Once upon a time, every man had a tailored suit and a signature scent to go with it. Then vanity inflated the male ego, the recession dulled it, and all that was left was a chump, alone at the hotel bar, doused in Drakkar Noir.
But now it’s once again all right to crack the cap and dab some fragrance onto the neck. “Times have changed so that now there is a new breed of man who cares very much about his scent,” says master perfumer Roja Dove, who cannot help adding: “The ultra-successful man has always cared.”
Designer Tom Ford is one of those responsible for bringing it back. His first grooming collection for category XY, Tom Ford for Men, includes a cleanser, moisturizer, concealer—as well as two new fragrances, part of Ford’s Private Blend collection.
Bottega Veneta is in on the trend with Bottega Veneta Pour Homme, its first men’s fragrance in collaboration with Coty Prestige. It is a tangy mixture of bergamot and sage, with a strong leathery nose. Dove himself praises its notes as symbols of masculinity, saying, “The most refined male scents are what are referred to as Chypres, with mosses and woods at their core, which in the best versions will be bergamot.”
Zegna has also brewed a new elixir, Uomo, developed by renowned perfumer Alberto Morillas. It has a sharp bite of vetiver. Meanwhile, Hugo Boss is on the market with Boss Bottled Night, a cologne endorsed by actor Ryan Reynolds. There is also Gucci’s Made to Measure, a sweet and fruity concoction.
For baseball fans not put off by the latest A-Rod scandal, there’s a new, team-endorsed New York Yankees fragrance. A product of Swiss perfumery Firmenich, the cologne makes woodsy coriander synonymous with the old ball game.
What do all good men’s fragrances have in common? “They convey a sense of authority,” says Dove.