What is a green fragrance?
It’s strange to describe a fragrance with a color, but “green” fragrances really do capture the freshness of nature. Think about the crispness of the outdoors: dew on grass, a garden of herbs, or leaves blowing in the breeze. Green fragrances capture these moments.
Green fragrances are often described as “sporty” for their invigorating qualities. Because of their lightness, these colognes perform best during the hot months. Day-time wear also makes the most sense, though there are more luxurious green fragrances that you could get away with wearing in the evening and at night. Some people complain that these fragrances aren’t long lasting, but if you’re looking for a fragrance to lighten up the warm weather, a green should be your go-to.
What’s the history of green fragrances?
Some fragrance families, like chypres and acquatics, can trace their histories back to a single fragrance. That’s tougher to do with green fragrances because natural notes have permeated perfumes and colognes since the beginning of time. As with many fragrance types, “green” fragrances likely originated as incense, replicating the clean and subtle power of nature.
Green Irish Tweed, created in 1985 by Oliver Tweed, is one of the most iconic green fragrances on the market. It’s rooted in notes of moss, but also uses notes of iris and lemon verbena to add a citrus twist.
What notes do green colognes use?
On the fragrance wheel, “green” falls under the “fresh” family, along with citrus and water. Green fragrances use notes of green leaves, tea leaves, freshly cut grass, and marine plants. Some green fragrances, like Green Irish Tweed, will use other natural scents, like fruity or floral notes, to add a touch of sweetness or zest. Check out some of our favorite green scents below:
Best Daytime Green Cologne
Launched in 1974 by the house of Sisley, Eau De Campagne delivers a scent that’s both fruity and green. The subtle sweetness of this fragrance is reminiscent of a meadow dotted with flowers or a garden after a light rain. With a mix of lemon, basil, sweet florals and fruits, vetiver, and moss, the balance of this scent makes it perfect for daytime wear all year round. It’s versatile enough to use as a signature scent, and several women friends have told me they use it as a unisex fragrance.
Best Evening Green Cologne
Polo by Ralph Lauren is a sophisticated green fragrance with a twist of spice. At the top, fresh notes of artemisia, basil, and thyme combine with the spiciness of cumin, coriander, and cloves. The heart reinforces the strength of this fragrance, with notes of patchouli, oakmoss, and vetiver. A base of leather, tobacco, and thyme make for an intense finish.
If you’re looking for an evening green fragrance that’s powerful and bold, Polo by Ralph Lauren should be your go-to. However, for some it’s a little too intense.
Best Summer Green Cologne
Truth stays true to the freshness that’s expected out of a green cologne. It smells like morning dew or drops of rain left on leaves after a storm. The note breakdown is simple and classic. Truth contains patchouli and pepper in the top notes; sandalwood, basil, and cardamom in the middle; and red cedar and patchouli at the base. This clean fragrance is perfect for warmer months.
While some users report good performance, others say that Truth only lasts about 2 hours. If you find that many fragrances underperform on your skin, that could be something to consider before purchasing.
Best Winter Green Cologne
Grey Flannel starts out heavy on the green notes. After an hour on your skin, the lavender creeps in, and it dries down into a softer, flowery, green, powdery fragrance. This fragrance also has great projection and performance. As the name suggests, Grey Flannel delivers a scent that’s rooted in warmth, so wear it during the day in the winter or fall. At this price point, you really can’t go wrong.
Grey Flannel contains top notes of galbanum, neroli, petitgrain, bergamot, and lemon, which give way to middle notes of mimosa, iris, violent, sage, rose, geranium, and narcissus. The base is made up of tonka bean, almond, oakmoss, vetiver, and cedar.
Best Overall Green Cologne
The house of Creed creates some of the most masterful and popular green fragrances, and this one is no different. With a blend of notes that includes Mysore sandalwood, ambergris, violet leaves, French verbena, and Florentine iris, Green Irish Tweed Millesime perfectly combines spice and freshness. This fragrance exudes confidence and sophistication, and it’s perfect for any occasion that demands class.
Green Irish Tweed Millesime is great for its good projection and long-lasting scent. However it's definitely a luxury fragrance —this high-quality fragrance doesn’t come cheap.