Men’s Perfumes

Fragrances for Him

Not so long ago, there was a general impression that perfumes and colognes for men were a big no-no. After shave? Well, OK… it had an almost medicinal feel to it (slap it on after shaving to soothe the skin!) and the two largest selling brands were Old Spice and English Leather.

Even today, many men (the older, more traditional types) still have an ambivalent attitude towards fragrances for men. They may comment (positively), appreciate and compliment another man wearing cologne; they probably enjoy smelling perfume on a friend, colleague or especially their partner, but may be hesitant about wearing it themselves. This is largely because they think that sporting perfume may either signal to others that they are homosexuals (that were the general take not so long ago!) or that they are just vain… or calling attention to themselves.

Perfumes for women have always been considered very big business. Mens’ perfumes not so much. Men’s fragrances and colognes have traditionally been pushed into the background. Often not considered a profitable enough market. There are many reasons why this was the case not so long ago… but things are a-changing…

Historically speaking…

The historical roots of mens perfumes can be traced back to some rather ‘virile’ gentlemen! Nero had a passion for roses… his very opulent, and decadent, banquets were strewn with the sweetest smelling rose petals. King David saturated his garments with aloe and cassia – a type of cinnamon. Even Napoleon would use the light, invigorating fragrance of Eau de Cologne rather lavishly, believing that stronger smelling perfumes incited indolence and lust thus would have a negative effect on his troops.

An unfortunate and long standing side effect of Napoleon’s misguided beliefs set off an austere era (in fact many eras) in men’s fragrances which actually didn’t end until the early 1960’s. It was considered effete and totally over-the-top to wear anything more than a quick splash of toilet water after a shower or a game – and it had to be “manly” toilet water, consisting of bouquets of light citrus scents.

Why France?

The home of great perfumes is undoubtedly France. Paris, of course, has had a long association with perfume, and many of the great French houses are still to be found head-quartered in central Paris.

However, the village of Grasse in the south of France (and nearby Eze) is synonymous with French Perfume. Grasse is a pilgrimage for all great perfume lovers – it has many perfumeries to visit, the countryside is laden with the scented flowers that characterize the classic French fragrances. The fragrant fields of Grasse grow Jasmine, Tuberose, Roses, Irises and Lilies especially cultivated for their scent.

How did Grasse became a centre for flower and herb production for the perfume industry? Quite simply, the men who treated leathers in the same area found the smells so bad they perfumed themselves and the leathers. They were very knowledgeable about making the botanical essences and were the early perfume noses. And that was the beginning…

But it was only in the 20th century that scents and designer perfumes were really mass produced. Before that, the few trade names that existed were Coty and Yardley who made fairly light perfumes with familiar flowery scents.

Paris became the commercial counterpart to Grasse and the world center for perfume with the establishment of now world famous perfume houses such as Houbigant, Lubin, Roger & Gallet, Channel, Dior, Nina Ricci and Guerlain – all based in Paris. And even though Paris has great competition from London, New York and Milan, perfumes for men from Paris are considered to be in a league of their own.

Perfumes for men … and women!

The 1930’s saw the emergence of the leather family of fragrances, with florals also becoming quite popular, with the introduction of Worth’s Je Reviens, Caron’s Fleurs de Rocaille and Jean Patou’s Joy. With French perfumery at its peak in the 1950’s, other haut couture designers such as Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, Nina Ricci, Pierre Balmain started creating their own scents.

Today’s fragrances are crafted by perfumers trained in the aesthetic and centuries old traditions of the Renaissance. These artisans, who spend long years in apprenticeship, talk the mysterious language of amber notes and white floral accords. 21st century perfumers speak routinely, if esoterically, of musk-receptor agonists, and the molecular binding affinities of floral-receptor proteins.

By the year 2008 perfume had become a $10 billion industry. Today the vast and varied range of mens’ perfumes enable them to have a wonderful choice in fragrances rather than a single signature perfume. Though some men might choose to identify themselves with just one style or scent of perfume…

The multi-billion market place is hugely overcrowded. To keep abreast with the customer’s insatiable demand for new and innovative fragrances, while still maintaining a degree of exclusivity, haut couture houses such as Guerlain, Dio and Lancôme produce limited and select editions of perfumes for a short period only, with bottles destined to become collectible designer keep sakes.

Fragrances for today’s men: the more, the sexier!

Just look around you. It would seem that every piece of advertising space, every advertising and communication vehicle is crammed with ads that sell fragrances for men. News papers and magazines. Billboards and posters. Leaflets and handouts. Mailers and train tickets. Social networking sites and tweets. You name it, and men are being inveigled, coaxed and persuaded to buy the latest, most enticing, and the sexiest mens’ fragrance around.

In our 21st century world, the attention that is paid to the body and our sensuality is considered an asset, not something to be ashamed of. A far cry from the 1960s. With changing fashions for men, with fashion becoming bolder, varied and seductive, there has been a change in the way men use perfumes. Today, men’s colognes, fragrances and perfumes represent a surprising one third of the turnover of the various perfume companies.

Some of the leading indicators of changing tastes can be illustrated by the following men’s’ fragrance:

  • Michael Jordan Cologne … a brand that embodies masculinity, success, youth, wealth and athleticism. Chosen from more than 600 submissions from 25 perfumers, the chosen cologne is cool and crisp, with citrus top notes.
  • Intimately Beckham’s Night… partnered with his wife’s perfume under the same label. Beckham also has his own personal label for men’s perfume called Instinct.
  • Calvin Klein Obsession for Men range- a partner for the Obsession for Women range.

Of course there are many more, best selling and hugely popular mens fragrances around. There are in fact hundreds of them, but chief amongst these would be… Hugo Boss, Geoffrey Beene, Dolce & Gabbana, Alfred Dunhill, Christian Dior, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis, Liz Claiborne, Davidoff,  Givenchy, and Calvin Klein.

Perfumes for Men are generally divided into Eau de Toilette, Eau du Parfum, and Eau du Cologne.

  • Eau de Toilette is lighter smelling than the Eau du parfum.
  • Eau du parfum is the strongest smelling.
  • Eau de Cologne is the lightest type of men’s perfume there is.

How men should wear perfume

Most of the time, perfumes convey a message. It may remind you of your father, brother, husband or boyfriend. It often takes you back to a place, a time, an event… Way back in the past, both sexes would wear perfume but somewhere, somehow fragrances for men became taboo.

Today, thankfully it’s not so any longer. But quite a few men, who are new to the experience of using perfumes, need to discover how to wear perfumes effectively and subtly.

  • Men shouldn’t just rely on a deodorant soap.  Deodorant soaps leave a thin film on skin which tend to eliminate/clash with the scents of the perfume when it’s applied.
  • Sharing a unisex perfume with your partner is a good idea. A very nice way to bond and share something that makes you both feel good… together!
  • Do not apply perfume on skin that has just been shaved. It will sting and irritate.
  • Always select perfume that suits your personality. If you are an out-doorsy type, then a heavy, exotic perfume will convey all the wrong messages about you.
  • The most effective spots to apply perfume are on your wrists or the base of your neck – at the pulse spots. Pulse spots are the center of blood circulation so the perfume gets melded easily with your skin oil.
  • Do not spray or liberally apply cologne all over your body and clothes. This only helps it to evaporate easily and leaves stains on clothes.
  • It is best to use perfume one hour before going out. It will eradicate/mask stale smells, and ensure that the scent blows breezily.
  • Do not try two perfumes or more at the same time. The scents will change and cancel each other out.
  • Perfumes in colored bottles are better since the bottle protects the perfume from direct sunlight so the perfume lasts longer.

Buying a perfume for your man

Perfumes are known to add an aroma (literally!) to the personality of a man and influence his appearance and the manner he presents himself. A well dressed man, sporting a good perfume attracts attention from others, notably women. Nowadays, perfume is considered an essential body accessory for men.

When gifting the man in your life with a perfume you need to be careful while selecting one. Today buying a perfume for your man is just like buying clothes for him because choosing the right one enhances his appeal.

Before making a purchase decision, browse through different websites that sell perfume products online. Read the reviews about different mens perfumes and what others have to say… These details help to find out from where you can buy the best perfumes for men, make a precise judgment about the quality of their quality while at the same time giving information about the names of leading perfumers. The right choice of a perfume for men depends on the budget, type of man and body chemistry.

Classic fragrances for men

  • 4711 Cologne Echt Kölnisch Wasser
  • Jean Marie Farina Roger & Gallet
  • Royal English Leather Creed
  • English Leather Dana
  • Eau de Cologne Impériale Guerlain
  • Monsieur de Givenchy Givenchy
  • Chanel Pour Monsieur Chanel
  • Patou Pour Homme Jean Patou
  • Aramis Aramis
  • Kouros Yves Saint Laurent
  • Eau Sauvage Christian Dior
  • Giorgio Giorgio
  • CK Calvin Klein
  • Obsession for Men Calvin Klein
  • Eternity for Men Calvin Klein
  • Hugo Hugo Boss
  • Gucci by Gucci Gucci
  • Instinct Beckham
  • Pour Homme Gucci
  • La Nuit De L’Homme Yves Saint Laurent

Celebrities and the perfumes they wear

  • Arnold Schwarzeneggar: Habit Rouge by Guerlain Cologne for Men.
  • Bijan by Bijan Cologne for Men.
  • Hugh Jackman – Florence Gunnarson No. 67, Bulgari, Zents Personal Created Fragrance, Zents Leaf Body Spray, Timbuktu
  • Carlos Santana: Bvlgari AQVA Pour Homme by Bvlgari Cologne for Men. Carlos Santana by Carlos Santana Cologne for Men,
  • David Beckham: David Beckham Instinct by David Beckham Cologne for Men, Intimately Beckham by David Beckham Cologne for Men. Silver Mountain Water by Creed Colgone for Men
  • Donald Trump: Dolce Gabbana by Dolce & Gabbana Cologne for Men. Green Irish Tweed by Creed Cologne for Men,
  • Antonio Banderas: Sprit by Antonio Bandera Cologne for Men, Diavolo by Antonio Bandera Cologne for Men, Boss by Hugo Boss Cologne for Men.
  • Bill Clinton – Gendarme, Obsession, Bijan
  • Mick Jagger – Chanelâs Cuir de Russie
  • Andre Agassi –  Imperial Millesime
  • Brad Pitt – Lorenzo Villoresi Musc
  • Bruce Willis – Christian LaCroix fragrance, Amen

Some interesting facts…

About so-called fragrance rebels. And they were Guerlain, Dior and More.
They are the rebellious perfumers who dared to go against this unspoken edict that fragrances for men should be straight forward and simple. Basically one-note symphonies… But these perfumers decided to buck the accepted norms.

It wasn’t until the late 1950s that the rebellious spark started to ignite a revolution in men’s fragrances. Old Spice, with its warm notes, was introduced, while in Germany, the musk notes of Tabac Original was a great success.

Guerlain’s famous Jicky was first worn by men before becoming popular with women. Pour un Homme didn’t seem to suffer from lack of popularity either, even though it had strong vanilla notes in it.

In 1956, the House of Dior  produced Eau Sauvage.  A chypre blend, a heavy mix of oakmoss, labdamum, patchouli and bergamot Eau Sauvage has daring floral notes that appealed to women as well as man, thus starting the fashion for unisex toilet waters.

A trend others, like One, have followed to great success.

1973 saw Paco Rabanne pour Homme became the new “it” male fragrance with warm animal, honey notes that created a sensual sensation that had not yet become popular in men’s fragrances. Since then, this perfume has led the men’s fragrance market, despite the fact that the market is hugely crowded nowadays.

In 1976, the break-away Grey Flannel, created by Geoffrey Beene, targeted the male market with a  bottle swathed in flannel.  This mens fragrance has a very identifiable violet scent. Described as “ambiguous” and “androgynous,” this fragrance’s for men succeeded so well that it encouraged other perfume houses to launch with new and radical mixes for men.

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