Skip To Main Content

Every product is carefully selected by our editors and experts. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission. Learn more. For more information on how we test products, click here.

Les roches noires by moncler

How to Find Your Signature Scent: A Definitive Guide

Finding your signature scent is an important step in discovering your own sense of style and our guide below will explain how to find your very own.

Wearing the best fragrances means you’ll not only smell great but also look and feel great. It’s why a signature perfume is so important. A signature scent can reveal a lot about you, and you can think of it as your own trademark. Just like the ultimate pair of jeans, you need to find the perfect fit when it comes to choosing your favourite colognes. However, with what feels like an endless stream of options, how do you find it?

Our guide to finding your signature scent is here to help you navigate the murky waters of the perfume world and discover your true essence. In addition to our experts, we spoke to Givaudan Senior Perfumer, Rodrigo Flores-Roux, of Tom Ford, John Varvatos, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Hugo Boss, and Calvin Klein acclaim.

RELATED: Explore all our fragrance favourites in our guide to men’s fragrances right here.

What is a Signature Scent?

Starting from the basics, it’s important to understand what we mean by ‘signature scent’. We’re talking about a signature perfume, one that is uniquely yours and people associate with you. It’s a scent that works best for your style and – due to the unique way it reacts against your skin and body heat – is solely yours. Why is a signature scent important? Rodrigo Flores-Roux compares it to a men’s wardrobe.

“I’m actually ambivalent about having one particular fragrance. I enjoy being a little bit less loyal to one perfume and being able to go back and forth between several of them.”

“Having a fragrance wardrobe is like your own normal wardrobe: are you in a suit and tie mood today? So let’s spritz X. Is it a leather jacket, boots and jeans kind of day? Let me wear Y. May I dare to name John Varvatos Artisan Acqua as ” and John Varvatos Dark Rebel Rider as Y?”

While a signature scent is great in the way it makes you smell fabulous, what we love most about it is the way it can help define you and reflect your taste and style.

Steps for finding your signature scent
You’ll want to know a few things about fragrances before you decide on your signature scent. | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Everything You Should Know About Perfume

Fragrance Notes and Accords

Don’t let the terminology confuse you, ‘accords’ simply refers to a scent or a distinctive smell made up of several perfume ingredients, which are called ‘notes’ that blends to form a distinct fragrance.

These notes are separated into three different classes known as perfume pyramid, which we have included with some examples below.

  • Top notes: citrus, bergamot, lemon, sage.
  • Middle notes: lavender. sandalwood, agarwood.
  • Base notes: vanilla, patchouli, musk.

The top notes are the scents we immediately smell, while the middle notes are the scents that emerge once the top note of the perfume evaporates. Base notes are the final smells you get.

Fragrance Strengths

If you’re not too keen on perfume, you’ll be happy to know that fragrances come in various strengths. Understanding the different strengths and concentrations is an important step in purchasing your signature perfume, so you get the right potency for you. Each perfume will usually state its concentration somewhere on the bottle. These are the most commonly used fragrance concentrations from lowest to highest (don’t let the French phrases complicate it, it’s simple enough).

  • Eau Fraiche 1-3%
  • After Shave/Mist/Splash 1-3%
  • Eau de Cologne 2-4%
  • Eau de Toilette 5-15%
  • Eau de Parfum 15-20%
  • Pure Parfum/Extrait de Parfum 20-40%

Fragrance Families

Just like fashion, certain classes of fragrance can be grouped depending on their similarities in scent. There are four main families in the fragrance world:

Now, let’s check out the 5 simple steps for finding your signature scent.

Finding your signature scent
These are the five steps you’ll want to follow for finding your signature scent. | Image: Supplied

5 Steps for Finding Your Signature Scent

1. Start With Familiar Fragrances

We all have our favourite smells. Start to notice the smells you enjoy as well as the ones you don’t enjoy as much. Do you swoon over the smell of morning coffee? How about the smell of certain spices when cooking dinner, like cinnamon or cardamon? Maybe the smell of trees, bark and that lavender tree on your walk to work are scents that make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Whatever it is, notice what you like and keep this in mind when it comes time to decide what you’re after in a fragrance. We recommend writing a list of all of your favourite scents and taking this with you when you go perfume shopping – sometimes it’s hard to recall certain smells when your nose is overcome with so many other scents (trust us, we’ve been there).

2. Where Are You Going to Wear the Perfume?

Think about your day-to-day lifestyle and routine. If you spend most of your time alone or out and about running errands, consider a scent that speaks most to you.

If you have a fairly active lifestyle, consider a scent that’s potent and long-lasting. Or, if you spend most of the day closely alongside other people, like in an office, consider scents that are lighter and fresher (you don’t want to be that person that wears too much cologne – every office has one).

3. Research the Fragrances

You can never do too much research when it comes to finding your signature scent. Even before heading into the store, head online and check out what’s out there. Draw on what you’ve learnt in the previous steps and research certain perfumes that incorporate scents you enjoy from your daily life.

Our fragrance category has a list of all the best fragrances for men – but we also love reading websites such as Fragrantica, and public reviews on retail websites such as Myer. Big perfume brands also usually have insights about their products which can also be helpful.

4. Test the Fragrances in Store

While your nose may be a little bit worse for wear after this step, it is essential for discovering your signature scent.

  1. Don’t wear any fragrance in store
  2. Only try a few perfumes in the store
  3. Test the colognes on your skin
  4. Wait for the scent to dry

“Take your time, experience no more than three or four fragrances at a time, smell them both on the skin and on paper, don’t rub it in, let it evaporate, spray a little bit on the fabric of your sleeve. Very importantly, DO NOT MIX THEM and do not succumb to the pressure of the person behind the counter,” says Rodrigo Flores-Roux.

If you’re based in Australia, retailers such as Myer, David Jones, Mecca, and Sephora all have extensive in-store fragrance testing displays.

5. Wear What You Like

At the end of the day, after all the perfumes have been smelt and sprayed, it comes down to what you like – you are curating your personal scent, after all. Your signature perfume is meant to reflect who you are, your personality and your style and if we know one that it’s that when it comes to defining who you are, no one’s opinions should matter except yours. So, get out there, wear whatever you like and own it.

Best luxury perfumes for men
Our experts have put together lists of all their fragrances, links below. | Image: Man of Many / Supplied

Recommended Articles for Finding Your Signature Scent

As mentioned, our experts have put together lists of all their fragrances. These are typically broken down into seasons, with everything from summer to winter signature scents included, check out our lists linked below.

Interested in more cologne and fragrance stories? Here are a few stories to get you started:

Best Colognes and Fragrances for Men

Seasonal Colognes & Fragrances

Cologne & Fragrance Notes

Fragrance FAQs

How do you know what perfume suits you?

To discover what perfume suits you, notice fragrances you enjoy, think about where you will be wearing the perfume and do lots of research.

Can you become scent blind to your favourite perfume?

Yes, your nose can adapt to fragrances which means you can become nose-blind blindness to your favourite perfume.