Classic fragrances for men to rediscover – Robb Report
by netflix Halston may have garnered mixed reviews and sparked debate over whether straight actors can convincingly play gay characters, but what is not in dispute is the genius of the fashion designer whose turbulent life he recounts. And with an entire episode devoted to his scents, the series also served as a reminder that Roy Halston Frowick was as creative with scent as he was with fabric. It helped some guys rediscover – or rediscover – the Studio 54 regular’s first male scent, Z-14.
It’s not the only scent from the past worth sniffing. According to Stephan Matthews, a fragrance expert, writer and brand advisor who has worked with Chanel, Guerlain and Estée Lauder, if you look beyond newcomers, you can find a treasure trove of fragrances that always smell great.
“Scent lovers are often so focused on finding the next big hit or the go-to scent that they often forget to look back and forth,” he says. “Search the shelves of your local drugstore, however, and you will discover some absolute gems that are no longer stocked in department stores. Plus, by trusting the amazing perfumers of the past, you’ll likely be ahead of everyone else and even be able to create your own trend.
Some of them are so unfamiliar today that spraying one is almost like wearing something brand new. You can go for a contemporary blockbuster like Sauvage or Bleu de Chanel de Dior, but many other men wear them. And who wants to smell like a lot of other men?
“Wearing classic and forgotten fragrances, on the other hand, shows that you are willing to take risks, that you are truly individual and that you respect the work of perfumers like Vincent Marcello and Max Gavarry, who created the first men. from Halston. fragrances, ”says Matthews.
In short, you will look like a connoisseur of cologne. After all, not everyone knows that the Z-14 is always great, Geoffrey Beene’s Gray Flannel is a true original and that Muehlens’ 4711 looks a lot like Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino, but a fraction of the price. The relative obscurity of these lost classics means that manufacturers often entice buyers with generously sized bottles, giving you unparalleled value for money and proving, if it was needed, that luxury is more about quality than your Amex invoice. Below, seven of these forgotten fragrances that are worth rediscovering.
Robb Report editors scour the world (and the internet) for the best of the best and only endorse products that we love and think you will like, too. If you purchase a product or service through a link in this story, we may receive a small commission.
Launched after the phenomenal success of Halston’s first fragrance for women, the legendary creator’s two men’s fragrances, Z-14 and 1-12, have gone on to become blockbusters in their own right and have won numerous industry awards.
Named after the perfumer’s ID numbers and launched simultaneously because Halston couldn’t decide which of the two formulations he preferred, the rich and leathery Z-14 has stood the test of time best. “Halston Z-14 is a green, woody scent with a crisp, cologne-like opening leading to a resinous, leathery base and is a shameless celebration of earthy patchouli,” says Matthews.
“It adapts to all the trends of the moment, and although it has been reformulated over the years and is lighter than the original, it is as relevant today as it was when it was launched in 1976. Sexy as a night at Studio 54, the hyper-masculine concoction is housed in a bottle designed by Elsa Peretti that is, in itself, a miniature work of art.
Buy Now: $ 26.25
Gray flannel Geoffrey Beene
Named after the legendary designer’s favorite material, this fresh, green and woody scent from 1975, with its powdery and slightly dusty core, practically smells of gray, in a good way.
The key to its originality as a masculine scent (aside from the fact that it was originally presented in a gray flannel drawstring pouch) is the chunky purple note that gives it its signature scent.
Refined, gentlemanly and understated, it won a prestigious FIFI Award (the equivalent of an Oscar for perfume) at its launch and remains one of the most distinctive and original perfumes on the market.
“This classic shows no sign that it hit the market in the middle of a decade usually not known for its timeless style,” writes Bernhard Roetzel in Gentleman: timeless fashion. “It goes best with a wardrobe organized along classic lines”. Beene would be delighted, of course, if that wardrobe contained real gray flannel.
Buy Now: $ 24
Herr Lagerfeld may not be with us anymore, but look for his first men’s fragrance, now (rightly) known as the Lagerfeld Classic and you will find out why the German designer has been praised not only for his fashion but also for its fragrance.
Launched in 1978, this distinctive evening scent is a warm, sweet and heady number of leather-meet-tobacco-meet-rose with a creamy and sultry base of patchouli and vanilla. It is this last note which gives the creation a large part of its “edible” gourmet side. Gourmet fragrances, with “foodie” notes such as vanilla, coffee and sweets, have been a strong trend for several years. If you’re a fan of Mugler’s A * Men, Gaultier’s Le Male or Tom Ford’s Noir Extreme, you’ll love it.
As Doctor Who, the perfume has regenerated several times as its license has passed through several hands, but it remains a surprisingly original and sexy eau de toilette that is unlike any other. Perfect for modern dandies.
Buy Now: $ 28.30
Muelhens 4711 Eau de Cologne
Created in 1792 (how’s that to last?), This superbly fresh and crunchy blend of citrus and aromatic herbs is an inexpensive essential that every man should have in his arsenal of fragrances. Merging lemon, orange, bergamot, petitgrain and neroli with lavender and rosemary, it is the model of many contemporary colognes.
“[It’s] the ultimate summer scent, with a zest that’s guaranteed to uplift, invigorate and refresh, ”says Matthews. “But because it’s a low price and stocked in drugstores, people often ignore it.”
Its delicate and discreet lightness makes it perfect for gym bags and office drawers. “As an eau de cologne, it won’t last for hours on the skin, but due to its incredibly low price, it can be sprayed with absolute recklessness,” he says.
Buy Now: $ 29.13
Eau de Cologne Helmut Lang
Originally launched in 2000, Helmut Lang’s cult fragrance Noughties has had more comebacks than Fleetwood Mac, but luckily with fewer changes in its appearance.
A light, floral / woody concoction with traditionally feminine notes of lily of the valley, heliotrope and jasmine fused with more distinctly masculine notes of sandalwood, cedar and patchouli, it has a powdery, unisex, candy and sweetness. a freshness makes it the perfect fragrance to share.
Dropped out in 2005 following the departure of the Austrian-born designer from the fashion industry, it was resurrected nine years later to the delight of Lang lovers around the world, but has recently disappeared again as the one of his top notes. Difficult, but not impossible, to find, the bottles are still available in some online stores and via eBay. Take one if you can, if not to wear it then as a good investment.
Buy Now: $ 150 +
Giorgio Beverley Hills for men
Hailing from the mid-1980s when men’s fragrances were as big as yuppy bar bills, this woody and aromatic cologne perfectly captures the confidence and exhilaration of the Beverly Hills lifestyle circa 1984.
“Back then, fragrances had to be Godzillas, because in the 1980s the consumer market was a crowded elevator in which everyone nudged and pushed each other,” Lizzie Ostrom points out. , author of Perfume: a century of scents.
Fortunately, like many powerful scents from the ’80s, it has toned down somewhat over the years and the original creamy lemon curd vibe has been replaced by a crisper, more bitter citrus zest that gives it a more contemporary feel.
What remains, however, is the earthy note of patchouli that gives it its character, as well as a spoonful of sweet, sultry honey – a relatively rare note in masculine fragrances and later used as L’Envol de Cartier and Bulgari Man. It’s great for daytime or evening use, but it still packs a punch, so take it easy when applying.
Buy Now: $ 21.80
Caron for a man
Widely regarded as the very first fragrance specifically marketed for men, Caron’s Pour un Homme lavender pomegranate was launched in 1934. So you’re forgiven if it’s not on your scent radar. Fresh and aromatic and yet smooth and creamy thanks to a good dose of vanilla, it is remarkably simple yet effective and has inspired dozens of other fragrances, Dior Homme included.
“It still works today because it captures a truly timeless accord, where the sweet, malty sweetness of its vanilla and lavender overlaps,” says award-winning blogger and podcaster Thomas Dunckley of The Candy Perfume Boy. “It’s sturdy and beautiful and never really goes out of style.” Fans also describe this most gentlemanly scent as eerily reassuring and heartwarming, making it the perfect scent for uncertain times.
Aside from being a James Dean favorite and having a song written about it by French ballader Serge Gainsbourg, it’s also one of Tom Ford’s favorite scents, so if you fall in love with it, you are. very good, not to mention very elegant, company.
Buy now: 84 € +