The Men’s Fragrance Update

DSquared2 Wild

Thomas Signature

Gents, or ladies in possession of gents, it is time to prick up your ears, or more accurately, your noses, because I’m about to get super-manly on all of you.  That’s right, I’ve been lifting some burlap sacks and not trimming my facial hair in preparation, and I’m ready to man-up with a selection of new masculine fragrances to tickle your fancy.  OK, I might have fibbed about the potato sacks, and I’m pretty sure that my beard is as well-kept as always, but what I’m trying to say is that today’s post is all about the boys and I am fully prepped to completely man-out in honour of my fellow masculine scent-lovers.

As men, fragrance isn’t all about attracting a potential mate, it’s also important that a scent embodies our style and personality.  In this piece, I’ve picked out five new masculine fragrances that capture the character of five very different types of men.  There’s the trend setter who likes to pick styles from the past and rock them as if they were brand new, as well as the cuddly type who enjoys the softer things in life.  There’s also the handsome Italian who is effortlessly stylish in all that he does (I’m kind of jealous of him, to be honest) as well as the healthy guy who just likes to spend time outdoors.  Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the hipster trailblazer who likes to rock fashion and fragrance in dazzling shades of neon.  So, whichever ‘guy’ you relate to, you’ll find something intriguingly masculine within.

The men’s fragrance update.

Dunhill Icon

The Classic Trend Setter

Dunhill Icon

One may think that Dunhill is being a bit boastful by bestowing their brand new masculine fragrance with the name Icon, after all it surely takes time to make an idol – a fragrance isn’t born as such.  That said, Dunhill, with the help of perfumer Carlos Benaïm, have put together an excellent masculine scent that acts as a throwback to the robust fragrances for men from the ‘70s and 80’s – the decades where men’s fragrances really had, err, ‘cojones’.

Icon pairs a sticky, cardamom syrup opening with leather and woods to create a sharp and angular masculine that manages to pair auburn wood panelling with strips of shiny chrome.  The whole thing feels dry and sharp, like a well cut suit, but it also has an underlying woody softness, that is more akin to the feel of a worn leather jacket.  If you’re the type of guy who likes something strong, distinct and with a classic signature, then perhaps you need an olfactory Icon in your life.


Valentino Edition Noire

The Effortlessly Styled Chap

Valentino Uomo Edition Noire

There’s nothing technically new about this one, scent-wise, but it has been repackaged in a sexy black bottle, which wouldn’t be noteworthy in itself if it weren’t for the fact that Uomo is an excellently crafted fragrance, worthy of knowing.  This is a classy, well-cut scent that utilises the gourmand sensibilities of Italian life and places them with a setting that is remarkably inedible.  Smelling Uomo, with its giandjua, myrtle liqueur and coffee accords, one never feels as if they are wearing an Italian cafe, instead the impact is much more abstract.

This abstraction comes from an iris-leather accord that presents itself as the softest, most luxurious suede.  The plushness prevents Uomo from being a gourmand, allowing it to become the olactory representation of a sensory man who enjoys the finer things in life, whether that be food or fashion.  Like a piece of expensive leather, this man absorbs the sensory pleasures around him, becoming richer and more cultured as he enjoys all aspects of life.  I like Uomo, he smells like a pretty fascinating guy.


DSquared2 Wild

The Outdoorsy Type

DSquared2 WILD 

WILD came out last year but it is new to Escentual.  In fact, it was one of my favourite masculine fragrances from 2014, due in part to the fact that it has a wonderfully laid back attitude that is conveyed by a raft of very decent materials.  The press material for WILD (including the rather racy ad campaign) leads one to believe that it is a fragrance solely concerning bulging pectoral muscles and leather straps, but the reality is nowhere near as highly-sexed as that – I’d even go as far as saying that the WILD man is too busy going for long hikes in the great outdoors to have time for any of those shenanigans.

What one notices when sniffing WILD is just how fresh it is.  The top notes are awash with a glorious blast of orange and lemon that is so bracing on first sniff that the effect is akin to the feeling one gets when stepping outside and filling their lungs with icy air.  It dries down to a supple blend of citrus and vanilla that is smooth, low-key and effortless in style.  WILD is a thoroughly easy fragrance to wear and strikes me as the type of scent that would be perfect for those days when one simply wants to fly under the radar.  It’s not an attention-seeker, but life isn’t always about making a statement.  WILD is simply comfortable, and there’s a lot of room for that, I think.


hierry Mugler Amen Ultra Zest

The Neon Trail Blazer

A*Men Ultra Zest 

One could never accuse the house of Thierry Mugler of creating boring fragrances. Everything they have done, whether it be the genre-defining cosmic chocolate of the iconic Angel or the bread-y fig of the curiously-named Womanity, Mugler has pushed olfactory boundaries and challenged our notions of how a fragrance should smell.  The Mugler fragrances are the rebellious bad-boys and girls of the perfume world, capturing perfectly in olfactory form, the high fashion couture of Thierry Mugler’s infamous structured shoulders and waspish waists.

There’s a reason why the Mugler scents are so legendary and that’s because they are so darn unique, and perhaps one of the most uncommon scents in the lineup is A*Men – the brand’s flagship masculine fragrance and the male counterpart to Mrs. Angel.  What makes A*Men so unique is, what I like to call its ‘everything AND the kitchen sink’ approach to scent.  It literally contains anything you can put in a fragrance, including, but not limited to; chocolate, patchouli, coffee, vanilla, tonka bean, caramel, lavender, mint and tar.  It’s a crazy and chaotic blend that works surprisingly well.

A*Men Ultra Zest, which launched this year, is a brand new, limited edition version of the original that sees the patchouli, coffee and vanilla notes of A*Men plucked out and stirred into a big pot of neon marmalade.  I do realise that on paper, this sounds a little odd, but in reality the result is a delicious blend of orange jam that is sprinkled with a touch of coffee and vanilla for good measure.  It smells fantastic and lightens A*Men into something suitably summer appropriate, whilst retaining its left-of-centre approach to the world of fragrance.


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