Gabriella’s 2015 Top Five Traditional Masculine Scents


Post by Gabriella


Hello perfume peeps,

As time has gone by, I have become less shy talking about my blogging and sharing my love of scent with the wider public. When I do mention my passion to colleagues and friends, I often get questions such as: “I need a new perfume. I love Coco Mademoiselle, what do you recommend?” or “What is the perfume you like the most?” Pleasingly, men are as curious as women, with most asking whether I review men’s colognes or aftershaves?

2015 Masculine Fragrances hairy_macho_man boggienightboy DeviantArtPhoto stolen DeviantArt

Gabriella’s 2015 Top Five Traditional Masculine Scents

This always brings a wry smile to my face as most of us here in perfume land have long ignored the gender divide enforced by the “men’s” and “women’s” sections of department stores. However, it did get me thinking as most of what I wear and write about are the Big White Florals and uber-feminine scents. Apart from the experiment when Mr M let me douse him in Fracas, how many non-perfumista menfolk would wear something like Carnal Flower or Fleurissimo?
So, as an attempt to address the issue, I present my top five traditional masculine scents:

Antaeus Chanel Fragrantica

1. Antaeus by Jacques Polge for Chanel 1981

The strong virile hero scent. Antaeus is a machismo concoction of bold proportions that still feels seamless thanks to Mr Polge’s genius. A powerful blend of verdant bergamot and clary sage amplified with rich spices and smooth leather. If you want a scent to put hair on your chest, this is the one.

Fragrantica  lists the following accords:
Top: Lemon, lime, coriander, myrtle, clary sage, and bergamot
Heart: Thyme, basil, rose and jasmine
Base: Patchouli, castoreum, labdanum and oak moss

StrawberryNet has $106.50/50ml
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $3/ml
Eau Sauvage Christian Dior Fragrantica

2. Eau Sauvage by Edmond Roudnitska for Christian Dior 1966

The epitome of effortless elegance. Eau Sauvage is the Adam of the men’s fragrance world that spawned the Eve of Diorella. To me, the luminosity of the citrus, verdant herbs and something a little sinister and sexy underneath it all means the scent trumps more modern citrus and cologne compositions despite the current watered-down reformulation.

Fragrantica lists the following accords:
Top: Lemon, basil, bergamot, cumin, lavender and fruit
Heart: Jasmine, rose, carnation, iris root, coriander, patchouli and sandalwood
Base: Oak moss, vetiver, musk and amber

Further reading:  Bois de Jasmin
Parfum1 has $122/6.6oz
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $3/ml
New York Nicolai Parfumeur Fragrantica

3. New York by Patricia de Nicolai for Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 1989

It is just that good. Say lavender and bergamot and I usually run a mile, hence why you’ll never find me raving about Jicky or Bois du Portugal. New York, however, took me from hate to love when we were searching for a new scent for Mr M as I think it is the smoothest, most well- rounded of the combinations on the market. Plus there’s a candied, powdery vibe to the lavender, which makes manages to be both sexy and snuggly.

Fragrantica lists the following accords:
Top: Bergamot, amalfi lemon, cloves, lavender and green notes
Heart: Thyme, cinnamon, pepper, paprika, patchouli and cedar
Base: Amber, vanilla and leather

Further reading:  Olfactoria’s Travels
Luckyscent has $45/30ml
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

Paco Rabanne Paco Rabanne Fragrantica

4. Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Jean Martel for Paco Rabanne 1973

Debonair in a bottle. A quintessential fougere with piquant notes of rosemary and clary sage, what strikes me most about Pour Homme is the quality and depth of the musk in the drydown. It’s earthy, animalic and seductive, like snuggling into your man’s chest after a heated, passionate night.

Fragrantica lists the following accords:
Top: Rosemary, clary sage and brazilian rosewood
Heart: Tonka bean, lavender and geranium
Base: Honey, amber, musk and oakmoss

Further reading: From Pyrgos
FragranceNet has $44.99/100ml before coupon
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

Polo Ralph Lauren Fragrantica

5. Polo Ralph Lauren for Men by Carlos Benaim for Ralph Lauren 1978

The scent of boyfriends past. Probably a bit OTT now, but god, how I loved this back in the day. Even though it was pretty much ubiquitous in the early 1990s, Polo stood out for being a brooding Heathcliff of a scent amid the onslaught of flimsy aquatics and calones. Deep greens, herbs, spiky woods and a powerful wallop of pine makes this not for the fainthearted.

Fragrantica lists the following accords:
Top: Artemisia, basil and thyme, with spicy notes of cumin, coriander and cloves
Heart: Conifer woods, decorated with notes of patchouli, oakmoss and vetiver
Base: Leather, tobacco and thyme

FragranceNet has $53.99/2oz before coupon
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $2.99/ml

So what are your top ‘traditional’ masculine scents? Ladies, do you wear any of these? What was the scent that broke the gender divide perfume wise for you once you got past department store classifications?

With much love till next time!
M x


All photos stolen Fragrantica unless specified

27 comments on “Gabriella’s 2015 Top Five Traditional Masculine Scents

  1. Jackie b says:

    Hoho, that is a sketch of my first boyfriend, and he wore Aramis. Relentlessly.
    Out of all of these reviewed, I would wear Eau Sauvage.
    But I think that society generally now is more accepting of good fragrance worn on any gender. I certainly wear what smells great on me regardless of label. So perhaps perfumers are creating for a more un-sexed buying public.
    If that makes sense?

    • Madeleine says:

      Hi Jackie,

      I agree that society is more accepting which is why I was bemused when male friends constantly asked me whether I write about ‘men’s stuff’. I know there are some men and women out there that still think: ‘Oh, I can’t wear that because it’s for women/men.’
      Would you believe I have never smelt Aramis?

      M x

  2. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Jin got a vintage CHANEL Antaeus for Christmas this year thanks to our very own Ainslie walker. It smells freaking killer on him, it wakes me up in the morning when he spritzes. MMMMMMM
    Portia xx

  3. Liam says:

    Hi Madeleine, great read.

    According to this, I am ‘kinda’ manly – with me owning and frequently wearing 2 of the 5 scents… Antaeus and Eau Sauvage. Both are masterpieces.

    Another fragrance that comes to mind is Fahrenheit – another all time classic, and another fav of mine.


    • Madeleine says:

      Hi Liam,

      Thanks! I certainly wasn’t trying to put people in categories – see my reply to Jackie. Fahrenheit is a good one which I didn’t include as I wrote the post on holidays and didn’t have time to refresh my memory of it.


  4. Melita says:

    I’m rather fond of the latest Dior Homme. I find it rather like Shalimar Parfum Initial, which is marketed to women. As for more traditional men’s fragrances, Old Spice is a wonder. Reminds me of my first love, and is so warm and spicy.
    Melita recently posted…Music and Smell: Brian Eno’s Scents and SensibilityMy Profile

    • Madeleine says:

      Hi Melita,

      Must go and sniff the DH. You know, Portia and I went to a men’s sniffing session with Clayton of What Men Should Smell Like and we sniffed Old Spice against Opium and they were exactly the same! I love both.

      M xx

  5. Steve L. says:

    Fun read Madeleine! I love Eau Savage and still wear it today as I have for many years. As for Polo…I recall the days when men and boys would wear it with a force field cloud around them. It was really the precursor to Axe Body Spray!
    Steve L. recently posted…Thierry Mugler AlienMy Profile

    • Madeleine says:

      Thanks Steve and ouch about the Axe! Thank goodness there was never force fields around me! It’s lovely, but don’t over spray!


  6. Musette says:

    As a survivor of the Polo 80s, if I never smell it again, it’ll be too soon. It was such a gorgeous scent, ruined (RUINED! I say) by every man in a mullet and pushed-up jacket sleeves marinating himself in it.

    Eau Sauvage is still gorgeous – nobody seemed to wear much of that so I don’t have migraine associations.

    Poor Polo……


    • Madeleine says:

      Hi Anita!

      Oh no! Seems like you and Steve were both surrounded by force fields of mammoth proportions! But hey, that was the 1980s wasn’t it? Eau Sauvage is great and still in relatively good nick, Diorella, however is a mere ghost of its former self 🙁

      M xx

  7. Scar says:

    At the moment I’m looking to buy more of Surrati’s “Tom Oudh” for my SO – it just works so much better on his skin than mine! It’s very cheap if you would consider reviewing it?

  8. Azar says:

    Great topic, Madeleine! I have several favorite so called “men’s” or “unisex” fragrances, old and new: Devin (Aramis) Country After Shave – the original version , Abercrombie and Fitch Woods – the old stuff, Amouage Interlude Man, Anat Fritz Tzora, Royall Lime – old, Bvlagari Black, Rosa Ardiente, Borsari 1870 Acqua Classica, Ambre 114… the list goes on…and on.
    Azar xx

    • Madeleine says:

      Thanks Azar!

      I don’t know any of these except the Ambre *rubs hands at prospect of new scent fodder*….

      M xx

  9. poodle says:

    I loved Paco Rabanne! If only I could have found a boyfriend who would wear the stuff. Back then I never thought to just wear it myself. My, how things have changed. I think I should get my hubby a bottle.

    • Madeleine says:

      Oh poodle,
      That’s a plan such a great scent and easy to wear too, plus you’ll enjoy sniffing your hubby a lot more! 🙂

      M xx

  10. I have a few of these and would wear most of them. Not sure about Paco Rabanne, as I’ve never tried it.

    Some of these have fallen prey to the reformulation monster. I’m told that neither New York nor Eau Sauvage are anywhere near as good as they were in the past.

    Looking at “traditional manly” scents from my own collection, I would probably add Dior Homme Intense, Encre Noir and M7 to this list.
    Gregory Young recently posted…Wear for SuccessMy Profile

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Heya Greg,
      I love your 3 choices, very cool frags, I’m not sure they fit into the “traditional” though. Not in an Anglo set of scents.
      How good is Encre Noir? What a stunner. One of my favourite vetivers.
      (Sorry Madeleine)
      Portia xx

    • Madeleine says:

      Heya Greg,

      Eau Sauvage has suffered along with the rest of the Diors but in my opinion, the current version is still great, unlike poor Diorella, Diorissimo et al as I state in the post. Eau Sauvage is the one that has suffered least, but again, my opinion. I have read about New York too but sadly didn’t get to smell the pre reform, but on both me and my fiance, the current version is still fabulous, so the earlier version must have been stupendous.

      As Portia said, the post focused on traditional as the men who have enquired still think in terms of ‘men’s aftershave’ and I just thought it would be a good exercise and also unfair to include newer stuff released after these stereotypes started breaking down as that’s not how they are intended to be received..but M7 does fit the bill…



  11. Trésor says:

    My absolute favourite thing to do is give myself a proper lashing of Antaeus and a slick of red lipstick, the juxtaposition of the two just sends me into a fit of joy! I adore your choices! Absolutely wonderful.

    • Madeleine says:

      Oh Tresor,

      That would be sublime! From your pic on FFF you rock a red lip and the contrast between the two would be fabulous! In fact, I might just try it tonight!

      M xxx

  12. Kathy mueller says:

    I absolutely love Habit Rouge by Guerlain-found it when I read that it is related to Shalimar, which I also love.

  13. Peter Bolland says:

    Hi would you have all the Dior fragrances up to Fahrenheit there names been trying to find the name of it but can’t remember it.It came out in the mid 80s cheers

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