Cologne is one of the multiple types of fragrant substances used to lend a pleasant smell to various objects or, more commonly, people. Cologne is currently used most commonly to describe fragrances create for and marketed to men, traditionally it was not exclusively intended for men.
Perfume is generally classified by dilution – that is, the concentration of aromatic compounds in the substance, or how “strong” it is. Cologne has the lowest concentration of these compounds among the types of fragrances, generally between 3 and 8 percent.
The first cologne, or Eau de Cologne to be precise, is said to have been created in 1708 in Cologne, Germany, hence its name. Colognes traditionally produced in the city of Cologne have the right to be called Original Eau de Cologne, while substances that meet the dilution criterium but are not produced within the city do not.
Whether you are looking to buy cologne created in the German city or some other type, the prices can get quite steep. Because of this, it is worth investing some time in finding where you can buy high quality, but cheap cologne.
This guide can help you find the best deals for buying cheap premium cologne online and offline as well.
UPDATE: Coupon codes for duty-free cologne are at the bottom! Scroll down to get the temporary coupon codes, while they are still valid. New coupon codes are posted regularly.
Types of cologne
The first colognes were spirit-citrus perfumes created in the German city of Cologne by Giovanni Maria Farina . He described the fragrance as “Italian spring morning, mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain.”
Although today there are many types of cologne available, they are still based on citrus oils such as lemon, orange, lime, blood orange, tangerine, and so on. Colognes may also contain aromatic oils of tobacco, oregano, olive, and several flowers, though as they are marketed to men, the scent of flowers does not usually dominate the fragrance.
The most famous cologne, the 4711 was named after the house it was created in, 4711 Klöckergasse (today 4. Glockengasse), Cologne. The formula of 4711 is said to have remained unchanged for over 200 years and is, of course, a secret. It is said to have a bitter lemon/lime scent, with a hint of musk.
Airports host many shops offering duty-free colognes and other fragrances. Because of the duty-free tag, these shops are quite popular among those looking to buy cheap cologne, as they suppose it must be cheaper than in other drugstores and shops.
However, this is often not the case!
Because of the high profit margins many of the airport duty-free drugstores use, the prices they offer are often higher than those you can find at regular brick and mortar retailers.
/This is true for cigarettes, for example. See the price comparison of cigarettes here./
I compared the price of one 50 ml bottle of Gucci cologne at various retailers. The seemingly obvious contender, the airport duty-free at Dubai has proven to be among the most expensive stores for buying cologne!
The Gucci Guilty cologne retails for almost $70 at the airport duty-free, though as the price is set in AED, this may change with exchange rates. When comparing prices, always make sure you check the currencies and the current exchange rates!
The official Gucci website lists the 50 ml bottle of the Gucci Guilty for 80 Canadian dollars, which translates to about USD 62, still cheaper than the duty-free, despite the latter’s reduction in taxes! Local retailers also set higher prices, as evidenced by the above comparison.
Your best option for buying cheap cologne at a consistent price is online duty-free shops. Local shops may offer temporary promotions which bring the price lower, but altogether online duty-free shops will give you the best deals when looking to buy cheap cologne.
The online duty-free shop I recommend regularly has cologne from all the popular brands available and offers free shipping. You can check out their selection here.
Be careful with other online shops because many don’t offer free shipping and the cologne appear to be seemingly cheaper but once you add the cost of shipping you will end up paying more!
Buying cologne online
As the above price comparison shows, online duty-free shops are often your best option for buying cheap cologne. The scope of this article does not permit comparing the prices of all online and offline, duty-free and regular drugstores, but the tendency remains the same.
As with local cologne stores, online shops also regularly offer discounts on various types and brands of cologne, especially when ordering in bulk. Online drugstores also offer to ship the cologne to your address safely, and some of them even free of charge.
This means that buying cologne online is not only cheaper, but also more comfortable than buying at local stores or airport duty-frees. Some of the airport duty-frees offer shipping, but usually only within the country they are located in.
A drawback of ordering cologne online is, of course, that you can not test the scent of the specific product before purchasing it. As a result, it is best to search out the scent you prefer, and only then buy the cologne online. Because of this, it is quite important to watch out for scam sites and counterfeit products.
Legal issues with buying cologne online
In most countries it is completely legal to buy cologne online, regardless of the country it originates from. There are, however, some restrictions you should pay attention to.
The Canadian Post, for example, considers cologne hazardous material due to its flammability. You may use other delivery companies for cologne, but you should always check the regulations before buying cologne online, especially in bulk.
The shop I recommend offers a form of insurance to protect buyers. If you decide to pay some extra, your order will be guaranteed to be delivered again if it happens to be seized by customs, free of charge. I strongly suggest using this insurance if you bulk order.
Certain countries seize your order if it exceeds the limit on duty-free products. The UK, and to a lesser extent the US is notorious for this. In those two countries we definitely do not recommend ordering more than the duty-free allowance.
You can find the duty-free allowances for cologne here: Duty-free, tax-free guide with allowances (sorted by country).
Duty-free cologne coupon codes
Duty-free shops regularly offer discount codes for cologne and bulk order discounts. You can find the latest coupon codes here.
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