What is a parfum? You may have come across this word browsing Escentual, and wondered what it means. Traditionally, parfum, like Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum, simply referred to the concentration of a fragrance, with Parfum (sometimes also called Extrait) being the most concentrated (i.e. the highest percentage of perfume compound – usually between 30-40%). Typically, these parfums would feel denser and richer and would wear closer to the skin. They were also rarely offered for masculine fragrances and historically, were very much the domain of feminine perfumery.
The use of the term ‘parfum’ has evolved significantly in modern times and has moved from simply being about how much perfume one is getting in their bottle to something a bit more abstract. Nowadays, a parfum is usually an entirely new interpretation of a scent – one that has been created to feel richer, deeper, and simply just ‘more’. Perfumers are tasked with reimagining and recomposing a familiar scent, often to amplify or pull focus to one facet, to give it a ‘parfum’ feel.
Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of masculine fragrances that bear the ‘parfum’ name so I thought we could take a good look at some of the most noteworthy manly parfums. If you’re a guy who’s looking to get a bit more out of his scent, then this is the edit for you.
1. Paco Rabanne 1 Million
Ahhh 1 Million, where would we be without its fun and edible apple pie amber? Seriously, this scent is a modern icon and has spawned so many smell-a-likes that it can officially be defined as a trend-setter. But how have Paco Rabanne reimagined 1 Million in its parfum form? Surely this version – this most intense and deep version – is going to be like diving into a gigantic apple pie? Well, actually, no (although if someone could arrange for me to dive into an actual apple pie and allow me to eat my way out of it, I’d be most grateful), 1 Million Parfum feels entirely different. 1 Million Parfum is fresher, more vibrant and brighter, with exciting twists of salty tuberose, leather and rockrose. It feels like an entirely new scent – one that is more dressed up and refined. Perhaps the 1 Million Man has grown up a little? He’s thrown away the skinny jeans and opted for a pair of smart, cropped trousers (in skinny fit, of course). He’s still as cool, extravagant and self-assured ever.
2. Dior Sauvage
Sauvage is a modern fougère that reinterprets this age-old genre with a sense of marine freshness. The Parfum gives you all of the original Sauvage but with a powerful sense of ‘more’. Each of Sauvage’s key themes is stretched out and intensified, much in the same way that one would zoom into a photo to reveal all of the detail and intricacies. Sauvage’s bracing citrus notes (which are clean and airy) are amplified in the Parfum – they become bigger and fresher, as are the wood notes, which feel more rugged and textural, whilst the intensified warmth of vanilla brings a sense of richness missing in the original. This is Sauvage in 4k, and damn, he looks good.
3. Dior Eau Sauvage
Dior’s Eau Sauvage Parfum is an excellent example of how, in most cases, the Parfum version of a fragrance is an entirely different composition – as are all fragrances in this list. However, this is the most far removed from the original), and if you compared it with the original Sauvage, you might wonder whether they are related. The Parfum is a wonderfully suave (Eau Suaveage, anyone? No? I’ll get my coat) blend of vetiver, bergamot and coumarin that feels effortlessly handsome, rich, warm and debonair. Ugh, it’s so damn good, honestly.
4. Cartier Declaration
Prepare to swoon, because Declaration Parfum is the sexiest scent on this list. I mean, I could leave it there, but I feel like I’d be doing this scent a disservice by not elaborating, so elaborate I shall. The original Declaration was all about the freshness and translucence of spice notes, and the Parfum certainly follows that theme, just with added richness and heft. It’s almost as if the saturation has been dialled right up, allowing all of the colour to pour in. Declaration Parfum is dangerously spicy, in the sense that it boasts the brightness of cardamom and the all-out bodily skank of cumin (sorry, there is no other way to put that) fashioning a rich blast of spice, over the warmth of mahogany woods, to create the image of the sexiest man in the room, or any room. He’s just really sexy, OK, wherever he is.
5. YSL L’Homme
L’Homme is an incredibly debonair franchise from YSL, and the L’Homme Parfum Intense is perhaps their most debonair scent – it’s debonair with a cherry on top. What I love about this scent is that it manages to present a richness of texture, taking the fresh, woody and aromatic signature of L’Homme and making it both warm, and smooth, with the addition of an addictive suede accord. It makes one feel as if they should just stroke it gently because it’s so soft and plush. Out of all of the L’Homme scents, this is definitely the best L’Homme.