Perfume Directory

Boss Number One (1985)
by Hugo Boss


Boss Number One information

Year of Launch1985
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 256 votes)

People and companies

HouseHugo Boss
PerfumerPierre Wargnye
Parent Company at launchBetrix

About Boss Number One

The first fragrance by Hugo Boss was launched in 1985. The name was changed in 1998 to 'Number One' due to the release of a new Boss. The fragrance contains notes of bergamot, honey and patchouli.

Boss Number One fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Boss Number One

Boss Number One starts off with a blast of alcohol but within 10 seconds becomes a sweet honey set against sharp herbs. The rose is present and apparent but doesn’t take over in a singular soliflore kind of way. The honey is nicely blended with the rose and doesn’t ever feel urinous like a previous version of Boss Number One I tried and found revoltingly horrid. I still sometimes shudder at the thought of that ‘dark honeyed’ scent.

I don’t get anything like tobacco. As it transitions from top to heart there are some passing similarities in effect to Kouros. It gets very soapy and green with what registers as it dries down as juniper, sweet artemisia and the tiniest hint of galbanum. Throw into the mix a ‘green apple’ shampoo accord and this somehow veers further away still from the original. There’s also a familiar treemoss/birch/ambergris accord and patchouli which keeps the scent going for hours.

This is a throwback to the 1980s but not because of any similarity to the original. Very powerhouse-styled without the stuffiness of many late 1970s releases but the emphasis being on a honeyed soapy amber and moss blend. If you enjoy classic masculine scents and didn’t wear the original scent you might enjoy this. If you are used to the vintage this might not feel worthy. Not a typical fougere except in a dad’s aftershave kind of way, but a welcome surprise to see a classic masculine in the midst of the current Boss lineup. Refreshingly enjoyable and will probably rock this with a crisp white shirt. 7/10

Passing similarities to -
Kouros, Lumiere Noire Pour Homme, Bogart Signature

Notes that I detect in this 2019 formulation.
Top - Honey, Herbs, Rose
Heart - Artemisia, Galbanum, Juniper, Orris, Green apple shampoo
Base - Treemoss, Amber, Patchouli, Sandalwood
26th November, 2020
I currently have the version made by P&G Prestige Beaute. The vendor I buy from said the current distributor is Coty US, LLC, and is Made in Spain. I'm wondering if I should take a chance on purchasing the one made in Spain. I am hesitant as a lot of companies are watering down their formulations to cut corners. Is anyone familiar with the made in Spain version. It is weaker? Is is (fingers crossed) possibly a stronger version? Has the formulation changed? I have purchased fragrances recently, only to send them back because the distributor had changed and the "new" ones didn't last five minutes on my skin or clothes. Please advise.

UPDATE: Well, I took the plunge and ordered three bottles of the Coty US, LLC version. Well...I am NOT happy. With most fragrances nowadays being reformulated and watered down, I guess I should have expected that with Boss Number One. It is weak as water, and there is only a "hint" of the original formula in there somewhere. It's good that I have five backup bottles of the version made in the U.K., because the current one Made in Spain SUCKS! Suffice it to say, I will cherish my U.K. bottles and just use up the Made in Spain bottles as fast as I can to get rid of them. It has come to the point in my fragrance-buying history that I will no longer purchase those fragrances currently being produced, only vintage fragrances or high-end fragrances that at least smell like the originals, e.g., Chanel, etc. It's really sad that Coty US, LLC totally screwed up a once classic, beautiful, and very long-lasting fragrance for men, Hugo Boss' namesake! A lot of companies have either discontinued or reformulated their namesake fragrances, and now they smell nothing like the original. For example, Balenciaga is gone, Halston 101 is gone, Gucci Nobile, Gucci Envy, Gucci Rush, and Gucci "I," the original Gucci Pour Homme (with the Italian ribbon around the cap) are gone, as well as many of the women's Gucci fragrances. Now, Fendi Uomo and Fendi for women are discontinued an long gone. It's truly sad how the "new generation" of marketing bozos are taking over the fragrance companies and discontinuing fragrances they deem as "too old," or reformulating classic fragrances to the point they are no longer recognizable as the originals. Again, I'm done with any current or "reformulated" versions, and will from now on only purchase vintage whenever I can (either that, or stick to a fragrance house like Creed or Clive Christian, who maintain their original formulations, and stay true to them, instead of younger "geniuses" coming in an re-imagining classic fragrances to suit THEIR tastes and not the tastes of the original fans and consumers. Fragrance quality nowadays SUCKS, thanks to IFRA and the minority getting their way. Oh, the poor things complain about their allergies, etc., depriving the rest of us fragrance aficionados the joy of collecting and using great and classic fragrances. Truly a sad day for some of the classics that have been butchered, which will now most likely forever be discontinued because people like myself will REFUSE to pay for a watered down product, especially one that has been screwed with and/or changed totally beyond recognition. Also, beware of Nicole Miller for Men. It was once a lovely bourbon vanilla musk fragrance when made by Parlux, but, again, has become weak as water and nothing like the original since the distributor/manufacturer has changed hands.
04th October, 2019 (last edited: 09th October, 2019)
i get an animalic honey with touches of herbs and a little flower..really like this...a close cousin to Paco Rabbane Tenere...same animalic thick rich honey vibe...still, it's mild enough to get away with most situations...even OK for a casual office environment...dries down to a woody patch that still holds on to the honey all the way to the wearing this, but not as often as other fragrances...
21st March, 2019
A beautiful and strong fragrance. I just bought a vintage bottle (doesn't have the "Number One" on the bottle) and it's outstanding. It reminds me very much of vintage Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme (I have 2 bottles of that one). Of course, it may not be for everyone but you have to at least try it and know what to compare it to. It does have soapy tones during the dry down but that's something I like. The lingering honey notes are really beautiful.

Give it a try and find out for yourself if you can fall in love with it.
10th January, 2019 (last edited: 05th February, 2019)
Hugo Boss is an enduring men's fashion brand formed out of a humble uniform maker, that to some is stained with the infamy of it's founder being one of the early suppliers of SS uniforms to the Nazi party, but the death of the original Hugo Boss in 1948 and passing of his business to Eugen Holy meant the reputation as a private-sector suit maker could begin. The vertical white stripe on black suit fabric would eventually become associated with Boss apparel, and like the older Brooks Brothers, a legacy of male-centric design. It makes perfect sense that the debut fragrance for the house would be a masculine one, and Hugo Boss would launch Boss (1985) in limited capacity at Hugo Boss boutiques, before a full retail product line launch in 1985, including shaving and grooming items. Boss pulled no punches with it's marketing, declaring itself an alpha among betas and omegas with lines like "Shift into the power of patchouli" or "experience the triumph of pleasure" and other cringe-worthy exaltations that in 1985 must have seemed pretty "heckin' cool". Luckily, the scent of Boss was equally bold to match the claims of the accompanying literature, setting a precedent with it's honeyed civet, rose, and patchouli tour-de-force that would be emulated by others throughout the remaining reign of the 80's powerhouse. Boss does what they do with more control and development, as it has double the notes of it's later 80's peers, hiding it's raging 1980's type A personality in a pin stripe suit with a Phil Collins soundtrack in the background a la Christian Bale's character in the film American Psycho, bubbling with unscrupulous intent underneath that well-tailored suit but just barely.

Boss by Hugo Boss opens with a skanky civet, bergamot, lavender, and artemisia blast, with an intriguing sour green apple note floating up. Juniper, lemon, basil, and caraway are also cited in the official note pyramid but if they're there, it's pretty well-blended and just part of the golden aura this gives off. The honey comes in next to calm the civet and mull it into a smooth masculinity that is just virile enough to avoid the used jockstrap connotation of Kouros (1981) or the later Lapidus Pour Homme (1987), adding rose and geranium to bring in a dandy-like quality that also seemed a presage to the latter 80's men's civeted florals that were the last hurrah for the powerhouse era. Boss just does everything so smoothly and composed compared to later louder, more jagged, and ostentatious scents that borrowed it's ideas, being one of the few from the day that still feels wearable within appropriate contexts in the 21st century, rather than just a gaudy nostalgia trip for vintage powerhouse fiends. Orris root, jasmine indole, and muguet continue the thick floral middle until the base arrives, which is where the touted patchouli lives. While not as direct as the civeted patchouli of Givenchy Gentleman (1974), Boss does bridge a gap between it and 80's civet oakmoss bombs quite succinctly, saving that oakmoss for last under a rich semi-oriental bed of sandalwood, cedar, musk, amber, cinnamon, and tobacco. I don't get much note separation in the base thanks to the blending, but the patchouli joins the lingering rose, civet, moss, and honey from time to time. It's hard to fathom that Peter Wargnye, the same guy who created Drakkar Noir (1982) also made this scent, and helped with YSL's L'Homme series in the 2000's. Just crazy man.

Boss by Hugo Boss would make a huge splash in the 80's, and both Zino Davidoff (1986) and Balenciaga Ho Hang Club (1987) would riff off of it fairly closely but with even skankier leanings towards floral fougère or floral leather chypre tones respectively in attempts to out-do "the Boss", while this scent sat squarely in the middle of oriental, fougère, and chypre styles, being a truly undefinable powerhouse experience. A sport fragrance followed two years later and then a range developed, until the 90's saw Hugo Boss enter more casual markets with related apparel and it's Hugo scent (1995), before reusing the Boss name for a new scent in 1998. The uproar from fans of the original must have rang the ears of Hugo Boss executives because shortly thereafter, the new Boss became "Boss Bottled" while this original eponymous debut was relaunched as "Boss Number One". Folks fearful of reformulation can try searching for the "non-Number One" original issue, but it's difficult since the renamed one has now been in production longer. Differences are fairly obvious, as tastes no longer favor civet (or animalics overall), and limitations on rose oil, oakmoss, and mysore sandalwood mean the newer vintages are soapier and a bit milder/drier in the finish. Synthetic civetone in much smaller quanties exist within "Boss Number One" as well, which is still a very good fragrance in it's current form, just more polite and office-friendly. As an epitome of masculine fragrance for men in the 1980's, the "Boss" is quite simply an appropriately-named icon. Enjoy responsibly.
30th July, 2018 (last edited: 27th August, 2018)
I really love it.totally nostalgic and reminder of my childhood .
Fresh warm green sweet.
Pure masculinity and maturity.
26th May, 2018

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