marly actually did it. Layton is simultaneously inviting and invigorating, blending notes of bergamot and sweet jasmine along with vanilla in one long-lasting formula.
The Woody and Warm Pick
Woodsy and warm, Metamorph is a unisex fragrance that makes for an excellent gift—for a loved one or just for yourself. That sauna-in-a-bottle feeling is largely due to the the staying power of vetiver, which is sweetened up with juniper. The result is eau so fresh.
The Adventurous Pick
Like the great outback, Cowboy Grass gives you an exhilarating rush at first sniff. The long-lasting scent is a blend of sweet rosewood, fresh basil, and grass (!) formulated to inspire your next great adventure—even if that’s just deciding where to go for Brunch.
The Smoky Pick
If there’s one person you can entrust to level up your sex appeal, it’s Tom Ford. The legendary designer’s tobacco-infused scent lasts all AM and PM to ensure you’re making the right impression with the fellow night owls.
The C-Suite Pick
Busting with citrus notes like mandarin that simmer down to a cedar and peppery base, America One 31 is fool-proof signature scent for the guy who has his sights on a promotion but would never be accused of being a try-hard.
The Office-Ready Pick
Metaphorically speaking, this aptly-named cologne smells like money and success. More literally, though, it smells like a heady blend of musky vetiver accented by notes of cucumber and marine soma. If you’re looking to go big (and don’t plan on going home for a long time), look no further.
The Heavy-Hitting Pick
Creed’s best-selling cologne packs a punch. Aventus is not for the faint of heart—it fuses together notes of bright pink pepper, sweet pineapple, patchouli and woody birch, yielding a formidable powerhouse that doesn’t lighten up.
The Ingredients to Look For, According to the Experts
“Parfum and eau de parfum contain higher levels of fragrance oils and generally offer prolonged scent duration,” says Almira Armstrong, a fragrance developer and founder of Sydney-based fragrance house Lumira. When it comes to the particular notes that should be on your radar, Armstrong recommends patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, and musk.
Carlos Huber, the founder of Arquiste, agrees. “Look for deeper, darker scents: woody, resinous, gourmand, carnal florals and smoky scents that will have more complex molecular structure to stay longer on your skin.” Does that mean you have to stick with the ouds of the cologne world? Not necessarily—but you won’t get the same lasting power from a “fresh” scent. If you don’t want to haul around a travel-size bottle for mid-day touch-ups, Huber’s advice is to treat the green, citrusy notes as lighter fragrances and keep it pushing.
How to Extend Your Cologne’s Shelf Life
You’ve likely heard of the key pulse points—the neck, nape, forearms, wrists, and chest—when it comes to getting the most wear out of a single application. But there are additional steps you can take to make your colognes last longer.
Huber recommends applying an unscented body lotion to the skin before your spray, and nothing after. Armstrong advises against rubbing your cologne in, or applying a light spritz to your clothes (although you’ll want to be careful when it comes to fabrics prone to staining). She also suggests storing your cologne in “a cool, dark place to prevent degradation” and avoiding exposing it to direct sunlight and heat, both of which can alter the composition of fragrance.