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.