Perfume Directory

Claiborne for Men (1989)
by Liz Claiborne


Claiborne for Men information

Year of Launch1989
Average Rating
(based on 86 votes)

People and companies

HouseLiz Claiborne
Parent CompanyRevlon Inc > Elizabeth Arden Inc
Parent Company at launchClaiborne Cosmetics

About Claiborne for Men

Claiborne for Men is a masculine fragrance by Liz Claiborne. The scent was launched in 1989

Claiborne for Men fragrance notes

Reviews of Claiborne for Men

Hmm...Liz Claiborne for Men has always come across as dated and confusing for me for a couple decades now.

Back in the days, seeing this bottle on tester counters was always an eye-catcher for me, so I give kudos for the 3D schema that still looks cool today.

As for the juice itself...Opening salvo is a brash hit of citrus lemon-bergamot, mixed with lavender and interesting airy melon twist. And then the confusion begins for me with the introduction of florals that, IMO, veer this one towards a more unisex / feminine direction (i.e. cyclamen (synthetic rosiness), rose proper, jasmine, and slightly spicy clove-like carnation). Juniper reinforces the tartness of the opening, as does the dark balsamic touch of myrrh. Sour and flowery, that's how I'd sum it up at this point.

The foundation contains nice notes that appeared to be a great rescue for Claiborne for Men, but it is simply a "homestretch" of usual ambery-patchouli-musky notes that confound the mix even more.

I realize that there are several reviewers on basenotes and elsewhere who seem to like CfM; I won't criticize any of them for that. But for me, it simply is too quirky, outdated, and chaotic a scent for me to enjoy.
23rd August, 2018
Liz Claiborne Inc. was a slow-burner of a fashion brand that, like Calvin Klein, served the upper-middle late-80's to mid-90's white-collar yuppie crowd that eschewed domestic automobiles and always needed the latest portable technology, at least before it all became consolidated into smartphones we now carry. Claiborne wasn't really a fragrance house and made their name off of Liz's penchant for stylish clothes for working women through the 70's and 80's, but once they launched their first feminine fragrance in 1986, the mainstream focal point seemed to shift -to- fragrance (outside J.C. Penny where most of their clothes went), with the men's version of the eponymous Liz fragrance appearing 3 years later. This scent was quite the trend setter at the very end of the 80's. Davidoff had just launched it's genre-defining Cool Water the year before, and the aforementioned Calvin Klein would also drop Eternity for Men into stores the same year as this, breaking most of the hold that sometimes-overbearing powerhouse fragrances had on the male side of the market in favor of lighter, wispier fare. We all know that "Aquatics" would reign throughout most of the 90's because of Cool Water, and Eternity would also lay tracks for all the new age fresh fougères (with no tonka or moss in most of them as all the old ones were almost required to have), but this debut masculine informed all future fragrances that would carry the term "Ozonic" as part of their descriptor. As a separate category, they're barely distinguishable from aquatic fragrances but for that "ozone" chemical-burn nostril-tinge that makes them uncommonly sharp and even more "fresh" than the former, plus they seldom focus on oceanic or water-borne notes.

As a category, I was never too enthralled with ozonics but for the sheer fact that like aquatics, each design house pushing the trope through the time it was popular had to outdo the previous one by upping the presence of the main accords that gave the fragrances their categorical descriptions; this was okay with aquatics as it just resulted in cleaner and "bluer" smells until that brick wall was found and struck. However, with ozonics, this made fragrances that were increasingly sharp to the nose to the point of instant sneeze-fits. I can't say that this scent authoritatively christened the genre, but for all I can tell, it was the first to appear, and in my opinion, the best one. Claiborne for men opens with bergamot, lavender, lemon, melon, lavender, and a calone note similar to Aramis New West (also 1989), and it's not enough to cause nose hairs to singe. Ozone shows it's face in the middle, with cyclamen, juniper, rose, and carnation. Perhaps why I like this so is because it's still built like a traditional fragrance despite some then-new chemical themes. The ozone does act as a sort of semi-fixative for all the juicy bitter top notes to zing on up and into your face. The fragrance eventually dries down to something a little warmer and comfortable with cedar, patchouli, musk, leather, oakmoss, and amber, but almost-bleached variations thereof. The ozone never sheds itself with that irritating chemical burn in the end, which is the usual hallmark of later creations in this style.

Claiborne for Men is an astringent kind of clean fragrance in the way aquatics are akin to detergent. When wearing this, you'll be reminded of pore-opening skincare and disinfecting odor eliminators. I know this sounds negative, but bear in mind that some people really enjoy the smell of clean, and I happen to, so this is a good association. There are a lot of notes here, but they all get blurred into this crisp chemical cleanliness that to me, just comes across like something one would wear to smell structured, professional, and 100% completely safe. Zero dirt/funk means zero romanticism and zero risk. Supposedly there is musk and leather here, but they must just be fixatives for all the fruit, citrus, and light florals that impart the aesthetic. What this fragrance really, really, really informs is L'eau d'Issey Pour Homme (1994), which would be the next step in this train of thought, cranking up the clean to OCD levels with huge injections of Yuzu, Cypress, Sage, etc. LDIPH is nice and another early favorite of this trope, but I feel it is a tad overboard and unbalanced in the same way Wings for men (1994) goes too far with the blue notes, making Claiborne better simply by it's show of restraint. I like this best right when the weather starts to turn, and the crisp fall air still mixes with the departing summer sun, making this project in bursts of come and go all day. It's definitely one to spray on the shirt due to it's lack of any fatty or oily notes that would stick well to the skin, and I'd keep it well within the realms of work and casual use due to it's strictness with clean. It's a milder precursor to the Issey Miyake staple, and in it's own right, a pioneer for the lighter and brisker near-androgynous state of masculine fragrance in the 90's. It was discontinued shortly after Curve for Men (1996) became popular then thankfully brought back, so few know it. Later Liz Claiborne male fragrances would get really itchy with powder or spice-rack-grade warmth, especially into the 2000's when the legions of flankers made the name so ubiquitous. I think this first attempt at a male scent is still their best.
12th September, 2017 (last edited: 09th April, 2018)
Bora Bora, Mambo, and ALL the Curves could learn from this one.

Toss out your preconceived notions and perhaps you will find what I do: a big, beautiful, broad-shouldered pine with hints of rose and leather on a mossy base. Interestingly, the sharp citric opening that I get in cool weather softens in the heat, leading me to believe that as a woman, perhaps I could "get by" with this one sprayed discretely (as I do with Aromatics Elixir).

An otherwise hip male friend of mine still wears this and always smells great.
30th May, 2017
This fragrance reminds me of how it smells after a rain shower in the spring....very fresh, damp, green with muted florals....rose is what stands out most to me. It is unusual in a man's scent to have floras stand out so much, yet they are not overtly sweet florals ...they are muted and tamed by the other green notes. I was surprised at how many negative reviews there are of this and I'm guessing this hasn't been discontinued as its easy to find at the local Marshall's or TJ Max for around $13.
I don't wear this one all that often except when I'm wearing a Claiborne outfit. Claiborne designs stand out and are different than other designers....and the fragrance is the same. Its not for everyone, but its for me.
24th January, 2017
Nothing to add for or against this fragrance. When I had it I thought it was nice and very wearable. I don't think I would care for it much now. It's still available for a great price. For me it's a neutral. It's just a dated.
30th November, 2016
When I was in high school, a teacher somehow ended up with a huge box of miniatures of this. She let the students have them, so needless to say everyone smelled like this for a year. This is one of the few colognes to me that smells the same as back in the day. Not sure if that is because it IS vintage because that's all that's left or they are still making it the same way, but I still like it. Smells like the 90s but that's ok. I do get a plastic grassy feel from it. Distinct bottle.
23rd March, 2014

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