Perfume Directory

Michael for Men (2001)
by Michael Kors


Michael for Men information

Year of Launch2001
Average Rating
(based on 518 votes)

People and companies

HouseMichael Kors
PerfumerHarry Fremont
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies > Aramis and Designer Fragrances
Parent Company at launchLVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton > Givenchy > American Designer Fragrances

About Michael for Men

Created by the house of Givenchy for designer, Michael Kors, complementing 2000's female scent. The fragrance 'Michael' is descibed as sensual, refined and distinguished.

Michael for Men fragrance notes

Reviews of Michael for Men

Michael for Men picks up the "boozy tobacco" banner from such 90s fragrances as Aramis Havana and Latour Cigar and goes for a kind of opulent decadence, and it might have made a stir if it had been released by a different house.

There's a lot going on here (it's a very nice blend indeed), but it's ultimately distinguished by the boozy dried fruits and plum, with playfully dirty tobacco and suede giving it some heft in the base. It's a sophisticated, rich gourmand that isn't dominated by cloying sweetness.

Following in its footsteps would be boozy-fruity tobacco scents like Baldessarini Baldessarini, Vera Wang for Men, Burberry London, and Tom Ford for Men, but I think this beats them all (except, perhaps, for the incredibly canny Tom Ford for Men Extreme, which achieves a similar boozy-fruity-dirty vibe with jammy fig and earthy truffle).

Longevity hovers around six hours, and it's not altogether loud, but it's rich enough that a bombastic version might be too much.
19th April, 2019 (last edited: 23rd March, 2020)
Michael for Men was purportedly created by Givenchy for designer Michael Kors himself, both as a signature he could wear, and as a masculine counterpart to the debut feminine of a year earlier. Journeyman corporate perfumer Harry Freemont unsurprisingly created this, and as the nose behind many popular scents ranging from Avon to Tom Ford, Claiborne to Calvin Klein, his expertise in crafting moderately-flirtatious mainstream scents shines through yet again. The mind behind everything from Ralph Lauren's Polo Sport (1993) to Claiborne's Spark for Men (2003) doesn't typically head down the dry, leathery, tobacco direction often. Even with his more spicy creations, there tends to be a lot of sweet counterbalancing to make them more likeable to a wider audience. Michael for Men still is a leather scent, but the final result of the dry down feels like a second-guessing that results in an added sweetness that is less of a syrupy sweet like the aforementioned Spark for Men and more like a sip of Hennessy. I can see why this wouldn't last long under the mainstream sun, and eventually became re-orchestrated by Freemont for re-launch in 2014 as "Michael Kors for Men" when this style came back into vogue, because there's just something sort of odd about it; there's a dash of personality that was a bit hard to take in it's day, never mind the fact that barbershop scents were near-anathema at the time.

Michael for Men opens with a shockingly boozy arrangement of notes, including bergamot, elemi, cardamom, tarragon, star anise (typically found in Asian cuisine), thyme, and coriander. Most of these notes made it into the new version as well, and are held aloft by a fat suede leather note, and some synthetic incense note before the base kicks up. Rich patchouli and sandalwood exist in both versions, but whereas musk rounds it out in the re-interpretation, this original has a 70's-style tobacco note in with the leather and a scary plum note reminiscent of the "masculine plumeria" that was Avon's Far Away for Men (1998) coming up near the end. This bit of fruity weirdness actually fits in better with the patchouli and sandalwood than in the aforementioned Avon scent, since it does so without smelling ambiguous in gender. Compared to the re-launched Michael Kors for Men (which is missing the plum and tobacco), this is a bit bolder, less-staid, and more fun. Michael for Men was really behind the times on the boozy/leathery/woodsy trope, or really ahead of the curve before hipsters decided old-school was cool again, depending on how you want to look at it. Either way, this juice didn't really result in a ton of success in the fragrance world for MK outside of the strong following that still buys up surviving stock to this day. I'd almost compare it to a more risque earlier incarnation of Tim McGraw Southern Blend (2009) except without all the longevity problems, but that's just me. It's big letdown is the blending, and it's rough edges are enough to make some more discerning noses uncomfortable with it, especially in the opening.

Once again considering who penned this creation, it's rather shocking. Harry Freemont masculines are never this much outside the box; just look at Calvin Klein Man (2007) for example, and the only other time Freemont really made anything this odd was the under-the-radar and also sadly discontinued Very Valentino for Him (1999), so I get the gist that when the perfumer is allowed to play around a bit, the results are less than the bean counters were expecting. It's a shame really, as just with the Valentino, this one is rather nice, even if not essential to anyone save a collector. I find the leather note here a bit too quaint to join a wardrobe full of more distinctive leather scents, so anybody with a bottle of Knize Ten (1924) or even Aramis (1965) will likely laugh at this tame suede scent. Digging up a bottle of Michael for Men will yield an oddly fruity, warm, but soft and inviting leather/tobacco aura that is neither in style but yet still stylish somehow, and is left-of-center just enough to draw the nose over, but not niche enough to divide the room. I find it also to be something of an in-betweener in the way original Michelob beer is a bit stronger than typical American beer, but not a full-tilt import lager, since it's really just a drop of strange into what is otherwise a standard classic style made when it wasn't cool to do. Some guys like adding a few drops of Tobasco to their tomato soup, or a shot of espresso to their chai latte, and for those guys there's Michael for Men. If you'd rather have a more standardized experience, get the re-launch instead.
26th February, 2018 (last edited: 27th February, 2018)
Michael for Men, not to be confused with the 2014 release Michael Kors for Men Is a classic beauty! I just love the Tobacco, Plum and Leather. I'm grabbing a few more of these before they disappear forever.
18th October, 2017
Michael for Men (not Michael Kors for Men) smells very much like Latours Cigar. So much so that I don't feel the need to own it since I already have the much cheaper and generally more pleasing Cigar. Cigar has all the same tobacco as Michael but adds a sweet finish, which I prefer to the oily leather with funky patchouli you get with Michael. Projection is very good with Michael for Men, so if you enjoy it, it should be a good performer.
17th February, 2017
Michael for Men (2001) -

A favorite tobacco forward fragrance that doesn't smell like anything else out there as it is both retro and modern all at once.

Even the 2014 re-issue has a much different composition, while maintaining only a touch of the original's backbone. I really enjoy both versions, but reach for the vintage more often especially in cooler weather.

Fortunately, the vintage is still widely available on-line in 1, 2.5, and 4 oz bottles so check it out while you still can.

Michael Kors produces a full line for men today, but in 2001 there was only one choice - "Michael"... and he got it right the first time.

4.5 stars.
13th March, 2015 (last edited: 16th November, 2020)
Let me begin with stating clearly that Michael is my signature scent. My wife bought it for me years ago and I used the entire bottle. Then it seems we couldn't find "Michael" in our usual sources, so I dabbled in many other fragrances but never quite found what I was looking for. I came close with some of the John Varvatos line and continued to jump from designer to designer. Unfortunately I discovered that many of the other fragrances in this genre can become cloying, toying with the Leather, Tobacco, Patchouli, but never quite hitting the mark for me. This fragrance initially comes on with a 1-2 punch of tobacco and spice, but soon mellows on the dry down to a triple combo of leather, patchouli and sweet dried fruit. This stuff lasts on me for about 6-8 hours and draws compliments from women as well as men. What's best is that because Michael is pleasing to a wide audience, I can wear this scent in confidence without offending others. The projection is good but not too wide, which also keeps it from being too much.

The bottom line is that in the many years where I have explored other scents, I realized that Michael is what is what I was after all along. I missed this fragrance. Then, quite recently and on accident, I stumbled into a Michael Kors store and found my old scent, unchanged, unsullied and consequently my love for it unyielding. I bought a bottle at a great price. I am so glad to be reunited with "Michael" and so is my wife! Interestingly, so is our 3 month old kitten who can't seem to get enough of smelling my neck.
29th July, 2014

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