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Did Chanel invent the designer fragrance? Most people would say yes. When Chanel No. 5 debuted in 1921, the idea that a fashion designer would release a perfume caused a sensation—but it also became an instant hit and cemented itself as one of the most famous perfumes of all time. Since then, fragrance has become an inextricable part of the DNA of the house of Chanel that is perhaps just as important and well-known as its fashion.
Throughout the years, Chanel has released hit after hit and created pioneering men’s fragrances that show no signs of slowing in popularity. The collection, while not extremely extensive, offers something for everyone especially when you start getting into the flankers (subtle differences on the same theme, like remixes). We also suggest not sleeping on the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection, unisex fragrances that are elegant, sophisticated, and attention-grabbing. Truly, if you’re looking for a new signature scent or just want to round out your collection, Chanel is the way to go. Consider these eight scents your intro into the house of Chanel.
Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette
Since its debut in 2010, Bleu de Chanel has become one of the most popular men’s fragrances in the world—and with good reason. This versatile cologne strikes exactly the right balance between fresh and woody, with crisp, zingy top notes like grapefruit, lemon, and mint that give you a burst of freshness right off the bat, but then dry down to reveal a deep, masculine base of incense, vetiver, patchouli, and woods like cedar and sandalwood. It’s the type of scent that evolves with you throughout the day but somehow remains distinctive at the same time.
Allure Homme Eau de Toilette
This sophisticated fragrance is all about the dry down. First you get hit with a spicy freshness (from the citrus and pepper in the top notes), but before long you realize it’s evolved into something deeper. The base includes notes of vanilla, tonka bean, sandalwood, musk, and benzoin—the list goes on—that create a warmth that sticks to your skin in a subtle way and draws people closer. It’s not a fill-the-room type of scent, but it doesn’t need to be. This sensual fragrance is about as intimate as it gets.
Platinum Egoiste Eau de Toilette
This cologne developed a cult following, and cemented its status as a classic, for a simple reason: You can’t really put your finger on what makes it so unique. It’s a fresh scent, but it’s also warm; it has almost a soapy clean note, but it’s also layered and woody; it smells subtle but has incredible longevity; it’s ideal for daytime wear but it’s also deeply hot. Most of all, it’s incredibly masculine, but in a light, modern way that isn’t aggressive. Think of it as the fragrance version of a crisp, starched white shirt—it goes with everything.
Le Lion De Chanel Eau de Parfum
Part of the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection, which celebrates elements of Coco Chanel’s life and mythology, this warm, spicy, ambery fragrance is all about the Lion (she was a Leo and used the lion as a personal emblem throughout her life). This bold spicy scent projects strength, power, and sophistication through its combination of warm amber, smooth sandalwood, spicy patchouli, and earthy musk. It’s certainly not for the wallflower; a few sprays of this is like confidence in a bottle.
Boy Chanel Eau de Parfum
Inspired by British polo player Arthur “Boy” Capel, who was the love of Coco Chanel’s life, this unexpected and unique unisex fragrance strikes a balance between masculine and feminine that’s rare in perfumery. There are lots of florals, yes, but there’s also a clean, soapy, almost barbershop-like undercurrent that lends a masculine vibe to what might be an overwhelming bouquet of flowers. It's further tempered further with sandalwood, musk, and moss. This cologne has “signature scent” written all over it.
Cuir de Russie Eau de Parfum
Like all the fragrances in the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection, this one comes with a story. Russian Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich went into exile in Paris in 1920 and quickly befriended (and began a short-lived affair with) Madame Chanel, who was so taken by him that Russian motifs soon started popping up in her collections. This leather-forward scent is like a warm fur-lined coat on a snowy night. It’s deep, rich, spicy, and smoky. But what really shines through is the smooth, sultry leather, giving this a passionate, masculine feeling.
Allure Homme Sport Eau de Toilette
Where the classic Allure Homme might be all about the warmth, this Sport version is all about the crisp, fresh factor. The bones are still there, with notes of vanilla, musk, and cedar, but this one is more energetic thanks to the crisp orange, aquatic sea notes, and clean, soapy aldehyde. It’s the type of scent you layer on when you need some energy, like the olfactory equivalent of a Red Bull.
Bleu de Chanel Parfum
Like the classic Bleu de Chanel, this bolder, bigger parfum is versatile and masculine with lots of the notes typical for an all-around great men’s cologne. There’s a fresh top note, a slightly floral middle note, and a hot, woody dry down. But unlike the original, this version amps up the woods in the base, not only making is slightly sexier and deeper, but also adding to the longevity. It’s much bolder than the original, in a good way, which means it works better for special occasions or once the sun goes down.
What To Look For In A Chanel Cologne
Of course, picking a fragrance is a deeply personal decision no matter what the brand, but there are some things to keep in mind when you’re choosing a Chanel cologne. You’ll notice the wide price range; this is based on a few factors, notably the ingredients and the concentration.
The more inexpensive colognes are mostly Eau de Toilettes, which mean they are lighter and have less of a concentration of fragrance versus Eau de Parfums, which are more concentrated. The EDP’s in the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection, in addition, feature some more expensive ingredients, which is why those cost more. The good news here is that Eau de Parfums tend to have a greater longevity (they last longer on your skin) so you may find that they’re a good investment since you could end up using less in each application.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the Eau de Toilettes from Chanel tend to favor more fresh, citrus, and floral notes, which are often more subtle and dissipate faster, while the Eau de Parfums tend to be bolder and deeper, and thus last a bit longer as well.
Why Trust Us
We’re not going to say something is great if it's not actually great. Every product we select is carefully curated by our grooming and e-commerce teams.
When it comes to fragrance, one of the most important grooming items a man can have, you can rest assured that we’re hand-selecting scents that we’ve personally tested, tried, and loved. Our grooming editor Garrett Munce, along with the rest of the style team, has spent years spritzing, spraying, wearing, and test driving hundreds (thousands!) of colognes. We are confident that these are the best.
Every pick on this list (and our other lists) comes from these years of testing. We know that no two tastes are the same, no two men are the same, and how you want to smell may vary from someone else. But if you’re looking for the right place to start, with advice from folks who and care (possibly too much!) about this sort of stuff, this is the place to be.
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