Scratch + Sniff, Tues 22 Feb: From Rakes to Rambo - male identity and scent

by Grant Osborne, 22nd February, 2011

Our good friends at Scratch and Sniff are hosting their regular monthly event tonight (Tues 22nd February) at The Book Club in Shoreditch, London. Sadly we won't be live-blogging (live blogging will return at the March one though), but for those who are interested in tonight's event, "Male Identity and Scent", can find out more below:

Until about 100 years ago, there were no fragrances specifically for men. You’d wear the same as women, usually a floral, bouqueted creation, a far cry from today’s myriad range of aftershaves. Now, men have their own ‘smells’, from fine colognes right though to that peculiar phenomenon, Lynx.

With fragrance as our North Star (and perfume adverts to provide some intriguing social commentary), we are going to relive the journey of how we got here through some archetypal male cultures and perfumes. We’ll start with the pomandered Fopps of the 18th century, whose fluid identity was revived by the New Romantics in the 1980s, through to the Victorian Gentleman, the Matinee Idol, the City Gent, the 80′s Hunk epitomised by that Athena poster through to the diversity of the present day where many women are appropriating men’s fragrances for themselves. If you’re interested in identity, sexuality and expression, you’re at the right place. Our guide will be James Craven, perfume archivist of independent perfumery Les Senteurs.

You can find out more at

And as a special tribute to the "Male Identity and Scent" event, we've dug out everyone's favourite men's fragrance commercial, Mandom. Cue Charles Bronson....

Another? In Lego form? Go on then...

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    • Primrose | 22nd February 2011 06:51

      Sounds interesting, Grant. Please report on this.

      And thanks for bringing up this ad for Mandom. It's always worth a laugh and is so...1970s!

      Scent will always be macho, I guess, if you douse yourself with a whole bottle. Dabbing and spraying is just too prissy for some, I guess. LOL!

      Keep in mind that many a perfumed dandy would go off to fight a duel at the drop of a hat...or glove. Perfume and manly physical courage are not mutually exclusive. I can think of one perfumed dandy who probably would have worn scent to a bare-knuckles boxing match. Stripped to the waist and covered in sweat, I am sure his scent would have been interesting.

    • MysteryBuff40 | 22nd February 2011 06:55

      Someone must do a review of Mandom. We need to know what it smells like. Is it still being made?

    • elmsyrup | 22nd February 2011 09:46

      Now you mention Lynx, I would like to know what the heck is going on with that. It smells TOXIC, how have they managed to convince huge swathes of the population to willingly use it?

    • Ratfink | 23rd February 2011 11:56

      I'd never seen this ad before. Thank you! It truly is a work of genius. (My sister is fluent in Japanese - I may ask her what it all means.)

    • LaNose | 3rd March 2011 19:04

      Forget Bronson---give me the new Old Spice guy!

    • Sir Sartana | 10th March 2011 04:53

      Old Spice Guy would have a Death Wish if he had to deal with Mr. Bronson:laugh: