Consider Your Image
Unless you're going to custom-make your own scent, your most efficient way to shop will probably involve a trip to your favorite department store. Good news: Within a 50-step range, you have access to more colognes than you will ever possibly need. The bad news: You have to wade through more colognes than you will ever possibly need.
Narrow it down by knowing your type. Citrus? Green? Clean? Spice? These are some words to throw around when you ask the sales clerk to help select four or five colognes to sample. If you are unsure, you can also offer the name of a current or recent scent you've worn and like — the salesperson will be able to determine which category it falls into.
The direct notes of citrus or green are only part of the appeal. It's what those scents say about who you are as a person that really drives sales of one cologne versus another. For instance, smokier scents are frequently associated with the intellectual, academic type (picture reading a book in front of a roaring fire with a good cigar). Those with an artistic bent should look for colognes with spices such as cinnamon or saffron, notes that surprise and intrigue. Athletic images are projected via clean scents that include notes of lemon or verbena, while the outdoor adventurer personality gets a boost with scents that contain greens from nature, such as sage or pine. Consider yourself a city gentleman? These colognes may not feature one prominent note, but have an overall smoothness to the blend that matches your urban lifestyle.