100 Fragrances Every Frag-Head Guy Should Try, part 4: Other Feminine Classic Must-Try's
by, 6th September 2011 at 05:43 PM (2511 Views)
Well, itís day four of my grand experiment, and that brings me to a very short list thatís almost guaranteed to cause controversy:
Other Feminine Classic Must-Tryís
To be honest, I could have filled a hundred fragrances with this genre alone, but itís been done before, and much better than I could. If youíre interested, check out Luca Turinís guides or the writings of Roja Dove for more insight than I could possibly give.
Iím being quite brutal and, as such, Iíve narrowed it down to three necessary perfumes. Yes, there are many obvious masterpieces missing. Honestly, a sniff around a well-stocked Guerlain counter would be a wise decision, and the classic Chanels re-launched as Exclusifs are definitely worth a sniff, as are any of the Chanel Number perfumes you can get your hands on. The old Diors and Patous are important, as are pretty much any of the Caron urn perfumes. And we canít forget favorites like Habanita or Bal ŗ Verseilles or ArpŤge or the Piquets.
But, Iím here to focus on scents of interest to men and perfumes that help to define a difficult to understand genre, so with that I give you my three picks:
11. Tabac Blond by Caron
I had to include one of the Caron extraits here, so I went with perhaps the most legendary. There are two distinct Tabac Blonds out there, the vintage version and the current version, and theyíre supposedly completely different perfumes. Iíve only smelled the current formulation, and itís a masterpiece, so Iíll talk about that version.
It has a doughy suede core that rivals that of Mitsouko or LíHeure Bleue (and is actually quite similar to masculine legends Knize Ten and Royal English Leather), but with more fruit on top. This is also the perfume that made famous the tobacco leaf smell that would eventually be resurrected as a masculine note years later in Le Male. Under the watchful eye of that tobacco note, the suede slowly slips into a rich, creamy vanilla/iris/sandalwood base reminiscent of Chanel No. 5 and, to a lesser degree, Dior Homme.
Itís basically a masterwork, and a perfect example of how older womenís perfumes were often composed of notes that would later end up being considered masculine, showing how blurry and ever-changing the line between masculine and feminine really is, especially with something as subjective as smells.
12. Joy by Jean Patou
For most of the 1900ís, Joy was well known as the most expensive, most luxurious perfume in the world. It belongs to the same aldehydic floral genre as Chanel No. 5, but itís a whole different perfume in that, while No. 5 smells abstract (all powdery and vague in its beauty), Joy is very specific. Realistic roses pair with realistic jasmine over a creamy musky base that smells realistically poopy.
Itís a great ultimate example of a dirty floral, and a fantastic reference point for when people say something smells ďexpensiveĒ. There are certain notes (usually very upfront, realistic floral notes, especially rose and jasmine) that are very difficult to make without using expensive natural oils, and Joy reeks of them.
13. Coromandel by Chanel
Finally, I give you possibly the most perfect definition of a classic ďorientalĒ perfume.
Itís technically built on a chypre structure of bergamot and oakmoss, but instead of just powdery flowers, it uses ingredients that classically came from the middle east, like amber and patchouli and resinous incences, hence the ďorientalĒ classification.
Itís sweet but not edible, relying at its core on perfectly intertwined amber and patchouli to create its intoxicating scent, but thereís a whole lot going on there, with green notes off to the side as well as a bitter medicinal edge that makes for a dynamic interplay with the ever-present butterscotchy amber.
Coromandel is also completely wearable by a man. Itís the godmother to probably thousands of amber/patchouli/incense niche scents that men wear all the time now.
Which legendary feminine classics would you have picked? Instead of these or in addition to them?
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