I always have my eyes peeled to scope out the very best new fragrances, comparing them to my existing favourites. And I’m lucky enough to be able to try nearly every single one, too. As a result, I’m pretty well equipped to share my ultimate list of the very best designer fragrances for him to buy right now. And luckily for you, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
I’ve scoured our website to pick out the best designer fragrances for men – as chosen by a self-confessed fragrance addict. Of course anyone can wear any fragrance, so if you’re a fan of more traditionally cool masculine scents or warm spicy tones, this lineup is for you, too. Read on to find out which scents you need to get your hands on…
1. The Booze-Filled Fragrance
A boozy beauty, Gentleman Reserve Privee might start out with a bright, light dash of bergamot, but it’s GIVENCHY’s sippable whisky accord that really dominates. And it’s this unique note that’s allowed Reserve Privee to clinch a spot in my list of the best designer fragrance for him – it’s been carefully created using aromatic barley from a refined Scottish distillery. Showcasing GIVENCHY’s attention to detail, it’s sure to please any whisky fan.
Building like the warm slow burn you get as you drink whisky, Reserve Privee’s heart carefully balances bitter and sweet notes, bringing together chestnut, orris and vanillary benzoin – it’s a truly well-rounded blend. The base adds a final layer of richness and earthiness using cedarwood, patchouli and subtle smoky vetiver.
I have to mention the bottle, too – I love that the chic ombre glass allows you a glimpse at the whisky-coloured fragrance within.
2. The Fresh, Energetic Scent
A popular summer scent for the gents here at Escentual, Jimmy Choo Man Aqua (or as we like to call it, ‘Aquaman’) transports you to the cool ocean. Fresh and vibrant from the get-go, Jimmy Choo Man Aqua dazzles with a sharp wedge of grapefruit, which is warmed slightly by cardamom. The marine accord refreshes the fragrance, while you get the earthiness of geranium and the aromatic side of clary sage before the base releases a warm, woody blend of patchouli and amber. The base also features a striking salted moss note; this adds an unexpected green edge to set the scent apart from your average woody fragrance for men.
I have to admit that I love the design too. It’s crisp, cool and fresh, just like its easy-breezy scent. To top it off, its soft blue cap has a croc-like print, nodding to Jimmy Choo’s designer heritage, particularly their croc-print shoes for men.
3. The Outdoorsy Aroma
Made for the adventurer, Montblanc Explorer starts with a green, refreshing twist of bergamot and aromatic clary sage, but there’s an unexpected delicate sweetness here too – we have pomarose to thank for that. This sweetness doesn’t last too long though as the deep, rich and rugged earthy-woody tones of vetiver, leather and sandalwood rise to the surface. This tone continues right through to the base with a long-lasting trail of patchouli, ambrofix and akigalawood.
There’s something effortlessly cool about the Montblanc Explorer, too. Maybe it’s the striking black colour; maybe it’s the cog-like cap that clicks into place; maybe it’s the textured finish. Really, it’s a combination of all of these design features that make Explorer feel chic and cool, just like the scent within.
4. The Musk Masterpiece
Narciso Rodriguez For Him Blue Noir has a buzzy, upbeat energy upon first spritz, thanks to citrus-green bergamot and energising black pepper. But the thing that sets Bleu Noir from other men’s fragrances is Narciso Rodriguez’s signature heart of musk; it’s unique and inherently Narciso, instantly recognisable. This softly sensual yet undeniably addictive musk note melts into a smoky base of woods and amber to add a layer of strength and intensity.
The Narciso Rodriguez Bleu Noir bottle is pretty cool too; it’s got that unmistakable double-walled glass design that’s very Narciso, dressed in a chic blue shade. Blue it’s not just the inside of the bottle that has a touch of blue – the outer glass is also blue, adding a little more intensity to the scent.
5. The Perfectly-Balanced Aromatic
Created by Anne Flipo and Carloss Benaim, Prada Luna Rossa Ocean keeps things fresh and cool, just like a quick dip in the open ocean. It kickstarts with a refreshing tart bergamot note, re-energised by spicy pink pepper. The aromatic sage note keeps things fresh, while iris and lavender add a gentle sweetness that draws you in and leaves you want more. The base blends vetiver, musk and patchouli for a slightly smoky, woody earthy tone that grounds the initially fresh fragrance. The dance between fresh, spicy and woody makes Luna Rossa Ocean utterly addictive.
Given the name, the Luna Rossa Ocean bottle is perfect. Its ombre blue finish looks like the sea – from the warmer, sun-drenched top layer to the dark, deep depths of the ocean.
6. The Super Suave Signature
When you first spray Ralph’s Club Eau de Parfum, you’re with an energising, bright freshness, thanks to lavandin, crisp apple and grapefruit. The heart amps up the aromatic side of Ralph’s Club with clary sage, while geranium and orange blossom add a touch of floral serenity. Finally, the sensual base brings together a rich, warm Virginian cedarwood note alongside the woody smokiness of vetiver for a long-lasting signature.
My favourite thing about the Ralph Lauren Ralph’s Club bottle? It’s shaped like a hip-flask; you even flip the cap off to the left-hand side – and yes, it shuts with a satisfying ‘click’ too. You might try to hide a real hip-flask in your travel bag, but you’ll want to be spotted pulling this effortlessly cool fragrance from your bag.
7. The Warm, Spicy Signature
BVLGARI Man In Black feels warm, spicy and sexy from the get-go and has been a favourite of mine since it launched in 2014 and it still feels modern today. If you love amber fragrances, it’s the one for you. It starts out with a hot, boozy kick of rum and spice before the seductive, rugged leather heart kicks in. The heart is softened and sweetened slightly by floral tuberose and powdery iris, which create a suave, sophisticated scent without ever feeling overly sweet. The base releases a rich, vanillary blend of tonka bean and benzoin, strengthened by guaiac wood.
Plus, the bold black design with touches of bronze safely places this on the premium side of designer fragrance – it’s a bottle you’ll want on display and a scent that’s sure to get you compliments