The days where “wearing scent” was liable to have your masculinity questioned, have fortunately passed. In fact, the balance has swung dramatically the other way and not wearing a fragrance is seen as not normal. Most men on average have three fragrances for different occasions. While women often wear perfume as a reflection of who they are, men tend to wear it as an accessory based on occasion and time of day.
Your fragrance is the finishing touch to the clothes you choose, it is as much an accessory as cufflinks or your wallet. A scent too will increase your personal space, as your scent will extend the area you inhabit. It is also a great confidence builder - knowing you smell clean and especially when someone compliments you on it.
“Our sense of smell can trigger more happy memories than any other of our senses. Vanilla based fragrances are popular because they trigger memories of childhood ice-creams and custard.”
Time And Place
Certain fragrances will suit different times of day better than others. In the morning, sharp citrus scents work well. In the office or about town, a warm woody scent is better. On a night out a heavier fragrance is often best, as it has to compete with wine, cramped bars and Italian food for a place in your dining companions nose.
Wearing ‘seasonal’ fragrances is also a growing trend, wearing citrus or fresh flower scents in summer and incense and woody noted fragrances in winter.
Citrus: One of the most popular as its safe, inoffensive and clean smelling. They always initially smell appealing but they don’t last very long. Seen as a morning scent, due to the freshness.
Aromatic: Tread carefully here, these are lavender or herbal driven scents. The spectrum of this fragrance family is immense, they can be fresh as flowery or heavy and powdery. Get it wrong and you could spend your date night smelling like Grandmas talcum powder.
Fougère: Literally meaning “Fern” in French, these are woody and mossy. These are seen as a more mature scent, for men with a bit of maturity and confidence about them. They are fresh, powerful and unapologetically masculine. Perfect for a night out on a man of any age.
Chypre: A flashback to the 1970’s when leather notes were in vogue. Combining leather notes with a hint of citrus freshness. They were initially intended to capture the spirit of the island of Cyprus - dry warmth, tree resins, citrus and a hint of white flowers - creating a long-lasting and complex result.
Oriental: Inspired by the “Mysterious East” , these are fragrances with big characters. Combining Wood, incense and spices. Coming to prominence in the mid-1990s, giving rise to the trend for Vanilla based scents.
“He was, by the way, the most liberally perfumed man I had ever encountered. The scent announced his approach from a great distance and lingered for many minutes after he was gone.”
Zero Mustaffa, Grand Budapest Hotel
How A Scent Evolves
Citrus and similar noted fragrances will, for the first 20 minutes, be dominated by fresh, fruity and citrus notes. They are hard hitting but short lived.
Heart Notes: After 20 minutes, the heart notes begin to emerge from the citrus. They were always present but just overpowered. These are the flowery, woody and spicy smells that should last a fair few hours. This will make up to majority of your scent.
Base Notes: Once the heart notes have passed, only the base notes are left. They can be made up of Vanilla, Musky, Woody or even Smoky notes - these are the smells left on your clothes the next morning.
How to Wear It.
Fragrance should only be sprayed onto the areas of the body that are naturally warm. Your body heat will allow the scent to fully develop. The first areas should be the “Pulse Points” - the wrist and neck .
Spray a quick burst onto your chest after a shower. No more than three squirts on to your chest after you’ve dried off, the scent will warm quickly and disperse well under your shirt.
Your nose adapts to familiar scents. If a smell has been around for a while, your brain will asses it and, if it’s safe, will regard it as normal “background noise’. You will therefore not be able to smell your fragrance as clearly as you did on day one, so resist the temptation to splash it on thickly every time.
The Right Amount. The smell ought to complement your own skin odour and character. Apply two - three squirts to the chest and neck. If you can still smell it five to ten minutes later, you’ve used the right amount.
NOTE; Eau de toilette is stronger than aftershave! The latter is designed to be applied to raw skin, so contains less alcohol.
Buying A Fragrance
When faced with a wall of different options, the only method is to try them. When testing a scent in a store, never spray it in the air or an yourself. After two testers sprayed on your body and all you will achieve is cocktail of nauseating aromas. Spraying in the air is hit and miss too. The areas of department stores that sell aftershave are a nasal minefield of scent, the air itself is dense with distracting aromas.
Instead take a paper test strip and spray two squirts onto it, take a deep sniff and take it with you. Take another smell 20 minutes later, as the top notes will have passed and opened up to the deeper heart notes.
There is always the failsafe method of knowing whether a fragrance is right for you; if your partner doesn’t like it...bin it .