Men’s Fragrances: The High Note

  • Part two of our scents feature; Emma Spedding focuses on fragrances for the modern — and traditional — man. Photography by Janne Tuunanen
    Left: Ralph Lauren 'Polo'. Right: Serge Luton, 'Ambre Sultan' Photography by Janne Tuunanen
    Left: Ralph Lauren ‘Polo’. Right: Serge Lutens, ‘Ambre Sultan’, Nasomatto, ‘Duro’

    Ralph Lauren 'Polo'
    Ralph Lauren pioneered the American sporting gentleman and in 1978 he was the face of his first fragrance, Polo. He personifies the All-American man in denim on denim, bronzed hand on hip.

    The bottom of the vintage ad reads:
    “I believe in fragrances that go beyond fashion — that capture the essence of a certain way of living, a kind of timeless style.”

    Three decades later and millions of bottles sold, Polo is just that — a timeless classic.

    Created by world famous perfumer Carlos Benaim, Polo smells of pure masculinity. It does not contain any floral notes, but is grassy and tough. The top notes are fresh pine, basil and juniper, with spicy cumin and coriander. The base notes are masculine and strong, with leather, tobacco and oak moss.The bottle is inspired by a classic gentleman’s flask, with forest green glass, gold cap and polo pony.

    When Ralph Lauren created his lifestyle brand he was inspired by the yearbooks of Princeton, Harvard and Yale and by old photographs of the rich at leisure. Now, his hunter green bottle is its own piece of All-American Heritage.
    Serge Lutens 'Ambre Sultan'
    The Serge Lutens aesthetic is elegant yet minimal. Each bottle is a solid glass rectangle with a simple label bearing just the name and logo. They embody classic Parisian luxury.

    In the early 1960s Lutens worked as a makeup artist and stylist for Vogue in Paris, and was commissioned to create the cosmetic line for Christian Dior in 1967.He was also creative director at Shiseido in the 80s and created his first perfume — the legendary Nombre Noir — for them in 1981. But at the turn of the century Lutens created his own perfumery, Parfums-Beaute Serge Lutens, which now has a cult following.

    Ambre Sultan was inspired by visiting local Marrakech shops and by the smell of spices.A perfume that appeals to both men and women with herbal oregano, bay leaf, sandalwood, coriander, amber and vanilla notes, this amber perfume is both original and mysterious.

    Serge Lutens has created a dark and sensual aroma that you won’t easily forget.
    Nasomatto 'Duro'
    Duro aims to “enhance all manifestations of male strength.” It is a robust and potent leather scent. There is nothing feminine about this carnal fragrance by Alessandro Gualtieri. More petroleum than floral, it is inspired by raw materials and nature.Duro is certainly an acquired scent. Luca Turin said in his review in The Guide:
    “Useful as a contraceptive, but little else.”

    The Amsterdam based company use rare raw ingredients and unusual combinations. They are however notoriously secretive and don’t release the notes in their fragrances. With leather, woods and spice Duro is made for a man determined to make a statement. It is the ultimate unapologetic fragrance.

    The bottle is handsome, with a signature chunky wooden cube lid and simplistic label.

  • Chanel Allure Homme Eau Extreme
    Chanel 'Allure'

    Above: Chanel ‘Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme’

    Chanel’s fresh yet spicy scent Allure Sport made a phenomenal impact when it launched in 2004 and is guaranteed to remain forever a sports classic. Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme is even more intense. The adrenaline pumping fragrance launched in March this year and was created by Jacques Polge, the Head of Parfums at Chanel. The clean Allure Homme Sport is given an added punch with refreshing mint, mandarin, cypress and sage, providing an invigorating chill. Like Allure Homme Sport, black pepper from Madagascar and cedar are at the heart, whilst Tonka Bean and White Musk form the base notes. It is fresh, sharp and strong.

    The original Allure Homme Sport bottle was inspired by the classic Chanel J12 watch. Cool and metallic, the glass flanker is an opaque gunmetal-grey with a rubber cap detailed with an engraved metal ring sporting the iconic Chanel logo. Eau Extreme is the same shape but a darker version, with metallic charcoal glass and a black stopper.

    Chanel made a splash with professional surfer Danny Fully as the face of the Eau Extreme advertising campaign, directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. As you would expect the Eau Extreme campaign is more physical than the 2004 Allure campaign, which featured Spanish model Andrés Velencoso sailing a yacht off the shores of
    Islamorada, Florida.

  • Left to right: Aesop — 'Marrakech' and 'Mystra'. Right: Christian Dior: 'Eau Sauvage'
    Left to right: Aesop ‘Marrakech’ and ‘Mystra’. Christian Dior ‘Eau Sauvage’

    Aesop 'Marrakech' & 'Mystra'
    There are some fragrances that transport you far away and the spices of Aesop colognes take you to straight to a Souk. Aesop have two fragrances, Mystra and Marrakech, which are both inspired by the Middle East and Morocco.The ingredients in Mystra include frankincense, labdanum and mastic, giving it a woody and spicy scent. It is often described as ‘Byzantium’ inspired and thereis certainly an old world element to it. The mix of gentle spices and incense gives an enchanting fragrance.

    Marrakech has light notes such as bergamot, neroli, cardamom and jasmine mixed with clove, patchouli and rose. Aesop claim that with their Marrakech range “we let our thoughts drift across warm seas, to a city draped in colours of the desert, where artisans sit on rugs hewn by hand, and lutemusic mixes with the smell of spices in
    hot wind.”

    The packaging is simplistic and medicinal, complete with screw top lids and large labels. Both scents come in a perfumed balm, Eau de Toilette and Parfum.

    Aesop was founded in 1987 and only includes ingredients which they believe have natural, holistic benefit to the skin.

    This iconic cologne’s title translates to “wild water”, with the tag line l’eternal masculin, meaning manly forever. Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska wanted to create a simplified fragrance, which he did with this classic citrus cologne. With notes of lemon, rosemary, basil, pettigrain and vetiver, Eau Savage is both elegant and clean with an irreverent masculinity, (although some women do wear it as Roudnitska predicted).What is special about this iconic cologne is that the bottle design by Pierre Camin has not changed since its creation in 1966. Inspired by a gentleman’s flask, the designer transformed the ultimate masculine accessory into an object of luxury. The stopper is in the shape of Christian Dior’s thimble and the curved glass mimics draped fabric.The advertising is equally elegant and timeless. In 2009 Dior took the intelligent step of using a photograph of French actor Alain Delon as the wild beauty to advertise the fragrance, selecting an image taken by Jean-Marie Perrier in 1966, when Delon was 31, the year Eau Sauvage was created.
    ..Read part one: Heaven Scent