Ever felt mildly overwhelmed when stepping up to that fragrance counter? Even the most experienced olfactory aficionado can go cross-eyed after sampling too many scents—the human nose has its limits. That’s why we asked our men’s grooming team to suggest their current three favorite colognes—and had an astute (and opinionated) office-mate, men’s video producer Angela Sumner, sniff-test each one.
Keep reading for three scents to try—and why—next time you’re on the hunt for a new favorite.
1. VALENTINO ‘UOMO’—NORDSTROM EXCLUSIVE
Key Notes: Italian Bergamot • Myrtle Liquor • Crema de Gianduia • Leather
Bottle Inspiration: A whiskey decanter.
Angela’s Take: “This smells fresh-out-of-the-shower clean—but a big step above wearing just after shave. To me, it feels like a mature scent, but I don’t think that means that it needs a mature person to wear it. This is what I picture Valentino himself smelling like. Timeless, but not in an ‘old’ way. You could wear it in the day, but it’s serious enough to be worn at night as well. Just don’t over-do it.”
[Shop: Valentino 'Uomo']
2. CARTIER ‘PASHA NOIRE’
Key Notes: Fresh Citrus • Amber • Cedarwood
Bottle Inspiration: The fanciest shaving-cream bottle ever.
Angela’s Take: “This is the smell of someone who’s very put-together. It seems like an organized cologne to me. It’s light, subtle—just a little hint of something. It’s not like, ‘Oh god, that guy just walked by, and he’s wearing too much cologne.’ It definitely feels like springtime. I can picture an outfit with it: gingham shirt, shorts, boat shoes. You’re going to a clambake in the Hamptons with this guy.”
[Shop: Cartier 'Pasha Noir']
3. VIKTOR & ROLF ‘SPICEBOMB’
Key Notes: Grapefruit • Cinnamon • Chili Pepper • Tobacco
Bottle Inspiration: A live grenade.
Angela’s Take: “This is a scent that I would probably steal from him. Which means I like the smell of it. Which means I would smell him all the time. I like that it’s not deep and musky—it’s light, and I wouldn’t get tired of smelling it. I also like that there’s a hint of what smells like black licorice—which is, you know, a natural aphrodisiac, so… Men! Put this on when you’re going out.”
[Shop: Viktor & Rolf 'Spicebomb']
Go pop some bottles (cologne bottles, that is) in-person at a Nordstrom near you.
SHOP ALL: MEN’S COLOGNE