The Best Citrus Colognes for Spring

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The best citrus cologne is a bit like a twist dangling from a martini: Between the bitter peel and the tart juice, there’s a whole universe of good smells to enjoy.  Citrus essences—that is, lemon, bergamot, orange, lime,  grapefruit, and so on—cast an optimistic, bright mood wherever they go. (Complete tangent, but did you know all the citrus varieties we know are hybrids of just a few wild species?)  

There are two ways to play this. If you prefer to nod to seasonality with your scents, then save the citrus-forward ones for spring and summer, when those optimistic notes complement picnics, beach days, and long weekends. But many guys find citrus consistently provides the uplifting first impression you want your scent to deliver, which is also why this family of scents is frequently a front-runner when picking a year-round daily-driver cologne.

Whether you’re if you’re in the market for a warm-weather changeup, or a new every-day main squeeze that will brighten the next winter gloom, then consider our favorite citrus fragrances below. There’s not a sour one among the bunch.

Louis Vuitton “Météore”

The recent crash-landing of Météore left a big impression on me. Combining Sicilian mandarin with subtle hints of pepper, vetiver, and amber, it stays light—almost floral like, perhaps from the inclusion of neroli. It’s bright and high-toned, but deep rather than flashy. 

Mancera “Cedrat Boise”

“Cedrat Boise” means “citron and woody”, which give you the foundation of Mancera’s beloved scent. It opens on bitter Sicilian lemon and crisp bergamot, and is rooted by cedar and sandalwood. But it’s the supporting cast that is most exciting and surprising here, with fruity, spicy, and leather undertones that together give Cedrat Boise a lovable sternness. 

Escentric Molecules “Molecule 01 + Mandarin”

Escentric Molecules “Molecule 01 + Mandarin”

This spring, Escentric Molecules launched a trio of remixes on their classic “Iso E Super” scent, Molecule 01. Essentially, the original fragrance melds with your own skin’s chemistry to create something unique to you, while maintaining a fresh essence all the while. Of their three terrific new takes on that classic, however, Mandarin stands out strongest for its juicy, fresh-peeled appeal. It pairs with those Iso E Super molecules (and your own chemistry) to make something special. 

Le Labo “Bergamote 22”

Bergamote 22 is one of the more endearing scents I’ve ever encountered. Sharp bergamot and bitter grapefruit give the scent its grand opening, before softening into fresh petitgrain. Lingering notes are vetiver, amber, and musk, though the crispy citrus element is remarkably-long-lasting. 

Histoires de Parfums “1828”

Histoires de Parfums “1828”

Histoires de Parfums built this scent around the lore of sea-faring novelist Jules Verne. It bottles his world excursions with crisp notes of tangerine and grapefruit, cradled by strong but buoyant cedar, pine, nutmeg, and pepper. They also liken it to that “Golden Hour” moment, when the sun dissipates into the horizon, and gratitude overtakes the senses.

Lumira “Soleil du Maroc”

Lumina’s Soleil de Maroc is a candidate for your perennial signature scent, particularly if you live in a moderate climate. This scent imagines the sunrise over Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, a burst of lime and lemongrass to energize the morning, spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger, then carried out by rich oud, cedar, and musk. It is both calming and alluring, and manages to warm the senses without falling out of season.

Calvin Klein “CK Everyone”

Calvin Klein “CK Everyone”

CK Everyone is an update to CK One, that iconic unisex staple. The new scent is terrific for any couple that doesn’t mind matching. Or, keep it for yourself! Prominent orange oil notes combine with aquatic and musk harmonies, and the result is refreshing, pure, and clean. It won’t stand out like the louder scents on this list, but sometimes that’s what you want. 

Three anthropomorphic perfume bottles show off their manly muscles and shout in front of an explosion with lightning.

What Does Masculinity Smell Like in 2021? 

Perfumers will tell you that scents have no gender. The very idea of masculinity has never been more in flux. Somehow, that makes it the perfect time for fragrance brands big and small to release new scents for men. 

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