Why is Cologne So Expensive? Here’s the Surprising Answer


Cologne symbolizes status, social proof, and it can give us confidence.

It smells great, it elevates the impression we give off to others, and it’s a way of endearing yourself to romantic suitors.

However, it usually isn’t cheap, which begs the question: why is cologne so expensive?

The unfortunate answer to this question is that designer brands market it as a high-end product to boost sales. While fancy packaging and high-quality ingredients are used, the cost of manufacturing cologne compared to the retail price is staggering.

Cologne is sold to us as the fragrance for men, but in reality eau de cologne is just a fragrance that has an oil concentration percentage of 2-4%.

Cologne is no more a ‘male fragrance’ than perfume is a ‘female fragrance’, as they are just fragrances with different amounts of oil in them contributing to the strength of the scent.

The reason why we’ve come to know cologne as the only fragrance for men, is because of clever marketing from brands who want to capitalise on the male market.

Marketing is a big reason why cologne and other fragrances are so expensive, since the brands are trying to sell a luxury lifestyle, not just an aroma.

The Cost of Cologne

Just so we’re clear, the cost of making cologne is very low.

Manufacturers probably spend between $1-2 to make the liquid that goes in each bottle, but put the retail price much higher than this to maximize profits.

While this may seem like a cheap tactic to squeeze as much money out of the consumer as possible, without offering value, this can’t entirely be the case or nobody would buy cologne.

So what makes cologne worth the high price tag?

High-quality Ingredients

The first possible reason for the steep price tag is the use of high-quality ingredients.

It’s true that there are some of the most popular ingredients in colognes are very costly to source, so that could conceivably raise the price of the fragrance.

Examples of high-quality ingredients include oud and ambergris.


Oud is a resin that’s found in the Agarwood tree, which contains the most expensive wood in the world.

The process of extracting the resin from the wood is very time-consuming and labor-intensive, which explains why cologne brands have such a hard time getting a hold of it for a reasonable price.

The scent of oud is well worth the effort, though, as it has a very rich nutty aroma that blends well with spicy and fruity ingredients.


Ambergris sounds much less glamorous than oud, as it is sperm whale secretion.

While this doesn’t sound like something that should make a cologne more expensive, the unique scent is smooth and earthy, which adds a distinct aroma to any fragrance.

Luxury Packaging

Believe it or not, when you buy a cologne, you’re also paying a premium for the packaging that it’s housed in.

If every bottle of cologne was exactly the same, there’s a strong chance the prices would plummet, since a lot of effort goes into producing quality bottles that drive home the brand’s message.

The bottle is a brand’s last chance to grab the consumer’s attention as they walk past, and deliver the brand message without having to say a word.

Cologne that comes in a bottle shaped like a marble statue of the male figure is much more likely to appeal to the average man than a standard-shaped bottle.

The design suggests the kind of lifestyle the cologne can bring you, or at least, that’s what the brand wants you to think.


It’s human nature to want to stand out from the crowd and be perceived as different.

Often we don’t want to blend in, but celebrate our uniqueness in the world.

Cologne brands capitalize on this by making their fragrances expensive enough to price out a lot of people.

Just like we don’t all want to be wearing the same white t-shirt, we don’t necessarily want to smell the same as everyone else.

This idea of exclusivity is self-created, meaning we are the ones who are more than happy to pay the high cost because we feel like we are investing in ourselves.

Is it Worth it?

So the big question now is whether or not it’s worth it to invest in colognes, even if you know that they shouldn’t be as expensive as they are.

Well, colognes offer a lot more than just a fragrance, as we’ve already touched upon with the self-created idea of exclusivity.

A designer cologne can be seen as a status symbol, as a sign that you’re unique and you can afford to spend a little more on fragrances because you’ve worked hard in life and achieved a level of success.

Even if you don’t like this idea of achieving social status through expensive products, there’s something about a nice-smelling fragrance that can brighten up your day.

A cologne isn’t just intended to cover up body odor, but to evoke some kind of emotion.

Whether that’s attraction, confidence, or nostalgia – it doesn’t matter.

The point is, colognes play on the sense of smell, which is one of the most powerful memory tools we have.

We’ve all been on a date with someone who wore what we thought was the perfect fragrance, and ever since that day every time we smell it we are brought back to that moment.

If you wear cologne on a regular basis, you can create more memories for yourself based on the scent.

As such, it can be an empowering act to spray on some cologne, because you can associate it with certain emotions or experiences.

For example, if you save the extra expensive cologne for date night, every time you go out on the date you will be primed for the experience due to the memory connection associated with the scent.

This makes cologne a great confidence-booster as it can help you not only to endear yourself to others but also to feel your very best every time you step foot outside the door.

So as you can see, there’s a lot that goes into cologne, far beyond the fragrance itself.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Colognes

Are expensive colognes worth it?

Yes and no, it all depends on what you’re looking for!

Expensive colognes will generally use higher-quality ingredients than their more affordable counterparts, so in that respect, they are worth the extra investment.

However, if you are satisfied with just having a scent that you like, then the chances are you won’t need to break the bank to get a cologne you get on with.

What is the most expensive cologne in the world?

Believe it or not the most expensive cologne in the world cost a staggering $250,000 per 500ml bottle, and it goes by the name of Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty.

This limited-time-only cologne was released in 2005, and there were only 10 bottles, so you’d have been extremely lucky to get your hands on one.

This one-off cologne was so expensive that it made it into the Guiness Book of World Records.

How much does it cost to make cologne?

While this may not surprise you, it costs manufacturers an awful lot less than the retail price of the cologne to manufacture it.

This is to ensure large profit margins, but often comes at the expense of the consumer.

A cologne rarely costs more than a few dollars to produce, but can retail for as much as $100-200 or even more, meaning that the liquid itself can cost just 1% of the overall retail price.

A Final Word From The Trending Man

Cologne is expensive, there’s no doubt about it.

For how little it costs to make the scented liquid, it’s hard to believe how much brands can sell it for.

However, wearing cologne is a matter of status, social proof, and can even give you confidence and help you feel good about yourself – and is there a price you can put on these qualities?

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The Trending Man

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