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  1. #1

    Default No great men's fragrances anymore?

    From today's Telegraph, via Now Smell This: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/fashi...-any-more.html

    Apologies if someone has posted it already; I didn't see it in a search.

  2. #2
    Basenotes Member
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Thanks for the link. My first impression was that if he can’t find any new good fragrances, then he is just not looking hard enough. But then I read the whole thing, and I agree with everything he says.

    If I go into a local perfume shop I find almost nothing of interest. But there is a whole other world out there of fragrances for those who go out and look for it, as I have learned since I joined Basenotes. And this is what he says in the end of the article: “It’s little wonder then that the smaller fragrance houses who offer more dynamic and interesting fragrance options are gaining ground.”

    Thank God for all the smaller fragrance houses, making our lives more enjoyable every day.

  3. #3

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Given that it's in the mainstream press, it's sort of encouraging in a way.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Very interesting article and interesting thoughts expressed by the author.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals don't warrant or deserve other individuals' acknowledgement or respect.

  5. #5

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    "Our grooming expert Lee Kynaston reckons most new men’s fragrances stink"

    1) They don't.
    2) "grooming expert"?

    Didn't read any further, sorry.
    My current top five:

    Etro - Vetiver
    Etro - Patchouly
    Serge Lutens - Fumerie Turque
    Hermès - Equipage (vtg)
    Hermès - Bel Ami (vtg)

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  6. #6

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    I enjoyed reading that, thank you.

  7. #7

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Too true, sadly. I thought it was funny that he called Bleu de Chanel out as being different because to me that is precisely the type of bland, safe, boring scent he was describing, albeit slightly higher end than most.

  8. #8

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    A lot of truth in that article. Thanks for the info.

  9. #9
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    The same is true for women's mainstream designer scents, too. The small town dept store fare is abysmal. Thank-you for niche!

    I read a story in the NY Times a while back about the creation of a new scent and they started with the name and the bottle design. The last consideration was the juice and how it would smell. It was of little importance.



    It was all about this Kate Spade 'Live Colorfully' perfume. They came up with a cool bottle but the perfume itself was secondary.
    Last edited by kumquat; 29th April 2014 at 10:48 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Thanks for posting, its an interesting read. Not sure I agree with everything he said, but that's the difference in opinion that fragrance generates.

    One thing I do know, if Invictus if leading the way, I need to further stock up on my favourite currently available scents.

    I also wonder if he is a member here on Basenotes as his article seemed a little like a cut and paste of a collection of posts here.

  11. #11

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Thanks for sharing, captivating read.

  12. #12

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by kumquat View Post


    There are those, of course, who collect the bottle sans scent. Maybe they don't feel frustrated.
    I must admit, this kate spade is a knockout of a bottle; as we're told, it's the bottle that gets the biggest piece of the budget because, apparently, it does most of the selling. Perhaps there's some odd justice in that. But I'd agree that this is putting the cart before the horse.
    If mainstream designers are the prime culprits, there's a niche house that's oddly guilty: Agonist and its Sculpture Line. Buy the phantastic handblown glass bottle for a thousand euros--and get the juice free! Thank goodness Agonist has come out with standard Lutensesque refills. Else I might never have got the chance to enjoy The Infidels or Liquid Crystal.

  13. #13

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Good article, thanks.

    "Ubiquity pour Homme"

    So dull are today’s creations that the fragrance du jour may as well be called Ubiquity Pour Homme – a concoction that is everywhere, smells like everything else and is characterised by a top note of predictability, a heart note of safety and a base note of utter blandness. Oh, and pink pepper and something sweet and vanillary for good measure. Wear it and you’ll smell like every other man in the street.

    What’s also making today’s fragrances so dull is the ubiquitous Dihydromyrcenol - a synthetic ingredient described (depending on your point of view) as being lavender-like, hyper-fresh or slightly bitter and metallic. It’s primarily used in men’s fragrance for its ferocity and staying power, is often prevalent in sport variants, and is the ingredient responsible for that slightly acrid zing common to pungent men’s fragrances. And it’s is everywhere.

    There ya go - silledge and longevidee well sorted - maybe a dash of Iso E and Ambroxan for a touch of wood and we're done and dusted here
    Last edited by mr. reasonable; 30th April 2014 at 04:30 AM.
    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
    ― Isaac Asimov

  14. #14

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Agree that there are too many fragrance launches attempting to get the very small piece of the pie left. The ordinary guy/girl is left with multiple options that are just not very satisfying. Search hard, and you can find some, but most folks just don't want to search that hard to find a good smell.

  15. #15
    Dependent Akahina's Avatar
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    I by and large agree with the article. I can't remeber the last time I smelled a mainstreem designer scent I liked...perhaps Terre d'Hermes. Since then I have been bored with virtually every new designer scent. I blame the same corporate mentality but also blame the consumer for actually buying these generic and uninspiring scents. Also to blame is the IFRA bans and regulations. Add to that a population of young guys that want to be like everyone else and look what you get...mediocrity. There are still good scents out there but you have to both look for them from smaller houses or independants and then pay through the nose.
    My Favorites
    1a. Slumberhouse Zahd
    1. Amouage Epic man
    2. Dior Leather Oud
    3. Amouage Tribute Attar
    4. Le Labo Patchouli 24
    5. Amouage Opus VII
    6. Bond No.9 New York Oud
    7. Norma Kamali Incense


    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.


    The IFRA can bite me!

  16. #16

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
    The same is true for women's mainstream designer scents, too. The small town dept store fare is abysmal. Thank-you for niche!

    I read a story in the NY Times a while back about the creation of a new scent and they started with the name and the bottle design. The last consideration was the juice and how it would smell. It was of little importance.

    It was all about this Kate Spade 'Live Colorfully' perfume. They came up with a cool bottle but the perfume itself was secondary.
    Yes I've smelled it. Perfectly nice but nothing particularly interesting. Sort of like their bag designs of the past couple of years. Kate Spade used to be a favorite of mine, but they've just gone totally "cute" and now it's all pretty bland.

  17. #17

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    What’s also making today’s fragrances so dull is the ubiquitous Dihydromyrcenol - a synthetic ingredient described (depending on your point of view) as being lavender-like, hyper-fresh or slightly bitter and metallic. It’s primarily used in men’s fragrance for its ferocity and staying power, is often prevalent in sport variants, and is the ingredient responsible for that slightly acrid zing common to pungent men’s fragrances. And it’s is everywhere.
    So that's what it is. Such a depressing smell.

  18. #18

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Well, while we're scratching our heads here's my antidote . . . feel free to label me a GGERRLaaane whore or whatever but these keep me sane these days

    images.jpeg
    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
    ― Isaac Asimov

  19. #19

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    The days of rich spices or deep aromatics are over for designer scents, generally-speaking of course. But ask yourself what you want - why can't you get it that in vintage or niche? You'll have to do some research and "hunting," but that only makes finding a great scent at a reasonable price all the more satisfying. The "men's" aisle at Sephora/Ulta or the local upscale dept. store may not be worth visiting any longer. I don't think I've been to any of these places in a couple years, and I only live a few miles away!

  20. #20

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akahina View Post
    ...but also blame the consumer for actually buying these generic and uninspiring scents.
    That's what I find so demoralizing, not that the manufacturers are making these kinds of fragrances, but that the average consumer finds them so good. Thirty years ago most of this stuff would've been considered cheap dreck.

    I don't blame the companies for producing them. Why shouldn't they, since the average buyer goes gaga over them? What's the point of making quality fragrances with quality ingredients when 99% of your customer base is too ignorant and too unconcerned to appreciate them?

    Get a typical fragrance wearer to smell a classic perfume and here's their impression: musty, old, dated, sharp. They do not recognize quality of ingredients, quality of blending, complexity of blending, complexity of structure, or refinement of smell. To them the modern unbalanced monsters of abrasiveness, linearity, and excessive sweetness and/or fruitiness are superior fragrances.

  21. #21
    Frag Bomb Squadron XVII
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    A little bird once told me the margins on fragrance sale is insane. That's why every fashion house and celebrity wants a piece of the pie. It's all marketing driven. If you swallow the marketing hook, line and sinker, chances are you'll convince yourself it even smells good. Observations:

    There is a large segment of market who's always buying the latest, yet another segment comprise of brand fanatics who'd buy whatever is dished out by their favorite brand.

    Basenoters hardly figure as a significant factor in their fragrance marketing plan.

    Well known perfumers are paid very well to lend their names to fragrances I'm sure they are privately embarrassed about.

    There are still designer gems out there but increasingly they are marketed under more exclusive (read: uber pricey) niche lines.

  22. #22
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    -- Designer, nIche, whatever, doesn't matter. Few are any good. But as long as people keep buying them, writing reviews all over the place saying how great they are, then it'll be more of the same. It's impossible to make anything great anyway since most of the natural ingredients are restricted or banned, and many still have no decent synthetic substitute. Should be stimulating all kinds of new ideas, though. :-) Still, it's mind blowing that anyone actually believes the people responsible for restricting the ingredients are doing it all for your health.
    Last edited by pluran; 30th April 2014 at 09:35 AM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran View Post
    -- Designer, nIche, whatever, doesn't matter. Few are any good. But as long as people keep buying them, writing reviews all over the place saying how great they are, then it'll be more of the same. It's impossible to make anything great anyway since most of the natural ingredients are restricted or banned, and many still have no decent synthetic substitute. Should be stimulating all kinds of new ideas, though. :-) Still, it's mind blowing that anyone actually believes the people responsible for restricting the ingredients are doing it all for your health.
    I'm more optimistic than you are. Yes, I agree that there's a lot of bad perfume out there, and I largely agree with Mr. Kynaston. But I think it's far from impossible to make great perfumes even today. It's all subjective, but I'd argue that Dior, Kurkdjian, Etat Libre d'Orange, Frederic Malle, and plenty of others are doing a pretty good job of it. The mainstream is in pretty dire shape, but I'm not about to say it's all hopeless and cling to the past.

    Plus, I doubt very many people other than perfume enthusiasts are even aware of the ingredient restrictions, let alone bamboozled by the pretense of health and safety concerns. Outside of a relatively small community, my bet is that nobody cares.

  24. #24

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Personally, I think there is a LOT of really great stuff out there that has been made in the last 5 years. Maybe not stuff that you will find in Walmart however, which must be where it needs to be sold to be considered "mainstream"

    I think almost the entire Armani Prive line was excellent. Many of the Dior Exclusives are amazing (sadly, the best - Vetiver, has been discontinued), Tom Ford Private Blends (didn't Basenoters everywhere JUST go gaga over Sahara Noir? And Plum Japonais?), the new Zegna line (how many new threads about the new Haitian Vetiver have there been in the last 2 months?). It seems like a case of selective memory.

    And that's not even touching the whole classification of what people refer to as "niche" here... Who is stopping anyone from exploring that realm? You want bizarre? Trust me, it can be found... Just not in aisle 5.
    Seasonal favorites:

    1. Creed - Pure White Cologne
    2. Creed - Aventus
    3. Tom Ford - Grey Vetiver
    4.
    by Kilian - Straight to Heaven
    5. Clive Christian - 1872
    6. Montale - Aoud Legacy
    7. Xerjoff - Nio
    8. Neela Vermeire - Bombay Bling
    9. The Different Company - De Bachmakov
    10. Chanel - Allure Homme Edition Blanche

  25. #25

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    I guess this is were the word Generic spawn from....there are still good ones out there on the designer market : you just have to know about them , for ex Tom Ford signature line and Dior and some of Chanel's line....now the regular consumer might be smitten by generic this or generic that...and so on and on...yippitie ay coyote
    Last edited by magnus611; 30th April 2014 at 01:33 PM.
    "Thank GOD for the nose, for without it we would not be enjoying these beautiful created Scents" also Remember "Balance is everything and the key to appreciating "

  26. #26

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Made to Measure, Invictus, the new Karl Lagerfeld for men

    It's 'designer meltdown'

  27. #27

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Thanks for posting this, Kagey. If you hadn't, I would have missed this one. It's surprising what sort of stories you can find hidden in the press these days!

    I personally can see what the author is getting at - the designers have outsourced the perfume creation from beginning to end and their involvement in the process is next to nothing. I agree that mainstream scents of late haven't been that good and he makes some good exceptions like Terre d' Hermes (though not sure why he mention Bleu and Million!).

    He also makes a very good point about competition between fragrance houses or releases for shelf space:

    Such is the fierce competition for space on retailers shelves that companies feel compelled to release endless limited editions and variants (just add the word ‘Sport’, ‘Intense’, ‘Noir’ or ‘Summer’ to the name of your favourite fragrance).
    And that’s because many fragrance houses now operate with an X-Factor mentality where initial sales are god but longevity and originality are irrelevant.
    I find this totally true to the very last word.

    IMHO, I think this is a reality and it may explain why many of us fragrance freaks here on BN and beyond are turning to more niche-type brands, exclusives and private ranges. I for one, can safely say that my purchases of the past year have all been rare and hard-to-find (sometimes discontinued) scents, with the exception of Aramis and Declaration that are classics from a bygone era.

  28. #28

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    I was a little surprised to see Le Male lumped in with Fahrenheit as an "enduring" fragrance. I'd have thought of it as being of a newer generation and thus an exception to the current blandness rather than an example of a classic from a bygone era. But maybe I'm mistaken?

    Also, meant to say that I also love Grey Flannel.

  29. #29
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    I thought it was interesting about the chemical additive that makes the scent last longer and turns it into a 'cling on'. There is most definitely a female equivalent there, too. A high-pitched screechy, sweet, white musk sort of thing which is in 'Flower Bomb' and 'La Vie est Belle' and hundreds of other similar scents. IMO, these are the kind of chemicals that cause respiratory distress and headaches. Very undesirable and detrimental to the common good.
    Last edited by kumquat; 30th April 2014 at 03:34 PM.

  30. #30

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
    I thought it was interesting about the chemical additive that makes the scent last longer and turns it into a 'cling on'. There is most definitely a female equivalent there, too. A high-pitched screechy, sweet, white musk sort of thing which is in 'Flower Bomb' and 'La Vie est Belle' and hundreds of other similar scents. IMO, these are the kind of chemicals that cause respiratory distress and headaches. Very undesirable and detrimental to the common good.
    I think Angel and Alien by Mugler can cause a vomiting depression for example but its still not forbidden to wear them on the streets and offices( Even though I beleive that ammount of ethil maltol in them more than an elephant could bear never mind humans skin or nostrils
    *sigh*

  31. #31

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Well, thanks for the nice post/link. Although I have a bottle but have never worn it, still have not made up my mind about it, is bleu that bad or not?

  32. #32

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    I wonder when the perfume industry will realise that banning or severely restricting all the good ingredients that once made decent perfumes only leads to articles such as this being written and eventually will strangle their own income. Bland ingredients = boring perfume in the main.

    There is the occasional artist who manages to magic the greys back into colours using them but it's an uphill struggle. Sign all the petitions you can see for freedom of choice for perfumers and consumers. The nanny state nets are closing on you as we read this thread.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    There's lots of great new ones, and also lots of great vintage ones that can still be found. The article rings true but I am completely enjoying myself with fragrances in the present :-)


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  34. #34

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougczar
    Personally, I think there is a LOT of really great stuff out there that has been made in the last 5 years. Maybe not stuff that you will find in Walmart however, which must be where it needs to be sold to be considered "mainstream"

    I think almost the entire Armani Prive line was excellent. Many of the Dior Exclusives are amazing (sadly, the best - Vetiver, has been discontinued), Tom Ford Private Blends (didn't Basenoters everywhere JUST go gaga over Sahara Noir? And Plum Japonais?), the new Zegna line (how many new threads about the new Haitian Vetiver have there been in the last 2 months?). It seems like a case of selective memory.

    And that's not even touching the whole classification of what people refer to as "niche" here... Who is stopping anyone from exploring that realm? You want bizarre? Trust me, it can be found... Just not in aisle 5.
    I agree as well. Mainstream pretty much sucks. Just synthetic junk designed for completely non-challenging unoffensive easy wear.

    I think the article should have inserted "Designer" before "Fragrances". Loads of great niche fragrances out there. I'm glad that vintage wasn't cited. We don't need more competition on auction bidding, which is stiff enough as it is!

  35. #35

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Great article!

    Besides a few older fragrances and Terre D'Hermes (which I find is as good as the classics), I'm pretty much all niche now. I think it's the only way to go. Whereas I spent a lot of time in department stores in the past, I now spend that time in stores like MIN, Lafco, Bergdorf Goodman and Sach's. It maybe more expensive, but at least the fragrances are great (Montale Black Aoud, Tom Ford Tuscan Leather, Acqua Di Parma Oud etc. etc.)

  36. #36
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    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    This only serves to make the mainstream fragrance user feel bad about himself...taking a page out of women's magazines - manufacture a deficit which needs to be rectified by guess what...buying a new scent. But, that new fragrance will still be a mainstream one just a bit different than all of his other scents because that's what most people want - non-offensive and light fragrances.

    I find unique mainstream fragrances, diamonds in the rough if you will. It's not easy but it's not impossible.

  37. #37

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. Reasonable View Post
    well, while we're scratching our heads here's my antidote . . . Feel free to label me a ggerrlaaane whore or whatever but these keep me sane these days

    images.jpeg
    guerlain rules!!!!!!

  38. #38

    Default No great men's fragrances anymore?

    In a thread back in April that I started, I mentioned that the YouTube reviewer Marc (aka Robes08) had missed these off his 100 best list, that are all from the last 5 years:

    Guerlain Homme L'Eau Boisee

    Avant Garde

    Tom Ford Noir

    AHS Eau Extreme

    Code Ultimate

    Wonderwood

    Declaration Cologne

    Declaration d'Un Soir

    Eau Sauvage Parfum

    Midnight in Paris

    ---

    ... and Marc did put a handful of recent frags in that list as well.

    While I agree with a lot of what was said in the article, you just have to try everything, good ones will be out there amongst the dreck.

    Oh, and btw the "lasts all day" ingredient is the primary component of Green Irish Tweed!
    Last edited by andym72; 4th June 2014 at 11:42 PM.

  39. #39

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    That article must have been geared toward people who enjoy widely available commercial stuff. Like D&G, Gucci, Davidoff, Versace lol....
    No offense on those mentioned; Although, we're actually in an fragrance era today that is making history like no other time before with notes of Oud, Roses, and Aquatics.

    I find it hard to agree with such an article that did not go more in depth about notes of Oud... Look at the number of creations today by fragrance houses that has dedicated creations to oud alone. Makers such as Armani, Ferrari, Tom Ford, L'Artisan, D&G, Kilian, Roja Dove, Le Labo, Bond, and Creed just to name a few.

    The strongest pushing scents right now that's making history is probably Aventus, Oud Wood, or Tuscan Leather.

  40. #40

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    From today's Telegraph, via Now Smell This: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/fashi...-any-more.html

    Apologies if someone has posted it already; I didn't see it in a search.
    What a great post, and article! I couldn't agree more with this guy, the newer colognes I've sampled recently left much to be desired, yet the bottle of Dune for Men that I bought yesterday at a duty free ( the really old one with minimal ingredients listed) is so amazingly good that I'm probably going to write a blog about it. Same goes for an ancient bottle of Fahrenheit that I found at a Savon a few months ago, another cologne that's in my opinion, better than anything currently at Saphora.

  41. #41

    Default Re: No great men's fragrances anymore?

    I think YSL l'homme sport is a terrific new release but many will probably disagree with me. If thier weren't so many l'homme flankers I think sport would be so much more better perceived.

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