News & Politics

Best of 2005: Best Men’s Cologne

While a woman's perfume is very personal, men often rely on the opposite sex's tastes when choosing a fragrance.

So we headed to the Front Page bar near DC's Dupont Circle during happy hour, when the dating game is in full swing. We sprayed men with one of five fairly new colognes and asked women to rate them on a scale of one to ten; we then averaged the results. Here's how they ranked.

1. True Star Men by Tommy Hilfiger ($39.50). This cologne–whose pitchman is Latin hunk Enrique Iglesias–was the clear winner. Women were drawn to its "fresh" scent, which has notes of citrus, sandalwood, and star anise. Some women weren't fans. "It smells like a girl's perfume," one said.

2. Hummer ($24). Yes, the car maker Hummer has its own scent, with notes of thyme, leather, and patchouli. The least expensive of the bunch, it came in second. "Clean, crisp, and fresh," a reviewer said. But again, it's all subjective. "Too strong," another said. "It smells like my dad."

3. Kenzo Pour Homme Frais ($48). This scent–with notes of bitter orange, grapefruit, and oak moss–was the priciest of the group. "It smells kind of foresty," a tester said–apparently, a good thing.

In fourth place was Carlos Santana for Men ($40), which judges called "not very manly" and "too fruity." In last place was Polo Black ($47.50), which was deemed "really strong" and "kind of girly."

Washingtonian staffers contributing to this section were Cristina Abello, Susan Baer, Susan Davidson, Ken DeCell, Rebecca Dreilinger, Kim Isaac Eisler, Mary Clare Fleury, Kimberly Forrest, Brooke Lea Foster, Garrett M. Graff, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, Aparna Nancherla, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Chris Wilson. Also contributing were Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Matthew Graham.