michael jordan cologne guide

Michael Jordan Cologne Guide: Making It Rain

Latest posts by Caroline Lambert (see all)

A Michael Jordan Cologne Guide will show you how to make it rain off and on the court. The colognes have an on-again, off-again relationship with critics and lackeys, but you’re about to learn the accords, notes, and reasons why the famed basketball player’s colognes are worth a try.

Bring out your game, and determine if the man who became a legend created something worth wearing. The basketball term “making it rain” refers to a team dunking and scoring left, right, and center. People mistake Jordan’s colognes because they think he was a pungent man glistening with sweat.

Jordan’s colognes are an olfactory treat that doubles as a creative recreation of how you think locker rooms and sportspeople smell. Just because a sportsman has an active life doesn’t mean he doesn’t desire smelling good. Are you the sportsman intending to smell like a modern athlete?

I think the original Michael Jordan cologne is a refreshing take on how active men smell, and you might find your new favorite cologne among the eleven fragrances designed by a legendary nose.

A Favored Basketball Player Turned Olfactory Connoisseur: The Michael Jordan Story

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is one of the most famous basketball players I know, and I’m sure you know the man well. His place in the hall of basketball legends was engraved when he deservedly won six NBAs and earned five MVP awards (the most valuable player in an entire league).

Jordan is a legendary player, even having movies, such as Like Mike and Like Mike 2 because every young basketball dreamer wanted to be like him. Jordan became one of the best marketable faces in America, having massive deals with McDonald’s, Gatorade, and Nike. After all, he was as airy as they came.

Jordan sprung into the olfactory field in the 1990s, releasing his first cologne in 1996. The design house Bijan and Jordan pumped $20 million into the advertising campaign, and they grossed $40 million in just a few weeks after the cologne launched. Jordan has always been a “go big or go home” kind of guy.

The original Michael Jordan cologne received criticism and praise, but that never stopped Jordan from releasing more fragrances over the coming years. The initial turnaround of Jordan’s original cologne earned his olfactory favorite, the Men’s Fragrance Star of the Year award from the Fragrance Foundation.

Jordan’s cologne stood against fad releases from other superstars who followed his example, including Paris Hilton’s men’s range, Usher, and David Beckham’s colognes. With his retirement, he no longer marketed or manufactured his colognes, but the good news is that they’re mostly still available at Amazon and Walmart.

Jordan’s bottled persona is still on the market, and the colognes might be best suited to specific men (or boys), but they might just be the smell of success, one that comes out of a modern locker room.

Jordan’s Cologne Spotlight

Maybe it’s because Jordan is so legendary, but everyone who matters had something to say about his colognes. Large media houses latched onto the cologne range from the start, and the Los Angeles Times interviewed Jordan with the launch of his original cologne in 1996, questioning how $20 million smells.

The interviewer commended Jordan for being as involved in creating the cologne as Bijan Pakzad. Jordan was involved in the bottle design and even told Pakzad if the cologne was too sweet or overwhelming. Jordan wanted the first cologne to be as light and airy as he was.

He said it had five elements or accords as I know it in the perfume world, which included cool, rare air, pebble beach, sensual, and a home run. I won’t allocate the same accords because I’m speaking in perfume terms and not basketball phrases, but I love how Jordan creatively named his five persona elements.

The New York Times also published pieces about Jordan’s bold move to join the olfactory game, calling his cologne an ode to the smells of modern locker rooms. Tony Kornheiser from the Washington Post also had some fun with Jordan’s cologne, even asking people to smell a sample and guess what it was.

The cologne received mixed reviews, some people calling it rather foul, and others saying it smells like a wonderfully fruity and sweet fragrance. Honestly, all colognes have mixed reviews. Otherwise, you’d be able to find a full five-star winner on Amazon, but that’s not possible.

The mixed reviews didn’t stop Jordan’s original cologne from being the best-selling men’s fragrance in 1996, even earning two Fifi awards from the Fragrance Foundation, which are like the Oscars for scents. Haters will always hate, but only you can decide whether you love Jordan’s cologne or not.

Michael Jordan Cologne Guide: The Range

It’s a pity a few people criticize Jordan’s eleven colognes, but it’s still your choice. Why would they still mostly be available if everyone hated them so much? Jordan’s range is simple, each one representing some personality range for active men, and I’ll break the finer details down for you to experience the smell.

I’ll also include two similar fragrances, which will smell close to the Jordan cologne and have similar notes. You can use these alternatives as a guide to experience Jordan’s colognes, or you can try them if the basketball legend’s range doesn’t fit your lifestyle or preferences. Let’s shoot some hoops of knowledge.

Michael Jordan Original

Michael Jordan Original

Michael Jordan Original is the 1996 fragrance created by expert perfumers and Jordan’s nose. It’s the one with his quirky elements, but it’s a woody, aromatic blend. It has traditionally loved notes combined with some unusual ones like cognac and cedar needles. It’s undoubtedly a masculine fragrance for a modern athlete.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Woody, aromatic, citrus, fresh spicy, balsamic, and warm spicy

Top Notes: Brazilian rosewood, cognac, lemon, geranium, grapefruit, cypress, and cedar needles

Middle Notes: Juniper berries, incense, fir, green tea, lavender, cloves, and clary sage

Bottom Notes: Musk, patchouli, and sandalwood

The Smell: Unlike other colognes, this one starts with a solid woody element blended into fresh and cheeky notes before it dries down to a gentler spiciness. The woody notes offer warmth, while the almost unnoticeable grapefruit, cognac, and juniper berries sweeten the wild interchanges of aromatic notes.

Wearable Seasons: Summer and spring

Long Game: 4 to 6 hours

Power Game: Gentle to medium

Similar Colognes: Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger and Man Intense by Jimmy Choo

Cologne Personalities: Self-assured, ambitious, and quirky-modern


  • The long game is, in fact, a short one (colognes should last six hours or more)
  • It’s the famed and criticized cologne from Jordan

Jordan by Michael Jordan

Jordan by Michael Jordan

Jordan by Michael Jordan inspired the range of the same name in 2014, even though it’s a 2000 edition. This one is a woody, aromatic fragrance, and it feels younger, naughtier, and nearly mysterious. A hint of ivy allows the cologne to unfold in unusual ways and smells incredible on athletes who want a somewhat olfactory scent.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Citrus, woody, fresh spicy, warm spicy, white floral, powdery, aromatic, fresh, and musky

Top Notes: Bitter orange, mandarin orange, ivy, sage, and bergamot

Middle Notes: Pepper, nutmeg, jasmine, and cardamom

Bottom Notes: Musk, oakmoss, and sandalwood

The Smell: The cologne begins with unexpected freshness and citrus accents, the opposite of how you expect athletes to smell. The traditional sandalwood undertone rises through all evolutions in this drydown, warming each one to result in gentle but notable scents. The ivy teases the aromatic notes, creating mystery.

Wearable Seasons: Summer, spring, and fall

Long Game: 4 to 6 hours

Power Game: Gentle to medium

Similar Colognes: Cordovan by Banana Republic and Flamboyant by Oriflame

Cologne Personalities: Somewhat mysterious, alluring, and sincere


  • Again, it’s a relatively short game for this cologne
  • The aromatic notes can be overpowering at first

Jordan Energy

Jordan Energy

Jordan Energy is a vibrant 2014 fragrance from the spicy, aromatic scent family, and it’s one of the Jordan range releases from the same year. The notes are simple, but they evolve through various and unexpected stages. Sometimes, less is by far more. Ask any athlete who expends energy—pacing yourself matters.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Citrus, aldehydic, aromatic, warm spicy, fresh spicy, fresh, and soapy

Top Notes: Aldehydes

Middle Notes: Citrus

Bottom Notes: Cardamom

The Smell: You can’t believe how layered this cologne smells due to it only having three notes, but the citrus bursts through the aldehydes first before you get that aromatic twist and unexplainable freshness. It ends with a fresh, soapy drydown, which is hard to understand when you see the notes, but it’s there.

Wearable Seasons: Spring and summer

Long Game: 4 to 6 hours

Power Game: Medium

Similar Colognes: L’Homme Ideal Cologne by Guerlain and London Playboy by Coty

Cologne Personalities: Vibrant, youthful, and fun


  • The game remains short
  • It’s a perfect cologne for excited and young men but not older guys

Jordan Legend

Jordan Legend

Jordan Legend is an aromatic, woody fragrance from 1997, and it has quality olfactory scents. The cologne almost has a sense beyond sportsmanship, as it exudes a humble trail. Then again, you can understand its creation when you remember that Jordan is a humble man in many ways.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Amber, coffee, warm spicy, woody, anis, lavender, soft spicy, musky, animalistic, and patchouli

Top Notes: Coffee, bergamot, tea, and anise

Middle Notes: Lavender, musk, and leather

Bottom Notes: Oakmoss, Virginia cedar, and amber

The Smell: The warm smell of amber and coffee strike you before the cologne slowly dries down to spicy and woody undertones. Just when you think it’s evolved to something classical, it springs a surprise on you. You get subtle floral and animalistic vibes but not notable enough to remove the humble and classical fragrance.

Wearable Seasons: Fall, winter, and spring

Long Game: 6 to 8 hours (Yay!)

Power Game: Medium

Similar Colognes: Polo Red Extreme by Ralph Lauren and VIP for Him by Playboy

Cologne Personalities: Humble, surprisingly classical, and layered


  • The smell doesn’t feel like an active, athletic one
  • It smells like something you can expect on a mature man

Jordan 23

Jordan 23

Jordan 23 is a fabulously aromatic fragrance from 2004. It’s also from the Jordan range, but it’s an earlier release, much like the original Jordan by Michael Jordan. The name is clever because this cologne smells like a dream on younger guys, and it has tenacious evolutions that tease the senses.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Fresh spicy, ozonic, citrus, aromatic, fruity, aquatic, floral, green, musky, and rose

Top Notes: Grapefruit, watermelon, and blackcurrant

Middle Notes: Fig leaf and geranium

Bottom Notes: Musk and magnolia

The Smell: First, you experience the subtle sense of citrus and aromatic teasers briefly before your nose touches the unusual fruity heart of the cologne, perfectly sweetened and sensual. The fig leaf tickles your contemporary senses, while the traditional musk and floral base give it a hint of feminine elements.

Wearable Seasons: Summer and spring

Long Game: About 6 hours

Power Game: Medium to strong

Similar Colognes: Light Blue Intense by Dolce & Gabbana and Villian by Ed Hardy (Christian Audigier)

Cologne Personalities: Slightly feminine, innocent, and youthful


  • It won’t smell great on older guys
  • Not every man loves the slightly feminine touch of this cologne

Jordan Drive

Jordan Drive

Jordan Drive is an aquatic, aromatic fragrance from 2014. I love the name of this one because it expresses a drive, force, or burst of energy. Aquatic fragrances are popular among active lifestyle enthusiasts, making them smell like a clean start each morning, but beware that heavy citrus notes don’t go well with sweat.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Aquatic, fresh, citrus, and aromatic

Top Notes: Aquatic notes

Middle Notes: Italian lemon

Bottom Notes: Amber wood, musk, and oakmoss

The Smell: The aquatic notes allow your senses to begin in a wondrous seascape, teasing your ambitions to get out there and be active. The citrus notes are strong, and you’ll notice how they slowly blend into the aromatic and musky undertones to create sensual pleasure.

Wearable Seasons: Fall, spring, and summer

Long Game: 6 to 8 hours

Power Game: Gentle to medium

Similar Colognes: Voyage by Nautica and Invictus Legend by Paco Rabanne

Cologne Personalities: Ambitious, sporty, and vibrant


  • It’s no longer available on Amazon, but you can still get it at Fragrance Net
  • The strong citrus notes can blend awfully with excessive sweat

Jordan Power

Jordan Power

Jordan Power is a spicy, woody fragrance from 2014. Bringing power back to the active athlete, this cologne is a cheeky and confident scent. It works well for men who want to express their desires without going against too much resistance. I love the way it ends with a touch of class.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Fresh spicy, woody, amber, lavender, citrus, patchouli, aromatic, warm spicy, musky, and balsamic

Top Notes: Lime and black pepper

Middle Notes: Lavender and patchouli

Bottom Notes: Cashmere wood and white amber

The Smell: The sophisticated cashmere wood undertone immediately warms the pepper note to create a feisty palette for your nose. This cologne dries down slowly to reach a floral and citrus accent before you experience a musky, balsamic nature. It’s rather unusual but extraordinary.

Wearable Seasons: All seasons

Long Game: 6 to 8 hours

Power Game: Medium

Similar Colognes: One Million by Paco Rabanne and Salvatore Ferragamo by UOMO

Cologne Personalities: Sophisticated, determined, and bold


  • You can only find it on Fragrance Net
  • It smells a little arrogant but suits confident men who wear it right

Jordan Balance

Jordan Balance

Jordan Balance is a woody, aromatic blend from the same Jordan 2014 range. The Jordan range is incredible because it features colognes with unique personalities, unusual notes, and tempting accords. This cologne is about finding the balance between sporty and modern-masculine.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Citrus, vanilla, woody, aromatic, sweet, amber, and warm spicy

Top Notes: Grapefruit and lemon

Middle Notes: Tonka bean, citron, and suede

Bottom Notes: White cedar extract and sandalwood

The Smell: The citrus notes in this cologne dry down quickly, meaning it won’t be a problem for active men. The grapefruit and tonka bean create a wonderful sweetness as the cologne evolves into a warmer, woodier, and more aromatic undertone.

Wearable Seasons: Fall, summer, and spring

Long Game: About 6 hours

Power Game: Medium to strong

Similar Colognes: Bottled by Hugo Boss and Citron by Perry Ellis

Cologne Personalities: Modern-masculine, active, and unique


  • You can only find it on Fragrance Net
  • Again, be careful of the citrus note, but it will dry fast enough for an early workout

Michael Jordan Flight

Michael Jordan Flight

Michael Jordan Flight is a different range from the basketball legend, and it’s a spicy, woody fragrance from 2011. Perhaps Jordan used the African orange flower as an ode to his African-American roots, or it could be to take your senses on a flight across the Atlantic Ocean to a weird and wonderful place: Africa.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Aromatic, fresh spicy, citrus, amber, woody, white floral, animalistic, herbal, earthy, and powdery

Top Notes: Bergamot and African orange flower

Middle Notes: Virginia cedar, pepper, and sage

Bottom Notes: Amber, seaweed, and vetiver

The Smell: I’ll admit that the African orange flower comes in various forms, first as an aromatic pleasure before adding soft sweetness. The citrus notes are gentle, and they fade into the warmth of amber and cedar before you’re left with floral and earthy undertones. The end is a little beasty and powdery.

Wearable Seasons: Spring, summer, and fall

Long Game: About 6 hours

Power Game: Medium

Similar Colognes: La Nuit de L’Homme by Yves Saint Laurent and L’Homme by Lacoste

Cologne Personalities: Adventurous, ambitious, and fun-loving


  • It’s an unusual cologne with unfamiliar notes
  • The beast-like ending can confuse the adventurous side of the fragrance

Michael Jordan Flight Sport

Michael Jordan Flight Sport

Michael Jordan Flight Sport is a spicy, woody fragrance from 2013. It’s sadly not available anymore, but who knows if it comes back to the market? This cologne is a salute to the adventure within sportspeople, so I hope it returns for a second debut.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Fresh spicy, patchouli, aromatic, musky, lavender, warm spicy, herbal, citrus, woody, and powdery

Top Notes: Mandarin orange

Middle Notes: Lavender and geranium

Bottom Notes: Musk, vanilla, and patchouli

The Smell: The smell starts with spicy and cheeky notes that seem aromatic but are more floral. All the while, the vanilla and musk base will warm the fragrance throughout the evolutions, and you’ll have a smell you can only describe as an adventure waiting to happen.

Wearable Seasons: Summer

Long Game: About 6 hours

Power Game: Medium to strong

Similar Colognes: Nautica Life by Nautica and 212 Men by Carolina Herrera

Cologne Personalities: Adventurous, mysterious, and sporty


  • It’s not available anywhere right now (thank goodness for my recommended alternatives)

Michael Jordan Flight Challenge

Michael Jordan Flight Challenge

Michael Jordan Flight Challenge is another impossible-to-find edition, but it’s an aromatic, citrus fragrance from 2011. Athletes know about challenges, and Jordan wanted to express that in this cologne. Sadly, it’s also not available anymore, but I can hope it will return.

Key Features

Descending Accords: Citrus, aromatic, woody, marine, amber, lavender, powdery, musky, fruity, and warm spicy

Top Notes: Frosted apple, grapefruit, and lemon

Middle Notes: Lavender, sea notes, ginger, and lime

Bottom Notes: Teak wood, white musk, cedar needles, and amber

The Smell: The scent begins with a strikingly unusual blend of frosted apple and grapefruit, hidden beneath the gentle citrus accent. This blend dries down quickly to woody and aquatic undertones mixed with floral notes before your cologne returns to a subtle sweetness from the fruity notes.

Wearable Seasons: Summer, fall, and spring

Long Game: About 6 hours

Power Game: Medium

Similar Colognes: Momentum Unlimited by Bentley and Eros by Versace

Cologne Personalities: Determined, ambitious, and super active


  • You can’t find this cologne right now, either (Yay for alternatives again)

Choosing Your Jordan Attitude

Some Jordan colognes aren’t available anymore, which means you can’t choose them, even if their attitudes suit yours. However, go through the cologne notes, accords, and personalities to determine which cologne smells the way you wish to. Do you want your cologne smelling sporty? Do you want to smell confident?

Remember the alternatives as well. You might know how a cologne smells and that helps you experience the Jordan fragrance. The biggest challenge with Jordan colognes is that they don’t last long, but that’s why you add products that enhance longevity.

How to Shoot “Scentsual” Hoops Like Jordan

Enhancing your cologne is about using tricks and products to make it last longer. You don’t always need to strengthen the wake of your cologne, especially if you’re an active man. You simply want to extend your life, and these tricks help you do that:

  • Spray your cologne on moisturized skin (but not sweaty skin)
  • Spray it in your hair to make it last longer (unless you shave your head)
  • Spray it on your arteries to use your active lifestyle to promote the cologne
  • Store your cologne the proper way to extend the life of the ingredients

Should you wish to increase the longevity of your cologne with moisturized skin, these products work well with Jordan’s range:

A moisturizer should have the same notes as your cologne, or it must have no scent. Otherwise, layering it can become an issue. I also recommend moisturizers with aromatic and woody undertones for Jordan’s colognes because they work with the base notes in the fragrance.

Wearing Something Else: Recommendations

Tommy Bahama

Maybe you’re not loving the idea of turning a hard-to-find cologne into your signature scent. In that case, you can consider other brands. I’ll recommend brands with the same foundation, which is sporty, active, and adventurous. You didn’t look at Jordan’s colognes for other reasons, did you? These brands work well:


Michael Jordan Cologne Guide: Final Shot

Michael Jordan leaves us with a legacy on the basketball court, and I see how little kids still look up to him. Legacies don’t simply fade. Jordan remains a role model for many kids and young athletes, and his captivation of the locker room smells of the 21st Century only strengthens his reputation.

Sure, some people don’t love his colognes, but an acquired taste is often the start of great things. I love Michael Jordan Original because of the unique cognac and sweet elements that tease my senses through the warm and incredible journey of woody and aromatic undertones. It’s modern, fun, and imaginative.

My partner also tends to love Jordan Balance because we have similar tastes. We both love traditional undertones elevated by trendy and contemporary ingredients that sweeten how a modern man should smell. Give those cologne personalities one more review, and choose your favorite.

Remember that Jordan colognes aren’t widely available anymore. Make your move now before your favorite runs out of stock, which may or may not happen. As long as the lackeys outweigh the critics, Jordan’s colognes will be available from somewhere, but why take the risk?


Question: Are Michael Jordan Colognes Good Quality?

Answer: Michael Jordan colognes are a niche market targeting specific lifestyles and personalities, particularly sportsmen. He used quality ingredients in many fragrances, but his range was affordable. Therefore, Jordan’s colognes aren’t luxurious, but they’re great because of the unique elements like ivy and cashmere wood.

Question: What Type of Man Wears Michael Jordan Cologne?

Answer: Michael Jordan is a legend in the basketball hall of fame, but he’s a gentleman who wanted to smell good. Why not? Even I thought athletes were all about sweat and stale smells, but Jordan’s colognes reinvented how I think athletes smell. Each cologne he created targeted a special kind of active lifestyle.

Question: What Does the Original Michael Jordan Cologne Smell Like?

Answer: Michael Jordan Original smells like a quirky, confident, and ambitious twist on olfactory notes. It has a strong woody accent that dries down to unusually cheeky notes like juniper berries, cognac, and cedar needles. The aromatic accents warm through the woody undertones while the sweetness keeps a perfect balance.

For more fantastic colognes:

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