Masculine Florals: 28 posts

Floral scents that are still virile

Women’s Fragrance for Men : Let’s Be Daring with Tuberose

As a counterpart to my article and video Three Men’s Fragrances for Women : Modern Classics, I would like to talk about women’s fragrances for men. In a way, this is a more complicated topic, because men’s fragrance styles are more conservative and limited than those intended for women. On the other hand, I’m constantly inspired by my readers here who experiment and wear different types of perfumes, and I wanted to offer a few words of encouragement to those who’d like to follow their lead.

First of all, if you like certain types of scents, disregard their gender classification. The one unexpected benefit of social distancing these days is that it gives you space to try something that you wouldn’t otherwise. Also, reconsider fragrance notes and their associations. The reason I selected tuberose for my example is because it can be adopted by anyone, men and women.

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5 Moods, 5 Roses

Rose is a classical note in a perfumer’s palette. It can be a natural type-rose, with rich honeyed facets, a citrusy blossom, or a musky bouquet. While some iconic fragrances like Guerlain Nahéma and Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose are rose-dominated, it often finds itself in a supporting role, which it performs beautifully. As I hope to demonstrate to you with my list below, rose is versatile and can suit a variety of moods and fragrance styles.

Although rose is most closely associated with feminine perfumery, I encourage men to disregards such labels. The truth is that citrus, metallic rose notes are already present in many masculine compositions, such as Amouage Lyric Man, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire Pour Homme and Cartier Déclaration d’Un Soir. The darker the rose becomes, the more you can experiment with it. For instance, Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady smells devastatingly sexy on a man.

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Mont de Narcisse : Perfume Review

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Narcissus is a flower that doesn’t smell floral. In general, the perfumery palette abounds in aromatics that play tricks on the senses. For instance, an iris note in fragrance smells more of carrots than of blossoms. Patchouli, a leaf, smells like woods. And so on. Narcissus, however, is one of the most intriguing ingredients. If you expect petals, April showers and gauzy lightness, you’ll be in for a surprise.

On its own narcissus absolute smells of woods and leather and has a facet reminiscent of damp hay. If you let it develop on a blotter and sniff it the next day, you’ll notice caramelized spices–cinnamon and clove–and a hint of musk.  It’s a powerful material and it often plays the role of a supporting player in the composition, lifting up the delicate floral or citrus accords or else accenting the woods and animalic notes. Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit is one of the best examples of narcissus in classical perfumery.

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Roses for Men (and not only)

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, everything is rose embellished, from florist shop windows to perfume columns. I love roses, but I don’t see any reason why they should be reserved just for women. Don’t guys deserve their own bed of roses too? Just as gendered color coding (pink for her, blue for him) is a 20th century marketing invention, the division of perfumery into “pour elle” and “pour lui” is fairly recent. One only needs to examine fragrance habits around the world to see how arbitrary it is. So in my FT column I explore some of my favorite rose perfumes that can be worn by men (and of course, women).

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Jasmine attars are shared in India, while rose is a favourite essence among men in the Gulf countries. But try to convince a chap in Europe to don some flowers and you are met with a quizzical look. Aren’t roses just for women? François Robert, the “nose” behind the niche line Les Parfums de Rosine, doesn’t think so. To continue, please click here.

Any other interesting roses to add to the list?

Charles and Georges Durand Ruel by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, via wiki-images, some rights reserved.

Terry de Gunzburg Rose Infernale : Perfume Review

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Terry de Gunzburg is the kind of person I admire. She quit a career in medicine to train as a makeup artist, and thanks to her vision and dedication to quality, she has become so successful that she’s regularly called the Steve Jobs of makeup. Sounds odd, except that many of the cosmetics she launched have remained best sellers for decades, such as the famous Touche Éclat, a highlighter-concealer pen she created for Yves Saint Laurent. When she announced a perfume line two years ago, I prepared for fireworks.

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But the first launch was disappointing, proving that a lot of money doesn’t instantly translate into great perfume. The names of the fragrances, Rêve Opulent, Parti Pris, Lumière d’Epices, Ombre Mercure and Flagrant Délice, were more memorable than the scents themselves. (After I wrote this article, I realized that de Gunzburg now has 12 perfumes in its collection, including the ubiquitous Oud.) The problem is typical of niche brands—the lack of editing.

Two subsequent launches, Rose Infernale and Rouge Nocturne, also lack editing—why have two similar oriental roses?—but here, the rose lover in me tells the pedant to be quiet and just enjoy the ride. And I do. Rose Infernale, in particular, is a striking fragrance, and I’m addicted to its dark roses smoked over incense and sandalwood.

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