Best Old School Men’s Cologne – Classic Men’s Fragrances
The first men perfume began in 1934 before there were unisex fragrances. Every year there is a constant flow of new colognes release but there are still much classic cologne for men.
As we all know that fragrance creates an impression, emotion, and memory. You are not just using the perfume but you are using a piece of history that perfume has.
If you are not satisfied with the instant perfumes, you can choose the old school perfume because choosing a classic cologne is more exciting and different than a new release.
Still, there are many designer brands that maintain their original brands as heritage.
These are the best old school men’s cologne that maintains its aroma decade after decade. These classic cologne are time tested and reliable. They are good today as good as first hit the scene.
List of best old school men cologne
Dior Eau Sauvage (1966) – Men’s Colognes 1960s
Eau Sauvage defined the passage from the sixties to the seventies through an image, that of a gentleman in a towel, unprecedented in a time when being elegant was synonymous with wearing a tuxedo. If you had to choose the five most important men’s fragrances in history, Eau Sauvage would be among them. It is a kind of light perfume that do a good impact on women.
What does it smell like? Edmond Roudnitska was the best perfumer of the 20th century for solving challenges like this: inserting floral notes (Dior’s hallmark) into a men’s fragrance. He did it thanks to hedione, a molecule reminiscent of jasmine. And suddenly, smelling like flowers stopped being something effeminate. Who signs it? Edmond Roudnitska for Christian Dior.
Guerlain Vétiver (1959) – Men’s Colognes 1960s
Vetiver was first launched in 1961 and relaunch again in 200. It is the quintessential masculine olfactory note, and Guerlain’s is the best vetiver in history. The purest and the one that best reveals the magic of this type of wood. What does it smell like? To green. The color of the label is not accidental. To wet earth, spices, and nature.
Jean-Paul Guerlain’s masterpiece is a warm and astringent fragrance, sober and bright at the same time. Mostly daytime, almost morning, you have to smell it and dress it to check it. There are hundreds of ‘vetiver’ fragrances out there, but none like this, and very few that can be used for years without fatigue. We attest who signs it. Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain.
L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme (1994) – Men’s Cologne 1990s
Why you have to know it. Because, together with Acqua di Gio, it represents the culmination of the aquatic male colonies of the nineties. Concept designer Issey Miyake and his perfumer Jacques Cavallier hit the spot with an ‘eau de toilette’ that is pure lightness, pure watery lightness, and pure minimalism.
There is no more Zen fragrance than this. What does it smell like? A yuzu (Asian citrus fruit) and woods. Herbs and citrus, ozone, and transparency. In short: a spa caro. Who signs it? Jacques Cavallier for Issey Miyake.
Guerlain Habit Rouge (1965) – Men’s Cologne 1960s
Habit Rouge paved the way for oriental men’s fragrances in 1965 with a very elegant and narcotic combination of orange blossom and opopanax (a kind of exotic resin). It was a genius idea that gave rise to Guerlain’s most legendary and popular men’s fragrance, which resumed its love affair with men’s perfume after years of dedicating itself exclusively to women’s fragrance.
Saying “oriental” does not mean “suffocating” or “extravagant”, but earth, wood, spices, and leather. Paris, and all that it implies. Today, when spicy fragrances are the norm, it is almost minimalist. How to read Flaubert in the days of ‘Big Brother’. Who signs it? Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain.
Acqua di Parma Colonia (1916) –
Why you have to know it. Because this year celebrates its first century of life. And because it is the perfect cologne. What does it smell like? Acqua di Parma stands out from other more orthodox colonies (4711, Álvarez Gómez) by incorporating a certain sumptuousness in the form of more complex materials and notes than usual.
There are floral, bergamot, sweet orange, rosemary, cedarwood, and citrus notes, yes, but balanced in a very elegant way, without surprises. It is one of the best men’s classic cologne. Who signs it. Carlo Magnani’s personal perfumer, a Parmesan aristocrat.
Agua Brava By Antonio (1968) – Men’s Cologne 1960s
Why you have to know it. Because it is the most important contribution of Spain to the history of men’s perfumery. It became a global landmark thanks to European tourists who bought it during their Levantine holidays and who took it as a ‘souvenir’ back to Germany, France, or Switzerland. Ask anyone and you will have a nostalgic sigh.
Extra point for its bottle, the work of André Ricard, also the author of the Barcelona ’92 Olympic torch. What does it smell like? A Mediterranean forest. Lavender, sage, citrus, pine, thyme, and woods. To what several generations of well-perfumed Spaniards have smelled.
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Mâle (1995) - Men’s Cologne 1990s
Why you have to know it. Because, until the arrival of One Million, it led the sales charts. And because, in addition to being a commercial bombshell, it is creatively perfect. What does it smell like? Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian was 25 years old when he created this fragrance with the intention of evoking the morning grooming routine of every man.
He combined barber scents (mugwort, lavender, mint) with citrus, spices, and woods. The effect is interesting on paper, but dazzling on the skin, where it evolves smoothly and generates something that seems easy but is very difficult to smell good continuously. Who signs it? Francis Kurkdjian for Jean Paul Gaultier.
Acqua di Giò (1996) – Men’s Cologne 1990s
Why you have to know it. Because, even if he had not signed any more masterpieces (and he has a few), Alberto Morillas alone would be guaranteed a place in the history of perfumery. Acqua di Gio is a perfect example of what is called an aquatic fragrance, a paradox (water does not smell like anything) that, nevertheless, generates an immediate sensation of freshness and cleanliness.
Get out of the shower, spray some of this cologne and feel like the king of in the land of fragrance. What does it smell like? To clean, to soap, to the barbershop, to woods, and citrus fruits. Who signs it. Alberto Morillas for Giorgio Armani Beauty.
Terre d’Hermès (2006) – Best Men’s Cologne 2006
Terre d Hermes belongs to one of the most decisive episodes in recent perfumery. The years during which the guru Jean-Claude Ellena has been Hermes perfumer. Ellena has signed unisex prodigies like the Jardins, but also a great masculine fragrance, this one. What does it smell like? Ellena is famous for very vividly evoking specific and recognizable scents.
His creations seem simple at first but then evolve brilliantly. In this case, it is a tribute to the earth, with all its elements: vegetation, mineral notes, and wood. Who signs it? Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès.
Paco Rabanne One Million (2008) – Best Men’s Cologne 2008
It is the most influential (and imitated) men’s fragrance of the last decade. The bestseller that has overtaken the rest, and the formula that has shown that ‘millennial’ also buy perfume. When in the future we wonder what this era smelled like, we will have to go to One Million to find out. What does it smell like?
Thirty years ago, One Million would have been listed as a feminine fragrance, but new times dictate that woody and spicy notes can also be the quintessence of masculinity. One Million has rose, leather, patchouli, and cinnamon. It is noted, like the bottle in the shape of a gold ingot, a symbol (premonitory) of success. Who signs it? Christophe Raynaud, Olivier Pescheux and Michel Girard for Paco Rabanne (Puig).
Yves Saint Laurent’s Kouros (1981) – Men’s Colognes from the 80s
The eighties were hard years for men’s perfumery. In the midst of large campaigns, the industry abused fruity and synthetic notes that have not aged quite well. Kouros is one of the few that has survived with dignity. Today it is still interesting and, above all, easy to wear.
In addition, along with Opium Pour Homme, it is the only historical men’s fragrance launched by Yves himself that remains on sale with hardly any modifications. What does it smell like? Triumphant masculinity, which here means freshness (bergamot, coriander, and mugwort), sensuality (clove and jasmine), and sexy spirit (ambergris and moss). Who signs it. Pierre Bourdon for Yves Saint Laurent Beauté.
Egoiste de Chanel (1990) – Popular Men’s Cologne in the 90s
Why you have to know it. Because the best advertising campaign in the history of perfumery (the work of Jean-Paul Goude) deserves that we remember the fragrance that was associated with it. A jewel by Jacques Polge that, used judiciously, continues to be fascinating.
What does it smell like? The women in the ad were possibly so upset with the male lead for enjoying the usually feminine scent notes on his own: rose, coriander, vanilla, and sandalwood. On paper, Egoïste is androgynous, but on the skin, it sums up the best of men’s perfumery from the eighties. Who signs it. Jacques Polge (respect) for Chanel.
Kenzo pour Homme (1991) – Top Men’s Fragrances of the 90s
There are fragrances that you give away, and fragrances that you buy for yourself, like this one. Kenzo’s first men’s fragrance has been a regular purchase for millions of men around the world since its launch in 1991. It epitomizes the essence of men’s fragrances from the 1990s, lightness, sportiness, woody sensuality and comfort.
As practical and versatile as jeans, and just as imitated. What does it smell like? Kenzo is famous for his predilection for flowers, and here are some (jasmine, lily, rose), but they are hardly noticeable among the marine and woody notes that make up the formula. Christian Mathieu for Kenzo.
Gray Flannel (1975) – Men’s Cologne from the 70s
Why you have to know it. Because if no one remembers the designer Geoffrey Beene today, but his masculine fragrance does, it will be for a reason. What does it smell like? At the time, Gray Flannel broke schemes by basing a men’s fragrance on a note as unexpected as violet. However, it does not smell like caramel, but rather green, herbal, and woody notes.
And, very rare in a perfume from the seventies. It doesn’t have a trace of musk. Put it on and conjure up the image of a well-groomed and shaven gentleman of yesteryear, dressed in a cloth suit. Nostalgia viejuna, or a history lesson. Who signs it. André Fromentin for Geoffrey Beene.
Hugo from Hugo Boss (1995) –Popular Men’s Cologne in the 90s
Why you have to know it. Because we keep remembering that “don’t imitate, innovate” with which he conquered generation X. Hugo Boss fragrances are usually best-sellers, and this first Hugo was the favorite gift of kings of millions of kids who lived their late teens of the nineties. Although today it has less prominence than Boss Bottled.
It still smells incredibly good and incredibly young, just like teenage jewels like Ck One (the first unisex) or Tommy Girl, that massive treat that critic Luca Turin considered “the masterpiece of perfumery of the nineties “. What does it smell like? Citrus, fruity notes, and wood, suitably seasoned with a dose of adolescent energy. Who signs it? Bob Aliano for Hugo Boss.
Acqua di Selva (1949) –
It is a classic of European drugstores, much more affordable than many of its competitors, and because the fact that it is still on the market deserves a test. What does it smell like? Forest, Fougere, and green notes. Best for casual use and ‘aftershave’.
A calm balsamic. Who signs it? The Italian perfume company Visconti di Modrone. Now it is produced by the Spanish firm Victor.
Diptyque Philosykos (1996) – Men’s Cologne in the 90s
For the satisfaction that comes from recognizing it instantly in any situation. It is unmistakable, and a true ‘hit’ of niche perfumery, which in the mid-nineties revolutionized the market with fragrances based on unidirectional and very literal, almost minimalist scent notes. What does it smell like? To a fig tree, with its figs, its wood, and its green leaves.
Specifically, a fig tree located by the side of the road on a Greek island. In summer. Its creators say it, and it is true. And, for some strange reason, it’s the most ‘Proustian’ smell in the world. To try it is to travel to the summer without a solution of continuity. Who signs it. Olivia Giacobetti for Diptyque.
Spanish Leather Cologne by Geo F. Trumper (1902) –
It is a classic in everyday perfumery, a light and elegant eau de toilette that is still available in a large bottle and at a reasonable price. What does it smell like? Despite its name, Spanish Leather smells more like Spain (lemon, geranium, rose) than leather.
It is eau de cologne, so lightness prevails and can be applied in generous amounts without fear of stinking. Who signs it? The London firm Geo F. Trumper.
Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904) –
Why you have to know it. Because to taste, it is to know how the elegant people who attended the premiere of ‘Peter Pan’ (1904) smelled. Its name comes from the custom of spraying men’s handkerchiefs with perfume. Until a few years ago it was discontinued and was only produced to order for a handful of select clients (one of them, King Juan Carlos I).
Today it is available again. And it’s a journey back in time. What does it smell like? How the world should smell before two World Wars, the deforestation of the Amazon, and the ‘animalization’ of perfumery. Citrus, green notes, and tranquility. Who signs it? Jacques Guerlain for Guerlain.
Caron Pour Un Homme (1934) – Classic Men Cologne
It does not look like any other and because any day it could be discontinued and give us considerable displeasure. We don’t say it just to say. It is the only masculine fragrance from the 1930s that survives today in the catalog of this Parisian house, a kind of Guerlain ‘indie’. What does it smell like? Lavender, vanilla, and nothing else.
In an age when fragrances are made up of hundreds of notes, Caron Pour Un Homme is in a class of its own, with no trace of spices, woods, or animal notes. It is so simple that it scares. Who signs it? Ernest Daltroff for Caron.
Pour Monsieur de Chanel (1955) –
It was the first post-war men’s fragrance, and the men’s equivalent of Chanel No. 5. The most famous perfume of all time. And because, in the Platonic world of ideas, all men’s fragrances smell like this.
What does it smell like? Technically it is an amalgam of green, wood, and citrus notes, but it can be simplified by saying that it is the classic masculine fragrance par excellence. It smells like a calm, elegant man and (of course) well scented. Who signs it? Henri Robert for Chanel.
Cologne Water Concentrate Álvarez Gómez (1912) –
She is the dean of Spanish perfumery, a centuries-old unisex fragrance that remains extraordinarily affordable and retains the same old quality. What does it smell like? Colonies, due to their low concentration of perfume, are by definition light, fresh, and ephemeral.
Our grandparents used them as a cleaning product, literally bathing in them. Álvarez Gómez adds to the traditional floral mix an overdose of lemon capable of taking us to the citrus heaven. Who signs it? Álvarez Gómez.
These are the best old school men’s colognes. We know that in instant time many new fragrances are released but Dior Eau Sauvage and Guerlain Vétiver’s classic cologne has its own taste and impression. These are the time test and stand different from the rest of the crowd.