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  1. #1

    Default Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    I find that virtually all fragrances targeted specifically at men smell bad - like there is an ingredient in there that, to my nose, stinks. Virtually all of the mainstream, department store/Sephora/designer male fragrances contain this ingredient. It is not ISO E Super, as I have worn Esscentric Molecule 01 with no problem. I can also wear "Gendarme" and Mugler "Cologne" and some masculine gourmands like "AMen" or "Le Male".

    I love clean smells, but something like "Aqua do Gio" or CK One are unbearable because it is chock full of this stinky mystery ingredient. And whatever it is, it smells unnatural and awful -- like some sort of nefarious scent experiment gone "Frankenstein."

    Someone suggested that the offender is something called Calone but I have no way of figuring that out as I don't know if any of the fragrances that I do find tolerable contain Calone. So I am turning the mystery over to you guys - the experts!

    Here are the patterns I have been able to detect:

    - mystery ingredient is rarely used in fragrances targeted at women (which is why I can generally find "clean" feminines that don't have the "stink" but virtually every masculine marketed as "clean" or "sport" is full of this nightmare.

    - less often found in masculine gourmands, although I detect it occasionally

    In summary: what is the offender and what good, clean masculines (outside of Gendarme and Mugler Cologne) might I want to look at that lack this nastiness?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Maybe try some of the Prada's like Amber Man or Infusion.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Could be a number of things.

    Calone - yes, prime examples of this are AdG, CK One, Happy for Men and Light Blue for Men.

    Dihydromyrcenol - This one is obvious in Cool Water, and the dry down of Code Sport and Lacoste Essential.

    Ambroxan (and many other similar synthetic ambers) - these are bloody everywhere. Boss in Motion is a great example of this stuff, but it's used in complete overload quantities to devastatingly terrible effect in Azzaro Chrome.

    I'm sure there is a frag on the market somewhere that uses all three of these, but it will probably get more use as a emetic in Hospital A&E depts when someone has swallowed a poison, than as a wearable scent...
    Last edited by andym72; 13th June 2014 at 11:57 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Quote Originally Posted by LA2000 View Post
    In summary: what good, clean masculines (outside of Gendarme and Mugler Cologne) might I want to look at that lack this nastiness?
    Perhaps try Nu Green by Honore Des Pres. Even nicer than Mugler Cologne (which I also like)
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Try Prada Amber. That should give you a good idea about whether or not the issue is ambergris.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  6. #6

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Who knows? Could be numerous notes.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Could be the olfactory equivalent of "white noise," but with some scents there are notes/accords that you like so the white noise element doesn't bother you with them.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    I detest marine notes, so my guess would indeed be calone or its relatives, which to me smell like decomposing sea life. Andy listed some, another prominent example is Eau d'Issey. Light blue for men is a special offender, being the mix of aquatic and a sharp woody amber.

    Another possibility, as also mentioned, could be some woody amber, sharp materials that smell a bit like hospital cleaners, if overdosed. Ambroxan would be one.

    Hard to find masculine "clean" scents that don't contain either of those. I can think of a few citruses, which however don't last long (Acqua di parma, eau sauvage), or some herbals like Lush Dirty.

    cacio

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Calone is a synthetic, metallic bilge note to me - an ice pick. It's not that widely used but Issey Miyake Homme is a prime example.

    The other, more generic, masculine clunker is a 'screechy woods' synthetic note, usually labelled in press materials as 'cedar' or 'woody' that's also a shocker. I tried the new Cade EdT yesterday and there it was in all it's glory - what a shame.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Well, Mr Reasonable has some good ideas. I haven't a clue but know what you're referring to. I don't find this in all fragrances, however. Maybe you are super sensitive to it. I say just steer clear of them and wear what works. Luckily you've found some higher end stuff that does. Report back to us if you figure it out.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Quote Originally Posted by LA2000 View Post
    .........In summary, what is the offender?........
    Smells like a derivative of many disinfectants. It''s actually cheap and plentiful pre-composed bases known as woody ambers. By now there are hundreds of them. They're powerful. They're not always as obvious but they're in all kinds of fragrances, including most of the expensive niches. The trend grew rapidly in the mid-90's as IFRA regulations were gearing up.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Does it remind you of blue liquid laundry detergent/fabric softener?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Could be Norlimbanol, which is never mentioned in the note pyramids. It's very sharp, noisy, screechy, harsh, chemical, dry, synthetic like there's no tomorrow, metallic...etc! it's a note that I have always hated... I think sometimes it's referred to as a woody-amber note.

    Aqua di Gio has auqatic notes and like cacio mentioned above "they smell to me like decomposing sea life" so that's another possibility.
    Last edited by hawk; 14th June 2014 at 06:39 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Calone was the first thing that came to my mind, as others said, but I am certainly no expert in chemical composition.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Not sure of the note, but I agree with the premise. There seems, to me, to be this sort of formulaic way of concocting a men's fragrance. Take a perfectly good set of notes, accords, and align it all in a way where you have the superstructure of a perfectly fine women's fragrance. Then, to make it masculine, ugly it up with some quasi-offensive crap. This is why I end up wearing a lot of unisex fragrances and, even sometimes, an occasional name marketed to women. Too many men's fragrances come across as these contrived, ugly-smelling, half-baked attempts at some sort of juvenile, naive emblem of virility. Take something pretty, and smear some dirty, discomforting substance on it and voila, it's ok for guys. Because it's.....just a little bit ugly?

    Anyway, that's my theory. As to what it is? I just went through a list of fragrances made by...well...no names because it would step on some toes here, but anyway I just went through the fragrance roster of a label that I think is sort of a caricature of this simplistic process and, sure enough, more of their modern masculines contain ambergris, while few of their modern feminines contain ambergris.

    Does ambergris, or more likely some synthetic version of it, get thrown into the mix, by many perfumeurs, as an item not disclosed in the note pyramid because of its reputation as a "fixative"? Making it hard to know what contains it and what doesn't? Inquiring minds want to know. Great thread.
    Last edited by Wheatstraw2; 14th June 2014 at 06:45 AM. Reason: tidying up

  16. #16

    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Iso E Super?
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  17. #17

    Default Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offe...

    Myself and Cacio are probably the most outspoken dislikers of Marine notes.

    Having said that, I own two frags already mentioned, L'Eau d'Issey, and Essential, and I have another aquatic, L'Eau par Kenzo, which I've nicknamed "Eau de Swimming Pool" because it smells quite chlorine like (it's OK in small doses and works best in very high heat). I've always found the Calone in L'Eau d'Issey to be very muted so it's never been a problem.

    Your options for a fresh scent that doesn't have Aquatic or screechy woody amber notes are restricted, because these notes are fixatives and Citrus notes are short lived so need good fixatives.

    You could just try proper Eau de Colognes which have next to no fixatives, but then you will be reapplying a lot.

    Next would be Eau de Colognes with a Moss fixative added, but thanks to the IFRA restrictions these are being decimated. I own a LOT of these. Eau de Guerlain needs checking out, no I don't own it, but only because I have so many of this style already there would be too much overlap.

    And lastly Vetivers, again an old school category, but a modern trend is the subcategory of the Vetiver and Iso E Super basenote blend so popularised by Terre d'Hermes. And you said you get along OK with Iso E Super. Guerlain Homme and it's flankers fit here, so too the fresh Declaration flankers (Cologne and L'Eau), Grey Vetiver, Bulgari Homme Extreme, and the new fraiche TdH flanker.
    Last edited by andym72; 14th June 2014 at 08:40 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Why Do I Find That Most Men's Fragrances Stink (Literally) - What is the Offending Ingredient

    Some guys wear scents geared toward women. If the men's scents aren't doing it for you, I'm pretty sure some members can recommend some women's scents appropriate for a man
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