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  1. #1

    Default Looking for a zen fragrance

    It seems that today many men's fragrances are designed to please others rather than yourself. I know this is a big generalization but you see so many houses discontinue sober, dry fragrances (for example Dyptique Eau Trois, a quintessential zen garrigue) in favor of round, sweet, possibly fruity or caramel/ambered, generous, aquatic, blue, soft, gentle crowd pleasers. The modern style is rounder.

    And yet I've noted in my fragrance notes that there are some fragrances that I'd wear more for myself than for others. These tend to be drier, stonier, more desertlike or vegetal, more restrained and sober, even introverted, and yet interesting and worthy of reflection. As they say in Italy for certain wines, "un vino de meditacione". These fragrances are not particularly flowery or sweet or round.

    But more than the fragrance notes, it is the style that makes them zen. An example of a dry, restrained fougere would be Loewe pour Homme. Subtle, not ostentatious, not particularly inviting for others, yet interesting precisely because it is plain, true. Skarb by Humieki and Graff also seems to me to be zen. Profumum Fumidus and Timbuktu also perhaps. Not much by Parfum d'Empire or Lutens...just too lush. Tan Dao and Hinoki just seem too extreme and out of balance in the other direction. Even Chevalier D'Orsay seems a little zen in its restrained manner.

    Could anybody suggest other any zen fragrances that seem to buck the modern trend in modern men's fragrances?
    Last edited by woolheater; 21st July 2012 at 03:47 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Bare, woody fragrances tend to irritate me, the opposite of what I think of when someone says zen. Instead, I prefer complex frags that offer balance but great dynamism, and this is what vintage designer did best, in general. There are so many here to mention, and which ones you might like will depend upon your tastes (you might not like any of them, though, if you want simplicity). Red for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills is one of the most complex frags, if not the most complex, that is totally balanced (after the first half hour or so), for example, but I wouldn't even consider wearing the new version.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    I love Skarb, and agree it is very Zen.

    One of the most zen fragrances I have come across (and own, for that very reason), is Let Me Play the Lion by Les Nez. A dry and ethereal wood and incense that does not venture into the harsh minimalism of scents like Hinoki.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    A Quiet Morning by Miller Bertaux could be what you are looking for. Looking at the notes it might seem like a busy, complex fragrance but overall it's an airy, dry and comforting spice-incense combination.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Like I've said in my review, John Varvatos Star USA is indeed a very quiet scent but has its distinct clean depth. What comes to my mind when wearing it is the sensation of cool, polished black stones against skin. A strange mental association, but I can't describe it in any different way. The longevity is not the best but if you appreciate the stoic side of fragrance it's not going to matter one bit.
    "Whiff Guy" Argent
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    I consider Fahrenheit 32 and Beyond Paradise Men as my 'feelgood', 'ease the mind' scents...!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Tam Dao is very Zen to me.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    A lot of the Hermessence line seem this way to me.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Try Zen from Shiseido......discontinued, but relatively easy to find and not too expensive.
    ......(the black bottle).
    Last edited by david; 21st July 2012 at 12:15 PM.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyBars View Post
    A lot of the Hermessence line seem this way to me.
    Agree, and intentionally so - Hermes recently commissioned a series of Haiku from Japanese writers to mount as part of an exhibition of the line. Santal Massoia would be my personal pick (altho not really a sandalwood scent, per se).

    I used to like the (now discontinued) Aveda natural Chakras series - Intuition was great for meditation. There are a couple in their current modern equivalent line that are still nice. These really are natural.

    Amouage Epic Woman might be of interest - by no means transparent but the Silk Road influence works in a sort of tonic, almost herbal medicinal way that speaks of remoteness.

    And of you want to go positively monastic then Or Black (Pascal Morabito) has a solitary sparseness that is terrific and there is something about it that recalls Kyoto temples in winter for me. Some Japanese incense has a very dark mossy quality, and burned in those all wooden temples the mix is great. You can see where CdG were going with Kyoto et al, and the more refined Dzongkha that came later from Duchaufor, but a good chypre accord where the oakmoss is prominent (remember them?) takes me straight to Kyomizu and hills around Kyoto valley after the rain.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    M. Micallef - Note Vanillee.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    If you're looking for "post-industrial zen" (make of that whatever you will) look into M/Mink by Byredo.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Shanaan by Micallef

  14. #14

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    If you're looking for a post-industrial zen fragrance (make of that what you will) check out M/Mink by Byredo.
    ***For sale:

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    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    You mentioned Lutens as not being very Zen, and for the most part I agree, but I suggest you take a look at Chene. A dash of Lutens richness over a base of high quality wood/moss notes.

    Another is Malle's French Lover...it's dark, angular and green, and to me it evokes tough vegetation growing in some dangerously rough and craggy location.
    Last edited by LiveJazz; 21st July 2012 at 03:58 PM.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  16. #16

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Tauer perfumes have a very somber, dry, mineral base that seems to fit some aspects of your description. The most representative is Air du desert marocain, but most other Tauers have this note. They are quite strong, perhaps not a zen-like characteristic, but then you cite Fvmidvs and Timbuktu, which are much louder, so perhaps it is not a problem.

    cacio

  17. #17

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Here are my suggestions...

    Papyrus De Ciane (green and fresh vegetal opening evolving into a meditative incense base)
    Kyoto (minimalistic incense with multiple woody micro-facets and vetiver)
    Preludio D'Oriente (introverted, austere, dark incense)
    Miller Et Bertaux Spiritus Land (light-green incense)


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  18. #18

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    some zen fragrences that i've smelled that seem like just for me, would be happy by clinique, and boss aqua elements seems to really relax me.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    I also recommend French Lover/Bois D'Orage (same frag) by Malle. Dry and earthy.
    If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? -Alexander Solzhenitsyn, novelist, Nobel laureate

    Wanting to try:

    Fougère Bengale, Cafe Noir

    Wanting to buy:

    Yohji Homme EDT

  20. #20

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Smoky woody zen: Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    woolheater's original post made me thinking. I don't know much about the concept but what I've read so far makes me believe something like Vétiver Extraordinaire (Frédéric Malle) might provide this "zen-like" atmosphere of calm and absolute focus.

  22. #22
    Super Member Nemanja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Encre Noire

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    Encre Noire

  23. #23

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    I just sampled koke shimizu and it is very zen definitely for your self and not for others, I posted my review in a seperate thread. It was a great scent journey smelling it

  24. #24

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Kenzo pour Homme

  25. #25

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Another I can't recommend highly enough is Nombril Immense by Etat Libre d'Orange. It's a patchouli oriented scent that is infused with space - not outer space, but simply open space. It's very soft and seemingly unassuming, but just like the activity implied by its namesake (navel gazing) you can easily get lost in it.
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  26. #26

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    My go-to zen fragrance is L'Artisan Dzongka. It has this strange power that puts me into a peaceful state with laser sharp concentration.

    The only other fragrance that had this kind of effect on me as the now-defunct Majmua Attar from Tigerflag perfumery. It was a sad day when I ran out...the best smelling juice ever. None of the other Majmua Attars you find for cheap all over the internet are worthy of that name. Running out of that juice has lead me hear a few thousand dollars later still looking for a worthy replacement of some sorts.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    I consider Xeryus Rouge to be quite "zen" in a mild dosage. Btw. try Shiseido Zen, albeit quite bashed on this site, I find it to be rather soothing.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Try:

    Stephen Jones by Comme des Garcons - a somewhat cold and metallic scent, which augurs an astringent and detached, futuristic vibe, reminiscent of isolated indifference.
    Initially one is treated to an icy verdancy from violet leaf, akin to grass clippings with a nuance of greenness from cucumber. A cool, mineral accord, akin to iron shavings and weathered peebles, swirls about. And, magical aldehydes impart their soapiness and effervescence. Transitioning to the heart, an antiseptic clove infuses the fresh opening with its smoky spiciness and a faint, charred-wood nuance. After a bit, a floral melange of sweetly spicy, vanillic carnation, sweet velvety rose, tutti-fruitti jasmine and powdery, cherry-vanilla heliotrope encase the scent, and segues to the awaiting base. Guiacwood, with its honeyed-rose sweetness as well as smoky and rubber nuances, commingles with black cumin with its pungent spiciness and hint of strawberry. An earthy vetiver, with its grassy and clumped-dirt vibe, presents. And, a clean aldehyde sweeps in with its freshly-laundered linen aspect. A somewhat enigmatic drydown ensues. This unique and unisex composition has average projection and longevity, 6-7 hours.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    For me, the answer would be Gucci Pour Homme I and II - each for entirely different reasons. Really, the scents couldn't be any more different. And yet, each accomplishes something similar for me. They begin with a soft envelopment of comfort that inspires my immediate attention, and they transition into something peaceful and happy. Each comforts me, in different ways. These are the only two scents I've encountered yet that do this for me in such a big way.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Maybe take a look at L'ether from Iunx or as noted Let Me Play the Lion from Les Nez.


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  31. #31

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Caron Pour Un Homme

  32. #32

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Gucci Pour Homme 2

    The tea smell just makes you calm.
    Smells better than Tea For Two even.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    CDG Ouarzazate and CDG Hinoki. Great calming frags that are very "zen" to me.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Bvlgari Pour Homme

  35. #35

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire Pour Homme. It is not incense but it is absolutely, certainly, zen, a beautiful, calming, contemplative, transparent rose patchouli. Ask Jack what he thinks about that...

  36. #36

    Default Re: Looking for a zen fragrance

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    If you're looking for "post-industrial zen" (make of that whatever you will) look into M/Mink by Byredo.
    +1 - it has the austerity and refined simplicity I would consider Zen. I don't think the Hermessence frags are very Zen, though, no matter how much they are marketed as "olfactory haiku" - they're much too pleasant and ingratiating for that (which is fine for a haiku, but has little to do with Zen. The two things don't necessarily have anything to do with each other, anyway, just because they're both Japanese - they're about as connected as Shakespearean sonnets and catholic monasticism, really). More precise options would be Hermès' Eau de Gentiane Blanche or Sienne l'Hiver by Eau d'Italie. Some CB I Hate Perfume stuff comes to mind as well, like Burning Leaves or Black March.

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