I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but lately, I find myself fighting the urge to smear Old Spice deodorant under my nose like Vicks VapoRub.
Without any rhyme or reason, I’ve somehow become one of those girls that lusts over Fierce by Abercrombie & Fitch mixed with college boy sweat, and every time I step into an elevator that’s been essentially turned into a steam room of cologne scents, I find myself practically drooling when I reach my floor. I’m a grown woman with a career and two pets and an apartment, yet I’m suddenly powerless to the overwhelming nature of the hyper-masculine scents.
My weird new obsession often has me stopped in the cologne section of whatever shop I happen to enter, ferociously sniffing bottles and spraying little sample cards to take home and put in my underwear drawer (don’t judge). This newfound scent studying has made me a bit of an expert in my friend group when it comes to “men’s” fragrance, and it’s quickly become a hobby of sorts to act as a scent advisor for my nearest and dearest.
I’ve come across a number of sweat-and-heavy-breathing-inducing scents in my adventures, but here are some of my favourites.
I first discovered this scent while away on vacation in the middle of a mountain range with a mixture of artists and athletes (it’s a long story). At one point, one of the crazy-sexy photographers walked into a room, and every single person looked over and asked all at once “WHAT SMELLS SO GOOD?!” Of course, it was Spicebomb, and since that moment, I’ve been totally, madly in love with it.
A warm, spicy mix of chili, saffron, leather, tobacco, vetiver, bergamot, grapefruit, elemi and pink pepper, this scent is supposed to be explosive, addictive, and fiery, and oh my, is it ever! Think sweet, spicy, and almost too sexy.
This scent is so different from anything that has ever brushed my nose, and yet it’s entirely intoxicating. A hyper-fresh blend of heavy cucumber, bergamot, and eucalyptus, with notes of lavender, vetiver, amyris, and other woods, this cologne is addictively unexpected, and everyone who wears it adores it (including me!). Think fresh, mysterious, and handsome. It’s probably also the most obviously unisex of the bunch (though I’ve taken a turn wearing all of them myself).
Explained simply with the words “tobacco, whisky, wood,” Erastus is modern, natural, and sweet. As described by the perfumer: “Imagine old man Erastus taking a walk through the Coastal Range. He gets to a cliff overlooking the ocean, takes out the small cedar box holding his tobacco and rolls up a smoke.” Long story short: this is a great fragrance for woodsy intelligent artist types looking for something rare and unique.
Hand-blended in Portland, this scent is pure, simple, and very spicy, but unfortunately it doesn’t have the best staying power, so reapplication is suggested.
When I first sprayed this cologne, I hated it because it reminded me of my mean, misogynistic grandfather, but as the initial fragrance died off, it quickly matured into something more complex, mysterious, and seriously divine.
The newest Polo fragrance, this EDT is made up of vetiver and guaiac wood, with top notes of cinnamon and pink pepper and a hint of agarwood. It’s sophisticated, refined, and for some reason reminds me of black licorice and smoke. Sure to be a new classic, this cologne has incredible staying power, and only gets more intriguing with time.
What are your favourite smoky, musky “manly” scents, both for yourself and for the boys? Please tell me I’m not the only one who chases the cologne cloud!