Perfume Directory

Azzaro pour Homme (1978)
by Azzaro


Azzaro pour Homme information

Year of Launch1978
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1182 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerGérard Anthony
PerfumerMartin Heiddenreich
PerfumerRichard Wirtz
PackagingPierre Dinand
Parent CompanyGroupe Clarins
Parent Company at launchMäurer & Wirtz

About Azzaro pour Homme

Launched in 1978, this masculine scent is one of Europe's biggest sellers. A true classic.

Reviews of Azzaro pour Homme

I fell like I'm REALLY late to the party on this one! Reviewers are discussing variations over the years, and I'm just sitting here enjoying my sample and wishing I'd tried it sooner.

So what does it smell like? An old-school masculine powerhouse. It's bracingly sharp on top, heavy with anise, pine, mint, and ginger. It quickly smooths out when the lavender comes in, calming down the high-pitched spikes and situating this firmly as a classier version of a Brut fougere. There's also a soapy neroli that seems to fill in all the cracks and crevices, while round, fruity oakmoss comes in later, adding a retro density. The eventual bass seems to be mostly minty moss paired up with lavender and tonka, like a mash-up of fougere and chypre basenotes.

I keep thinking of a wine analogy: you can have a passable wine, which basically just tastes like wine. Or, you can have a much better wine, where you can really pick out the nuances and the terroir and the undertones. If Brut is a basic wine that just smells like Brut, Azzaro is the good wine where all the nuances come though.

Very much a thumbs up!
23rd February, 2021
You might expect a number of catches to Azzaro Pour Homme’s price, but as hard as I've looked I've only found one. Both the 6.7 oz bottle’s cheap plastic N64-cartridge cap and first ten minutes of APH seem to contain a little too much negative space: a flimsy top to something otherwise marvelous. The opening always calls to mind a few little splinters of bark from some theoretical lavender tree laid out on a tabletop, frothing and writhing and thrashing against each other like bonito flakes over heat. They make a fantastic chatter with great fizz and intensity to it, but the empty air between those splinters remains unfilled for a little while, leaving too many gaps in the smell and falling just short of providing scaffolding for all the action. If you’re like me and have no regard for moderation when you apply, this top is the part that can get just a little hard to stomach before it’s through.
Then, maybe ten minutes later, the bottom just falls out and you’re left like Wile E Coyote frozen mid-air to realize just how expansive this interior space you’re in actually is. It’s a dark rolling hillscape of damp woods, foamy creams, antique licorice-oiled straight razors resting on pillowy houndstooth cloth, all the bristling fuzz of the top having fittingly been shaved off in a clean cut. I can imagine a civil war soldier’s toiletries kit smelling quite similar. It’s a beautiful and strong atmosphere to cast over your day and the effect lasts long into the drydown which is more a pervasive feeling of a warm and comforting padding filling your nose than an identifiable scent itself. This is an aromatic fougére in all-caps, remaining a standout of the genre decades later, and a miracle at this price. Should be a blind buy for anyone who needs a great masculine cheap and easy
18th July, 2020
I like me a good barbershop frag. This smells super masculine. Like a leather faced 50 year old with stubble of steel and gravel in his voice. I get some similarities on opening with my beloved Brut, so I'm probably far from impartial. They feel like cousins. It has a strong anise and lavender right off the bat, it separates itself with going more aromatic and herbaceous. I can get the basil and caraway. It does feel like it could benefit from a rounded base to thrum under the opening. A dab of oakmoss would be beneficial. But generally speaking I'm not a moss head and do not overly mourn here. Its spicy and awesome. Thumbs up.
23rd November, 2019
I recently bought the new formulation in the slim refillable bottle with black lettering & sprayer and it smells, to my nose, like an improvement over a conventional bottle 2014 or 15 (metal sprayer, black cap with no silver band) I owned two years ago. The new juice is smoother and more consistent than it used to be, a change that, in character though not in scent profile, reminds me of my new ‘green cap’ bottle of Guerlain's Vetiver, which has undergone a similar transformation.

Performance is solid on me based on two sprays to the chest and one on each wrist: I could still smell it after 8+ hours as a skin scent, and the arc of performance from an initially powerful projection to a warm, creamy tonka-infused drydown (nicely graduated and just perfect at the 3-4 hour mark) is more measured than it was a few years ago, with less of a gap in the progress from citrus to woody notes in carrying aloft the herbal-amber mix. At the base is a very straightforward mingling of vetiver, 'moss' and light musks that fades gently into the skin.

Azzaro has a very distinctive profile... While I can see how some might argue that the similar-smelling Aramis' Tuscany might be a higher-quality composition at this point in the reformulations game, I prefer the smell of Azzaro for its focused (assertive) and memorable character. Once it's in your head, it's hard to forget, to the degree that its honorary status as a 'reference' aromatic fougère still feels appropriate. While its unified abstraction can smell a bit thin up close, the sillage remains instructive, kind of a marvel, really, and the drydown is very rewarding after a somewhat monolithic opening.
Periodically lavender rises out of the fusion, and the ouzo-like anise note is definitely represented, deftly blended with a sweaty caraway and that classically masculine clary sage note without which an aromatic fougère of this era feels incomplete. For the most part, these are, along with cardamom and an accent of basil, subsumed into an overall aromatic synthesis with a take-it-or-leave-it immediacy that many will either love of hate (or if you are like me, hate initially & then grow to love despite yourself...)

I have avoided owning a full bottle of Azzaro in the recent past for any prolonged period of time, owing to allergic reactions that attended overspraying. How IFRA has protected us all by banning oakmoss while allowing all kinds of synthetics to become the new normal is beyond my scope, but I sometimes suspect that the agenda of this corporate-formed office reflects a general industry shift in which synthetics (easier to obtain, stable, predictable) replace naturals, leaving houses/firms that can afford higher-end fractional distillations of traditional materials able to offer a curated experience of 'naturalness' at a premium. In any case, it's a damned shame. The good news is that this new bottle is certainly less allergy-triggering for me. The newest stuff is still heady, but seems more agreeable to my nervous system.

Ultimately, I suppose the question of whether more historical fragrances are still worth wearing depends on whether the owners of the house determine that it's bankable to keep them in good shape... Guerlain, Dior, Chanel and even Caron all release new stuff aimed at younger & emerging markets while leveraging heritage as a selling point, and so seem to take reasonable care of their historical compositions. Designers like YSL or Givenchy, both of whom have gone through some serious makeovers in the past decade, look unsure of how fully to commit to preserving tradition. I have no idea what Azzaro as a house is doing now... do they I wonder? The house was being bought out by l'Oreal as of last April, so maybe the process is already underway?

Despite the FOMO frustration that comes with reading glowing accounts of vintage formulations, I prefer to wear scents whose current versions are satisfying enough. Despite some misgivings, I must admit that this composition occupies a place in my imagination. For that, I'd say Azzaro is currently worth having and wearing (and that is saying a lot), more so now, perhaps, than a few years ago. It still smells appealingly worldly to me and performs decently compared to many mainstream releases; having spent some time looking around, I'd personally rather wear Azzaro than many newer ‘conceptual’ retro-barber shop fragrances that, for all their knowing reconstruction, have less personality and presence.

That said, I think Azzaro walks a risky line between perfume counter and the drugstore discount shelf where I bought my 30 ml bottle. There's a degree to which the interface between fine fragrance overlaps with grooming products (shaving soap, shampoo, mouthwash, deodorant), an area that is especially sensitized for the male market, given that generations of men have been led to the pleasures of scent under the auspices of hygiene and general presentability in line with a range of culturally conditioned gender biases... This conceptual no-nonsense-ness of drugstore utility kind of works for scents like Azzaro or Paco Rabanne, in part because they were never about affirming high social status exactly, but represented a species of freewheeling aspirational swagger that to men attempting to flex out of traditional restrictions (class & otherwise) promoted what Susan Sontag called "instant character" as a means to muscle into the market. It's ironic (and to my mind pretty endearing) that Azzaro has now in turn become a placeholder for history and tradition.

Azzaro still works today in part because its conditioned machismo now feels enjoyably retro, even as the terrain around gender definitions offers challenging ambiguities perhaps best navigated by a dash of camp. With the need for playfulness in mind, old-school aromatic fougères can tolerate a certain cheapness (what Luca Turin called, in the case of this fragrance, 'vulgarity') and get away with it. I actually find Azzaro a lot more appealing than Tuscany because it approaches this drugstore aura (medicinal freshness, mentholated soapiness, plasticky smoothness, analgesic relief) with a frankness that more directly addresses grooming rituals and the body, implying a sensual self-care that invitingly transcends both era and genre. But it's a fine line... I think the current version of Azzaro will still smell a little thin to vintage fans, but it offers charisma, idiosyncrasy even, on one side while remaining balanced, warm and accessible on the other, and, though updated (that tonka base having a lot in common with many younger men’s fragrances of the moment) presents enough relevant authenticity to fougère roots to offset any sense of its being too cheap and nasty to wear with self-respect. It might demand a little humour or imagination to consider, but smells rewardingly good several hours later...

Most importantly, it still smells like Azzaro, which is to say that the composition's stylized, self-contained suavity somehow makes up for its sins and reconciles its contradictions – Wouldn't you like to be able to say the same?
16th September, 2019 (last edited: 18th September, 2019)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Basil, sage, lavender and aniseed - the first three classic staples of traditional men’s cologne’s dominate the beginning, but it is the aniseed that is the characteristic hallmark of this creation. A touch of lemon provides some freshness in the opening blast.

Vetiver and cardamom are the first newcomers in the drydown, and caraway adds touches of spiciness later in the heart notes. Floral moments - carnation, geranium - come and go, but all this happens under the umbrella of the aniseed.

The base adds cedarwood, with heavy lashings of vanilla and white musks, with the latter being more prominent in more recent editions. Until the end the aniseed permeates all this.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a splendid twelve hours of longevity on my skin.

This autumnal scent is complex, but is all its complexity it is the aniseed that is dominant in me, although is previous decades it was in the foreground than more recently, when some components appear to have become a bit more generic. Still, it is a good creation overall and blended well otherwise. 3.25/5.
26th August, 2019
Azzaro pour Homme is still classic old-school in the way it smells but there is a freshness to it that makes it possible for younger guys to pull off. Seems pretty versatile if you enjoy the mature vibe and should be good for most climates and situations.

Performance is pretty good. I believe I have the current formulation. Projection was good for 5-6 hours and the scent hung around for 7-8 hours. Never overwhelmed which is nice for office settings.
20th July, 2019

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