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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If Your Perfume Doesn’t Last — a few solutions

You find a perfume that seems perfect and you eagerly put it on. You enjoy the first few moments, but then over the course of the day, you can’t smell it. You might as well not have worn anything. A perfume that doesn’t last is one of the most frustrating occurrences for a fragrance lover, and I’m often asked to explain why it happens.

A perfume may have a fleeting presence, because it’s based around volatile materials like citrus, leafy notes or pink pepper. It might be a cologne designed to be an instant refresher, like Clarins Eau Dynamisante or Roger & Gallet Bois d’Orange. Citrus gives a bright opening; however, it fades quickly. You can either keep reapplying the cologne, as if hitting replay on a favorite song, or you can switch to a different perfume later in the day. Continue reading →

Three Men’s Fragrances for Women : Modern Classics

The modern concept that scents can be gendered–roses are for women and cedarwood is for men–dates to the post-WWII consumer boom when marketing tried to find new ways to encourage people to buy more products. That’s when the different concentrations of perfume also became popular, resulting in the current trend to release Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette versions in the same way that publishing houses tempt the public with hard and soft cover versions of books. The idea, however, is nothing new. The Greek philosopher Theophrastus wrote in his book, Concerning Odors, that men should wear lilies and roses and women myrrh and spikenard. So, there you go.

The main difference in how gender is assigned to scents is cultural. The quintessential feminine note of American and European perfumery, the rose, becomes unisex in the Middle East. Vanilla is much more common among masculine fragrances in Italy than it is in the US. Orange blossom is association with crisp freshness in Spain and with baby products in France. So, for those who are adventurous, the easiest way to have fun is to forget the gender labels and try perfumes based on their notes or stories.

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Mir Taqi Mir’s Jasmine Pilaf

While reading the memoirs of Mir Taqi Mir, a great Indian poet who lived in 18th century Delhi, I came across a charming anecdote about a jasmine pilaf. Once you read it, you’ll know right away why the description captured my attention.

“They used to prepare a fine jasmine pilaf at the house of A’zam Khan Sr. They would put jasmine flowers in some oil and let it sit for a few days so it would absorb the fragrance. Then they would use the oil to cook the rice, which gave it a fine aroma. Burhan-ul-Mulk heard its praise and made a request to A’zam Khan Sr., who then had some prepared and sent over in several big platters. Burhan-ul-Mulk ate it with relish, then remarked in a jocular vein, “It’s not a platter of pilaf; it’s the blessesd grave of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.” The remark was greatly enjoyed, for people in fact used to bring jasmine flowers in great quantities to cover that revered person’s grave. It would then look like a heap of flowers, and their fragrance would transport passersby even at some distance.”

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Recommend Me a Perfume : September 2020

Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can use this space to find perfume recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors.

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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