The term ‘barbershop fragrance’ is one commonly used for fresh, aromatic fragrances with a classy scent. These scents are often very similar to that of the classic barbershops from back in the day, hence the name. But what are the best barbershop fragrances for men?
What Are Barbershop Fragrances And How Do They Smell
Back in the late 1800s and for most of the 1900s, men would go to a local barber to get their hair cut and receive a professional shave. Unfortunately, today there are not many traditional barbershops left. This classic masculine experience, however, has been portrayed in countless movies over the years so most people have a mental image of how a barbershop looks even if they have never been inside one. There usually is a multi-striped ‘barber’ pole outside with a neat sign that states the name and year that the establishment opened.
Because our sense of smell is directly linked to our memories, though, let’s think about how those classic barbershops of yesteryear actually smelled on the inside. If your city still has an old-time barbershop where you can get your haircut by a professional barber, I highly encourage you to do so if for no other reason than to experience that invigorating smell. Usually, there is a fresh, clean, and a little powdery aroma attached to the various hair styling products, shaving creams, antiseptics, shampoos, and soaps that are being utilized. Immediately after receiving your haircut you feel refreshed and put together.
When most baby boomers think of what a barbershop smells like, Pinaud Clubman aftershave lotion is usually the first product that comes to mind. That smell and ones like it (think Old Spice and Brut) are quintessential barbershop aromas that are cheap as peanuts and can be enjoyed at your own home on a daily basis. However, today we are going to focus on slightly more upscale fragrances that while costing a little more; they are more than worth it. In the fragrance world, there are many great colognes that will give you that uplifting and refreshed feeling of a traditional barbershop and I want to provide you with the 11 best in that category. You will immediately notice that all of the fragrances below share the most prominent component in barbershop style colognes which is the masculine note of lavender.
1. Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Scent: Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche just might be the all-time #1 barbershop inspired upscale fragrance. In some circles, Rive Gauche is even referred to as the KING of barbershop style fragrances! It smells aromatic, floral, clean, creamy, spicy, fresh, and woody. This perfectly captures the classic barbershop feel, as it’s fresh, aromatic, but also has some weight behind it. It is a more mature scent that will last you throughout the day and make you smell great in the process.
Notes: The top notes of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche are rosemary, star anise, and bergamot. The middle notes are lavender, cloves, geranium, and coumarin. The base notes are patchouli, vetiver, oakmoss, and guaiac wood.
Best for: Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche is a perfect fragrance for a slightly older gentleman who works hard and knows what he wants out of life. It has a serious and sophisticated vibe around it, making any man appear more knowledgeable and professional. Best of all, Rive Gauche has incredible longevity and will last your entire workday. Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche is the perfect accessory for the classy businessman. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
2. Maison Martin Margiela At The Barber’s
Scent: Well the name just about says it all, doesn’t it? Maison Martin Margiela Replica At The Barber’s is an absolutely wonderful aromatic fragrance with that classic barbershop scent. This fragrance opens with the fresh smell of cut flowers, some herbal notes, and a few spices. This instantly creates that amazingly clean and crisp old-school barbershop feel, which smells just like you just received a fresh haircut and a shave from a straight razor. A short while after the opening, a slightly musky undertone reveals itself along with the smell of fine leather. At The Barber’s is an extremely appealing, fresh, and professional-smelling fragrance.
Notes: The top notes of Maison Martin Margiela Replica At The Barber’s are bitter orange, black pepper, and basil. The middle notes are geranium, rosemary, and lavender. The base notes are white musk, leather, oakmoss, and tonka bean.
Best for: Maison Martin Margiela Replica At The Barber’s is an amazing and complex fragrance that can be worn all year long, but works best during the more moderate seasons of spring and fall. At The Barber’s is a fresh scent with a rich background of spices and just the perfect amount of lavender and musk. While it can easily be worn casually, At The Barber’s is perfect for formal events and in the office. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
3. Calvin Klein Eternity
Scent: Calvin Klein Eternity is a very fresh fragrance with only a slight influence of lavender. However, the fragrance itself is really nice. This fragrance starts off with a very fresh, slightly green opening. This is also where most of the lavender is noticeable, as well as a slightly herbal touch. This fresh, green scent will stay somewhat linear throughout the lifetime of the fragrance. Although, at the ending stages, you do get a slight woody scent as well.
Notes: The top notes of Calvin Klein Eternity are mandarin, lavender, and green botanicals. The middle notes are jasmine, basil, geranium, and sage. The base notes are sandalwood, vetiver, rosewood, and amber.
Best for: Calvin Klein Eternity is a great fragrance to wear during the spring. The scent itself is fresh and green, but a little too strong to wear during the high-temperature days. You can also wear this fragrance at the start of fall when the temperatures are still nice. Furthermore, this is a very easy to wear fragrance, meaning you can pretty much wear it anytime you want. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
4. Cerruti 1881 Men
Scent: No, Cerruti 1881 Men has not been around since 1881; but it is a classic barbershop-like scent nonetheless. This fragrance was launched in 1990 actually, and it opens with a bright scent of sweet citruses. As with most colognes in the barbershop style genre, 1881 Men has a nice dose of lavender up top. Shortly after the opening notes, you start to smell some woods, a little spice, and a beautiful touch of rose. Don’t let that rose note scare you off though, because it is done in a masculine fashion and is not overpowering at all. Once the middle notes join with the already present top notes, Cerruti 1881 Men gets more complex and really starts to shine. For the finishing touches, a pinch of black pepper, a nice musk note, and several wood accords are added to complete this wonderful experience.
Notes: The top notes of Cerruti 1881 Men are lavender, carnation, galbanum, bergamot, juniper, cypress, and elemi resin. The middle notes are vetiver, ylang-ylang, rose, lily of the valley, and cassia. The base notes are musk, sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, cedar, black pepper, and pine tree.
Best for: Cerruti 1881 Men is a timeless classic and a perfect example of an old-time barbershop aroma. This fantastic fragrance is great during the spring, summer, and fall. 1881 Men is a clean, uplifting, smooth, fresh, and utterly bright scent. It has some complexity to it due to several different layers of notes and how expertly they are blended. In addition, 1881 Men can be worn in all settings. Based upon the way this fragrance smells you would think that it is really expensive, but it is extremely affordable and one of the best values around. If you’re interested, you can check out the current price over here on Amazon!
5. Acqua Di Parma Colonia
Scent: Acqua Di Parma Colonia is a timeless classic that dates all the way back to 1916. The opening of this fragrance is a burst of zesty lemon. After just a couple of minutes, a nice touch of lavender begins to emerge, providing the fragrance with an old school barbershop feel. A little later, you will recognize some floral and green notes that blend well with the lingering citrus and lavender accord. All in all, this leaves you with a truly classic, timeless barbershop fragrance.
Notes: The notes of Acqua Di Parma Colonia are Sicilian citruses, lavender, rosemary, jasmine, vetiver, lemon verbena, patchouli, Bulgarian rose, white musk, amber, and sandalwood.
Best for: Acqua Di Parma Colonia is a fantastic fragrance for a slightly older gentleman. This scent is clean, masculine, fresh, aromatic, spicy, and a little woody, making for a fantastic signature fragrance. Although this fragrance can be worn year-round in more temperate regions, it excels in the spring and summer. This fragrance also works well for any occasion from casual to formal settings. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
6. Prada Amber Pour Homme
Scent: Prada Amber Pour Homme was the very first men’s cologne released by the Prada design house. It is a wonderfully clean, warm, woody, slightly balsamic, aromatic, and very soapy scent. This fragrance begins with some citruses followed by the fresh spice of cardamom. After this beautiful opening, a soft powdery scent of florals and light musk is added to create that clean and soapy feel that this fragrance is known for. When Prada Amber begins to dry down, warming wafts of amber arise along with a sweet and creamy note of pure vanilla.
Notes: The top notes of Prada Amber Pour Homme are neroli, cardamom, bergamot, and mandarin orange. The middle notes are vetiver, geranium, myrrh, musk, and orange blossom. The base notes are saffron, vanilla, patchouli, tonka bean, labdanum, sandalwood, and leather.
Best for: Prada Amber Pour Homme comes in a clear bottle that showcases the light blue juice inside. This soapy fragrance can be worn during all 4 seasons, but Prada Amber works best during the spring and fall. Due to its fresh, soapy clean, and powdery aroma, this fine fragrance will work well in casual as well as formal settings. The best part about Prada Amber is that it can be enjoyed by men of all ages due to its clean yet crisp scent profile! If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
7. Penhaligon’s Sartorial
Scent: Penhaligon Sartorial is a fragrance with an ample amount of notes that combine to create an interesting modern-day approach on a classic barbershop style scent; even though it was originally inspired by a bespoke tailor’s workshop in London. Sartorial opens with the fresh scent of aldehydes, a clean water accord, some spices, several floral notes, and a slight metallic effect. These metallic notes add a cool refreshing feel to this English dandy. Shortly thereafter, you catch some sweetness that comes from honey nuanced notes such as beeswax and linden blossom. Also, some florals and leather present themselves to add even more complexity. As Sartorial dries down, some warmth returns and you catch some woods, hay, amber, tobacco, vanilla, honey, musk, and myrrh. Although Sartorial has a multitude of different notes, it stays fresh and aromatic all throughout the wear.
Notes: The top notes of Penhaligon Sartorial are aldehydes, fresh ginger, neroli, water notes, violet leaf, metallic notes, cardamom, and black pepper. The middle notes are beeswax, cyclamen, linden blossom, lavender, and leather. The base notes are Gurjan balsam, patchouli, myrrh, cedarwood, tonka bean, hay, oakmoss, white musk, honey, various woody notes, tobacco, vanilla, and amber.
Best for: Penhaligon Sartorial is a wonderful fragrance that can easily be worn all year long and will fit a man like a well-tailored suit. In fact, this fragrance works perfectly with anyone, in any situation. Whether you’re a 60-year-old college professor or a 20-year- old fraternity guy, this fragrance will make you smell like a true, classy gentleman. In addition, this gentlemanly vibe also allows it to be worn in pretty much any occasion as well. However, Penhaligon Sartorial truly shines during formal settings and in the office. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
8. Paco Rabanne Pour Homme
Scent: Paco Rabanne’s signature scent was created almost 50 years ago, but it smells just as good today as it did back when it was launched in 1973. It is an incredible fragrance that begins with some herbs and the distinct scent of Brazilian rosewood. Shortly thereafter, a couple of florals begin to emerge with a little tonka bean added to the equation. In the latter stages of its development, a touch of sweetness from the honey note arises along with amber, oakmoss, and a clean bit of musk. Overall what you get with Paco Rabanne Pour Homme is an amazing aroma with floral, earthy, green, woody, and a somewhat soapy scent that has a fresh spiciness to it.
Notes: The top notes of Paco Rabanne are clary sage, rosemary, and Brazilian rosewood. The middle notes are lavender, tonka bean, and geranium. The base notes
are honey, oakmoss, musk, and amber.
Best for: Paco Rabanne Pour Homme is an incredibly clean, fresh, gorgeous, upscale, soapy fragrance with tremendous mass appeal. For these reasons, Paco Rabanne Pour Homme has stood the test of time. This fragrance works best during the spring and summer due to its fresh green scent, but can honestly be worn year-round. In addition, Paco Rabanne Pour Homme is also extremely versatile. You can wear it formally, casually, to the gym for a workout or to the office. There really is no going wrong with such a refreshing, crowd-pleasing cologne. With such a luxuriously upscale scent, you’d expect a high price. However, this fragrance is not expensive at all. If you’re interested, you can check out the current price over here on Amazon!
9. Chanel Platinum Egoiste
Scent: Chanel Platinum Egoiste is a flanker to the original Chanel Egoiste, but the two have very little in common. Platinum Egoiste is an extremely well-blended and beautiful fragrance. It is a little sharp, but definitely 100% masculine. This barbershop-like scent begins with a bunch of white florals and lavender. Shortly thereafter, several spices are added, giving the fragrance a really nice edge. During the dry down, the florals and spices are accompanied by some strong wood notes. Platinum Egoiste is a complex scent and NOT like your usual mass appealing crowd-pleasers being made today. This cologne, rather, is a masterfully created fragrance with a seriously masculine take on floral notes.
Notes: The top notes of Chanel Platinum Egoiste are lavender, petitgrain, neroli, and rosemary. The middle notes are clary sage, geranium, jasmine, and galbanum. The base notes are vetiver, cedar, oakmoss, sandalwood, and amber.
Best for: Chanel Platinum Egoiste is a fantastic fragrance to wear during the spring and fall. The sharp aroma of woods and florals creates a beautiful scent that goes perfectly with the more temperate times of the year. Platinum Egoiste is fine for casual wear and also works well in the office and for formal occasions. This fragrance, however, is for the well-dressed self-confident man that has a healthy ego as the name suggests. Chanel Platinum Egoiste gives you the wearer the confidence to take on the world. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
10. Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male
Scent: Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male is a very sweet and somewhat strong fragrance that offers a unique twist to the traditional barbershop style fragrances. Le Male was created by Francis Kurkdjian in 1995 and comes in a neat looking bottle shaped like a man’s torso. This fragrance begins with a strong and very sweet note of fresh mint. This mint note will stay with this fragrance throughout its entire lifecycle. After the opening, you start to smell some spicy notes along with a nice dose of lavender. In the dry down, you will get even more sweetness from the addition of a nice vanilla note. The finish also adds a little wood and some warm amber.
Notes: The top notes of Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male are mint, Artemisia, cardamom, and bergamot. The middle notes are lavender, orange blossom, cinnamon and cumin. The base notes are sandalwood, vanilla, cedar, tonka bean, and amber.
Best for: Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male is the perfect nightlife fragrance. It is commonly known as a club banger and has been going strong since its 1995 inception. This cologne works its magic in crowded bars and clubs because women will notice this strong sweet scent. Le Male also does well during the fall and winter when it is cold outside. However, this fragrance is a little too sweet to wear during the warmer times of the year. Overall, this fragrance is really good. When it was first created, this fragrance was one of the more popular fragrances and to this day, it is still a fantastic one. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
11. D.S. & Durga Burning Barbershop
Scent: The story goes that a barbershop in New York burned to the ground back in 1891. All of the wonderful hair tonics, fine shaving creams, and luxurious soaps were destroyed in the fire. Someone found a bottle that had luckily survived the flames. Upon opening the lone surviving bottle of hair tonic, the person noted that it smelled utterly amazing since the contents mixed with the smoke so perfectly. Hence the inspiration for this beautiful fragrance was born. This cologne is very straightforward and is, supposedly, only composed of 4 notes. Overall, this fragrance is sweet, fresh, creamy, and above all, smoky.
Notes: The notes of Burning Barbershop are lavender, vanilla, lime, and mint.
Best for: D.S. & Durga is a very long-lasting smoky cologne that takes a truly creative approach to the traditional old-school barbershop style fragrance. Burning Barbershop performs better in the fall and winter when the temperature is lower, as the smokiness makes the scent a little heavier. It also works well for any occasion from casual to formal settings. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!