Best perfumes for men: Smitten at first smell

It's time you swung from fresh to spicy to woody, just like the scent

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L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme Wood & Wood 

The idea of romance might have changed a fair bit since 1994, the year that Issey Miyake launched L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme, a men’s fragrance that continues to keep the cash registers ringing. Four Weddings and a Funeral was one of the most successful romantic films of that year. Issey Miyake has kept its men’s fragrance line alive with constant updates and flankers to this iconic scent. Wood & Wood is the latest addition. 

Don’t let the woody suffix mislead you; this is not a scent entirely dominated by intense woods. The zesty opening notes that combine spicy cardamom with citrusy notes like grapefruit stay consistent with the original. The woods begin to take over with the woody heart and base notes — hence the Wood & Wood moniker, with the presence of intense ones like cedarwood and sandal. It’s the drydown that adds to the scent’s allure and romantic appeal.

While the fragrance composition may not balance the multitude of notes like the original, it’s quite an eclectic mix. It swings from fresh to spicy to woody. Issey Miyake plays up the scent’s diverse notes and makes a connection with the polymorphic sides of nature. Longevity is quite decent but the scent doesn’t outlast the original. Sillage is quite impressive, too. The scent’s woody credentials also come to the fore in its packaging with the light-brown-tinted bottle and wood finish bottle cap striped with vibrant veins. Ultimately, this is a scent that adds to your mystique on a romantic date, just what you might need in February.

Also read: It’s a new decade, the perfect time to reboot your fragrance collection

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Carolina Herrera — Bad Boy: When lightning strikes

Purists might tell you that packaging has eclipsed substance when it comes to fragrance marketing. But it’s 2020 and purists probably don’t matter. At least not when the scent in question has adopted a bold tag line — ‘It’s good to be bad’, for the times we live in. This might well be a case of a standout flacon overriding the olfactory experience and we’re not complaining. It should come as no surprise. Carolina Herrera’s Good Girl with its stiletto-shaped bottle swept many women off their feet. And now, Bad Boy does the same with its lightning bolt flacon in midnight blue that rests on a golden base. 

Fortunately, it’s not just a case of a great bottle with an uninspiring scent. This versatile perfume is just what you might need for a night on the town. An oriental aromatic fragrance where opposites are drawn into each other. The brightness of sage, green bergamot and pepper tangos with the sensual darkness of tonka bean, cocoa and amber. This Bad Boy is a people pleaser with its sweet and romantic appeal. That might be all you need to win approval at work or at the nightclub. 

Rs 6,200/100ml

Timeless romantic scents for your wardrobe

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Bleu de Chanel: Jacque Polge, the nose behind some of Chanel’s iconic scents, crafted this one for the modern, romantic gentleman who refuses to be boxed into any category. The scent is woody and aquatic in the same breath. This complex yet easy-to-wear fragrance brings together fresh notes like grapefruit and lemon and intense notes like pink pepper, incense and vetiver. 

Rs 14,000/150ml

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Also read: Best smelling perfumes for men in 2019

Narciso Rodriguez for him: Designer Narciso Rodriguez’s first men’s fragrance features his personal signature scent — Egyptian musk oil as one of the key ingredients. The end result is a classic fragrance that adds that little extra to your charisma. It stays consistent for hours together and when you do find the ‘spark’, it has enough warm, woody notes to light a fire!  

Rs 5,000/100ml 

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Yves Saint Laurent L’ Homme: It’s certainly not in-your-face and it’s not one of those scents that will elicit a passionate love/hate response; It’s the near perfect blend of citrus and woody elements with a sensual undertone. 

Rs 4,350/60ml

Also read: 6 perfumes to carry you through festive and party season this year

Fragrance cheat sheet

Fragrance pyramid: Fragrances have a three tier structure; these notes are arranged in order of the evaporation rate. The top notes are what you smell first, the notes that the salesperson will use to sell you a fragrance. The middle notes, often referred to as the fragrance's heart, define its personality. It is the base notes or the bottom notes of the fragrance that ultimately linger on your skin and determine the staying power of the scent. The top notes tend to be crisp and light, the middle notes spicy, while the base notes are usually heavy with woods or musk.

Nose: Or 'Nez' in French, refers to the person who mixes fragrance components to make the perfume, also commonly referred to as a perfumer.

Sillage: The projection of the fragrance or the scent trail your fragrance leaves behind. Some scents smell terrific but stay too close to your skin; clearly not a case of money well spent.

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