Reader K offers her views on men’s fragrance, including some recommendations to ensure you’re a great smelling man who impresses…
Mens fragrance can be a tricky business. Too often merchandisers over masculinize the scent, or make it more powerful than necessary. Of course, this opinion can be biased, due to the fact that women actually have more cells in the olfactory bulb (the area of the brain responsible for smell). Fun fact: the sense of smell was the first sense to evolve, and as such, our sense of smell is the most connected sense to our memories.
That being said, men be wary when selecting your signature fragrance; women are hard-wired to use sense of smell as an indication of mate preference as well You’re making much more of an impression than you may be aware of!
The trend for male fragrance seems to fall between three primary themes: clean, spicy, and sporty. I’m not sure if this opinion is widely held, but for me and my olfactory receptors, this is it. I prefer clean and sometimes sporty scents, but it has to be subtle. Too much of anything, even a good thing, is an instant mood killer. Victorias Secret Very Sexy Platinum is one that I dislike, but had to learn the hard way. The brand took the classic sultry/musk undertones and attempted to apply it to a masculine sport cologne, and it just did not work for me. It seems to be an evening attempt at an athletic/masculine scent, but the result is overpowering. The original, Very Sexy for Men was great. It’s very clean and overall unobtrusive; so that I would recommend for an evening choice, because there is a little more strength to the scent (likely due to the company’s roots in women’s’ fragrance, and their tendency to be ironically strong), so it should last without choking out your company.
If you are a fan of sporty colognes, one that is often overlooked and definitely under-appreciated is the original Issey Miyake: L’eau d’Issey. To me, it perfectly combines the clean, fresh aroma of something like Acqua di Gio but with just the right amount of spice to set it apart in a more athletic/sporty direction. The product is described as including essences of verbena, sage, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and saffron. The ingredients are each intense, but together with other trace elements, it is perfectly subdued but definitely pleasantly unique.
Another that has not garnered much attention, but I highly recommend, would be Yves St. Laurent: L’Homme. It is woody and fresh in the most refreshing way. Some men worry about woody and fresh edging too close to the florals they are accustomed to with womens perfumes. This is not at all the case with this scent. It is the perfect day time fragrance for a man who pays careful attention to his image and personal style, and I would even go as far as to say a man who spends time with people regularly because it is so inviting. L’Homme is as pleasing as mens cologne goes, and I would say fairly neutral in terms of the undertones.
One thing is for sure: You absolutely cannot sacrifice quality when it comes to mens fragrance. Drug store or department store adaptations are not created equal. Men so often make the mistake of buying body spray or imitation colognes to be budget conscious, but the difference is apparent. Cheaper colognes do not have the same quality ingredients, so the fragrance (if not completely butchered) is lackluster at best and has a tinge of sharpness, likely from filler or artificial components, that is completely unwelcome. Likewise, the scent itself does not last as long as higher quality alternatives, nor may it stay true to the original essence or intended fragrance as it combines with the body’s natural oils. Trust me guys, your lady will appreciate you taking the time and care to find your signature fragrance, and a man who prefers quality will always attract quality!
SG says: K’s advice is sound — you don’t want your cologne to announce your arrival… or to arrive before you do. You DO want your cologne to invite closeness and to leave a fond memory.
MORE ON MEN’s FRAGRANCE:
Review of Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille
The Scent of Success
The Scent of a Gentleman
For more on the gentleman’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent