So you know that different colognes work better or worse in certain situations — but just how many colognes should a man have in a really good cologne collection? If money is no object and you have the space to store them, go crazy. But if you’re looking to build a minimalist, targeted collection that will give you the right cologne for any occasion, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we’ll be covering every detail you need to know about how many colognes a man should have. Throughout our decades of wearing dozens of the world’s top colognes, we can strongly recommend building a selection of multiple colognes, and will give you a foolproof method to determine which colognes you need to suit your personal tastes — whether you’re buying one bottle or five.
How Many Colognes Should A Man Have?
In our talks with men who ask how many colognes should a man have, we’ve found two distinct styles: Guys who want one low-maintenance scent that’s good for just about everything, and those who develop a strong interest in colognes and want to build a collection.
Is one of these styles better than the other? We don’t think so. A single, well-selected cologne can go a long way to make a guy smell and feel great, just as a wide selection of fragrances can lead to more specific and interesting applications.
In short: Men can have as many — or as few — colognes as they want.
Why Most Men Stick To Just One Cologne
Without a doubt, the single bottle owner is the most common approach to wearing cologne.
Lots of guys like to keep their morning routine simple…
Using the same brands of razors, shaving cream, deodorant, and cologne day in and day out.
And if you find the right sort of cologne for your situation and your style, you can easily make do with having just one. For example: Men who have a typical 9 to 5 job will do great with one of the best office colognes for men, while university students likely only need one of the best colognes for college guys.
Why We Recommend You Own Multiple Colognes
If you can make do with one cologne, why would you want to get more than that?
Think of it this way: You could probably make do with eating rice and beans for the rest of your life, but having a variety of tastes and flavors will only make your life more interesting and fulfilling.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg for why we recommend you own multiple colognes, though.
This is easily illustrated with another example…
Would you wear the same cologne to work as a cologne to help you get laid? Of course not — there’s no cologne that is great for both of those purposes. The power of having multiple colognes is being able to match your scent perfectly to your activities, which is why asking how many colognes should a man have is actually a much bigger question than you think.
The Signature Scent Strategy
Even for guys that only want to own a single bottle of cologne, putting a bit of extra time and effort into selecting that cologne will go a long way towards making them smell great in every situation that comes up in their life, from work to date nights to weekends with friends.
We call this the “Signature Scent Strategy” — a method of identifying the cologne that’s a perfect fit for your minimalist lifestyle.
Essentially, this strategy will come down to a lot of trial and error in testing new colognes.
You can speed that up (and spend less), though, with our guide to how to find your signature scent. In that guide, you’ll be led through our foolproof 4-step process to finding your signature scent:
Develop your scent profile
Field test your scent profile
Discover your winning scent
Wearing your signature scent
By the end of that process, you’ll have the ideal cologne for the widest variety of situations you might encounter in life.
How To Build A 2 Bottle Collection
From the basis of your signature scent — your go-to, everyday wear that covers a majority of situations — what is the next most useful bottle you could add to your collection? Adding your second bottle lets you take a more targeted approach to when you wear each fragrance, achieving better results with each one.
We think that adding a cologne that women love is a natural addition to your primary bottle. Even the best signature scent won’t have the same sort of pulling power that’s offered by some of the most richly scented date night colognes.
Versace Eros is a particularly fine addition to a 2-bottle cologne collection. It’s intense and long-lasting enough to stand out too much in everyday situations, but it’s absolutely perfect for wearing when you want to grab — and keep — a woman’s attention.
How To Build A 3 Bottle Collection
Alright, then: You have your daily wearer covered, and now own an intensely fragrant cologne that’s great for drawing a woman’s attention to you.
Where should your collection go from here?
This is a perfect time to start exploring the world of traditional cologne styles. Using the fragrance wheel as a reference point (covered in our article on how to pick a cologne for any situation), identify where your current two bottles fall. Are they primarily floral, oriental, woody, or fresh?
While most guys’ signature scents will be in the woody or fresh category, and date night colognes will be a mix of floral and woody tones, almost every guy will be missing out on one of the best oriental colognes in their collection. We love the unique and intriguing composition of Amouage’s Reflection and can strongly recommend it as a part of your growing collection.
It’s in the 3 bottle collection where most guys go from asking “how many colognes should a man have” to “how many colognes can I afford”
How To Build A 4 Bottle Collection
Once you’re getting into 4-bottle territory, you’re developing a truly interesting selection of fragrances to choose from — one that 99% of guys will never get to experience.
In addition to your signature scent, a date night cologne, and a more exotic selection to round it out, it’s time to go for a legendary fragrance — a bottle that is guaranteed to wow anyone you wear it around, and is entirely worth the larger investment you’ll make in it.
By legendary fragrance, we mean a cologne whose reputation is so well-developed that it’s entered into popular culture. Primary amongst these is one of the best Creed colognes ever made: Creed Aventus. It’s an exceptionally well-balanced cologne that showcases the fragrance maker’s art at its finest, and has been the winner of nearly half a dozen major fragrance industry awards.
Fair warning, this also means Creed Aventus is expensive.
How To Build A 5+ Bottle Collection
At 5+ bottles of cologne in your collection, you should be well on your way towards developing a hyper-targeted fragrance collection that will give you everything you need to stand out in any situation. Rather than give you a single bottle to add to your collection at this point, we’d like to tease you with our next favorite obsession…
Choosing bottles to match each season.
The best Spring colognes are all about evoking the light, fresh, and green aspects of the season. Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino is an amazing example of this, showcasing a heady concoction of citrus peels and flowers supported by amber and musk mallow.
The onset of hot weather is the time for the best summer colognes for men, with Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue taking our top recommendation thanks to its thoughtful inclusion of fresh and watery heart notes.
When leaves start changing color, it’s time to grab one of the best fall colognes for men. Filled with spicy and woody tones, Terre D’Hermes by Hermes is easily the way to go for an autumn fragrance.
At the coldest point of the year, you’ll want one of the best winter colognes — like Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, a deeply rich and unctuous fragrance full of wood resins and dried fruits.
By branching out into seasonal colognes, you’ll have created the most hyper-targeted collection of fragrances possible — with multiple options for every occasion and encounter, so your choices never feel stale.
And in our minds, that’s the mark of a truly impressive cologne collection.