Believe it or not, a great-smelling cologne doesn’t have to be expensive. Want proof? Read on to see our favorite colognes under $50.
How much did you pay for your last bottle of cologne? Think about it. Over $200? $300 or more? There are plenty in that category. Some of our favorite colognes cost northwards of $300, and they smell wonderful. We love them.
You might raise your eyebrows at their price, though. Are they really worth it?
We are not saying that all fragrances over $200 or $300 are wildly overpriced, although some, admittedly, are. The development, packaging, marketing and shipping of fragrances is expensive. The “nose” of a top perfumier does not come cheap either.
The top fragrance brands generally have better quality ingredients than their cheaper competitors – and they have a higher concentration of fragrance oil, meaning that the perfume lasts longer on your skin.
They may contain rare and expensive ingredients such as oud or ambergris; their bottle and packaging are luxurious, and they have a huge marketing campaign behind them, so the high price tag can be somewhat justified.
However, if you are not swayed by all the hype or by sexy packaging, and you care about how much you spend, there are some great fragrances for men that cost less than $50.
Here are our top three recommendations from the list:
There are several fragrances containing tobacco on the market, but this one is designed with the actual living plant in mind, so it's a headier and fresher than most.
Armani Code is a spicy amber perfume with top noes of lemon and bergamot. It is a subtle, versatile, refined fragrance that both men and women like.
Read on for more info and the complete list…
8 Best Men’s Colognes Under $50
Here are our top picks:
Versace Eros Eau De Toilette
Eros was released in 2012 and has remained a perennial favorite since. It is versatile and surprisingly long-lasting for the price. You’ll find it fresh, woody and slightly oriental with powdery amber resins.
Eros opens with fruity head notes of lemon, green apple and mint, followed by sweeter, earthy heart notes of tonka bean, geranium and musky ambroxan. Base notes comprise vanilla, cedarwood, vetiver and oak moss.
Put some on in the morning as you dress for work, and you’ll find it still lingering on your skin at the end of the day. Not bad for less than $50.
Before you turn up your nose at Aramis, take a second whiff of Havana. It was first launched in 1994, then disappeared off the shelves for a while. Re-launched in 2009, it combines the familiar notes of oakmoss, vetiver and patchouli with – you guessed it – tobacco.
There are several fragrances containing tobacco on the market, but this one is designed with the actual living plant in mind, so it is a headier and fresher version.
With top notes of mandarin orange, basil and caraway and middle notes of tobacco, cinnamon, fir and carnation, Havana holds up remarkably well on the skin.
Its robust profile lasts some six hours, with lingering fragrance twenty hours later. What else is special about Havana? It was once a high-priced fragrance, but in its second life you can even find it for less than $30.
Dunhill Icon Eau De Parfum
The name Dunhill usually comes with a high price tag, yet, despite its reasonable cost, Dunhill Icon is not stingy when it comes to quality. The amazing thing is that this fragrance used to sell in the $100 range.
Now you can buy it on Amazon for around the $40 mark – maybe even less elsewhere. Icon is rich, woody and aromatic with outstanding performance.
Head notes contain bergamot, neroli and pepper; heart notes are lavender, sage, iris and juniper, and base notes comprise oak moss, agarwood and labdanum.
Ralph Lauren Polo Blue
Polo Blue is a great choice for spring and summer parties – and with the polo season about to start up again down south, you’ll be in good company when wearing it.
Even if you couldn’t care less about polo, this fragrance is still worth a try. It was launched in 2003 and has lasted a long time for good reason.
It has head notes of fresh melon, cucumber and clementine, geranium, sage, basil and leather heart notes and base notes of patchouli, oak moss and white amber. It is a casual fragrance, not one that is long-lasting, but one that is worth making room for in your bathroom cabinet.
Here’s another fragrance that is good value for money. Armani Code is a spicy amber perfume with top noes of lemon and bergamot.
Middle notes are star anise, olive blossom and guaiac wood; base notes are tobacco, leather and tonka bean. Code has a sweet, semi-creaminess to its scent, highlighted by citrus. Once it has settled on your skin, you’ll notice deeper leather and tobacco notes taking more center stage.
It is a subtle, versatile, refined fragrance that both men and women like. And it’s longevity? You can bank on around 6 hours before it starts to wear off.
Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel
Grey Flannel has been around since 1975. You may have discovered a bottle in your dad’s bathroom. It is a timeless piece of fragrance history that still earns a place today. Fragrance notes include bergamot, galbanum, neroli and lemon. Heart notes are geranium, iris, mimosa, rose, sage and violet.
Base notes are oak moss, almond, tonka bean, cedar and vetiver. These are all very familiar ingredients. We’ve seen their combination many times before, yet, somehow, Grey Flannel remains unique.
It has a sweet opening, drifting into a powdery, floral mixture, then gets heavier, deeper and mossier, with a cedar bite.
Classy, familiar and timeless. It’s like sitting in a smoky piano bar sipping a single malt wearing a three-piece suit with suspenders. You can’t beat the price, either.
Pi by Givenchy Eau De Toilette
Given its high ratings on Amazon, Pi by Givenchy has been tried and tested by thousands of customers who rate it as the best-smelling, affordable cologne on the market. It has won the test of time since its launch in 1998, still attracting users with its warm, woody, amber fragrance.
Pi is warm, sweet, spicy and sensual with an oriental composition. Top notes include basil, rosemary, tarragon and mandarin. Heart notes encompass neroli, germanium, lily of the valley and anise, while base note include vanilla, tonka, cedar, almond and yellow sugar.
Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Eau De Toilette
Fresh, fresh, fresh. Acqua di Gio opens with a blast of citrus blended with a salty marine fragrance. It is a clean, bright scent which has enjoyed widespread appeal since its release in 1997.
Underneath its citrus notes you’ll discover floral and jasmine undertones with a woody base that gives it appealing and lasting depth.
As it is a citrusy, aquatic fragrance you won’t find extraordinary longevity, but a solid six hours should be enough to impress those around you without overpowering them.
Which Cologne Will You Choose?
These are our top picks for some of the best buys under $50. We think you will be surprised at their value and quality. Most of them on our list are in eau de toilette form, so don’t expect the largest bottle of parfum at a rock bottom price.
Take a look at what’s out there – and save your pennies. For the cost of one of the higher-priced brands, you can buy yourself a whole fragrance wardrobe to try out on different occasions.
A welcome review for those of us shy of the fragrances counters at Bloomingdale’s.
However, are there not “samplers” of various scents that men can get before they’re forced to gamble on a $40 bottle they may not like?