Leave Lynx in the Bottom Draw With These 10 Modern Fragrances for Men
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Our sense of smell is a powerful thing. When it comes to the significance of scent and its relationship to love, attraction, and memory, no one has ever summed it up quite as well as an 11-year-old Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap: “Years from now, when I’m all grown up, I’ll always remember my grandfather and how he always smelt of… peppermint and pipe tobacco.”
If you’ll remember the current guy in your life, whether friend, father, husband or housemate, with the scent of Old Spice, Rexona for Men, or Lynx Africa, it’s probably time to make some new memories.
We’ve rounded up some modern, gender-neutral classics to delight his (and your) senses.
Aēsop, Hwyl, Eau De Parfum
In Welsh, “hwyl” refers to a “restless fervour, motivation and enthusiasm”, and Aēsop’s Hwyl, Eau De Parfum ($150) is suitably perfect for the idiosyncratic, adventurous man.
Inspired by the Hinoki forest of Japan, where native Cypress trees flourish, Hwyl features dark, green, smokey notes layered over earthy accords of vetiver, oakmoss, sandalwood and thyme, resulting in a complex fresh green scent that has a hint of the wild.
Vilhelm Parfumerie, Smoke Show
Vilhelm Parfumerie, “Smoke Show” ($224) is not the first woody, spicy scent to be inspired by New York’s underground music scene, but it is a thrilling interpretation that captures the intimacy and simmering energy of a New York jazz club. Energetic pink pepper and saffron mingle with rose oil and leather to give the scent its zingy intensity. Meanwhile, Agarwood, an exceedingly rare note, gives Smoke Show its compelling sensuality and unique bitter-sweet edge. Not one for dad.
Issey Miyake, L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme
Designer Issey Miyake described his first scent, L’Eau D’Issey, as intended to evoke the smell of “water falling on clean skin,” the result was a teasingly ephemeral, multi-sensory scent that layered translucent aquatic and floral notes like cologne and rosewater over tactile base notes of musk and amber. L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme ($110) retains this compositional structure but replaces floral notes with citrus: think yuzu, lemon, mandarin, and orange with stickier base notes of bourbon, saffron, and tobacco. Yuzu, has motivational boosting and stress relieving benefits so if you have a type-A aesthete in your life who has trouble helping with chores this will make a perfect gift.
Comme des Garçons, Black
“Black” by Comme des Garçons was inspired by the 2009 GFC – offered by the brand as an antidote to the “negativity and emotional repression” of the era. Most commonly described as smelling “like fire,” Black, EDT ($110) is conceptual, aggressive, and vaguely arcane. One spritz will make you feel like you are standing in a cathedral ablaze, as scorched leather and cedarwood notes mingle with sticky tar, liquorice, leaving an aromatic trail of incense, vetiver, and black pepper on the skin. While it’s not subtle, it is sexy and will make an exhilarating gift for anyone who doesn’t work in finance.
SŚAINT, Modus Vivendi
SŚAINT, Modus Vivendi ($159) is a cerebral interpretation of the classic amber scent, perfect for the bookish guy who considers himself a bit of an intellectual. Inspired by beat writer Jack Kerouac’s “talkers who never yawn or say a commonplace thing”, this fragrance has all the leathery masculinity of On the Road, with cedarwood, cashmere musk and sandalwood. The inclusion of papyrus gives Modus Vivendi a dry — rather than a sticky or sweet — aroma. Perfect for adventurers in the realm of ideas.
Map of the Heart, Freedom
Map of the Heart “Freedom” ($125) is an ode to the Australian summer and is the perfect companion for a man who loves his Bondi to Bronte walks. Salty, green and amber notes mingle with an expert blend of Australian sandalwood and dry white cedarwood to create a relaxing, energetic and liberating fragrance.
Escentric Molecules, Molecule 01
The perfect scent for the fragrance-shy guy, Escentric Molecules, Molecule 01 ($142) is a “shapeshifter” that relies on a single molecule: Iso E Super. Iso E Super is a scent amplifier, and when isolated, it has a faint musky, cedarwood aroma. On contact with the skin, however, it reacts with pheromones to create a unique and subtle scent for each wearer.
Acqua di Parma, Colonia eau de Cologne
Notes of lemon, bergamot, rosemary and lavender give Acqua di Parma, Colonia Eau de Cologne ($287) a summer-in-Sicily feel and make Colonia one of the brand’s most popular scents. With notes of lemon, bergamot and lavender, this is a lively crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for summer days.
Versace, Eros Pour Homme, Eau de Parfum
Fresh and aromatic, Versace, Eros Pour Homme Parfum ($200) is an energising amber perfume with a sparkling citrus opener. It’s perfect for the post-gym, and pre-office refresh, thanks to the top notes of mint, lemon, mandarin orange and ambroxan. Once settled on the skin, it dries down to a bitter orange, leather, sandalwood and cedar base.
Memoir Man, Amouage
Is it possible to capture the scent of Lindsay Lohan’s fictional grandfather in a bottle? For $499, yes! For the price point, Amouge, Memoir Man is a try-before-you-buy scent, but after much research, it is one of the only readily available fragrances to feature mint and tobacco.
While Lindsay didn’t mention her grandad smelling like absinthe, wormwood and basil, Amouage contains top notes of mint and basil with a tobacco-heavy dry down. With thousands of five-star ratings online, we’re curious enough to check this complex concoction out.