We may spend most of our time talking about designer garms and fresh kicks, but we know there’s a whole lot more to looking good than what you’re packing in your closet. Groom Service is your no-BS guide in how to look, smell, and feel better. This installment runs you through the most expensive colognes that money can buy.
If you want that top-shelf EDP—that is, the most highly concentrated and strongest fragrance, Eau de Parfum—then you need to pay a price. That’s because the best ingredients and best perfumers spare no costs in creating these olfactive masterpieces, nor should you slight their efforts and pay anything but top dollar.
More importantly, if you’re going to spend your well-earned money, then you need to spend it smartly. For that, you need a list of best top-tier fragrances—the ones that have been tried and tested and adored by aficionados—and the ones that will turn heads for the right reasons.
Here are eight can’t-fail options. They ain’t cheap in any sense of the word, but neither are you.
Creed — Spice & Wood
Spice & Wood is aptly named. It’s anchored by cedarwood, oakmoss, and tonkin musk with heart notes of vetiver, patchouli, cloves, and pimento (after opening with crisp lemon and bergamot). This top-shelf infusion is made entirely by hand, from measurements to macerations (as is Creed’s entire lineup). It wears long but never too heavily, and the vessel turns heads just as much as the top-tier scent itself.
Frederic Malle — Superstitious
If floral fragrances don’t turn you away (and why should they?), then plant your dollars in Frederic Malle’s floral-aldehydic blend. It’s a sharp scent, and demands that you wear it as confidently as your best suit or freshest kicks. Superstitious has a post-rain airiness, and invites others to stop and smell the roses—and jasmines—that round its notebook.
Tom Ford — Neroli Portofino
Inspired by the Italian Riviera, this EDP hits all the right notes: bergamot, mandarin orange, lemon, rosemary, neroli, and amber keep it fresh, crisp, and aromatic. It’s an excellent unisex option, just like a His & Hers escape to the Italian Riviera.
Louis Vuitton — Sun Song
Yellow-hued Sun Song is one-third of a summery unisex trio that Louis Vuitton launched this year (you can read Highsnobiety’s review of all three here), alongside the green Cactus Garden and blue Afternoon Swim. In Sun Song, orange blossom, lemon, and musk radiate bright and burn slow. For me, this one has resulted in the most “what’re you wearing!?” inquiries I’ve had of late.
Bond No. 9 New York — Eau de New York Swarovski
OK, on the one hand, this unisex earthy-citrus blend wears handsomely on you, but the real reason you’re after it is for how flashy it is on your bed stand, since it’s bejeweled in Crystallized Swarovski Elements. Elton John is shook.
Amouage — Jubilation XXV Man
The essence of opulence, Jubilation is a many-layered scent that beats strongest with blackcurrant, honey, myrrh, oud, and cinnamon. It’s a wealth of ingredients, balanced in perfect harmony. Wear it when you need to command attention at work, or want to channel Herculean levels of sex appeal.
By Kilian — Musk Oud Arabian Nights
Musk, spice, and patchouli create a smoky and sultry scent, though Arabian Nights is also peppered with fresh rose and geranium petals for balance. By Kilian put detail into every face of this scent, down to the fresco-like engravings on the gold-plated black bottle itself, which is designed to mimic Achilles’ shield. Wear it to shield your competition from stealing any spotlight (but for this god’s sake, cover your heels!).
Maison Francis Kurkdjian — Aqua Universalis Forte
The “forte” in Aqua Universalis Forte is no lie: this is a more prominent and punching version of Maison Francis Kurkdijan’s unisex Aqua Universalis EDT. It wears crisp and light, with a blend of lemon, bergamot, jasmine, and rose, pulled taut by a musky wood base. It’s like being on a sailboat on the Amalfi coast, watching the coastline shrink further from view as the cool breeze and warm sun meet on your skin.