100 Fragrances Every Frag-Head Guy Should Try, part 18: Necessary Learning

    100 Fragrances Every Frag-Head Guy Should Try, part 18: Necessary Learning

    post #1 of 5
    Thread Starter 
    For anyone just joining me, Ive been working for a while on this rather epic list. I cant believe its been this long and Im only just hitting number 50. Again, this is inspired by the NowSmellThis list of 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Must Try, but written from a male perspective, or at least including more masculine fragrances.

    As stated before, Im no expert and have no qualifications whatsoever to write a definitive list Im just an avid sniffer. So, I look forward to comments, complaints, and suggestions.

    With that, I get to a hard-to-classify set of scents. In short, there are some combinations of notes that have become widely used, and an appreciation of perfumes would be greatly enhanced by knowing how to recognize these common formulas. Weve already addressed this with the woody chypre and the violets-over-leather of Cuir de Russie, but there are many many more. So, here are three groundbreaking perfumes that introduced the world to mixes that are now being used a lot.

    Necessary Learning


    50. Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert by Bulgari



    If youve been following my crazy blog, you may remember when I suggested sniffing the herbs in your kitchen and noticing how both bay leaves and sage smell kind of like tea. This has actually become a very popular perfume trick. By combining them with lemon verbena and flowers (usually jasmine, because its a common tea flavoring) or even mint, you can get something that smells like a perfumed vision of fresh green tea.

    I should warn you, though, that Eau Parfumée hides this now-legendary tea accord under a clean top of orange and pepper mixed with fresh laundry chemicals, so it takes an hour or so before it fades to this important tea smell, and it always retains a fabric softener vibe mixed with the tea.

    For a better example, you can smell this herbs+verbena=tea trick very upfront and easily in Miller Et Bertauxs Green Green Green And Green perfume, which would actually probably have been a better pick as an instructional tool, but Parfumée did it first and is widely considered one of the reasons that its nose Jean Claude Ellena is so good, so thats why it made the list instead of Green.


    51. Déclaration by Cartier



    Déclaration is probably one of the weirdest scents you can just go down to the mall and smell everywhere, which must be saying something. Like Parfumée au Thé Vert, its by renowned nose Jean Claude Ellena, and those who follow his work will tell you that an awful lot of what hes done since (Bigarade Concentree for Malle and just about anything with citrus in it for Hermès) have been unabashed re-mixes of what he did in Déclaration. As such, if you want to understand the Ellena vocabulary, Déclaration is required sniffing. Plus, as stated above, its just plain interesting.

    It starts off with an unabashed pairing of orange and cumin, simultaneously juicy and sweet and spicy and sweaty. If you can make it through the cumin overdose, youll be rewarded with one of the most baffling and artistic basenotes in perfumery. You know that smell on someones neck after youve been making out for a long time? Its slobbery and sexy and hormonal and deeply human. Thats what Déclarations base smells like. But for all its natural humanity, its also shockingly mineral. When I was a kid, my mom used to let us make little art projects by melting crayons on hot aluminum foil. Déclaration smells like that (melting wax and overheated metal) every bit as much as it smells like kisses on human skin. The duality and simultaneity is in your face and confounding and its almost impossible to imagine a great perfumer doing this as anything other than a thought provoking piece and an artistic statement its too profound and obvious to be intended purely as functional.


    52. Égoïste by Chanel



    (Not Platinum Égoïste thats totally different)

    After the thoroughly modern Eau Parfumée and Déclaration, Égoïste is a bit of a different story, but aside from its history and familiar name, its actually on my list primarily as an indispensable learning tool.

    Égoïste is dense and thick and confusing, but its actually based on a centuries-old Middle Eastern mix of rose, patchouli, and sandalwood. This is one of those magical mixes that doesnt smell like its components. The rose and patchouli fuse to form a sort of fruity jam smell, while the patchouli and sandalwood combine to create a dense, sweet richness that largely defines the oriental genre (remember Coromandel?). This trio is incredibly important and worth getting to know. It forms the foundation on which Montale have built their oud line, and its the core of Feminitè du Bois and a lot of Serge Lutens. When someone refers to a dark rose, its usually this, from Frederic Malles Portrait Of A Lady to the new Mark Birley Charles Street to countless upscale feminine designer perfumes.

    For the record, Égoïste is much more than just these three ingredients, of course. Most notably, there are sparkly aldehydes on top and a strong berry presence that helps flavor the dark rose jam (these turn up in most of the scents Ive mentioned, too this is a very common recipe). Not to beat a dead horse, but youll also notice that Égoïste is a very established and accepted mens scent, but that it has been endlessly copied in scents targeted to women, just further proof that gender distinctions in perfume are mostly just useless marketing crap.
    post #2 of 5
    Well, you have just convinced me to go give Declaration a try, sir!
    post #3 of 5
    I am a huge lover of Declaration. Its a big deal for me, in that it has been something I have enjoyed wearing for the last 2 years. Considering how easily I get bored with a fragrance, that is saying alot.


    Egoiste is just plain lovely as well. In my earlier days, I thought of it as an overly sweet concoction, yet I always wanted to come back to it. Thank goodness I did, as it is another favorite of mine.
    post #4 of 5
    Comparing this endeavor, your magnum opus, to running a marathon- I'm offering a virtual drink of water and sweat towel as you pass the half-way mark toward the finish line. Beautiful job so far- can't wait to read the remaining posts!
    post #5 of 5
    I just discovered your series of blogs. You have made great choices. I can't believe I have never owned Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert. I remember spraying every time I went to Nordstrom when it first came out in 1994 (?), and I have no idea why I never bought a bottle. As to the other two, when my father passed away, he owned Declaration Essence and Egoiste, among others, but those two bottles went home with me right away. Of course I have an emotional attachment to those, but also they smell great on me and I can't compare them to anything else I knew at the time and find them ground breaking.
    class="

    10/25/11 at 9:11pm

    rogalal said:



    For anyone just joining me, Ive been working for a while on this rather epic list. I cant believe its been this long and Im only just hitting number 50. Again, this is inspired by the NowSmellThis list of 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Must Try, but written from a male perspective, or at least including more masculine fragrances.

    As stated before, Im no expert and have no qualifications whatsoever to write a definitive list Im just an avid sniffer. So, I look forward to comments, complaints, and suggestions.

    With that, I get to a hard-to-classify set of scents. In short, there are some combinations of notes that have become widely used, and an appreciation of perfumes would be greatly enhanced by knowing how to recognize these common formulas. Weve already addressed this with the woody chypre and the violets-over-leather of Cuir de Russie, but there are many many more. So, here are three groundbreaking perfumes that introduced the world to mixes that are now being used a lot.

    Necessary Learning


    50. Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert by Bulgari



    If youve been following my crazy blog, you may remember when I suggested sniffing the herbs in your kitchen and noticing how both bay leaves and sage smell kind of like tea. This has actually become a very popular perfume trick. By combining them with lemon verbena and flowers (usually jasmine, because its a common tea flavoring) or even mint, you can get something that smells like a perfumed vision of fresh green tea.

    I should warn you, though, that Eau Parfumée hides this now-legendary tea accord under a clean top of orange and pepper mixed with fresh laundry chemicals, so it takes an hour or so before it fades to this important tea smell, and it always retains a fabric softener vibe mixed with the tea.

    For a better example, you can smell this herbs+verbena=tea trick very upfront and easily in Miller Et Bertauxs Green Green Green And Green perfume, which would actually probably have been a better pick as an instructional tool, but Parfumée did it first and is widely considered one of the reasons that its nose Jean Claude Ellena is so good, so thats why it made the list instead of Green.


    51. Déclaration by Cartier



    Déclaration is probably one of the weirdest scents you can just go down to the mall and smell everywhere, which must be saying something. Like Parfumée au Thé Vert, its by renowned nose Jean Claude Ellena, and those who follow his work will tell you that an awful lot of what hes done since (Bigarade Concentree for Malle and just about anything with citrus in it for Hermès) have been unabashed re-mixes of what he did in Déclaration. As such, if you want to understand the Ellena vocabulary, Déclaration is required sniffing. Plus, as stated above, its just plain interesting.

    It starts off with an unabashed pairing of orange and cumin, simultaneously juicy and sweet and spicy and sweaty. If you can make it through the cumin overdose, youll be rewarded with one of the most baffling and artistic basenotes in perfumery. You know that smell on someones neck after youve been making out for a long time? Its slobbery and sexy and hormonal and deeply human. Thats what Déclarations base smells like. But for all its natural humanity, its also shockingly mineral. When I was a kid, my mom used to let us make little art projects by melting crayons on hot aluminum foil. Déclaration smells like that (melting wax and overheated metal) every bit as much as it smells like kisses on human skin. The duality and simultaneity is in your face and confounding and its almost impossible to imagine a great perfumer doing this as anything other than a thought provoking piece and an artistic statement its too profound and obvious to be intended purely as functional.


    52. Égoïste by Chanel



    (Not Platinum Égoïste thats totally different)

    After the thoroughly modern Eau Parfumée and Déclaration, Égoïste is a bit of a different story, but aside from its history and familiar name, its actually on my list primarily as an indispensable learning tool.

    Égoïste is dense and thick and confusing, but its actually based on a centuries-old Middle Eastern mix of rose, patchouli, and sandalwood. This is one of those magical mixes that doesnt smell like its components. The rose and patchouli fuse to form a sort of fruity jam smell, while the patchouli and sandalwood combine to create a dense, sweet richness that largely defines the oriental genre (remember Coromandel?). This trio is incredibly important and worth getting to know. It forms the foundation on which Montale have built their oud line, and its the core of Feminitè du Bois and a lot of Serge Lutens. When someone refers to a dark rose, its usually this, from Frederic Malles Portrait Of A Lady to the new Mark Birley Charles Street to countless upscale feminine designer perfumes.

    For the record, Égoïste is much more than just these three ingredients, of course. Most notably, there are sparkly aldehydes on top and a strong berry presence that helps flavor the dark rose jam (these turn up in most of the scents Ive mentioned, too this is a very common recipe). Not to beat a dead horse, but youll also notice that Égoïste is a very established and accepted mens scent, but that it has been endlessly copied in scents targeted to women, just further proof that gender distinctions in perfume are mostly just useless marketing crap.

    10/26/11 at 1:07am

    Ivory88 said:



    Well, you have just convinced me to go give Declaration a try, sir!

    10/29/11 at 2:01pm

    Surfacing said:



    I am a huge lover of Declaration. Its a big deal for me, in that it has been something I have enjoyed wearing for the last 2 years. Considering how easily I get bored with a fragrance, that is saying alot.


    Egoiste is just plain lovely as well. In my earlier days, I thought of it as an overly sweet concoction, yet I always wanted to come back to it. Thank goodness I did, as it is another favorite of mine.

    10/29/11 at 6:48pm

    knit at nite said:



    Comparing this endeavor, your magnum opus, to running a marathon- I'm offering a virtual drink of water and sweat towel as you pass the half-way mark toward the finish line. Beautiful job so far- can't wait to read the remaining posts!

    11/5/11 at 10:05am

    arwen_elf said:



    I just discovered your series of blogs. You have made great choices. I can't believe I have never owned Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert. I remember spraying every time I went to Nordstrom when it first came out in 1994 (?), and I have no idea why I never bought a bottle. As to the other two, when my father passed away, he owned Declaration Essence and Egoiste, among others, but those two bottles went home with me right away. Of course I have an emotional attachment to those, but also they smell great on me and I can't compare them to anything else I knew at the time and find them ground breaking.





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