If men are scared of colour, pattern and real trousers then they are terrified of perfume.
3. When people rate fragrances, they are largely going on the complication and balance of the ingredients. There is something to analyse here – it is not entirely subjective – but scents also suit different people: their skin, their clothes, their style.
Good primer. I’m a massive fan of fragrances and love discovering new ones. I love how complex and intoxicating some can be, bringing back memories and creating images in your head. My favorites so far (and there have only been two that I’ve really, truly fallen in love with) are Terre d’Hermes and Floris JF. I’d like to own some of the Acqua di Parma ones but the longevity isn’t there. I tried Creed’s Vetiver which you once recommended and wasn’t impressed. In fact, the only Creed which sits well with me is Green Irish Tweed. To each their own.
It’s worth also mentioning to err on the side of underapplication to overapplication. Much better to be only smelt within a foot or so to being smelt by people on the other side of the room you’re in. Some men make this mistake (including me in younger days) and it is not good.
Thanks. Yes the recommendation on application depends on what you think ‘most’ people do. In my experience most people use too little – unless they’re going out and then they use far too much.
Personally I can’t imagine ever needing anything except Eau Sauvage…
My favourite are Cristobal by Balenciaga and the classic Azzaro 🙂
I also use a variety, depending on mood and season. My current list is:
GFT – Trumpers
Sandalwood – Trumpers
Blenheim Bouquet – Penhailigons
Sartorial – Penhailigons
Spanish Leather – Trumpers
Lime, Basil and Mandarin – Jo Malone
Thanks for that. Trumpers and Penhaligons tend to use a lot of molecular rather than natural ingredients, hence the price. I like the combinations, but that does limit them somewhat.
Hi Simon, do you have an opinion on the Tom Ford private blends, or are they overpriced due to the marketing?
There is a definite margin in there, as with all Tom Ford things. But no more than another designer label, and the fragrances are better than the vast majority of other big brands. Tom was always a big perfume fan, even while at Gucci, and he always used to wear Caron pour Homme, that great classic lavender scent.
If you can afford them, definitely worth a look
I always come back to Guerlain Vetiver, Acqua di Parma Colonia, and Chanel Pour Homme. I have recently been wearing Guerlain Homme Boisse, which is a nice light scent for warmer weather.
Unique content, as usual, superbly presented.
Nice post – looking forward to more.
I agree with the first post that under application is better than over application. I think this is especially the case in many work environments where it’s bad taste to have strong smelling fragrances noticeable past one or two feet. Personally, my use of fragrance is for myself and my wife to enjoy. I like the effect it carries as an enhancement to intimacy versus something meant to draw the attention of others. I imagine this may reflect my interest in being (and staying) married versus the intention of someone who wants to flirt or impress.
Perhaps you could elaborate on the use of molecular versus natural ingredients in various brands. I would like to learn more about this topic. Thank you!
It’s also worth mentioning that an individual’s body chemistry has a lot to do with how a fragrance will react and smell. One woman I know can only wear one kind, can’t remember the name, as all other types of perfume smell like vomit on her skin (her words). This may be extreme but I have a hard time understanding how something as individual and particular a scent is would allow someone to buy fragrances online without any chance to try it first.
Nice intro to scents post. My wife is deeply into fragrances and much like the complexities in mixing patterns in menswear, she mixes her gigantic collection of bottles. This ends up beautifully, but she risks falling flat just as often – something men could learn to do more frequently.
Over the years, via gifts and lately of my own choosing, I have my own “little” collection of ~15 fragrances that have fallen into a nice circulation.
As dashing as a well cut suit and brilliant tie may be, women seem to notice my scents just as much.
I was jogging one day and a guy in a drop top whizzed past me in the opposite direction; the air was redolent with his cologne for a few metres after passing each other. Too much!
I have never come across an Eau de Parfum for men – probably because I’m not looking in the right places (I’m in Australia and everything is just a little bit harder to come by in our corner of the world). Are there any particular brands you could point me toward that sell EdP? If this will be covered in your post next week I’ll eagerly await that post.
More and more are. Tom Ford’s special collection, for example, whatever its called
What is your opinion about Terre d Hermes?
It’s made well, like all Hermes perfumes. A bit commercial, but a very successful combination
Could you define “commercial”? Do you mean that it lacks complexity and personality?
What do you think of Guerlain Vetiver?
Yes to both. Generally, something that has been focus-grouped to death and as a result appeals to everyone but says nothing. Also which tends to use the cheaper and most broadly available ingredients
Can you really detect cheap (=synthetic?) ingredients? Without being a “nose”, that is.
Most of the time no, you wouldn’t. Particularly if it’s never pointed out to you. But then that’s the same with a lot of things of quality – or indeed fit
Can anyone tell me if Shanghai Lily from Tom Ford is a unisex perfume/cologne????
Some say it is. Some say it’s not. Hard to get an answer. Thanks!!!
Hermes suggests men not apply scents to wrists, but instead apply to one’s biceps–which when one thinks about it makes sense, due to the constant flexing throughout the day, thus enhancing the expression of the scent, right?
Any warm skin is fine really, doesn’t matter that much wear it is
Your advice on how much to wear is interesting. There was a time that having a “signature scent” that stayed with you through the day was certainly de rigueur but I’ve always gone by the rule that only a person close enough to kiss you should be able to smell the scent you’re wearing.
Guerlain Vetiver is great and Knize Ten, whilst not for everybody, brought a smile to my face the first time I tried it. Spending a bit more opens up so many scents which really can lift spirits.
I love Rose nacrée du désert by Guerlain. It is expensive @ £220, however, if you fall in love with a scent, it is worth every penny. This Persian rose is wonderfully seductive as is the oud, which does not overpower as many can. it is woody floral, rare which appeals to me, I do not smell it around very often on others. Top notes of: saffron Persian rose and patchouli. Heart notes of: cardamom, curcuma, cedar wood with an oud accord. The base notes aremyrrh and benzoin. It is both subtle and volutuous, and last the entire day. You can also still smell it on clothing, in the wash basket.
My advice, buy the classics. Creed and royall have stood the test of time. Your grandfather wore them and he beat the
Nazis so they will do for you. Fashion brands like Tom Ford will have you smelling like a NYC taxi.
One of the best and quickest perfume guides. Capaciously, clearly, understandably. I have about 30 bottles of perfume. It is a pity that you no longer post in this direction, or I did not see them.
Thank you. I don’t write on it often, but there have been a few posts on it over the years. You can see them in the perfume category here
Simon, I appreciate your site Permanent Style a lot, but this article here is not complete at all. Most westerners don’t know much about perfume.
Ask the Arabs about wild, natural and undiluted perfumes. Narcotic, it’s addictive.
The real thing is not for everybody, though. It is more expensive than gold. A small bottle of 2ml costs $250 and upwards. And aged perfumes from the 70ies go up to thousands of Dollars for a small 2ml bottle. If you can find it. This is treasured in the safes of collectors.
“Ensar Oud” sells some of the best Ouds, Musks and other natural perfumes. His website is very informative on the subject of perfumes.
Thank you Fulan. To be honest, that seems a little silly though – dismissing every ‘western’ fragrance without much in the way of substance to add. And as you say, there is much that is a question of taste too – many people including me find any heavy oud to be overpowering to the point of sickly
I use both 88 or Cuba by Czeck&Speake