Every week, I get at least three or four emails from people seeking fragrance recommendations. The vast majority of them are men, but there are some women, too. Most of them are not long-time readers of the blog and have simply stumbled upon it, so they don’t know my long-time favorites that I talk about often, but a few are subscribers who seek specific suggestions. Sometimes, people start by giving me a brief idea of their tastes and/or names of prior fragrances they’ve worn. Typically, though, the information is insufficient for me to know what might really suit them, so I write back with a list of questions, trying to narrow down what notes they have issues with or love best, how they feel about sweetness or animalics, how their skin deals with longevity or projection, and what sort of power they want in both of those last two area.
What I’ve noticed is that I tend to make certain recommendations time and time again for particular genres or fragrance families. So, I thought I would share them with all of you. However, please keep in mind that these names are in response to some pretty set criteria given to me by the person in question, even though many of those factors end up being quite similar. For example, the men who like dark, bold, rich or spicy orientals all seem to want a certain sillage or “to be noticed in a crowd,” as several have put it. In contrast, most of those who want clean, crisp scents prefer for them to be on the discreet side and suitable for professional business environments. Men whose favorites are classical designer scents that fall firmly within the fougère, green, fresh, or aromatic categories (like Tuscany, Guerlain’s Vetiver, or vintage Eau Sauvage, for example) tend to want very traditional scents, even “old school” in vibe, and not something sweet, edgy, or with a twist. So, that is what I try to give them as recommendations, which means that there are a whole slew of fragrances that fall outside the category.
Please keep all of that in mind when you read over the suggestions. Also, my list here will skew towards the male side for the first half of the post (though not entirely), while the second half contains names that are almost all unisex, in my opinion. The list won’t be all-encompassing, won’t cover every good scent within a certain genre, and will be as much of a “speed list” as someone with my OCD and verboseness can manage. So, sometimes, I’ll avoid detailed descriptions, though I’ll provide links for you to read the full review if you’re interested. The goal is to give nutshell summaries of as many names within different fragrance families as I can manage, and focused on the things that I end up recommending again and again.
CLEAN, CRISP, AROMATIC & DISCREET COLOGNES:
Anyone who has read me for any amount of time knows that this is not a genre I cherish or seek to explore in-depth, so I don’t consider myself to be an expert on it in the slightest. However, one cologne stands out far above the others that I’ve tried, it’s a scent I’ve recommended often, and it has received a very positive reaction from those who actually do love the genre. In fact, it seems to be very popular in general from what I read on various sites. The fragrance is GS03, created by Geza Schoen for a German brand whose name I can only spell with assistance, Biehl.Parfumkunstwerke. (Yes, that’s how it’s officially spelt, complete with periods in-between the name.)
As the review linked above explains in further detail, GS03 opens as crisp as the Alpine snow with cool juniper giving a gin-like vibe, vetiver, neroli, iris, moss, cedar, musk, and a touch of castoreum. (There is also Geza Schoen’s favorite note, ISO E Super, the aromachemical he made famous in Escentric’s Molecules 01.) GS03’s smooth finish is like clean suede sprayed with fresh, white musk, and just a touch of musky warmth. The combination yields an olfactory effect rather like warm, heated, velvety skin right out of the shower. GS03 brings a modern edge to the classical cologne, is so hugely popular that it frequently sells out fast, and is always the first thing I mention when someone asks for a fragrance in this genre. In America, GS03 is typically sold at Luckyscent and OsswaldNYC, but the former is back-ordered at the time and the latter is sold out. (Osswald takes down a fragrance entry from their website when they’ve run out of something, then puts it back up when they have it back in stock. GS03 is not shown at this time, so they’re out, perhaps because they have a sale on the entire Biehl line at this moment.)
Other names: Etat Libre‘s Fils de Dieu is not a true cologne, but it appeals to those who like unisex, citrusy clean, fresh scents with a gourmand, sweet side. There is also SHL 777‘s 2022 Generation Homme if you want a high-end version of a clean, citrusy cologne with woodiness, so long as you don’t mind a lot of ISO E Super. (I must say that I don’t personally think this one is very good but guys who love this genre, not to mention the whole “bro” crowd, seem to think it’s fantastic as a casual but polished, fresh scent. Hmmph. I’d recommend Biehl’s GS03 far, far more.)
For women, if you want the cleanest, softest, freshest, most discreet scent imaginable, with a heaping dose of aldehydes, high quality, smoothness, and far greater refinement than a commercial fragrance in this genre, then try LM Parfums Chemise Blanche. It’s not my thing (not even remotely!), but I recommend it to people who don’t want to smell of perfume, while actually wearing it. (I don’t get it.) That group seems to love Chemise Blanche. It includes one of my oldest, dearest friends who is the most difficult person on earth when it comes to fragrance, and who typically responds to my every suggestion with: “it’s too, too sweet,” “it’s too strong,” “it’s not clean or fresh enough,” or “it’s overly feminine and flowery.” But Chemise Blanche swept her off her feet, it’s the only thing she wears, and she’s utterly obsessed with it. If it fits her demanding criteria, other women who love this sort of thing might find Chemise Blanche ideal, too. In America, you can find this at Luckyscent or OsswaldNYC.
Luxury Leather: Regular readers know my love for Hard Leather, but I rarely recommend it because it’s truly not a scent for everyone and the animalics will put off people new to niche perfumery. It actually may take second place to something which might be my absolute favorite “leather” around, except for the fact that I personally see it as an ambered oriental. Well, to be precise, I think it’s a chypre-oriental hybrid that simply happens to have an utterly glorious leather middle phase. But, to everyone else, Roja Dove’s “M” for Puredistance is all about the leather, with many calling it the best fragrance ever made in the genre. I certainly agree on its beauty, and I love its long finish where it ripples as a molten, ambered oriental with unbelievable smoothness, refinement, and depth. It’s a personal favorite of mine, and something I wear when I want to feel ultra-sophisticated but also indulge myself with luxury. Ignore the marketing directed towards men and mentions of Aston Martins; I think women can wear M perfectly well, and I know quite a lot who do. Unfortunately, “M” is steep in price, but a 17.5 ml travel size is quite manageable and the perfume is an extrait in concentration. In short, when I make suggestions to people who want to try a leather, “M” is absolutely the first name on my list — each and every time.
Skanky but Refined Leather: Roja Dove‘s Fetish Pour Homme Extrait for his own brand takes “M” and gives it a kick up the rear-end, sometimes literally with a rather leathery, musky castoreum that skewed too much to the… er… rear-end side of things for me personally, but has won over men by the legion. Some people who love “M” actually think Fetish is even better, perhaps because it doesn’t feel quite so classical in style.
Semi-Skanky, Classical Floral Leather: Serge Lutens‘ Cuir Mauresque takes spicy, semi-animalic, Taureg Moroccan leather, slathers it with indolic orange blossoms, drizzles on some civet, and lets it percolate before ending with a classical, somewhat powdery, drydown finish that is vaguely reminiscent of a diluted version of vintage Bal à Versailles. I love, own, and wear Cuir Mauresque, so I mentioned it to someone who wrote to me just today, but I brought up the name with great hesitation because I think it’s been reformulated. There is a plastic-y vibe to the flowers now, the camphorous blackness sometimes skews a bit bug-spray-ish (which it never did before), and everything feels a little… off. So, if you can find Cuir Mauresque in older form, try it! Other people like Dior‘s Cuir Cannage which adds an iris-y, make-up powder quality to the same combination, but it feels like a less interesting copy to me, and I tend to get huffy when people copy Oncle Serge with lesser results. Then again, I think Oncle Serge has screwed with Cuir Mauresque so I’m not happy with him, Cuir Cannage is very similar, and you may enjoy it even more than the Lutens if you love powdery iris.
Skanky Spiced Sweet Leather: Histoires de Parfums 1740. Inspired by the Marquis de Sade (which should tell you something), 1740 requires some patience in the early moments, in addition to a strong love for cumin, clove and immortelle, but it’s a totally lusty, sexy leather that isn’t actually quite so debauched as the name might lead you to believe. (It’s hardly as skanky or erotic as Papillon’s chypre, Salome, for example.) A lot of men love 1740, but so do women.
Powdery, Floral, Smoky Leather: Oriza L. Legrand‘s Violettes du Czar. Iris-y powderiness, violets, and fresh cleanness segue into smoky Russian leather. This was a fragrance worn by two Romanov tsars and there’s been barely any changes made to the original formula, so it’s naturally very classical and old-fashioned in style, but it’s also a very good “clean floral musk” that slowly transforms into a warrior’s leather in its drydown. It’s unisex and suitable for work, but you have to like some powder and cleanness.
Powdery, Floral Leather: Cuir Ottoman by Parfums d’Empire takes the opposite trajectory. It begins with polished, cool, calfskin leather that is a bit smoky but smells primarily like extremely expensive Italian shoes, then turns into iris-y suede leather, before ending as the fluffiest of soft clouds made from iris, tonka vanilla, and the merest wisp of jasmine. It’s extremely refined, smooth, soft and unisex. The powder is a fraction of what it is in Violettes du Czar’s beginning, and it’s not as clean or crisp. The leather is not the smoky Russian variety, though a few people have reported a butch, tarry side to Cuir Ottoman’s beginning. Either way, it’s an extremely popular take on the genre, but be aware that people say Parfums d’Empire reformulated all its scents when it launched the new bottles/packaging last year.
Leather Cologne with Vetiver & Incense: La Via Del Profumo‘s Grezzo d’Eleganza by AbdesSalaam Attar opens as a very old-school leather with an aromatic, herbal and fresh cologne vibe, but the leather is also smoky, tarry and dark, wrapped up with incense, coated dark balsamic resins, accompanied by woods, and later immersed in smoky vetiver with a touch of rose. Grezzo was made for an Italian designer, and is a very refined, all-natural take on the genre. It feels simultaneously very ’80s and, yet, very timeless. It’s not a powerhouse in sillage, so it’s quite work appropriate.
Fruity Smoky Leather: I don’t know how to begin describing SHL 777‘s Soleil de Jeddah because it has such a range of notes, but I recommend it to people who are looking for a richer and long-lasting alternative to Creed’s cult-hit Aventus, or who want a smoky birch leather with a super-bright, fresh, glowing beginning and minor animalic muskiness. For the most part, the main bouquet on my skin is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of oranges, green mango/kiwi/pineapple, apricots, lemon curd, jammy patchouli, and chamomile, all over a smoky leather base made up of styrax, birch, and isobutyl quinoline. Iris and vanilla play a very minor part, but the mimosa and jasmine included in the scent never show up on my skin. I think Soleil de Jeddah skews a bit masculine in focus; I know a handful of women who love it, but far more men. And I definitely think it’s better (not to mention stronger and more complex) than Aventus which similarly combines tart fruits over tarry, smoky, birch leather.
Luxury Vetiver: I have not reviewed Roja Dove’s Vetiver Extrait, but any hardcore vetiver lover should have this one at the top of their sample list. It’s as though every one of vetiver’s many facets were put on display, laced with fresh, crisp, citrusy tonalities, chypre-ish mossy plushness, and a quiet touch of spices. Very nicely done.
Smoky, Dark Refined Vetiver: Sycomore from Chanel‘s Exclusifs Collection is centered on a smoldering vetiver that grows in the inner-most reaches of a dark forest, absorbing their dry woodiness, and bearing the faintest whispers of earthiness and leatheriness underneath. Smooth and refined, many consider this to be the most polished, elegant vetiver in this particular sub-genre. Others, however, prefer Lalique’s much cheaper Encre Noire which vast numbers of people say is virtually identical. I haven’t tried it to know because Encre Noire is high on the list of fragrances with the most ISO E Supercrappy, so you can pretty much guess my views on that one. Plus, I find it hard to believe that something you can buy for $29.99 at Target could match the quality and smoothness of a Chanel Exclusif, but get samples of both if you’re on a budget (and if you have no ISO E Super sensitivities), and then decide for yourself. As most of you know, The Exclusifs collection is typically exclusive to Chanel boutiques, though a few department stores that have dedicated Chanel mini-boutiques inside also carry the line.
Boozy, Smoky, Dark & Old-School Vetiver: Oriza L. Legrand’s Vetiver Royal Bourbon was made more than 100 years ago, and it’s as classical as you can get, but its smoky vetiver comes with the enjoyable twist of boozy cognac and leather. As a whole, it’s well done, smooth, and relatively affordable for the size/quality.
Apocalyptic Smoky, Leather Vetiver: Jovoy Private Label. I brought up Mad Max in my review, and that should say it all. A recent commentator wrote that the comparison was very apt, which should also tell you something. Private Label is an equal partnership between tarry birch leather and smoky vetiver that hardcore lovers of both notes should try. Jovoy fragrances tend to be discreet in sillage after their first few hours, so I typically recommend this one to those who want a quieter but still butch, smoky leather-vetiver that they could wear to the office. Well, some offices….
Apocalyptic, Whisky, Smoky Tarry Vetiver: Almost just as apocalyptic at times but hardly discreet is Profumum’s powerhouse, Fumidus, which has an utterly spectacular debut straight out of the Scottish highlands. Or, rather, the Islay isles, since Fumidus opens with single-malt scotch like Laphraoig splashed all over the vetiver. Salt, peat, mossy, and earthiness are joined by smoky birch which billows gusts of blackness, leather, oiliness, and even a brief hint of diesel at first (but it works so well with the rest of the mix). All too soon, alas, Fumidus turns into pure smoky vetiver, set on fire with birch tar and leather in a way that even exceeds Private Label’s inferno. It’s incredibly hard-core, has too much birch smoke for many, but is beloved by a small minority, particularly those who find it transports them straight back to Scotland.
Oakmoss, Chypre-ish Vetiver: AbdesSalaam Attar’s Oakmoss/”Tarzan” is actually not an oakmoss chypre but a vetiver fragrance. The vetiver simply happens to grow near a small patch of oakmoss, both warmed by the heat of the sun on day that falls between summer and autumn. This is a warm, soft, plush vetiver with a delicate citrusy crispness at the start and a quiet hint of mossy greenness. It’s all-natural so it has a discreet sillage suitable for the most conservative work environments.
FOUGÈRES & AROMATICS:
Fougères are perhaps the oldest fragrance family, and are traditionally aromatic in nature with lavender, herbs, vetiver, coumarin, bergamot, oakmoss, and sometimes geranium. However, there are some great fragrances that fall within a sub-sect of this genre, the oriental fougère, which combines warmer notes, some spices, and a touch of sweetness. I’m getting over my lavender issues, but I’m still not the sort to actively seek out the more traditional cologne genre. Still, there some names that I suggest to others, in addition to several oriental fougères that I like myself.
Crisp, Cool, Clean Fougère: I haven’t reviewed it but I’ve tested it, and if you want a very clean fougère Parfums MDCI’s Invasion Barbare is one to consider. It’s got too much clean musk for me personally and feels pointedly sharp on my skin at times (making me wonder if my sample is a reformulated version), but Invasion Barbare has a devoted, passionate following amongst lovers of the genre, especially if they prefer a cologne without a lot of sweetness.
Creamy, Semi-Gourmand Fougère: Histoires de Parfums 1725 (Casanova) is quite similar to Invasion Barbare, to the point that discussions of one fragrance inevitably bring up the other. However, 1725 is an oriental fougère that skews warmer and softer, contains a touch of amber, and has a semi-gourmand streak with some delicious almond cream. I hadn’t gotten over all my lavender phobia when I reviewed it but, even back then, I was tempted and torn. Now, at this point, I wear 1725 on rare occasion myself. It’s fully unisex, both in my opinion and many others, perhaps because of that semi-gourmand streak of creamy almonds. Bottom line, it’s a lovely fragrance that I strongly recommend.
Cologne to Gourmand Fougère: Profumum’s Antico Caruso opens as a purely classical, citrusy aromatic cologne, complete with barbershop notes, but it quickly transforms into another creamy fougère that a number of women like as well, thanks to a rich, silky mix of creamy almonds with a light vanilla mousse. Given the opening, it won’t feel so unisex right off, but give it 90 minutes and you will see. Regardless of gender, it’s a great, modern take on the clean, crisp fougère genre that will appeal to people who also want some sweetness, warmth, and a few gourmand elements in their colognes. However, like most Profumum scents, it can be a powerhouse in sillage, so you may want to be careful with application if you work in a very conservative office environment.
Legendary Fougère with Some Skank: Jicky. The name should say it all. The Guerlain legend. Creamy lavender ice-cream that has the clarity of moonlight, drizzled I with drops of civet, and more. There are olfactory differences between the various concentrations, but my review is for the EDP version which may be like Goldilocks’ porridge in terms of falling midway between the EDT and Extrait extremes, both in terms of smoothness and the sharpness of the synthetic civet.
FLORAL WOODY MUSK/ORIENTAL WOODY MUSK:
I’m inventing this fragrance family hybrid solely as an excuse to talk about Guerlain‘s fantastic L’Instant de Guerlain and because I’m never sure what category it really and truly belongs to, particularly as there are two versions with slightly different scent profiles, and each version tends to go beyond the typical boundaries of one single genre. (Both versions are covered in that review.) I end up recommending either one or the other depending on the person’s individual taste and style, but both are excellent fragrances.
L’Instant (nicknamed “LIDG“) is an EDT that opens with a typical citrusy fougère accord, giving it a brief resemblance to a traditional cologne, but that doesn’t last long. Slowly, spices, sandalwood and milky tea join the party, then a light touch of jasmine. After a while, L’Instant EDT turns into a veil of jasmine over lemony, spiced, milky Chai, and then transforms into a genderless floral woody musk. At that point, a light sprinkling of soft cocoa/chocolate is added to the mix. All of it is discreet, light, and soft.
L’Instant Eau Extreme is the EDP version commonly nicknamed “LIDGE,” and it’s different, especially at the start. It’s richer, deeper, bolder, stronger, and more oriental, and its citrusy opening brims with dark spices that have a bite (like star anise). Equally spicy, brown-green patchouli appears right from the start, along with chocolate and the smoky notes of leaves burning in an autumnal bonfire from elemi wood. There is milky Chai, just like in LIDG, but very little floral musk. It eventually turns into a creamy patchouli with a toasted, nutty caramel-vanilla aspect to it, flecked with slivers of jasmine, tea, and woodiness.
LIDGE is fantastic, in my opinion, but both fragrances are very well done. They simply fit different note preferences and styles, especially in terms of sillage. Neither fragrance is a powerhouse, but LIDG is particularly discreet and short-lived. Also, I must add that I think either one could be worn by women, but particularly LIDG which skews more floral in nature with its jasmine. (I wish Guerlain would cease its gender-based marketing, because it makes women shy away from certain fragrances as a result, but that’s an issue for another day.)
Bottom line, when men ask for recommendations for a smooth, polished, very refined scent with citrusy freshness, some spices and woodiness, but not too much crispness, freshness, or cleanness, L’Instant is what I bring up.
EVERYTHING ELSE — ORIENTALS, WOODS, SMOKE, AMBERS & MORE:
When people ask for bold, dark, oriental, or ambered scents, and they don’t give a damn about either office-appropriate sillage or fresh, aromatic, clean bouquets, I tend to make the same suggestions again and again. Again, keep in mind that it depends on what the person has told me that they are looking for and what notes they either love or hate, but the names that come up the most often are the following (in random order):
1) Arabian Oud’s Kalemat. Contrary to the company’s name, there is no oud in Kalemat which is a fantastic, molten, super-rich, honey-slathered amber with a large sillage scent cloud, warmth, sweetness, woody/incense aspects, and varying amounts of rose as well. Kalemat Amber Fragrance Oil is even better, and utterly magnificent in its richness. U.S. retailers don’t carry the brand, but you can find full bottles of both on US eBay, and samples of Kalemat EDP. (I’ve never seen samples of Kalemat Amber oil, alas.) Regardless of your location, though, Arabian Oud London has a special deal for my readers for any fragrance oil or attar. Simply write to them at the contact information given in the Kalemat Amber Oil review, and put “Kafkaesque” in the subject-line of your email. Arabian Oud has arranged something with a private courier service to get around Britain’s Royal Mail issues and can send you 1-2 fragrances from London for about $25 or so in shipping. (I forget the exact amount now, but write to Mr. Chowdhury, and he’ll help you in any way you need. The 1-2 fragrance limit is really a matter of weight and customs. The fragrance needs to be under a certain weight/size. Full details are in that Kalemat Amber post.)
2) Rania J.‘s Ambre Loup. This is a fragrance I love and ended up buying for myself, despite an exhausting longevity on my skin. It’s a dark, rich, dense, spicy, lightly sweetened tobacco-amber bomb that always gets compliments. I think it skews more towards the tobacco than the amber, but someone I know thinks it smells like opium. (The drug, not the famous perfume.) Either way, it’s going to depend on individual skin chemistry. All I can say is that the more I wear it, the more I find it irresistible and addictive, and I think it may be one of my top 3 discoveries this year.
3) Slumberhouse‘s Kiste is another fantastic tobacco scent. As many of you know, Slumberhouse fragrances have major heft in terms of density and body, so I tend to recommend something from the line to people who ask for scents with great longevity and projection. Kiste is not only the most approachable one, but the first Slumberhouse I truly loved and felt I could wear myself, thanks to a mix of tobacco, spices, resins, honey, sweet cooked peaches, black tea, and more. It’s definitely another one to try, if you love dark, rich scents. It’s not at all similar to Ambre Loup, despite the joint element of tobacco. It’s fully unisex.
4) Black Gemstone from SHL 777 (Stephane Humbert Lucas 777), a very dark, incense oriental with spices, lemon, birch tar leather, spicy patchouli, and more. Be warned that the first 15 minutes are very intense indeed, with a lot of smoky blackness, so it may be a scent that you’ll have to give a few wearings in order to adjust. This skews a bit more to the masculine side.
5) Anubis by Papillon Perfumery, a bold mix of incense, spices, amber, iridescent mossiness, smoky leather, and jasmine floralcy. This came #2 on my list of last year’s best new releases, and is fully unisex.
6) Ambra Aurea by Profumum Roma. I consider this to be the gold standard for ambergris fragrances, though it also has some labdanum in it as well. Technically, “Amber” is an umbrella term that encompasses ambergris fragrances, labdanum ones, and a mixed benzoin-vanilla-labdanum combination of notes. Each type smells a little different. This one is centered on the densest, chewiest, richest ambergris around with dark toffee’d labdanum swirled in lightly. It’s a pure parfum with enormous richness and longevity. It’s also unisex.
7) Profumum‘s Arso. A sweet, foresty scent with pine sap, smoky leather, and aromatic woods. This is unisex, too, though I know more men who wear it than women.
8) Roja Dove Enigma Pour Homme Parfum (Creation-E in America.) Boozy cognac, rich spices, amber, tobacco, plummy fruits, and so much more, all in a deep, intense and opulent oriental bouquet. It’s a pure parfum, lasts, and projects, but it’s not cheap. It bears a small resemblance to Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, but it’s much more than that. I think it’s unisex, despite the gender classification in the name.
9) Farmacia SS Annunziata Ambra Nera. Punk rock ambergris with an attitude, thanks to incense, earthy darkness, spicy patchouli, sticky balsamic resins, honeyed sweetness, and an occasionally musky animalic undertone. If Billy Idol wore an amber scent, I think it would be this one. A super and unisex twist on ambergris.
10) SHL 777’s O Hira. When you want to mainline the labdanum form of amber, and money is no object, this is for you. The Incredible Hulk of ambers. It’s superb and with exceptionally high quality, but painfully costly.
11) Serge Lutens‘ Fille en Aiguilles. A winter forest dripping cool pine sap, followed by incense, smoke, Christmas cooked plums, spices, gingerbread, warmth — this is a fantastic, unisex Christmas-y oriental and winter scent, though it is much lighter than many of the others on the list and sheerer in body. It also won’t last as some of the extraits or richer scents, but it is another personal favorite and a very popular Lutens fragrance in general. Tom Ford attempted to copy it with his Plum Japonais but I think it’s a poorly calibrated version that can’t beat the Lutens (except in terms of projection and body perhaps). This another fragrance I own and wear myself.
12) Roja Dove‘s Amber Extrait. Utterly delicious chocolate-covered amber for those who like a gourmand take on amber and can also afford Roja Dove’s prices. It’s also unisex.
13) Parfumerie Generale‘s Coze. Coze is indeed cozy, with warm, spicy patchouli, cocoa, and grassy hemp layered with tobacco, woods, and vanilla, then covered with nutmeg, cloves, and a pinch of sweet, dark, loamy earthiness. Excellent, fully unisex, and another fragrance that I bought for myself.
14) AbdesSalaam Attar‘s Oud Caravan No. 3. For the man (or woman) who loves true, real Middle Eastern agarwood in all its facets, and I do mean all — blue cheese, camels, and more.
15) Xerjoff Richwood. When money is no concern and you want a regal fragrance centered on true, genuine Mysore sandalwood (with some help), this is the one I mention. The stunning sandalwood is laced with bright citruses, rosewood, spicy patchouli, and some earthiness, then drenched with plummy, dark liqueur, and wrapped up with incense smoke. Richwood is pretty damn fantastic, and unisex.
16) MFK‘s Absolue Pour Le Soir: a rich, molten beauty with roses, incense, spices, sandalwood, lush ylang floralcy, ambered richness, musky warmth, and some classical skankiness, all slathered in thick waves of honey. This is a fragrance for those who don’t mind cumin, the occasionally urinous aspects of honey, and muskiness that evokes heated skin, though be aware that some people experience an intimate, ripe, strongly sexualized aroma. That doesn’t happen on my skin, but don’t try APLS if you don’t like animalics of any kind. Like most of the names in this section, this one is fully unisex, too.
17) O’Driu‘s Peety. Honey-coated tobacco, spices, animalics, rich amber, musky castoreum, and a wisp of florals. A personalized side of your urine is optional. (No, I’m not joking.)
18) Amouage Interlude Man. Interlude opens with a blast of dried herbs, incense, and nutty opoponax (sweet myrrh) before rapidly turning into a complex shape-shifter that is rarely the same way twice on my skin. Leather, woods, oud, sandalwood, spices, and berries all play a role in a fragrance much beloved by men and some women. When people are looking for an incense-heavy fragrance with woods, leather, and spices, this is one I bring up, though I always caution that the herbal blast of the opening is something that you have to be patient with. The best part of Interlude Man for me was always its gorgeous sandalwood drydown, but so many of the old Amouage scents seem to have been reformulated that I have no idea if it’s still the same. This one skews masculine in focus, though I know a few women who wear it, too.
So, those are a few recommendations across a range of genres with a small focus on the more masculine side of things. It’s hardly a complete list by genre and I’ve left out some great fragrances, but these are the ones that typically come to mind above all else. In any event, I hope I could bring a few new fragrances to your attention, and that you might find something you like. Have a good weekend everyone!