Here’s something every guy needs to understand about cologne: When it comes to attracting women, your scent can hurt your cause as much as it can help it.
For one thing, women tend to be more sensitive to smells than men, shows research from the University of Pennsylvania. A woman’s scent preference can also change throughout her monthly menstrual cycle, more research shows.
But most importantly, of her five senses, her sense of smell is the one most strongly linked to memory and emotion, shows brain-scan research from Brown University. The more popular your cologne, the more likely it is to recall for her some feeling or experience she would rather forget—like an asshole she used to sleep with, or an overbearing boss she detests.
For all these reasons, you’re better off avoiding the top-selling colognes on the market—the ones she’s no doubt smelled a hundred times.
Here, according to Amazon’s latest sales data, are the best-selling men’s colognes in American today.
1. Nautica “Voyage”
2. Nautica “Blue”
3. Georgio Armani “Acqua Di Gio”
4. Davidoff “Cool Water”
5. Nautica “Classic”
6. Gianni Versace “Eau Fraiche”
7. Guess “Seductive”
8. Versace “Eros”
9. Dolce & Gabana “Light Blue”
10. Puig “Yacht Man Blue”
11. Gucci “Guilty”
12. Dolce & Gabana “The One”
13. Paco Rabanne “1 Million”
14. Gianni Versace “Signature”
15. Yves Saint Laurent “L’Homme”
If you want to make sure your personal scent is distinct from every other dude’s, bespoke cologne is the way to go. Here are three fragrance houses that will craft you your own cologne—one of them for about the same price you’d pay for a nice department store scent.
$110 and up, hello-nova.com
Select a base scent and several “accessory notes,” all custom designed by Julia Zangrilli, founder of this New York City perfume house. Click the above link and select the “Scent Bar Formula” option. Someone at Nova will call you to discuss your scent preferences and options. Or—if you’re near NYC—you can set up a time to visit the Nova studio and choose your cologne components in person. You won’t find a bespoke scent of for less.
SARAH HOROWITZ PARFUMS
$1,000 and up, http://sarahhorowitz.com/
If you’re on the West Coast, a grand will buy you a one-on-one consultation with Horowitz at her L.A.-based studio, as well the a first batch of your bespoke cologne. The formula for your custom cologne stays on file, so you can always reorder more.
FLORIS OF LONDON
Cough up nearly seven G’s, and a team of master perfumers at this 300-year-old English perfume house will—over the course of three consultations and six months—craft you a unique scent made from some of the finest oils and floral essences in the world.