To round out the list of blockbusters last year, the next two posts in this series will focus on masculine fragrances. Looking at the top sellers in men’s market, I was surprised to discover that a newcomer pastiche like Bleu de Chanel managed to outsell the traditional masculine blockbuster Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò Pour Homme by quite a sizable margin. This discovery followed another one—there are more classical, older fragrance among masculine top sellers than is the case with the feminine ones.
20. Aramis (1965)
A gold standard for leather chypres, Aramis is one of my favorite masculine fragrances from the perspective of originality and character.
19. Azzaro Chrome (1996)
Chrome, with its combination of crisp citrus, aquatic notes and sheer woods, is a quintessential “straight out of the shower” cologne that men’s market seems to prefer. Not bad, if that’s what one prefers.
18. Versace Man Eau Fraîche (2006)
Dry amber and citrus, of which there are plenty on the market. For this reason, it is surprising to find it doing so well.
17. Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit de L’Homme (2009)
A classical woody composition of vetiver accented with peppery citrus and cardamom. It does not offer many surprises, but it is a solidly built fragrance.
16. Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme (1994)
While it lacks the originality of its feminine counterpart, L’Eau d’Issey, L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme is a thoroughly enjoyable marine composition. Excellent sillage.
15. Versace Pour Homme (2008)
Versace Pour Homme alternates between Davidoff Cool Water and Downy fabric softener. I find it strange and disheartening to see its upward climb in the charts.
14. Calvin Klein Euphoria Men (2006)
A nicely crafted, if predictable, aromatic fougère. I prefer the richer Euphoria Men Intense.
13. Ralph Lauren Polo (1978)
A strong patchouli and leather accord was a controversial feature of Polo when it was in development, yet the memorable and original character won out. Today, Polo is still a strong seller that also continues to influence new masculine fragrance ideas.
12. Calvin Klein Obsession for Men (1986)
Next to women’s version of Obsession, Obsession for Men is lackluster. This amber inflected oriental has been a steady work horse for Calvin Klein however, and it still maintains its place among top sellers.
11. Calvin Klein Eternity for Men (1989)
A more elegant take on aromatic fougère fragrances like Davidoff Cool Water and Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir. Eternity for Men may not be an avant-garde composition, but it is very well-made, with a polished, beautiful signature.
10. Ralph Lauren Polo Black (2005)
Sharp lavender and citrus, a common refrain in the masculine market.
9. Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme (2006)
Davidoff Cool Water in a spicier guise.
8. Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Mâle (1995)
Le Mâle is an example of the combination between technical excellence—great sillage, excellent tenacity and presence—and creativity, given its original character and strong signature. The traditional aromatic fougère concept is taken into a floral-ambery direction, with a memorable end result.
7. Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme (2008)
This composition explores an interesting juxtaposition between a marine top note and a dry incense accented woods in the base. A strong touch of jasmine gives it a surprising warm twist.
6. Ralph Lauren Polo Blue (2002)
Leather and patchouli are rendered sheer and weightless in Polo Blue. Among Polo flankers, it is one of my favorites, despite the fact that it does not have the strong character of the original.
5. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme (2001)
Extremely sharp, jarring amber notes are paired here with a loud marine note. Being around it is almost painful for me, which is why I am distressed to see its sales rise each year.
4. Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men (2008)
A well-build woody oriental composition with warm orange blossom and tobacco notes.
3. Chanel Bleu de Chanel (2010)
Bleu de Chanel is a pastiche of all commercial masculine elements, cleverly packages and neatly presented. Not a particularly original juice, but as a launch and a marketing product, Bleu de Chanel deserves kudos.
2. Giorgio Armani Armani Code Men (2004)
Armani Code for Men will not produce revelations, but this woody oriental composition is very appealing and elegant.
1. Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò Pour Homme (1996)
Marine citrus composition with a strong herbal top and a clean woody drydown. It is very recognizable, and to this day, it is one of the masculine fragrances I notice the most in the street.
Source: US department stores sales records