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There’s no better way to put yourself into a frenzy of indecision than shopping for a new cologne. Between the nonsensical descriptions, aggressive salespeople spritzing you as you try to walk by, and the nose fatigue from smelling scent after scent, it’s enough to make anyone throw up their hands in frustration.
Most men start their fragrance journey when they’re gifted a cologne from a family member or significant other, and many stick with that scent for years. But, for those who want to branch out and identify the scents that best fit their personality or mood, the whole process can be overwhelming, which is where cologne subscription boxes come in.
For a monthly fee, these specialized services will send you an assortment of colognes to sample until you find something you love. We researched the currently available cologne subscription boxes to find the best out there. In the process, we looked at whether they create a personalized scent profile for you, their costs, and their selections, including whether they offer the most popular designer scents, so you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about. Here, we’ve rounded up our top picks, explaining what makes each of them unique and how to find the right one for your scent style.
Best Overall : Scentbird
When you think of subscription fragrance services, Scentbird is usually the first one that comes to mind. That’s because it pretty much pioneered the concept back when it launched in 2013.
Many of those that have emerged since have followed in the footsteps of Scentbird’s original business model. Take a quiz to develop your scent profile, find fragrances you want to try, and the company will ship you a 30-day supply of your chosen scent to test out (a new one each month).
Scentbird also does a fabulous job of describing each of its scents and ascribing values to different attributes (i.e. the scent family, personality, occasion, season, level of complexity, and accords). The company’s subscription box will set you back around $15 per month, but if you find one you love, you can opt to buy a full-size option at a discounted price.
Scentbird doesn’t have the largest selection per se (it currently offers hundreds of brands and more than 500 fragrances), but it stocks some in-demand indie ones that the other services on this list don’t have access to (the perks of being an industry innovator).
Best Variety : Scent Box
If you want a mind-boggling array of fragrances to choose from, then Scent Box should be right up your alley. Founded by two SoCal brothers with a love of fragrance exploration, the monthly subscription service costs about $15 per month for the standard plan or around $20 for the premium (with access to additional extra-fancy brands).
Each month, the company will ship you a 30-day supply of a fragrance—a .27-ounce, travel-size atomizer that has been tested to provide four sprays a day for 31 days. There are over 575 different designer fragrances for you to choose from with the standard subscription (more than 850 for premium), and the company highlights a new one each month as their “scent of the month,” if you’d rather just take recommendations than sort through the extensive library.
You can also fill out a brief questionnaire to filter your results based on your fragrance preferences, which is helpful if you know that you like (i.e. woodsy scents or disliking anything with vanilla). The company will select scents for you based on the quiz, but it also allows you to manually add ones that look interesting to you but might not have been in your scent profile.
Best of all, if you absolutely detest the scent that arrives, Scent Box allows you to exchange it for another option. It makes the whole experience relatively painless, efficient, and enjoyable.
Best Budget : Perfume.com
The very foundation of fragrance subscription boxes is that they allow you to try designer fragrances without emptying your bank account for 3.4 fluid ounces. The cost-prohibitive nature of the perfume industry can make it difficult to experiment.
Perfume.com’s Fragrance of the Month program solves that issue by offering you a .27-ounce fragrance atomizer for about $10 per month. As one would expect from a company called Perfume.com, there are tons of brands and scents to choose from—over 500—and the list includes all of the most popular designer scents, from Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry to Giorgio Armani.
Plus, it’s beyond easy to get started—just begin by browsing scents and add them to your queue. If the sheer amount of offerings feels daunting, you can also let Perfume.com’s scent experts curate a selection for you. If you’re not sure a subscription service is right for you, this is a great budget option to test out the concept without breaking the bank.
Best for Fragrance Connoisseurs : Scent Trunk
For those that are deeply involved with their personal scent, you’ll want to skip the mass subscriptions and try something a bit more tailored.
Scent Trunk is a standout in this category thanks to its customizable approach— it doesn’t offer any conventional colognes, but rather creates its own scents based on “the contemporary zeitgeist in art & culture, fashion & beauty, and food & travel.” With a rotating roster of perfumers, the scents are all imaginative, fresh, and utterly unique.
The original edition monthly subscription box costs $15 and you will receive a 5ML travel atomizer of your choice. Options include Ylang Ylang, Salt, Truffle, Black Hemlock, and Beeswax. the Original Edition subscription is considered a manual subscription so you will need to go in monthly to select a new scent if you wish to switch it up, otherwise the reacquiring subscription will send you the same scent you selected for the previous month. Autoship subscription options are also available from scent trunk, such as their Supernatural Future and Botanical Machinist which are both $15 a month.
While you can’t buy full-size bottles of your bespoke scent, the company does offer its own artisan fragrances at about $16 for a 5-milliliter bottle. New ones are introduced each month and you can shop past editions.
Best For Trendsetters : Olfactif
If the thought of smelling like every Tom, Dick, and Harry you pass on the street makes you shudder, then you’ll want to head to Olfactif with an expansive array of ultra-niche scents. We’re talking colognes that very few people have ever heard of, the kind that someone will get a whiff of and go out of their way to ask you what you’re wearing.
There are more than 300 fragrances from indie gems like Etat Libre d’Orange, Blackbird, Imaginary Authors, Amouage, and YOSH. The subscription service will send you three, deluxe-sized samples a month for about $20 and will give you discounts off any purchases you make from the site: That’s roughly 20 percent off a full bottle of any featured scent and about 10 percent off all other full bottles.
Olfactif is a standout because it brings niche perfumery to a wider audience—many of these fragrances are impossible to find unless you live in a city with independent perfume shops. It’s a great way to discover just how artistic and nuanced a scent can be and to find something that feels special and personal to you.
Whether you like a fragrance wardrobe or are on the hunt for a new signature scent, Olfactif is a great place to find something that’s truly new.
Best for Busy Guys : Debonair Scent
If you’re the type of guy who just wants to find something that smells nice with minimum effort, Debonair is for you. From the slick (yet minimalist) site to the personalized quiz, Debonair knocks it out of the park when it comes to helping you discover your new favorite scent.
And the best part? You don’t have to spend hours telling someone what you like and don’t like. The four-question profile consists of identifying the fragrance notes you tend to gravitate toward, how you want your cologne to make you feel (i.e. Adventurer, Bad Boy, Regular Guy, or Romantic Guy), how often you wear cologne, and the name of your favorite current scent.
Debonair’s experts will get to work curating scents that fit your profile. You then get three of those colognes in three-milliliter bottles sent your way for about $15 per month. You can also save when you prepay for three, six, or 12 months. Quick, easy, and direct—just the way we like to do our shopping.
What Are Cologne Subscription Boxes?
Cologne subscription boxes allow users to discover new fragrances that fit their personality. For a monthly fee, you’ll receive an assortment of colognes to sample.
How Much Do Cologne Subscription Boxes Cost?
The cost of cologne subscription boxes varies, but they are all much more budget-friendly than purchasing many full-sized colognes. You can expect your scent subscription service to cost you anywhere between $10 to $20 per month.
How Often Will I Receive New Fragrances?
The beauty of cologne subscription boxes is that you’ll be introduced to new scents every month.
How Are the Colognes Selected for Each Box?
Each cologne subscription service takes a different approach to curate the fragrances that come in your box. Some cologne subscription boxes use quizzes and algorithms to figure out what fragrances to send you, while others will let you choose the scents you want to try.
Am I Able to Choose the Colognes in My Subscription Box?
With some cologne subscription boxes, you have the ability to choose the scents that will be delivered to your door. With Perfume.com, you can browse through a catalog of over 500 scents and add the ones you want to try to your queue.