From smoking barbecues to freshly cut grass, the sweet smells of summer are a scent to behold. So who are you to be letting the team down? To ensure you’re in tune with the heavenly aromas sweeping the nation, you’ll need to make sure you’re wearing your very best summer cologne.
You want something light, ideally citrusy. Maybe even a little tropical. Basically, you’re after the kind of fragrance that puts you into holiday mode, even if it’s wet and blustery outside.
But choosing a new summer scent is not to be taken lightly. Which is why I’ve stepped in to help you narrow down your overwhelming options. So grab those shades, slip on the swim shorts, and start making your way through my list of the best men’s summer cologne.
After a long winter of wet weekends and warm, musky smells, it can be refreshing for the soul (and your olfactory taste buds) to switch up your fragrances. But with endless colognes on the market, finding your favorite scent can take quite some time. To help, I’m going to highlight the best summer colognes for every budget and eventuality.
From Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue to Tom Ford’s Costa Azzurra Acqua, these are the smells that will transport you to paradise regardless of where you end up. Get it right, and with one simple spritz, you could be sipping wine on the French Riviera or frolicking on the sun-drenched beaches of Cuba. Sound good? Let’s get started.
You’ve all seen the commercial. C’mon, you know the one. It features David Gandy in his tight white speedos and washboard abs. Ask your girl if you’re unsure. Anyway, the cologne he was promoting was Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue.
The smell is lively, fresh, floral, and fruity, with just enough masculinity to make it the perfect summer cologne (and impress the lady in your life). And while I can’t guarantee it’ll give you the sex appeal of the world’s biggest male model. It will, at the very least, make you smell like a million bucks. And it’ll definitely take your senses to the beautiful and sunny Mediterranean sea. What’s not to love?
Top Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Juniper | Middle Notes: Rosemary, Sichuan Pepper, Rosewood | Base Notes: Muskwood, Incense, Oak Moss | Size: 2.5 / 4.2oz | Type: Eau de Toilette
Finding the best summer cologne for men isn’t about splashing the most cash. The secret to shopping smart is in the ingredients. To achieve that glorious smell warm weather brings, the fragrance should be made up of summer things: citrus, plants, flowers. You get the idea.
This wallet-friendly option from
Top Notes: Pineapple, Bergamot, Peach | Middle Notes: Water Lily, Jasmine | Base Notes: Sandalwood, Musk, Cedar | Size: 0.5 / 1.7 / 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Toilette
As I’ve mentioned already, expensive colognes aren’t always the best. But when it comes to Tom Ford, the iconic designer really puts his money where his mouth is. So, it’ll come as no surprise to see the label’s Costa Azzurra Acqua on this list.
Cool, salty, and refreshing, it’s basically the Italian Riviera in a bottle—whisking you away on a sun-kissed escapade where only the most stylish reside. And what does it smell like? Well, heaven. If heaven has an aroma of sea air, fresh aromatic notes, and citrus. I imagine you’ll want to wear it with a linen shirt, shorts, and espadrilles, as you dine alfresco—but don’t apply too much. A little goes a long way (and the bottle’s quite small).
Top Notes: Seaweed, Driftwood, Cardamom | Middle Notes: Juniper, Lavender, Lemon | Base Notes: Incense, Vetiver, Oak | Size: 1.7oz | Type: Eau de Parfum
Isn’t summer great? Full of new adventures and unmissable events, the sun-soaked season is the time to break out of hibernation and start socializing again. But before you put on your shorts and book brunch at your favorite spot, don’t forget to put on your best summer cologne.
Step forward Acqua Di Gio Profondo by Giorgio Armani on amazon. Created by master perfumer Alberto Morillas, it’s an aromatic yet masculine scent full of depth and intensity. Your senses will be awakened by green mandarin and bergamot, while you’ll catch notes of woody patchouli with a heart of rosemary, lavender, cypress, and lentisk absolute.
Top Notes: Green Mandarin, Sea Notes, Cardamom | Middle Notes: Rosemary, Lavender, Cypress | Base Notes: Patchouli, Vetiver, Cedar | Size: 2.5 / 4.2oz | Type: Eau de Parfum
Created in 2000, Anthony is no stranger to skin and grooming products, but when it comes to the best summer colognes, you can consider them a newcomer. Making up for lost time, the award-winning label has come up with Anthony 1—an enticing and intriguing eau de parfum perfect for your warm-weather escapades.
Subtle and fresh, it smells just like a summer’s day—giving off lots of fruity elements with a hint of spice and woody tones. You’ll also recognize the lemon, lavender, pine, and smoldering sandalwood. It’s an excellent option for date night but will work just as well if you give it a daily spritz.
Top Notes: Calabrian Lemon Primofiore, Pink Peppercorn, Guatemalan Cardamom | Middle Notes: French lavender, Haitian vetiver, Pine | Base Notes: Ambrox, Amber, Musk | Size: 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Parfum
Everyday colognes should match your vibe. Offering up an extension of your personality while being subtle enough not to overpower the guy who, in fairness, is standing uncomfortably close on the subway. You should be able to wear it to the office but easily transition to after-work drinks at your favorite bar.
This summer-ready version from Hugo Boss is all about being the best version of yourself, wherever the days take you. It’s an elegant, aromatic fougere fragrance with top notes dominated by tangy mandarin and fresh grapefruit, a heart of cedar leaf and patchouli, and under-notes of precious wood, vetiver, and musk.
Top Notes: Grapefruit, Mandarin, Pink Peppercorn | Middle Notes: Geranium, Cedar, Star Anise | Base Notes: Musk, Patchouli, Vetiver | Size: 3.3oz | Type: Eau de Toilette
Hear me out: the best summer colognes for men aren’t just about smelling good. I mean, it’s definitely one of their main goals, but they should also help keep the summer vibes going for as long as possible—taking you back to places you wish you never left.
Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme will plonk you in front of some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, even when you’re sitting at home on the sofa. A timeless fragrance that’s forever in the beauty cabinets of super smelling men, it brings you the vibrant freshness of yuzu (a citrus fruit from East Asia), the sweetness of cinnamon, and the warm, rich notes of tobacco, vetiver, and sandalwood.
Top Notes: Yuzu, Bergamot, Cypress | Middle Notes: Lily-of-the-Valley, Saffron, Nutmeg | Base Notes: Sandalwood, Musk, Tobacco | Size: 1.35 / 2.5 / 4.2oz | Type: Eau de Toilette
Though the options are aplenty, not all scents are created equal. Some have a musky, mature smell suitable for the older gent, while others are sweeter and livelier—often smelling better on the more youthful, slightly spottier skin. So, if you’re looking for a cologne for young men (I was only joking about the zits), may I recommend Pacco Rabanne’s Invictus?
Coined as the scent of victory and the essence of heroes, it’s a fresh and woody fragrance housed in a trophy shaped-bottle that’ll impress anyone who happens to catch a glance of your bedside table (you dirty dog, you). There’s notes of grapefruit and guaiac wood combined with fresh citrus and patchouli. Spray it on before trips to town, or use it to freshen up after the night before.
Top Notes: Marine Accord, Grapefruit, Mandarin Orange | Middle Notes: Bay Leaf, Jasmine | Base Notes: Guaiac Wood, Ambergris, Patchouli | Size: 1.7 / 5.07 / 6.8 / 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Toilette
The best summer colognes capture that feeling of your feet in the sand, the gentle sea breeze blowing through your hair, and the first sip of an ice cold cocktail. They also transport you back to the places where those things are possible (even if you’re stuck in a stuffy office or feeling sorry for yourself on the sofa).
Calvin Klein’s Eternity for Men Aqua will help you feel like you never left. Inspired by the freshness of the ocean, it’s crisp, refreshing, and invigorating, thanks to the surge of chilled cucumber and a blend of precious woods. With just a couple of sprays, you’ll be ready for late-night walks on the beach and drinks at the bar.
Top Notes: Cucumber, Citrus, Lotus | Middle Notes: Plum, Lavender, Sichuan Pepper | Base Notes: Sandalwood, Patchouli, Musk | Size: 0.67 / 1 / 1.6 / 3.4 / 6.7oz | Type: Eau de Toilette
When it comes to buying a summer cologne for the office, you don’t need to exactly play it safe. But you do need to tread a little more carefully. Go too wild, and you’ll be the topic of conversation for all the wrong reasons. The trick is to read the room. Be yourself, but choose something that’ll complement your work environment, not stink the place out.
Abercrombie & Fitch’s First Instinct is a fine choice that’ll also impress at work events and business trips. It opens with hints of gin and tonic, combined with Kiwano melon and a heart of pepper and violet leaf with a citrusy twist. The comforting base is made up of suede musk and warm amber.
Top Notes: Gin & Tonic Accord, Kiwano Melon | Middle Notes: Szechuan Pepper, Violet Leaf, Citrus | Base Notes: Suede, Musk, Amber | Size: 1.7 / 3.4oz | Type: Eau de Toilette
What To Look For In The Best Summer Colognes
We all have our own views on what smells nice. But summer days call for scents that are light and citrusy. As opposed to sharper and deeper notes like leather and velvet. Look for ingredients such as bergamot, juniper, and jasmine. Save the woody aromas and musky scents for cooler weather.
The most expensive perfume isn’t always the best. But if you’re paying big bucks for your fragrance, you should definitely expect more from it. To put them ahead of cheaper counterparts, they should have a nice bottle, smell great, last, and be made from the best ingredients.
To make sure you’re investing in the best summer cologne for men, it pays to know your concentrations. You’ll come across Eau De Parfum (EDP) and Eau De Toilette (EDT). While the former is often richer and longer lasting, the EDT is better suited for hot weather, as it is both lighter and fresher.
Summer sees us make some obvious changes to our wardrobe, but it’s a great time to update your cologne too—swapping musky, warm scents for lighter alternatives that take our minds to tropical beaches and beers by the pool.
My guide has everything you need to know to choose the best summer fragrances for men, whether you’re selecting for yourself or your man. However, if you’re still weighing your options, may I nudge you specifically toward Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue? Fresh, floral, and fruity, it’s a refreshing cologne perfect for a night out, alfresco dining, and days in the city.
Summer colognes take you on a nostalgic journey—making you feel clean and fresh, even when it’s hot and sweaty outside. They should be light and often citrusy, aquatic, and floral. Basically, they’re all the things you love about the warm-weather season.
Summer days call for a light scent that helps you hold onto the sun even when it’s not there. They’ll mirror your summer settings and feel refreshing, not overwhelming. The best summer colognes will often have aquatic, citrusy, and fruity tones.