‘A true gentleman should never call himself a gentleman; he should be recognised by others.’ It’s the kind of truism you’d find on a Pinterest board of pocket squares, a motto adhered to by men who believe in holding doors open for ladies, but not letting them into their private members’ club. Oscar de la Renta’s approach is always more nuanced. Though the designer passed away last year, his eponymous house lives on. It’s dressed both politicians and celebutantes since the 1960s and the couturier has imbued its latest fragrance, Gentleman, with the same jetsetter luxury. It’s as elegant as the name suggests. Not in a ‘21 signs you’re a gentleman’ way (and if you need to check, rest assured you are not). More in its ‘life well played’ tagline, which translates to a bottle in the shape of a twistable domino – more befitting of a mahogany dressing table than a bathroom shelf. But this isn’t style over substance. The fragrance features heady wood notes underpinned with touches of geranium and grapefruit champagne – an almost unisex modernisation of man’s man musk. The idea of a gentleman is changing, and so too is his scent. Still, an everyday fragrance this is not. It’s the kind of scent best reserved for when you want to leave an impression (literally – spray it on at night and you’ll still be smelling it in the morning). Best save it for date night, then, rather than Netflix and chill. But in addition to dinner reservations and a few pre-meal cocktails, a spritz of Gentleman is the cherry on top of the ‘making an effort’ cake. Which tots up boyfriend points if nothing else. Nobody should be expected to pull chairs out, or bring flowers, or even pick up the bill. But the proverb still stands – a gentleman should only be recognised by others. And thanks to Oscar de la Renta, your inner Clooney will be much easier to sniff out. Available at Oscar de la Renta, priced £70.50.
Bottle: A domino-shaped smoking lounge throwback. Head notes: amber, geranium and black tea; Heart notes: bergamot, grapefruit champagne; Base notes: sandalwood, labdanum. Best for: the type of restaurant that requires a reservation six weeks ahead.