Looking for the best oriental cologne for men? We’ve got you covered. With recommendations for every style and budget, you’re sure to find the perfect oriental fragrance to add to your collection.
Oriental fragrances are one of the major families of fragrances that all colognes and perfumes are based on, alongside such classics as aromatic, woody, and floral. They’re often warm and spicy, and do the best job of mixing a wide range of aromatics into complex tapestries of scent that leave an unforgettable impression.
In this guide, we’ll be introducing you to five of the best oriental colognes for men, with examples in traditional oriental styles as well as more modern takes. Read along and you’re sure to discover which type of oriental fragrance is right for you.
5 Best Oriental Fragrances For Men 2021
Most major fragrance producers have at least one oriental fragrance in their catalog — so we’ve compared and contrasted all of them to bring you the five most accessible and unique oriental fragrances.
Every Amouage cologne is based in traditional Arabian perfuming, giving them a powerfully intoxicating oriental tone across the entire catalog. Reflection, however, is the most amazing of all: A woody floral musk cologne that’s intensely concentrated and downright intoxicating.
Fruity and spicy pink peppercorns are joined by bitter petitgrain and intensely herbal rosemary in Reflection’s top notes, which last for an incredibly long time. As they slowly fade, you’ll notice more of Reflection’s floral heart notes of jasmine, neroli, and ylang ylang. Built on a huge base of sandalwood, vetiver, cedar, and patchouli, Amouage Reflection is an entirely unforgettable fragrance.
With a longevity that approaches the eternal and an enormous dispersion, Amouage Reflection is a throwback to a time when colognes were made to last for up to a week. It’s an incredibly attractive scent on just about anyone, and easily deserves a place as your go-to cologne for any occasion.
Top notes of rosemary, pink peppercorns, and petitgrain
Middle notes of jasmine, neroli, orris root, and ylang ylang
Base notes of sandalwood, vetiver, cedar, and patchouli
The male equivalent of the more famous Flowerbomb perfume from 2005, Victor & Rolf’s Spicebomb is a woody spicy style fragrance that debuted in 2012. It leans heavily on Asian aromatics to create its signature spicy intensity, making it one of the more exaggerated examples of an oriental cologne.
A relative of frankincense and myrrh, elemi, provides a complex resinous quality to Spicebomb’s top notes; it’s joined by grapefruit and pink peppercorns to fully flesh out the introduction. Spicebomb’s heart is its most oriental aspect, filled with cinnamon and saffron and accented by spicy paprika. A deep and dark base of tobacco and leather is lightened only slightly by vetiver’s dry and woody character.
Long lasting and quite intense, Spicebomb is an ideal cologne for cold weather wear. It’s also wonderful as a date night cologne, or for special occasions where you want to look and smell as memorable as possible.
Top notes of pink peppercorns, elemi, bergamot, and grapefruit
An oriental woody fragrance from 1986, Calvin Klein Obsession became an instant classic thanks to its strong citrus burst complemented by warm spices. It’s the most traditional of the oriental colognes in this review, and a genuine exemplar of the warm and seductive style.
Citrus and spice comprise Obsession’s top notes, with lavender, coriander, and cinnamon giving an edge to orange, lime, bergamot, and grapefruit. Continuing this theme into the heart notes, you’ll notice a transition to heady floral scents offset by myrrh, nutmeg, and pine. A classic base of sandalwood, musk, and patchouli gives Obsession greater longevity and development over its extended release.
Long lasting with an intense dispersion, Obsession definitely isn’t a cologne that you’d wear to the office. It’s a strongly masculine cologne that seems destined for wearing at night, and makes an excellent cologne for seductive date nights.
Top notes of cinnamon, lavender, coriander, mandarin orange, lime, bergamot, and grapefruit
Middle notes of myrrh, nutmeg, carnation, rosewood, pine, sage, jasmine, and red berries
Base notes of amber, vanilla, sandalwood, musk, patchouli, and vetiver
The most minimal and streamlined of oriental fragrances, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent debuted in 1995. It’s a traditional oriental spicy style cologne, and one of the most intense of all fragrances featured in this article.
You’ll find intriguing aromatic pairs at every level of Opium. Top notes of juicy blackcurrant are offset by heavily aromatic star anise, while crush black peppercorns receive a double dose of spice from being paired with galangal root in Opium’s heart notes. A base of equal parts sweet vanilla and woody cedar is barely accented by tolu balsam, giving a powdery drydown that’s lovely to observe.
Exceptionally long lasting and incredibly intense, Opium lives up to its name. It’s an intoxicating scent that seems to draw people in, all while giving you a burst of energy with every passing aroma that comes to the fore.
The only unisex fragrance to make the cut for this review, Maison Francis Grand Soir is a pure oriental style fragrance that was released in 2016. It’s exceptionally well balanced, and deserving of a spot in any man’s rotation of colognes for daily wear.
You’ll notice right away that Grand Soir is a different animal from other fragrances, thanks to its heavy top notes of resinous amber and benzoin. Accentuating this further, the heart notes are a mix between rich vanilla and spicy tonka bean, creating an almost culinary effect. Anchored by hearty additions of Spanish labdanum, it’s a unique and intriguing fragrance that shows itself best in the fall and winter
Featuring a nearly eternal longevity, Grand Soir has a strong but balanced intensity throughout its entire duration. If you’re looking for an exotic and unique scent for everyday wear, this is a fantastic choice.
Oriental colognes are sometimes also known as “amber” fragrances, because of their warm and sensuous qualities that resemble the namesake ingredient. They often feature many exotic ingredients such as saffron and allspice, and generally include sweet and intoxicating flowers into their compositions.
Floral, spicy, vanilla, and woody aromatics are the primary ingredients in any oriental cologne. Even if it’s not technically classified as an oriental fragrance, any scent that showcases these aromatics can be considered an oriental cologne.
Should You Have An Oriental Fragrance?
Though there’s rarely a reason to have fewer colognes in your collection, oriental fragrances can be a love it or hate it style. If you’re new to colognes, they may come across as too overwhelming — but once you’ve smelled plenty of scents, an oriental fragrance’s uniqueness becomes a big plus.
Furthermore, if you’re turned off by the fresh and zesty notes of many colognes for men, or not a big fan of the juicy fruits found in modern compositions, oriental colognes are a great alternative. They retain a certain sweetness and spice that falls somewhere in between these two more popular styles, and you’ll definitely be complimented on their unique aromas.
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