Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ten Masculine Perfumes Women Should Borrow

Regular readers know that I don't care even one bit about gender labels assigned to perfume. As the husband is fond of saying, it's not like the bottle's hiding something under its tail. Thankfully, most of my favorite perfumers and perfume houses subscribe to a more unisex or shared view, but there are still masculine perfumes that I highly recommend women would at least try, as they're just too beautiful to miss. Here's my list:

  • Ormonde Man. Similar to Ormonde Woman, just a bit more streamlined.
  • Guerlain Vetiver. And any vetiver, really. If you love green grassy and earthy perfumes you'll enjoy the complexity of this note.
  • Speaking of Guerlain, their entire masculine line is worth trying. Derby, even in its thinner reformulated version; Coriolan and its newer incarnation; Arsene Lupin (previously known as Dandy). The latter is one of my favorite perfumes in general, masculine or not.
  • Histoires de Parfums 1740 (De Sade). A rich and spicy leather that will get your imagination flowing.
  • Chanel Egoiste. It's a variation on the theme of Bois des Iles. You can't go wrong with that.
  • Terre d'Hermes (especially the parfum). It may be a bit of a cliche on a man, but we give this iconic perfume a new life. Kind of like those of us who used to borrow our fathers' Ralph Lauren Polo
  • Speaking of best-sellers, Thierry Mugler A*Men. Who doesn't like a good gourmand?
  • All the MPG masculines, especially Parfum d'Habit, Iris Bleu Gris, and Centaure. Way better than the brand's feminine offering.
  • Anything Amouage. My current top picks are Interlude Man, Gold Man, and Lyric Man, but really, each and every one of them is brilliant.
  • Penhaligon's- Sartorial. Steam and lavender. Like borrowing his crisp white shirt.
Photo of Katharine Hepburn in Sylvia Scarlett via Dr.Macro.


  1. I often find that men's fragrances work better on me than women's fragrances. I have a bottle of Aramis that I wear frequently. Funny, I was wearing some of my hubby's Guerlain Vetiver yesterday... We do occasionally compete as to who can wear a scent better.

  2. Hmmm...never knew that we can have the same perfume. I am gonna tell this to my husband and hope he agrees with me of having the same perfume.

  3. I have a soft spot for egoiste too! I have a very old mini (from when I was collecting perfumes in my teens!!! Ages ago, that is..) and the sandalwood there is gorgeous.
    I would like to mention one of my favorite perfumes of all times, which also happens to be targeted to men: Patricia de Nicolai New york.
    The most fabulous Guerlain-feeling drydown ever!!!!
    (I also wish to give honorable mentions ;)- Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur, Frapin Caravelle epicée, Annick Goutal Sables...)

  4. Eau Savage by Dior is wonderful in the heat!

  5. I wear Vetiver all the time (in warm weather) and find all HdP perfumes wearable for me.
    I haven't tried the MPG you suggest but will add them to my ever-growing list now. :)

  6. Believe it or not, Old Spice is just wonderful!

  7. I love A*Men, Terre d'Hermes, Encre Noir, Amouage Interlude Man, and Divine Homme de Coeur.

  8. I second Eau Sauvage but don't forget Habit Rouge from Guerlain. It's THE perfume to steal from men!

    1. Couldn't agree more! This is one of my favorite Guerlains, right up there with L'Heure Bleu and Mitsouko.

  9. nice list. i would add le troisieme homme de caron, un homme de caron, and ysl's m7 and kouros to the list. also chanel pour monsieur (a must-have for chypre fiends), and hermes equipage. and yes, definitely eau sauvage!


  10. I'm one of the few who actually prefers the men's Vetiver to Vetiver pour Elle. I have a bottle of 1740 and it's one of my favorite fragrances ever. I'm really glad that the DH loved his sample of Sartorial - when I get him a bottle, I will definitely spritz it myself now & again. ;-)

  11. Great list! I've been dying to try Sartorial. I would also add CdG 2, Ineke Field Notes, Penhaligon's Elixir, Creed Royal Oud, and L'Occitane Eau de Baux :)

  12. Love seeing Ormond Man on your list- it's my favorite!!

  13. The only male perfume i own and use frequently is Guerlain L'instant de Guerlain Eau Extreme. If possible give it a sniff . Its warm deep and cozy with a hint of patchouli and dark chocolate

  14. Love the idea of woman and man sharing the same perfume. I think that even the same perfume won't smell exactly the same on the skin of each one.

  15. I wear Habit Rouge, Antaeus and Gentleman by Givenchy, though recently I've actually taken to spritzing Gentleman on clothes - it works great on coats and scarves if you're into mothballs. I also wear Marescialla by SMN, which is often listed as a male cologne despite its grammatical gender. To me, perfume is about genre and a story and I don't care one bit if the person next to me on the bus thinks I smell like their late incontinent grandad, I'm miles away running barefoot in the autumnal woods.

  16. Eau Sauvage for summer, definitely. Although my 14 yr old son stole my bottle, says it's now "his"...at least he has good taste!


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