Over 300 years ago the first Cologne was mixed by an Italian-born man (Johann Maria Farina) in Cologne, Germany (source).
Largely made up of essential oils at the time (same ingredient found in popular natural products like beard oils, shaving creams, natural shampoos, etc.), it was designed for royalty across mainland Europe and would evoke scents remind the monarchs of nature.
Fast-forward hundreds of years later, we find that men of today still rely on these proprietary mixture of fragrances in order to evoke scents that may either be reminiscent of their childhood or simply help to attract those of the opposite sex.
But, unlike the colognes of yesteryear, many of the top rated colognes on the market today aren’t normally derived from essential oils.
While you can still find brands like the Juniper Ridge Backpacker Cologne, which rely on tree-pitch, plant sap, and essential oils, many of the colognes listed in our chart above and below are formulated from synthetic fragrances.
Well you see, when colognes are made in larger batches and shipped all over the world, synthetic ingredients simply can be designed in a way to withstand both a longer shelf life and larger sways in storage temperature.
But most importantly, synthetic fragrances are going to help manufacturers control production costs and therefore never have to worry about seasonal shifts in crop yields when it comes to using large quantities of essential oils.
Fragrance Strength Of Colognes
As we have often discussed here at Tools of Men about a variety of fragrances, colognes are going to naturally be the heaviest of all the scents as indicated in our chart below:
While we have already covered the following scented products:
How does a traditional cologne weigh into the typical man’s grooming repertoire?
As you can see above, colognes have by and far the greatest duration of any scent. This is largely due to the fact that they rely on these synthetic-based fragrances.
Should a cologne contain essential oils instead of a synthetic fragrance, it’s strength of sent along with the length of scent will likely move more into the same realm as a solid cologne.
As you also likely noticed from above, the strength of scents when it comes to colognes can vary wildly.
The reason for this is due to the type of scent that the cologne is evoking.
Typically those scents that are light, clean, or fresh will sway a bit to the right in the chart above (lighter scent strength) whereas scents that are musky, woodsy, or spicy will veer to the left in our chart above (heavier scent strength).
Factors That Alter Cologne Scent
Colognes are highly subjective when it comes to selection.
What may be a winner for one man could smell absolutely atrocious to another.
The reason for the discrepancies can vary wildly – whether its how ‘in-tune’ your olfactory receptors are or simply the humidity of the climate of which you are wearing the cologne.
Therefore, its generally recommended that when trying on a cologne or buying one online, try and take the time to smell the fragrance and get the trusted opinion from those around you.
This can help for both a successful purchase and ultimately give you the confidence in the cologne you decide to wear.
What’s The Deal With Pulse Points?
When researching colognes (or any fragrances for that matter), many experts often recommend that you apply a cologne to your pulse points (wrists, neck, etc.).
When applying a cologne to these areas, it will emit a more intense fragrance than applied elsewhere on your body.
Of course, should you want to apply a cologne to your chest or elsewhere you absolutely can.
However, from our personal experience and based on the feedback from men elsewhere, it’s recommended that you never spray your groin or any areas that may have been freshly shaved as colognes often contain alcohol as a base ingredient (therefore, they may sting when applied to sensitive areas).