I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I’m a total perfume snob. I like my perfumes to be personal and individual to me. Each one of my bottles holds a special place in my heart. While one bottle might be my reach for whenever I need a confidence boost, another might act as my ultimate comfort blanket. Given my pickiness, my collection is surprisingly vast. I probably own over 50 bottles of perfume, each one equally as loved as the next.
But that’s not to say that my tastes are limiting. You see, I truly do loathe traditional crowd-pleasers. I appreciate that they smell nice, but for me, the very purpose of a perfume is to stop someone in their tracks and pique interest. By their nature, crowd-pleasers do not do this. Their muted floral, fruity, and fresh notes just, sort of, politely float around a room, smelling nice but totally inoffensive. And I don’t necessarily want my scents to be inoffensive.
I want people to smell whatever it is I’m wearing and think about how interesting and different it is. I want some people to fall head over heels for it and others to be on the fence. And sadly, women’s fragrances just don’t embody that sense of intrigue anymore. Instead, perfume houses are keen to rinse the lucrative women’s fragrance market for all it’s worth and release one fail-safe crowd-pleaser after another.
Because of this, I’ve been reaching for men’s fragrances more often than I have women's in recent years. And no, I’m not talking about the loosely named unisex types. I’m talking about fragrances specifically for men. You see, while so many brands are cashing in on the idea of unisex scents, they also know that the main purchasers of such scents are female. While heady, woody scents heavily appeal to women, sweet and floral scents don’t seem to do so well amongst men.
So as a result of this quest to expand my scent horizons, my men’s fragrance collection is now actually quite impressive. Keep scrolling to discover all of the men’s fragrances I can’t get enough of—from zesty, fresh spritzes to deep, woody parfums.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian L’Homme À la rose Eau de Parfum (£180)
Rose might not be a common note amongst men's fragrances, but this stuff is remarkably fresh and zesty, too. It’s a floral, woody scent, but the warmth and vitality make it one of my favourites.
Acqua di Parma Colonia Futura Eau de Cologne (£80)
This cologne, like many other scents on this list, doesn’t market itself towards either gender but unquestionably teeters towards a male consumer. With bergamot, lemon, and grapefruit, it’s zesty and fruity, but it has an herby base, thanks to clary sage and lavender, that gives it a deep, aromatic drydown.
Bvlgari Glacial Essence (£91)
This new launch from Bvlgari actually sits in my boyfriend’s bathroom cabinet, but I’ve found myself reaching for it more and more. It’s like taking a breath of crisp, cool air. It’s possibly one of the most refreshing scents I have ever come across.
Penhaligons Terrible Teddy Eau de Parfum (£192)
When it comes to evening scents, this is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting and delicious blends I have ever encountered. Whenever I wear it, someone comments on it. It’s leathery and smoky without the headiness that so many fragrances with similar notes possess.
Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza (£80)
Quite possibly one of my favourite fragrances in existence, Colonia Essenza is one I’ve actually worn for years. I discovered it while perusing the beauty halls and didn’t realise it was a predominantly male scent until I started smelling it on other people. It’s citrusy but woody and smoky at the same time. The blend leaves behind quite a powerful, almost soapy aroma that lingers in the most beautiful way.
Miller Harris Leather Rouge (£198)
Leather is a note that is common in men’s fragrances, but this particular blend also contains notes of raspberry, rose, and patchouli, making it substantially more delicate. It’s heady, sure, but in the most wonderful of ways.
Tom Ford Private Blend Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum (£164)
Most of my male friends own a bottle of this iconic scent, but I’m equally as infatuated with it as they are. With neroli, bergamot, and lemon, it’s zesty and effervescent, but it also has an amber and rosemary base that gives it a long-lasting aquatic finish.
Creed Aventus Eau de Parfum (£195)
If you ask me, this is one of the most distinguished high-end men’s fragrances out there, and it’s instantly recognisable. Fruity top notes of pineapple, blackcurrant, apple, and bergamot blend with oakmoss, rose, and jasmine to create a scent so fresh it’s almost unbelievable. It’s the kind of scent that evokes a million memories at first sniff.
AllSaints Incense City (£49)
Again, this is technically unisex, but its fan base is mostly male. It’s woody, peppery, and musky but not overwhelmingly heavy. Considering its affordability, it smells incredibly luxe.
Tom Daxon Laconia Eau de Parfum (£109)
This particular bottle is new to my collection, but it was love at first sniff. If you like citrusy scents that have an aquatic element to them, look no further. Unlike so many zesty scents marketed towards women, this stuff has a rich vetiver base that makes it distinctively fresh instead of sweet.
Björk and Berries September Eau de Parfum (£85)
You might have guessed that I am a big fan of invigorating summer scents. This new launch, however, embodies all of the autumnal notes I usually shy away from. Whereas traditionally female perfumes champion spicy, oriental notes come autumn, this stuff has a base of vetyver smoke and a heart of eucalyptus and apple blossom. It smells like a long stroll through the woods on a crisp, autumn day.
Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette (£55)
It is possibly one of the most popular men’s fragrances out there, but to me, Sauvage is beautifully versatile. It’s fresh thanks to bergamot but has a woody drydown that lingers on the skin for hours. For something so popular, I receive a lot of compliments whenever I wear this one.
Byredo Deep Viola Eau de Parfum (£170)
If you’re a fan of strong, spicy scents, this one is for you. It has a distinctive top note of saffron and a vanilla and incense drydown that is totally intoxicating. It might not be the most obvious choice from Byredo, but if you ask me, it’s certainly one of the most delightful.
Aesop Rōzu Eau de Parfum (£130)
You know when you walk into a hotel or a restaurant and it has that deep and smoky burning-wood smell? This stuff bottles all of that wonderfulness. It’s woody, spicy, and totally comforting. A word of warning though: It’s powerful and not for the faint-hearted.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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