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Designer Fragrance Samplers for Men

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Designer fragrance samplers let you try out a variety of scents without breaking the bank.

Designer fragrance samplers let you try out a variety of scents without breaking the bank.

How I Found the Perfect Designer Men's Fragrance Without Going Broke

Maybe you're like me—you don't have a few thousand dollars laying around to buy dozens of full-sized bottles of designer fragrance on the off-chance that you'll actually like one of them. I was frustrated that there were really interesting scents out there that I would never get to experience. How would I know if I should go ahead and buy one? I tried going to perfume counters for a spritz, but you can only get a couple at a time, and my nearest department store is, you know, not very near.

For a while, I even surreptitiously ripped out men's fragrance ads from magazines at the CVS and took them home. But they weren't the classic ones, like Vetiver and Guerlain, that I was really interested in. And anyway all of those advert page samples smell mostly like paper and lemon oil.

Then I discovered an excellent way to get what I wanted. This article describes some very high-quality designer men's fragrance samplers. They're not free, but pretty close. They let me experience a huge range of men's designer fragrances in a way that I can live with.

Smell like a man, without going broke.

Smell like a man, without going broke.

This set contains some familiar fragrances, and some that may be new to you.

This set contains some familiar fragrances, and some that may be new to you.

Men's Designer Fragrance Sampler

Since fragrance tends to subtly change over the course of a day, it's smart to withhold judgment until you've worn it for a few days and "lived with it," so to speak. Understanding your own body chemistry in relation to a new fragrance is the key to finding one that you won't change your mind about in a week or two. And then, of course, it's too late. You're stuck with a high-priced, full-sized bottle of a fragrance that you don't actually care for.

I really like this designer fragrance sampler because it has some scents I know and love, and many I don't. The rock star in this sampler as far as I'm concerned is Acqua Di Gio, an Armani scent for men that is pretty special. For me, Gio is a summery, outdoorsy kind of fragrance that would play well on a beach vacation or on a boat, if you have one. It is the male counterpart to the classic Acqua Di Gio women, one of the best-selling fragrances in the world.

The profile of this fragrance, according to, is as follows:

  • Top Notes: jasmine, rosemary, and citrus
  • Heart Notes: persimmon fruits and marine notes
  • Base Notes: cedar, patchouli, white musk, and rock rose

I was a little surprised to see patchouli among the base notes, given how far out of favor this old counter-culture standby has fallen. But there it is, and it must be compounded in such a way as to deflect its tendency to drown out everything around it.

This sampler contains some very good fragrances.

This sampler contains some very good fragrances.

The Pilestone's Choice Sampler

Sample-sized designer fragrance samplers have another advantage over going all-in on a full-sized bottle: it avoids the disapproval of your significant other (or others). How often have we found a scent we like, only to see others literally turn up their noses? It raises an interesting question—Who our scent is actually for? Us or them?—but in the long run wearing a men's scent that our partner doesn't like is simply not going to work. It's much better to experiment with a few and find one that you can both live with.

I love many of the scents in this collection, especially Polo, which several of my friends wore in college. Polo Blue is a light, clean scent that's perfect for a young man, an update of the seventies classic. It was created by Carlos Benaim, who created the original version 25 years ago. Polo Blue contains notes of Cucumber, Tangerine, Geranium and Basil. According to the excellent fragrance site, Polo Blue's profile is as follows:

  • Top Notes: melon, fresh cucumber, tangerine
  • Heart Notes: basil, clary sage absolute, geranium
  • Base notes: washed suede, velvety moss, amber wood, patchouli coeur, sheer musk

Another great fragrance in this sampler is Dior Homme, a masculine fragrance launched in the mid-2000s. This intriguing scent has elements of Iris, cardamom, leather, and my personal favorite, vetiver.

This collection includes some fragrances that are more traditionally masculine.

This collection includes some fragrances that are more traditionally masculine.

Another Great Collection

I don't hang out around perfume counters—maybe you do, but I doubt it—so my chances to try even one designer men's cologne are few and far between. Even if I do have the chance, I'm not going to try on more than one or two, unless I want to walk out smelling like a bowl of Fruit Loops. A designer fragrance sampler lets me try nearly a dozen new scents for men without trekking out to a mall or department store again and again.

This is a powerful array of men's fragrances, and includes Armani Code, which is a wonderful men's scent that bears the name of my favorite men's design house. Armani Code fragrance is a very masculine fragrance launched in 2016. describes the fragrance profile:

  • Top Notes: green mandarin, green apple, cardamom
  • Heart Notes: orange blossom, lavender, nutmeg
  • Base notes: tonka bean, amber, leather

Another great fragrance in this sampler is Vertu by designer Vince Camuto. This brand-new scent features elements of pepper, tree moss, leather, and musk.

Experience a Variety of Designer Fragrances Without Buying the Whole Bottle

Men of any age know it's true—walking out into the world wearing a great high-end scent like Vettiver or D & G Light Blue gives us an irreplaceable feeling of confidence. But a scent with this kind of presence and power is not inexpensive. If you're lucky, you can afford a few full-size designer fragrances a year. Which is fine, when you know the scent you prefer, but what do we do if we want to experience new scents? How do we live with a new fragrance without committing to it by throwing down for the cost of the full-size bottle?

The answer: excellent sample arrays of high-end designer cologne that can be had for a fraction of the cost. Pick a selection, pay a couple of dollars per designer fragrance, and discover a new fragrance that speaks to you.

And if you're not a man, or don't wear fragrance, consider a designer fragrance sampler as a gift for someone who is, or does.

Wearing the right fragrance can enhance your mood and self-confidence.

Wearing the right fragrance can enhance your mood and self-confidence.

Find a Scent You Like

With these excellent samplers as a place to start, it's time to start trying new fragrances. When I don't have to spend for a full-sized bottle, a men's fragrance sampler lets me live with designer scents until I find the one that's perfect. It's an easy win in a world that could use a few.