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Whether you’re working from your office full time or just heading in for the occasional staff meeting, one of the nicest things you can do for your coworkers is to smell like you actually want to be there.
That’s exactly what the best men’s colognes and fragrances for the office will help you do. The right one can banish the ambivalent scent of body wash and pod coffee and imbue your cubicle and conference room with a sense of intention.
But like the best desk lunches, a professional fragrance shouldn’t draw too much olfactory attention to itself. You never want to be the guy known for heating up last night’s leftover fish, and you also don’t want to drown your coworkers with patchouli—especially if you happen to sit near someone with a sensitive nose. So, for our inaugural episode of “Uncommon Scents,” we scoured the shelves and tried a selection of fine men’s colognes, eaux de toilette and eaux de parfum to find five that won’t offend, and might even earn you some compliments after you clock out.
Watch the video above to learn more about the best men’s fragrances for the office, and find a few spots where you can add them to your cologne collection below.
Penhaligon’s, a luxury fragrance house in London that begins its life as a barbershop in 1870, has been swathing princes and dukes in fine scents long enough to know what it’s doing. For proof of this, look no further than the corner-office-approved scent Sartorial. It was designed to smell like the scent a bespoke tailor might experience when they hold up an iron or a steamer to a wool suit, which is a more appealing smell than you might think. The fragrance blends gentlemanly notes of violet leaf, neroli, lavender, leather and cedar to create a long-lasting scent with plenty of well-dressed credibility.
Ermenegildo Zegna XXX Verdigris
Ermenegildo Zegna earned a reputation for making serious power suits, but the brand seems to understand that its younger clients want lives outside of the office. Its relatively new series of XXX (pronounced “Triple Stitch”) fragrances will appeal to work hard, play hard types, and of the trio our favorite is Verdigris. Inside its slightly melted-looking bottle, you’ll find a decidedly crisp blend of cardamom and an icy winter accord that plumbs the line between warmth and coolness. But be warned: even though it’s marketed as an eau de parfum, it’s not the longest-lasting fragrance we’ve ever tried.
Acqua di Parma Colonia CLUB
Acqua di Parma is particularly good at bottling optimism and freshness, and Colonia CLUB, which was introduced in March, does just that. This fragrance is citrusy and bright, and blends notes of lemon and bergamot with herbaceous shiso, rosemary, cedar and musk. It’s not going to blow anyone away from across the room—but in a professional environment, that’s exactly what you want.
Cartier Déclaration Haute Fraîcheur
If you want to up the ante on that feeling of freshness, reach for Cartier’s Déclaration Haute Fraîcheur. While it’s technically a woody scent, its top note of citrus leaves gives it a remarkably crisp character. It’s bolstered by cardamom and cedar, and even though it’s marketed as a men’s fragrance, Haute Fraîcheur is unisex enough that a lot of people will find it appealing—which means a lot of people will end up passing compliments your way.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s L’Homme À la Rose
There’s something pleasantly unexpected about a rose fragrance on someone who’s got a fairly masculine presentation, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian was designed to explore that tension. Its rose note calms down pretty quickly after you first spray it on, taking a backseat to the grapefruit, sage and amber woods in its mix. It goes to a somewhat cedar-y place when it dries down, which grounds its brighter floral notes in something decidedly approachable. And because it’s got pretty good longevity, you’ll smell as good at your coffee break in the afternoon as you did during your morning stand-up.