50 Masculine Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try

“So many perfumes, so little time,” we perfume fanatics think. I not only ponder the scents I’m missing today, but all the perfumes from long ago I never got the chance to smell. I like to peruse glossy perfume books but often feel “bitter” as I admire beautiful illustrations and photographs in old perfume advertisements. Many famous perfume houses, and their creations, disappeared long before I was born — companies like L T Piver, Gilot, Corday, Dorin, Delettrez, Rimmel's Perfumery. Whenever I see certain famous perfume bottles, I get greedy and regretful: Molinard’s “1811” in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte, with a bicorn hat stopper; Schiaparelli’s Snuff (a pipe-shaped bottle housed in a cigar box!); or, perhaps my most coveted bottle, D’Orsay’s Toujours fidèle from 1909, topped with a crystal bulldog.

What’s a man to do?

Five years ago, Robin compiled a list of 100 fragrances every perfumista should try; most of those fragrances were for women (with some unisex perfumes and four masculines included too). Today, I’m presenting a list of 50* perfumes geared towards men, especially newcomers to perfume adoration.

Why only 50 perfumes? I started with 75 fragrances on my list but over time, 25 fragrances were ‘sacrificed.’ There are fewer men’s perfumes on the market than women’s; and as I’ve prepared this list and re-tested masculine fragrance candidates for it, I’ve not been able to justify including more than 50 masculine fragrances on my must-sniff compilation. (This made me feel better about all the perfumes I’ve missed out on in this life.)

The ranks of classic men's fragrances have been decimated by IFRA restrictions,1 the rising costs and scarcity of certain raw materials, and inept reformulations. Great perfumes for men have been reformulated beyond recognition or discontinued; many fragrance lines are now more concerned with the bottom line than with “heritage” or quality. Among the casualties of IFRA et al are Rochas Moustache, Monsieur Rochas, Alain Delon Iquitos, Krizia Moods, Lagerfeld Pour Homme, Pierre Balmain Ébène, Patou Pour Homme, Ricci Signoricci, Houbigant Fougère Royale (modernized)…on and on.

Of course, the list below is personal. There are perfumes on the list I love…and some I hate (but still feel you should smell to add to your perfumista cred). I’ve also limited myself to perfumes that are readily available in the U.S. and that were not on Robin’s “100” list (some of which were contenders for my list too — Guerlain Jicky, L’Artisan Parfumeur Bois Farine, Calvin Klein ck one, Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan). Perfumes that once seemed de rigueur for masculine perfume lovers to sniff are no longer interesting to my nose: Pino Silvestre, Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel, Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir, Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, Old Spice, Brut and New West for Him by Aramis — to name a tiny sampling.

Schiaparelli Snuff advert*Author’s Prerogative (i.e. ‘exceptions to the rules’): two of Robin’s “100” picks HAD to be on my list too: Dior Eau Sauvage and Guerlain Vetiver. These two venerable fragrances are on my list but don’t “count”…thus the numbers 51 and 52 you’ll notice below. I know my “50” list will seem incomplete to, well, everyone, including myself. Do comment and tell me an important masculine fragrance that I left off (chances are good I’ve tried it).


Colonia is on my list not because I adore it (I like it), but because every man should smell its clean, floral talcum powder aroma. When one hears “cologne” one thinks simple mixes of citrus and light woods. Colonia Eau de Cologne is a gateway-scent for men who want to explore flowers, but in a “conservative” (not conservatory) way. Colonia is fast approaching its 100-year anniversary; it’s nice to smell a “survivor,” and a perfume that’s not been ruined by reformulations.


Mystra shows how just a few ingredients can make a big impression. In this pungent mix, there’s frankincense, labdanum and mastic — notes that every perfume lover should recognize.


XXV presents an original take on incense. XXV’s incense is brightened with fruit: citrus and sweet berry skins (with a ratafia-like character). Incense need not be “serious” and “religious,” you can almost imagine adding XXV to a cocktail. (Honorable Mentions in the fruit-incense genre are Memo Luxor Oud and Erik Kormann Eau de Fröhliche.)

Gold Pour Homme is the male equivalent of a knock-out, va-va-va-voom perfume; the rich, almost-overpowering, notes revolve around jasmine and musk. I’ve had people tell me I smell sensational when I wear this fragrance, and others pinch their nostrils, letting their fingers act as a 'clothespin' to block out the scent. Good luck, folks! Nothing blocks out this one, and it’s a great intro to Middle Eastern masculine perfumery; in the Middle East, men are NOT afraid of flowers or desert-encompassing sillage.


At least one Annick Goutal fragrance had to be on my list. I love many of the fragrances in the AG line-up and still mourn the discontinued Monsieur. Ambre Fétiche almost beat out Sables for my list because it’s one sensational amber fragrance. But Sables is like nothing else here: a mix of rich, slightly smoky, dark, salty aromas, an elixir with everlasting flower at its heart.


Route du Thé was one of the earliest fresh fragrances to showcase "tea" — in this case a sharp, tea-tonic. Route du Thé was released near the time New West and calone made their dramatic entrance; tea hasn’t stopped “brewing” since….


Bijan for men, fragrance bottleBijan for Men debuted in 1987, and to my nose, the years have been kind to Bijan for Men. (Is there a “plastic surgeon” equivalent for scents hidden somewhere near the Beverly Hills Bijan store?) Bijan’s herbal, wood-y, nutmeg-tinged formula is conservative, but with a soft edge (it’s not too serious). This is a grown-up perfume for sure, but many men need to grow up when it comes to perfume and nix the 24/7 use of sports (crap) fragrances. There’s one big change to Bijan for Men though — it can now be had for $20 (qualifying it as a “cheap thrill”…Bijan is rolling in his grave).

8. BOIS 1920 CLASSIC 1920

Continuing the “grown-up” discussion, nothing could be simpler and more gorgeous, and gracious, than the combination of high-quality citrus, amber, vetiver and sandalwood. This smooth formula is one of my favorites on days when I want to present a calm, poised and “in charge” image.


Men are no longer subjected to derision for wearing an Eau de Parfum (well, not as often as back in the 1990s when Boucheron Pour Homme released its perfume for men). Twenty years later, Boucheron’s mix of citrus, herbs and flowers still smells good…and on the cusp of feminine perfume territory.


Ever heard of santolina or posidonia? As you navigate the perfume world, get used to “eccentric” ingredients lists that try to appeal to perfume lovers’ exotic longings — and assume the majority of these ingredients are made in a lab. Whether harvested or created in a “test tube,” the briny, “seaside-industrial" odors of Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme make it a mainstream, designer fragrance with character.


Caron has seen better days. The inept reformulations of classic women's perfumes has left the house with a magical past and a wan present. (Time for re-reformulations!) Thankfully, for now, two of Caron’s most striking men’s perfumes remain to remind us of Caron’s daring days of yore: inscrutable, whimsical Le Toisième Homme and forceful, manly Yatagan.


Déclaration presents a ”masculine sweat” accord; its powerful cedar-cumin-bigarade notes will either attract or repel. Here’s to “dirty” in this too-fresh, calone-infused world.


Chanel Antaeus advertChanel garners four entries on my list. Chanel Pour Monsieur Eau de Toilette (NOT “Concentrée”) is the only scent on my list that you can’t buy in the United States; to not include it would be a sin and make me feel stupid. Take a trip or have a friend overseas get you a bottle. Antaeus (a gender-bender these days), Égoïste (spicy!) and Cuir de Russie (deluxe leather) are required sniffing for perfume people.


Comme des Garçons does not shy away from “kooky” or difficult fragrances (or at least they didn’t in the past). Sniff this one for odors that conjure everything from overheated machinery to factory chemicals.


Commercially successful and strangely distressful for many perfumistas, Silver Mountain Water gets adoration and hatred. I have a complex relationship with Silver Mountain Water; it’s like a (semi)boyfriend one only meets in secluded places...for fear he will embarrass you. For me, Silver Mountain Water smells like the male equivalent of a women’s “pop” scent — super-TEA and fruits substituting for women’s fruity florals. I find Silver Mountain Water’s hyper, ozonic tea-musk and rich, clearly artificial, fruit accord, gulp, appealing, and I’ve owned two 100 ml bottles in my life and used every drop in each (unusual for me). Every time I’ve worn Silver Mountain Water in public, I’m abashed, even as the compliments stack up.


Iconic or moronic…you decide.

Dior Eau Sauvage advert21. DIOR EAU SAUVAGE

Eau Sauvage and Fahrenheit have changed over the years but still possess enough of their zest and odd accords to qualify as must-sniffs for men (vibrating-fizzy jasmine in Eau Sauvage and “honeysuckle & tar” in Fahrenheit).


Diptyque used to formulate some of the most original, interesting perfumes in the niche market; sadly, it’s been aiming for mainstream cred for years now…and boring me as a result. Eau Lente and L’Eau are from Diptyque’s glory years; their “ancient” and “antique” characters make bold statements.


If you DON’T want to stand out in any way, wear Light Blue Pour Homme: a splendid example of a “modern” designer/department store man’s fragrance — light (indeed!), predictable (with the same ingredients you'll find in a hundred other men's fragrances) and BLUE! (bottle and juice…the color blue is often a “warning” sign in men’s fragrances — Banality Ahead). Light Blue Pour Homme is the nadir of male perfumery.


Eau d’Italie, like Diptyque, started off producing off-center works — interesting, “peculiar” fragrances that smelled like nothing else on the market. Slowly they moved, just like Diptyque, into well-made mainstream fare (nice, but not enticing to me). These two fragrances are stand-outs from the early days of the line: "quiet" Sienne d’Hiver is cold, damp winter in a bottle; when you start feeling numb with cold, wear boozy, leather-tinged Bois d’Ombrie to warm things up.


Often, perfume PR copy uses words like "shocking" and "unusual" to describe fragrances...but rarely do those words apply to the perfume being promoted. In the case of Sécrétions Magnifiques, shocking and unusual apply! This fragrance shows how far a perfume house will go to attract attention; Sécrétions Magnifiques is gross, unwearable, and, yes,  “shocking.” Smell it to experience the outer limits of modern perfumery. 


This is a low-end/high-end pairing: a popular, ditzy, all-time best seller and its more reserved, more profound sibling (not so intent on pleasing everyone). These both smell good, but there’s good and then there’s good in perfumery. Your nose will tell the difference.


These renowned/“vintage” Guerlains are some of the greatest hits of a great perfume house. These are must-smells for perfume lovers.

Hermes Bel Ami


Hermès makes some great fragrances; choosing just three was hard. All these are “old fashioned” even if reformulated. Having survived their re-do’s, Bel Ami, Eau d’Hermès, and Equipage compare favorably to my three Guerlain picks above; they showcase the creativity of the past…matched by few new perfumes, even in the niche category.


The high-toned ‘ozone’ lover got lucky when L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme came out in 1994; this perfume lists a zillion interesting ingredients, but smells of only one accord that seems more ordinary with every passing year (its scent is now prevalent in detergent, household cleaners, and the like).


Le Mâle is a modern take on an old-time barbershop perfume: when I smell it, I imagine clouds of talcum, buckets of suds, showers of Eaux de Cologne. This, along with Joop! below, was a gay sensation — every gay man I knew seemed to own a bottle. Funny how these two powerhouse perfumes have hung around and been co-opted by straight guys who boast of their “babe-attracting” qualities. Pending IFRA standards, due to go into effect in the summer of 2013, could deprive Le Mâle of its heavy dosage of coumarin...so try it NOW.


This modern orange blossom fragrance adds musk, herbs and fresh fruit aromas to flowers to create a masculine floral fragrance; Artisan is a good choice for men wanting to escape sport-ozonic fragrances without going too far into left field.


Joop! Homme advertJoop! came “out of the closet” six years before Le Mâle (and in a pink outfit no less!) I remember going into my hair salon on Santa Monica Boulevard after this fragrance hit the stores and being floored by the super-rich, super-diffusive, super sultry Joop! Pour Homme that all the customers and stylists (it seemed anyway) were wearing. Joop! Pour Homme was heavy on spiced orange blossom, with some clove-carnation and jasmine thrown in too. Like many of the men I knew who loved it, Joop! Pour Homme was loud, proud and domineering. Now that I’m not so “demure” …I like it.

41. KNIZE 10

Knize 10 tied with my other favorite leather scent on this list: Chanel Cuir de Russie. Knize 10 is a bit smoother than Cuir de Russie, and without Cuir de Russie's heavy birch/tar accent that “upsets” some people.


Timbuktu has been in my perfume cabinet since it was released; I never tire of it. Its incense-y vetiver with a touch of “sweat” doesn’t conjure “dirty” at all, except in a sexy way.


Route du Vetiver is my all-time favorite vetiver perfume. Thankfully, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier has not neutered this perfume with a major reformulation. Route du Vetiver may start off almost “rotten” and off-putting with compost bin vegetal/fruit notes, but quickly it turns into a deep, smooth, tropical vetiver perfume.


Montale was one of the first perfume companies to jump onto the oud caravan that's still barrelling through all scentdom (surely there'll be an Ivory Soap oud bar out soon?); do smell the Montale “oud” note that helped start the oud/Middle East perfumery revolution in the West. Montale’s oud note is synthetic, and easily recognized these days, but it has its place and Black Aoud is one of the best uses of this note I can think of; it’s medicinal, powerful (without being cloying), floral and it won’t/can’t be ignored by anyone in your vicinity. (Honorable mention in the oud category: Le Labo Oud 27.)


I’m not a big fan of the fougère genre; fougères often make me feel, of all things, claustrophobic: not “free” (as in a fern-filled woodland). This fern perfume is a modern, almost “harm-ful” (as opposed to “charm-ful”) take on fougères. It’s gutsy, not dandified and fussy.


This cologne formula, only one of two on my list, is a winter holiday in a bottle: intense citrus (candy, pomanders) and green and spicy notes conjure a fresh Christmas tree.


Penhaligon's Hammam Bouquet bottleThough it’s lost some of its shimmer (gone is the real Indian sandalwood that's been overharvested almost to the point of extinction), Hammam Bouquet still smells lovely, plush, and is a great example of English perfumery at its best. When I wear Hammam Bouquet these days I think of two things: Paris and Dutch still life paintings (harking back to an exhibit I saw at the Petit Palais while wearing Hammam Bouquet) — dimly lit tablescapes with bright spots of light aimed at fruits, polished wood, and flowers.


A sensational “green” perfume for men. An acquaintance who disparaged Polo as being “old man” made me laugh. He was wearing a pork pie hat, bow tie and trying (desperately, but unsuccessfully) to grow a beard. Oh, he had on a tweed vest too. Sadly, he was wearing a Burberry fragrance with this outfit, when Polo would have been so much more appropriate…and fun. Irony is lost on the young.


I’ve owned many Serge Lutens perfumes, but Miel de Bois is the most memorable. ALL my friends say it smells like cat piss but to me it captures the edgy aspect of honey, the twang. Beauty’s in the nose of the sniffer, which leads me to….


This fragrance can compete (almost) with Sécrétions Magnifiques in the “ugly” contest, but its purposeful ugliness attracts many consumers with its bad-boy character. Too bad this bad boy is so uncomfortable to be around, with his stinky, unwashed hair, bad coffee breath, and sticky feet (sock-less) in damp boots. ICK.


The house of Yves Saint Laurent has put out some amazing perfumes for men and women, and these two HAD to make my list. Kouros is a flowers-and-musk bomb…equal parts sweet floral and raunch. People may say it’s “dated” or reminds them of “Marrakech taxi drivers” (so? what’s wrong with Marrakech taxi drivers?) but it’s instantly recognizable and shows just what men were willing to wear before the advent of dull ozone, laundry musk and drab sport fragrances. M7 tried to bring oud to the mainstream; it failed commercially (at first) but is now back in the Saint Laurent fragrance line as M7 Oud Absolu. Though it’s been reformulated, it still smells like M7 to me.

Note: top image from Jean Paul Gaultier perfumes website.

 1. You can read more about IFRA in On reformulations, or why your favorite perfume doesn’t smell like it used to.

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  1. patuxxa says:

    Some old favorites here! Love Sables, Bel Ami and Timbuktu. In fact, I absolutely adore Timbuktu but I never thought about it as a men’s scent!

    Also, I’m totally with you on Miel de Bois. It always smelled like honey to me. In the northern provinces of Portugal, there’s a lot of wild heather and the honey there is naturally very dark and rich with a hint of herbs and bitterness. MdB reminds me exactly of that smell.

    • Kevin says:

      Patuxxa, glad to meet another Miel de Bois lover!

      • Diana says:

        Wow, I wear this all the time and had no idea it was considered ‘male’ fragrance. I steal my husband’s Tom Ford for men on occaision, love wearing bois d’ombre, a*men coffee, and have tried a few others on the list. huh, I guess that makes me a perfumista now! :D

        • Kevin says:

          Diana, yes, you are! I’m sure Serge Lutens doesn’t classify MdB as masculine or feminine

        • patuxxa says:

          Tom Ford Grey Vetiver (also touted as masculine) is actually my favorite from the TF mass market line! Got one for myself. And I always swipe a few spritzes of my Dad’s Terre d’Hermès :-)

  2. lera says:

    # 20. iconic or moronic – nicely said!

  3. Abyss says:

    Some wonderful choices which I know I would be happy to smell on a man…or myself, ha!

    I’ve been trying to smell Sables for ages but it’s been absent from every single physical stockist I tried, what’s the deal with that? SAs are mostly clueless so little point in asking them.

    I’m also curious why Ormonde Man didn’t make the list – just a matter of limited space or do you not consider it a must sniff?

    • Kevin says:

      Abyss, my Nordstrom usually has Sables…so that is strange you can’t find it. And I’ve not had any luck with OJ scents…maybe just not my type.

  4. lucasai says:

    I could put “smelled” mark to some of them :)

  5. chrisskins says:

    Where’s the Bulgari Black? Baumchica bow wow.

    • Kevin says:

      Chrisskins, that IS a good one

    • Diana says:

      Oh I like to wear this!

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Yup. A classic for sure! Love to smell it on a fella and occasionally on myself.

  6. sinnerman says:

    I’m sure this will be a very valuable article to the blog ! Well done Kevin, I’m chuffed that I have smelt alot of them, own or have owned a few! You did a great job.
    U nailed amen on the head in one swing!

    • Kevin says:

      Sinnerman, thank you…I hope to never sniff A Men again!

  7. lilyboy says:

    yey.. i see many of my classic favorites which i still use today :) classic fahrenheit is probably my favorite.. one day the reformulated current version might probably find its way back to my perfume closet :)

    ive just bought drakkar, hehe.. ive never owned a bottle partly because all of my classmates probably owned a bottle back then and i felt like i smelled enough of it ;)

    i dun like AMen (i like BMen though)
    and i realized Miel de Bois is probably my favorite lutens among those that are easily available

    im just surprised ralph lauren polo sport didnt make it to the list.. i personally think it’s still more interesting than many sporty scents today and doesnt smell outdated :))



    • lilyboy says:

      and amen to classic diptyques.. i initially mistook eau lente in your list as l eau trois.. anyway i like both.. ;)

    • Kevin says:

      Lilyboy…I wish Miel de Bois was still in the US. So unfair it’s just in Paris now. “Enjoy” Secretions Magnifiques

      • lilyboy says:

        kevin.. oh really? well i havent visited the lutens counter for a while here in asia so im not up to date with which ones have joined the paris exclusive.. lucky i got my bottle before :)

  8. Emily says:

    Nice list, Kevin — and a great resource for those of us who’d like to improve the aromas of the dudes in our lives this holiday season. I could probably start by spritzing said dude with my Cuir de Russie and Knize Ten.

    • Kevin says:

      Emily, an excellent start

  9. Dzingnut says:

    Great list Kevin! I also have a like/embarrassed to admit I like, relationship with Silver Mountain Water. Right now I use it to spray on my throw pillows after I pull them out of the dryer …. How about Monsieur Balmain? The greatest lemon scent ever. And the subject of the best perfume review ever written!

    • Kevin says:

      Dzing: if the OLD Monsieur had been present, he would be on this list. The current version is not as great.

  10. Rictor07 says:

    I have probably smelled 95% of this list, and owned more than 10 of them.
    I think Creed Green Irish Tweed might be worthy along with Silver Mountain Water.
    I would have replaced Artisan with Vintage from the Varvatos line.
    Maybe i would have included something like Zirh Ikon as another cheap thrill.

    • Rictor07 says:

      Not one celeb scent made your list! Sean John Unforgivable probably had the biggest cult following that i can recall.

      • Kevin says:

        Rictor, it has a cult following? That’s one middle of the road cult! HA

    • Kevin says:

      Rictor, Z Ikon is (was?) an unexpectedly good scent

  11. jirish says:

    Great list. I would add Terre d’Hermes, but I think that’s on Robin’s list. Oh, and Lonestar Memories. But then again, I think every must-smell list should have at least one Tauer!

    • Kevin says:

      Jirish, LM was in the running for awhile

  12. donnie says:

    1. Thanks! What a list. Unlike some of your readers, I have direct experience of only 7 out of 52, so more sampling is a given.
    2. Thought I had seen some far-out perfume ads, but Bel Ami! That’s an extraordinary claim. I’m moppin’ my brow.

    • Kevin says:

      Donnie: hahaha! I wish I had room for more ads.

  13. Arielle says:

    Really great list, Kevin. Makes me want to add Antaeus and Egoist to my perfume collection. Somehow missed Bijan (and I definitely was around for it’s heyday, so I’m not quite sure how that happened), and will have to seek it out…Thanks again!

    • Ari says:

      Without fail, whenever I see one of New Arielle’s comments, I think “Wait, I don’t remember commenting on this…”

      • Kevin says:

        Ari: HA! The gravatar’s a dead giveaway.

      • Arielle says:

        Sorry for the unintended confusion!

    • Kevin says:

      arielle: you’re welcome

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      I enjoy Egoiste as a safely unisex fragrance, myself. And I really like Antaeus, and I REALLY wish I had a fella I could smell it on! :)

      • Kevin says:

        Marjorie Rose: here’s wishing you one for Xmas!

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Ha! Think I could put that on my Christmas list? “Dear Santa, please bring me a good man who wears Antaeus!” :)

  14. Not a single Tom Ford? ;)

    • Kevin says:

      C: Purple Patchoulii s dead…that was his chance.

  15. RusticDove says:

    At first glance, I thought the image you used was Adam Levine. ;-)

    I tend to gravitate toward masculine fragrances so I enjoy many that you listed. One of my very favorite fragrances in the world is HdP 1740, which they market as a men’s fragrance, but oh, how I adore it!

    • Kevin says:

      RusticDove: the HdP line is so well made…but I never can remember a fragrance with one of those dates!

    • austenfan says:

      Ditto on the 1740! It has one of the best soft ambery drydowns I have ever smelled. I am also quite fond of 1725, but you need to like lavender and anise for that one.

      • RusticDove says:

        HdP’s Noir Patchouli is my other favorite of the line. Well, that I tried so far! ;-)

  16. joseangel says:

    Great review, great read! Lol on the A*men even though i love . Personally Tom Ford extreme would have been one of my choices as in it wears well on me. I get like 12 hours when i wear it with just one spray.

    • Kevin says:

      Jose: one spray lasting for twelve hours! You ask for a lot! HA! (and your perfumes must last forever…)

  17. Dusan says:

    Fab list, Kevin! I’d have added Jazz if it wasn’t discontinued (at least I think it is) – like you, I’m not a fan of fougeres, but Jazz comes close to being love. Another one that would have made my list is Kenzo pour homme aka Iodine.

    • Dusan says:

      PS The A*men comment = priceless! :-D

    • Kevin says:

      Dusan…I think you’re right, Jazz is kaput…as is the original YSL Homme (which I remember liking too)

      • Racine says:

        I saw Jazz in the new YSL format for the brand classics, toguether with M7 oud and Rive gauche

    • I vote with both hands for Jazz! I have been using this amazing fragrance for years. Sadly they discontinued it and was nowhere to be found in the UK.

      Luckily I came upon a small shop that had Jazz still in stock during a trip to the US back in 2012. I bought all they had (about 6 100ml bottles methinks). The shop assistant was looking quite weirdly at me. I might have been so happy I found my favourite fragrance in stck! Yaya!

      I still have 2.5 bottles left as the golden liquid is being used only on special occasions ;)

      Great post btw, Kevin. I have a mission to try all of the ones I haven’t used before.

  18. nozknoz says:

    This is a great list, Kevin! It’s hard to think of anything you haven’t included, and there are so many favs that I’m glad to see.

    I would say that personally I prefer AG Vetiver, but agree that the Guerlain has to be on the list.

    I guess I’d include one of the Heeleys, probably Cuir Pleine Fleur or possibly Cardinal. It would be easy to add leathers, actually, such as SL Daim Blond and PG Cuir Venenum. I guess there’s a difference between a must smell list and a list that says, here are some great leathers, pick the one that suits you best.

    I’d also want a patchouli, either SL Borneo 1834, PG Cozé or possibly even Coromandel.

    Is there a gourmand on your list? It would be great to include Frapin Caravelle Epicée or 1697. Men cannot smell too delicious! :-)

    • nozknoz says:

      Oh, and I knew I was forgetting something indispensable: La Via del Profumo Mecca Balsam. Or possibly Sharif.

    • Kevin says:

      Noz: I’m sure other scents will come to mind for me as well. It was so hard to narrow things. Coromandel is a favorite of mine, but I think most people believe it to be a feminine scent. I need to get a bottle.

      • LuxuryObsessed.com says:

        Might be my all time favorite A/W scent.

  19. thomkallor says:

    Nice, I see I have much to learn! I would have questioned the whole thing had I not seen Eau Sauvage, and a CdG. I did expect a Gucci (the second version of Pour Homme, sharp and dry); or perhaps a Givenchy (Gentleman?)…..if A*Men is so offensive, perhaps a different sweet gourmand – Rochas? It should be stressed that Antaeus has been reformulated and one really must seek out the original vintage. Finally….I miss my personal favorite 80’s powerhouse, Paco! Well done!

    • Kevin says:

      Thom: had no luck with masculine gourmands…the great majority were tonka bean fests. I did try the new version of Antaeus and deemed it worthwhile…though if people can find a twenty year old version to smell that would be great.

  20. VanMorrisonFan says:

    No Christian Dior Eau Sauvage or Armani Pour Homme (the original Armani for men)…two great fragrances…

    • Kevin says:

      Van, Eau Sauvage is on the list…and the Armani is discontinued, so didn’t qualify.

      • VanMorrisonFan says:

        Woops sorry my bad…

  21. tulp says:

    Great list. I prefer the Egoiste. When I was young I can remember that an aunt and an uncle always wore some Rochas. I still remember the smell of Monsieur Rochas. My dad wore Tabac.

    • Kevin says:

      Tulp, the old Rochas scents were great

  22. Merlin says:

    Eek – I’m still such a newbie – only tried about 10 or 15 of these! (And own a few). I come down on moronic when it comes to ‘Cool Water’. I actually bought a little bottle, then thought it would be better on my b.f. and now I’m thinking of taking it back and distributing it somewhere else as it is pretty ho-hum on him too.
    Bulgari Black I also bought for myself (one of my first ‘perfumista’ purchases) but gave it to him recently because – WOW – I love it on him!
    Its funny because I bought M7 (for me) and really enjoy it (people are surprised when I tell them it is a men’s scent I am wearing!) But the new Oud absolute, to my nose, has nothing in common with it at all…

    • Kevin says:

      Merlin, if you are a ‘newbie’ and have tried 15, that’s pretty good!

  23. austenfan says:

    Wonderful list but I would have added two fragrances: Caron Pour un Homme and Parfums de Nicolaï New York. I haven’t smelled all of these but will have to smell A’men as soon as possible. I have yet to find a perfume that smells too dirty to wear.

  24. Kevin says:

    Asten fan, both nice picks

  25. Racine says:

    So funny your view on A men ,On me it smells mainly chocolate and then incense in the dry down. I remember wearing it to the office and getting compliments. It cannot be that bad…

    • Kevin says:

      Racine…on me it is that bad…very jarring. But it’s getting some ‘love’ for sure.

  26. Fabio says:

    fantastic list… as You concentrated on perfums still available (correctly), two of my very fav are not there: Gurelain Coriolan and Fendi Uomo.
    Antaeus was one of my very fav, but I can’t stand the new formulation (please, someone advise me, if a new better one will come).

    I have two fragrances I would add: Lorenzo Villoresi Uomo and Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil.

    Question: just for fun, why don’t you share that 25 that didn’t make it for the final short list?

    • Kevin says:

      Fabio, I’ll look and see if I have my original list…this all started months ago so may have ditched it!

  27. Tama says:

    What I think is funny is that I may have smelled, worn, and/or own more of these than the ones on Robin’s lists. Well probably not the original 100, but her new 25, for sure.

    I just finally got to try Kouros last week and it’s a stunner. Not sure I can really get away with it, but it’s great. I also like Halston Z-14, which somehow reminds me of it, but I know they don’t smell the same.

    I also recently tried Polo on paper again, and was reminded that I really like the way it smells.

    Thanks for the list! I think I need to find some of that Joop!.

    • Kevin says:

      Tama, that is funny…and hope you can sniff Joop!

  28. willread says:


    Thanks, about time we dudes got a list. However, you break my heart. How did the following not get on the list:

    1. Guerlain: Derby
    2. Nicolai: New York
    3. Caron: Pour un Homme


    A quality masculine rose as well as tobacco, maybe
    4. Domenico Caraceni 1913
    5. By Kilian: Back to Black

    And by now I suppose there is no hope for:
    6. Serge Lutens: Muscs Koublai Khan
    7. Kurkdjian: APOM pour Homme

    I demand that you revise your list instantly. Ha and Ha!

    • Kevin says:

      Will, believe me , MKK and the Caron were major contenders!

  29. TheNonfashionista says:

    Great list, although it doesn’t have any of my favourites, unfortunately (apart from Amouage XXV).
    I would have loved the addition of:
    FM Eau d’Hiver, Geranium Pour Monsieur or Musc Ravageur
    Le Labo (Vetiver or Oud — can’t remember the numbers! )
    Chanel Sycamore
    Divine Sage
    Prada (Infusion d’Homme or Amber Homme)

    • Kevin says:

      Nonfashion, Le Labo Oud 27 is a favorite of mine too.

  30. stig says:

    Interesting list!
    Being not claustro about fougeres I miss Azzaro pour homme for historical reasons. It´s still big in France, you know. Ahhh the soapy note between lavender and coumarin… ;)

    Or how about the insanely expensive Invasion Barbare? Is it worth the money?

    • Kevin says:

      Stig, it is not worth the money….to ME, anyway.

  31. lupo says:

    Wonderful list Kevin, few additions:
    Dior Homme :) say what you want, it is a potential classic.
    Caron Pour un Homme, such a classic….
    And maybe some good ol’ fougeres: Tzar maybe?

  32. Kevin says:

    Lupo, Tsar used to be SO much nicer and expensive smelling! I’m wearing theCaron today….

  33. LuxuryObsessed.com says:

    Considering Caron Yatagan, Pour un Homme and Troisieme Homme. All three can be had on Amazon for under $90 TOTAL. Insane. Is Amazon reliable for frags?

    • Kevin says:

      Luxury…buying discount perfume from Amazon is just like buying it anywhere else…I think you’re “mostly” safe. In all the years I’ve used online sites for discounts I’ve only encountered “forgeries” two times…and both involved Chanel fragrances.

  34. LuxuryObsessed.com says:

    Thanks Kevin. I think I will give it a try. Seems like a steal for three classics.

  35. Subhuman says:

    It’s funny how many of the old-school “powerhouse” men’s fragrances have rather tender hearts once their blowsy top-notes wear off. Kouros, Polo, Antaeus, Yatagan, and even A*Men have soft cores fronted by borderline-repellent opening blasts, and all seem to possess a cheerful, garrulous quality that stands in stark contrast to the stone-faced chill of most modern “sporty” fragrances. They have character AND good bone structure.

    I really must seek out some of the older Hermes’. Bel Ami and Eau d’Hermes sound right up my alley, and they seem to keep popping up in discussions of classic masculine scents.

  36. Hi NSTPerfume author,
    I only registered to tell you how I turned from iconic to moronic the very same second I read your comment about Cool Water, you’ve made my Saturday and maybe the whole weekend, thanks for that :) Cant wait to try Cool Water Night Dive! Great list.

  37. Dwight says:

    There used to be a former silent film actress named Carmel Meyers who made some very unique but beautiful colognes for men. Two that I used were “Gamin” and “Formale.” I wish someone would find the formulas, buy the patents, and make them again.

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