Difference Between Cologne and Perfume

cologne vs perfume

The terms "cologne" and "perfume" don't have anything to do with what the scent smells like, be it flowers or wood, rather how strong or weak the scent is. They identify the scent concentration. Perfume has more scent added than does cologne.

Somehow over the years here in America (I blame advertising and marketing) the term "cologne" has become synonymous with masculine, while the term "perfume" is feminine. Which is silly really when you know the meaning behind the two words. A scent intended for men can be "perfume" strength. It can smell of gasoline & wood, and if it was concentrated enough, it would be called an "EDP" concentration (Eau De Perfume.)
Vice-versa is true. A scent can be created for Women that is "EDC" concentration (Eau De Cologne) that smells of baby powder and roses.

The Difference is How Much Scent Is Added Into The Alcohol Base

cologne and perfume

Cologne Vs. Perfume Concentration Ratios


To make a bottle of perfume or cologne, one takes the scent and mixes it into an alcohol/water solution. (The solution is usually made of 98% alcohol and 2% water.) How much scent is used is what makes the finished bottle a Cologne or Perfume.
  • Cologne (EDC)...... Less pure perfume mixed into the alcohol (Around 10%)
  • Perfume (EDP)....... More pure perfume mixed into the alcohol (Around 20%)

Fun Fact: the molecule Ethyl maltol smells like caramel

Men's Fragrances Come in EDP (Perfume) Strength Concentrations

Fortunately, there are really wonderful men's fragrances that come "EDP" (Eau De Parfum) the strongest ratio of scent. Some of the most elite fragrance houses in the world make these men's style fragrances: Jaipur Homme by Boucheron, Dior Homme by Christian Dior, Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle, Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels... etc

Can Men Wear Perfume?

I say yes, of course. Absolutely! Now just pick a scent that you like and wear it well.
Do you have a favorite "EDP" that you wear? What is it?