Gone are the days when Lynx Africa was all you needed, alas. Nowadays a man’s top shelf must buckle with a bottled array of smellies if he holds any hope of rubbing shoulders with the perfumed dandies and flatterers at court. Or at least his colleagues at all that customary post-work roistering.
With a plethora of fragrances befitting only formal events and others made solely for the casual day-to-day, you can easily get left behind or, worse still, end up succumbing to one of the many sensory pitfalls: a heady tobacco oud at your local pub (the shock!), Davidoff Cool Water at your wedding (the horror!). One shudders at the thought. All this is especially dangerous if your olfactory allies are invariably drafted in from the Boots bargain counter.
So as Christmas draws ever nearer, ’tis the season to be jolly pernickety about the next eau de whatever you decide to spritz onto your wrists and neck. You choose the right shoes for the occasion. The right outfit. The correct hairstyle. Why isn’t your fragrance selected with the same diligence? It’s nonsense absolute.
So turn your nose up at the dusty bottles in your bedroom and shun the same old, same old. This is your guide to sniffing out the best purchases for each situation a modern man faces in a day. When it comes to standing out, the nose knows.
1. At Work
It turns out whiffing like old leather boots doesn’t give off an illusion of grandeur after all. Even if you work for The New Yorker. Any sensible employer would turn their nose up at an over-perfumed employee whose scent enters the boardroom before them.
In other words, opt for subtle smells when you’re at the coalface to save yourself getting burned. The type of man who kicks up a funk at the office is likely the type of man who’d fit in nicely in this season of The Apprentice. Don’t be that guy.
So what smells like team spirit? Something lighter with citrus notes and an aromatic undertone will leave you smelling fresh without causing your desk neighbour any headaches.
Blu Mediterraneo Bergamotto di Calabria by Acqua di Parma is distinctive enough without overdoing it, delivering the unmistakable Acqua di Parma scent with a fresh, citrusy lead.
Citrus scents do tend to diminish quicker than others, though, so keep a bottle or travel atomiser in your bag for a midday top-up if you’re pulling a late one.
Perhaps you don’t like smelling the same at post-work drinks as you did when you were crunching the numbers an hour ago. Or maybe you’re trying to impress the boss with something unique at Friday’s bowling social. Either way, sometimes it pays to switch up your fragrance when moving from business to pleasure with your colleagues in tow.
Of course, you still want to retain some veneer of professionalism (you did scrap that Lynx Africa, didn’t you?). You could opt for a more heady Acqua di Parma, like the distinctive Colonia Ambra, which combines citrus with the punchy ambergris scent – there definitely won’t be a colleague wearing anything similar.
Or you could play it a little safer with a modern classic like Givenchy Gentleman, which is woody and aromatic without being so overpowering as to stop anyone from wanting to share your bowling lane.
3. An Interview
OK. So you didn’t take our advice in the preceding situations and got fired for wearing Lynx Africa. Or perhaps you’re just ready to move onto vocational pastures new and have secured an interview. Lucky you. Whatever the reason (hopefully it’s the latter), both require smelling like the business when faced with a potential employer.
But it pays to remember one key fact: unless you’re being interviewed by Google in an airy San Francisco office, you’ll likely be crammed into a cubbyhole in gloomy Britain with the heating turned up to 11 and windows nothing but a distant memory.
This presents a quandary. You need to avoid smelling like nervous sweat – you don’t want employers picking up on your crippling fear, after all – but overdoing it with eau de toilette could gas everyone in the room. Neither do a good interview make.
A scent that’s subtle but unique – when compared with the other potential applicants, at least – is your weapon of choice. Cedrat Enivrant by Atelier Cologne, defined by citrus, hints of mint and the lingering, clean smell of vetiver, is distinctive enough to leave you remembered and subtle enough not to cause bouts of sneezing over your CV.
4. Another Wedding
If you’ve passed 25, the marriage contagion is likely spreading among your friends and expensive parties are now infesting your social calendar. As a reader of FashionBeans, we’re going to presume you enjoy the pomp and ceremony, however. It’s an excuse to shine your shoes and button up your bests, if nothing else.
So formal and apparently ‘special’ are weddings that it would be remiss not to smell as smart as you look. The best thing about the whole shebang is that it’s one situation in which flamboyance and posturing are not only acceptable, but positively encouraged.
So there’s no better time to throw caution to the wind and air your most distinctive smell yet than when you’re pulsating in the midst of a throng of dad dancers and emotional bridesmaids. Tom Ford’s Oud Wood is an eau de parfum packing such a lasting punch that a generous spritz in the morning will likely linger until the final slow songs come 2am.
5. Date Night
We like to think you met them on the dance floor at your mate’s wedding. Your glistening and intoxicating personality will do most of the work tonight, for sure. But why not ensure a second date by leaving a lingering scent in their memory? Smells like a plan to us.
We’re not being (completely) facetious. There’s science there. The olfactory memory is the strongest in the human brain, which is why a quick whiff of something can conjure up unbidden memories of loves lost and childhood sweethearts. Ensure yours lasts with something your date hasn’t smelled before. But don’t go overboard either. Strong fragrances can alter one’s sense of taste. Which could utterly ruin dinner.
Molton Brown’s Tobacco Absolute delivers musk and tobacco, underpinned by the more vibrant note of grapefruit. Translated, that means you’ll smell decidedly masculine without stinging anyone’s nostrils, while remaining fresh until midnight chimes and it’s time to call it a night. How that night ends, we’ll leave up to you.
Like your choice of sock or the state of your shoes, your scent says a lot about you. So make sure it’s singing your praises and not selling you down the river.
How do you match your fragrance to the occasion? And which scents say work or play to you?
Have your say below.