When a perfumer creates a fragrance, they have a specific target in mind. It might be a scent for women, or uni-sex, but the market for masculine fragrances is growing each year, as guys aren’t waiting for their wives or girlfriends to choose for them; according to a recent 2019 industry survey, the percentage of sales of masculine fragrances are up more than twice that of women’s. So, what makes a fragrance “masculine”? Usually, they aren’t as sweet as women’s perfumes, less floral and fruity. Guys love and buy Fougeres (which means “fern” in French). Ingredients like wood, oud are especially popular. Try our curated picks from Perfume.com
OUD: Yves St. Laurent’s M7 Oud Absolu puts Oud front and center. The powerful ingredient is balanced with tart citruses and grassy vetiver and M7 Oud Absolu finishes with ambrosial amber at the base. For men who are confident and like their fragrances to get compliments…especially from the ladies.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Al Oudh is a mesmerizing trip by caravan to the Arabian Pennisula. Spicy and smoky, Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour composed a fragrance that is fit for a modern-day sultan and is one of the best Oud perfumes we have tried, softened by orange blossom and rose notes.
Woody: The One Gentleman by Dolce & Gabbana is a sophisticated choice for the man with impeccable taste. It’s a modern aromatic woody scent with notes of pepper and cardamom. Spicy doesn’t mean overpowering, The One Gentleman is a classy masculine fragrance that is never overbearing.
The classic Dior Homme by Olivier Polge, was the first men’s fragrance to use a floral note in the heart of its composition. For evening, guys might like something that is stronger and more modern. Dior Homme Intense, is a more contemporary version has a deeper dose of cedar, a hint of spice and warm woods.
Gentleman Only by Givenchy with its cedar and oak moss is debonair, with a refined presence. Another wood-centric favorite is the rugged He Wood Rocky Mountain by DSquared2, which reminds us of a hike through a mountain trail on a cold day as the sun sets and the smell of smoke, incense fill the woods as we journey home.
FOUGERE: The aromatic-fougere category (herbaceous with lavender and some spice) tend to be the most popular of all masculine fragrances. Penhaligon’s English Fern is our recommendation, with its notes of lavender, geranium, cloves, sandalwood, patchouli and oakmoss, it’s a classic that will always be in fashion.
Don’t let the color of the bottle fool you. If you want a fresh greener fougere try Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren, which is less spicy, with notes of cucumber and aromatic basil.