Perfume Directory

Boss Number One (1985)
by Hugo Boss

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Boss Number One information

Year of Launch1985
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 241 votes)

People and companies

HouseHugo Boss
PerfumerPierre Wargnye
Parent Company at launchBetrix

About Boss Number One

The first fragrance by Hugo Boss was launched in 1985. The name was changed in 1998 to 'Number One' due to the release of a new Boss. The fragrance contains notes of bergamot, honey and patchouli.

Boss Number One fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Boss Number One

Hugo Boss is an enduring men's fashion brand formed out of a humble uniform maker, that to some is stained with the infamy of it's founder being one of the early suppliers of SS uniforms to the Nazi party, but the death of the original Hugo Boss in 1948 and passing of his business to Eugen Holy meant the reputation as a private-sector suit maker could begin. The vertical white stripe on black suit fabric would eventually become associated with Boss apparel, and like the older Brooks Brothers, a legacy of male-centric design. It makes perfect sense that the debut fragrance for the house would be a masculine one, and Hugo Boss would launch Boss (1985) in limited capacity at Hugo Boss boutiques, before a full retail product line launch in 1985, including shaving and grooming items. Boss pulled no punches with it's marketing, declaring itself an alpha among betas and omegas with lines like "Shift into the power of patchouli" or "experience the triumph of pleasure" and other cringe-worthy exaltations that in 1985 must have seemed pretty "heckin' cool". Luckily, the scent of Boss was equally bold to match the claims of the accompanying literature, setting a precedent with it's honeyed civet, rose, and patchouli tour-de-force that would be emulated by others throughout the remaining reign of the 80's powerhouse. Boss does what they do with more control and development, as it has double the notes of it's later 80's peers, hiding it's raging 1980's type A personality in a pin stripe suit with a Phil Collins soundtrack in the background a la Christian Bale's character in the film American Psycho, bubbling with unscrupulous intent underneath that well-tailored suit but just barely.

Boss by Hugo Boss opens with a skanky civet, bergamot, lavender, and artemisia blast, with an intriguing sour green apple note floating up. Juniper, lemon, basil, and caraway are also cited in the official note pyramid but if they're there, it's pretty well-blended and just part of the golden aura this gives off. The honey comes in next to calm the civet and mull it into a smooth masculinity that is just virile enough to avoid the used jockstrap connotation of Kouros (1981) or the later Lapidus Pour Homme (1987), adding rose and geranium to bring in a dandy-like quality that also seemed a presage to the latter 80's men's civeted florals that were the last hurrah for the powerhouse era. Boss just does everything so smoothly and composed compared to later louder, more jagged, and ostentatious scents that borrowed it's ideas, being one of the few from the day that still feels wearable within appropriate contexts in the 21st century, rather than just a gaudy nostalgia trip for vintage powerhouse fiends. Orris root, jasmine indole, and muguet continue the thick floral middle until the base arrives, which is where the touted patchouli lives. While not as direct as the civeted patchouli of Givenchy Gentleman (1974), Boss does bridge a gap between it and 80's civet oakmoss bombs quite succinctly, saving that oakmoss for last under a rich semi-oriental bed of sandalwood, cedar, musk, amber, cinnamon, and tobacco. I don't get much note separation in the base thanks to the blending, but the patchouli joins the lingering rose, civet, moss, and honey from time to time. It's hard to fathom that Peter Wargnye, the same guy who created Drakkar Noir (1982) also made this scent, and helped with YSL's L'Homme series in the 2000's. Just crazy man.

Boss by Hugo Boss would make a huge splash in the 80's, and both Zino Davidoff (1986) and Balenciaga Ho Hang Club (1987) would riff off of it fairly closely but with even skankier leanings towards floral fougère or floral leather chypre tones respectively in attempts to out-do "the Boss", while this scent sat squarely in the middle of oriental, fougère, and chypre styles, being a truly undefinable powerhouse experience. A sport fragrance followed two years later and then a range developed, until the 90's saw Hugo Boss enter more casual markets with related apparel and it's Hugo scent (1995), before reusing the Boss name for a new scent in 1998. The uproar from fans of the original must have rang the ears of Hugo Boss executives because shortly thereafter, the new Boss became "Boss Bottled" while this original eponymous debut was relaunched as "Boss Number One". Folks fearful of reformulation can try searching for the "non-Number One" original issue, but it's difficult since the renamed one has now been in production longer. Differences are fairly obvious, as tastes no longer favor civet (or animalics overall), and limitations on rose oil, oakmoss, and mysore sandalwood mean the newer vintages are soapier and a bit milder/drier in the finish. Synthetic civetone in much smaller quanties exist within "Boss Number One" as well, which is still a very good fragrance in it's current form, just more polite and office-friendly. As an epitome of masculine fragrance for men in the 1980's, the "Boss" is quite simply an appropriately-named icon. Enjoy responsibly.
30th July, 2018 (last edited: 27th August, 2018)
I really love it.totally nostalgic and reminder of my childhood .
Fresh warm green sweet.
Pure masculinity and maturity.
26th May, 2018
Dated and well-constructed. Good scent for <you guessed it> a boss in the office. Smells good on others but, whether vintage or newer, you got to be ok with honey.

Oh Honey, too much honey for me.
30th December, 2017
I came so close to buying chanel anteaus (it ain't cheap even tho times have moved on), I'd been looking for a typical 80's hairy chest type of scent for ages. Kouros is too loud and pissy for my liking and anteaus lacks strong character and balls , I find aramis excellent in many ways tho..Boss number 1 just nails everything perfectly in all departments tho for me. What a masterpiece of masculine power and sheer animalic silage. When I smell this I instantly think of Wall Street and success. The best thing about boss number 1 tho is that it is never over the top or comical, the fragrance genuinely is balanced to perfection with all the characteristic notes of the 80's fragrances blended so harmoniously. These sort of fragrances are due a come back soon ..gucci guilty absolute is testing the water a bit recently but when the time come's I'll be more than happy with this masterpiece.
16th December, 2017
Okay, 1985's Boss Number One.
The opening is a very classic, crisp, cologne-y smelling type of 80s fragrance. I like that about it. It comes across as slightly sophisticated and formal.
Then it gets powdery. A little too powdery, with a dash of dirtiness in there. To my unsophisticated nose, it smells like something someone's great aunt would wear. Actually, "dandy" is what comes to mind at this point.
Finally, as it dries down more and becomes more of a skin scent, it loses that powdery-ness and actually smells masculine. The honey and dirtiness is most prominent at this stage, and as you keep smelling it, it alternates between those two notes and something else. I don't know what it is, but overall, that skin scent dry down is the better part of it.

And yeah, I can sort of detect the pissy/urine note that some people say it has. I mean, I don't think it smells like pee, but I can see how some people might interpret it that way, especially in relation to how modern men's fragrances smell like.

CONCLUSION:
I think this is barely okay. It's definitely NOT something that I would say is bad smelling, but it's not that interesting of a scent either. The powdery middle part of it is what makes it feel extremely dated to me.

14th November, 2017 (last edited: 04th May, 2018)
(2017 formula) This fougere is well done and is quite uplifting. To me, it falls somewhere between Aramis and Lauder for men. Maybe a bit more masculine than the latter actually.
The base notes in this current formulation make for average longevity, and the sillage never reaches 80's era levels.
It is a feel good scent and deserves your attention, should you be seeking an affordable classic fougere.
Blind buy? Do it.
11th September, 2017 (last edited: 13th September, 2017)

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