Perfume Directory

Dunhill for Men (1934)
by Dunhill


Dunhill for Men information

Year of Launch1934
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 204 votes)

People and companies

Parent CompanyInter Parfums

About Dunhill for Men

Dunhill for Men is a masculine fragrance by Dunhill. The scent was launched in 1934

Dunhill for Men fragrance notes

Reviews of Dunhill for Men

Modern Dunhill is a pretty mixed bag in quality and originality, taking on some of the design choices American mid-line fragrance makers like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren have done; they are effectively the latter for the British male audience, with all but a few smash hits like the Desire series remaining in the background elsewhere in the fragrance world. It was a different world however, in 1934 when this beast first hit shelves. Brits seem to have a distinction of forming fragrance design houses starting with or centered primarily around males (Creed and Penhaligon's being earlier examples), so it's almost expected that Alfred Dunhill, who started as a leather maker and tobacconist, would launch into fragrance with a male scent. Please keep in mind that in the 1930's, fragrance for men was still very much drawing from Victorian-era barbershop traditions when it wasn't aping Bay Rum or old-world unisex eau de cologne and just slapping a "for men" on the bottle, which is why there is so little genuine male fragrances documented from that era. Even tried-and-true modern shaving favorites like Aqua Velva and Skin Bracer didn't even show up until this decade. Things outside shaving juice were starting to heat up though, with Caron launching it's debut masculine the same year as this, plus Canoe and Old Spice both launching in 36' and 37' respectively.

Alfred Dunhill didn't design this himself either, and the entire affair was orchestrated by his perfumer sister Mary Dunhill, who knew far better what to do in this field than him. The results of her efforts here created one of the most timeless, classic, yet oddly unsung early examples of the craft. Lemon, Clary Sage, Petitgrain, Lavender, Rose, Jasmine, Orris, Carnation, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Tonka, and Leather: the list reads top-to-bottom like a classic chicken noodle recipe of male scent craft, but back when this was new, it was very forward-thinking and probably referential for later perfumers when making their first masculines. You could easily trace any number classic male scents back to this: English Leather, Aramis, and Black Suede just to name a few, and I'd dare say this is almost a Tabarome for the masses, where one doesn't need a royal appointment or few months worth of rent to snag a bottle. I'd also call this a chypre as I don't believe it has enough freshness in it's composition to get the fougere stamp, even though it contains some staple fougere ingredients, but whatever it is, this stuff screams class. It opens with a sharp honeyed lemon and immediately dissipates to a warm bouquet of florals that almost seem like an approximation of orange blossom when combined, and as it dries down, the cedarwood, vetiver, and that unmistakable leather note hold it to your skin or clothes for the duration. It's a smell strait out of a film noir romance scene, one of pencil-thin mustaches, cigarette holders, and transatlantic accents drawing out the vowels like one's lower jaw is locked up.

It's a bit of William Powell and Orson Wells mixed with some James Cagney swank, and it works really well for the guy that prefers fedora to a trilby, and takes his scotch neat and not on the rocks. Alfred Dunhill is a fragrance to be sprayed on a pocket handkerchief or calling card, and instantly makes you feel like you're a wolf among sheep, stepping out of a hand-built automobile in looks for a smoky jazz lounge to spend a relaxing evening after a day spent shaking down the tenants and playing the stocks with their cash. It's admittedly a man's man scent, and not in the least bit romantic, but this is to be said of many classic British male fragrances, and the overall aesthetic is to let thy presence be felt, but otherwise do no convincing of character or disposition. Stiff and rigidly male almost to a fault, yet warm and empowering, this is quite literally the pre-WWII man-about-town in a bottle, and it's so old now (over 84 years) that there really isn't enough folks left to peg this on you as an "old man's scent". What's better, is if you're anywhere BUT in the UK, nobody will really know what you're on about if you describe what you're wearing to them if asked, inadvertently giving this niche/hipster cred to boot!
16th November, 2017
I purchased this recently after finding it going cheap online. I think I had had a miniature of it back in the 80s and had favourable memories. The bottle I got is from 2011 according to the batch code so certainly not vintage but it is wonderful. A very strong opening with lots of lavender and leather, coupled with a flowery spice. I can sense a faint similarity to Givenchy gentleman for some reason, but this is far less leathery than that and indeed Aramis, with which it also seems to share certain notes. Dandy comes to mind but again that not does not do justice to this great scent as it is far more masculine than most dandy scents. This is very old school for sure but, even though from 1934, seems to come across as modern take on an old school scent. It is 20 degrees Celsius here today (nearly 70 Fahrenheit), a warm day for our summer, and this wears sooooo well. I love it, soapy, leathery, lavendery, flowery and spicy, a true masterpiece.
03rd June, 2017
Vintage Dunhill for Men has developed differently during different wearings for me. It reminds me of Hermes Equipage with a touch of a soapy note somewhat similar to Paco Rabanne Pour Homme. During some wearings, the soapy, shaving-cream type notes burn off, and a base similar to Cuir de Russie comes out, which goes on to develop into a nice tonka skin scent.
17th April, 2017 (last edited: 05th May, 2017)
Dunhill for Men was launched in 1934, and to me it conjures up an elegant, swanky and sophisticated gentleman who doesn't take himself too seriously. Think William Powell as Nick Charles in the "Thin Man" movies. If it were music, it would be something by Cole Porter or perhaps Duke Ellington. Definitely the Art Deco era, and definitely more city than country.

They don't make 'em like this anymore, so its an olfactory trip back in time to a more genteel era - refined, rich, and classy.
10th February, 2017
Spice and leather, and pretty intense too! I get some barber shop vibes too.

If Polo Green was thinned out to a EdC strength then amplified and accentuated with more spices you'd get this.

Go easy on the trigger.
03rd November, 2016
This is my first go at writing a review on Basenotes, so here I go!

Dunhill for Men is in my opinion one of the finer fragrances out there--it is definitely the scent of a gentleman. I am actually very upset that this classic has been discontinued. I received confirmation of this directly from Dunhill. The only thing I can think of doing is to write them once a week, urging them to bring this iconic classic back! I suggest that any fan of this scent consider doing the same, whether or not it will compel Alfred Dunhill to revive Dunhill for Men remains to be seen, but it certainly will not hurt to ask.

As far as the notes are concerned, I am not yet qualified to write a detailed review. It is soapy (in a good way) and I do detect citrus notes, lavender, musk and leather. The longevity is very good, much better than most fragrances sold today. Get this while you still can!
14th February, 2015 (last edited: 03rd April, 2016)

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