A Modern Mans Guide To Fragrance

Men, lets talk fragrance. Your scent is an invisible part of your personal style, it is the embodiment of your masculinity and enables you to unlock a potential unknown. A killer fragrance can relieve stress, create confidence and make your already good looking self, more attractive. 

Terminology

Before we delve into this, the fragrance world is a place filled with a whole lot of jargon and foreign vocabulary, and if you're not used to it, can be overwhelming. Here are some basic terms to get you started (and through this blog).

Notes: Ingredients that make up a fragrance. Once a fragrance is sprayed we start to pick up on scents, we refer to these scents as "Notes".

Accord: The Fundamental make up of a fragrance. Several Notes are used in a fragrance to make up its Accord (unique smell).

Tenacity: The longevity of a fragrance 

Eau: French for "water" 

Sillage: How a fragrance diffuses around its wearer. It's the aura or trail created by a fragrance. 

Pulse Points: Areas on the body that emit the most heat. These spots are perfect spray areas as they help develop the fragrance faster.  

Types Of Fragrance 

Parfum: French for "perfume", the strongest of fragrance types (up to 30% concentrated essential oils) and usually the most expensive 

Eau De Parfum: An Alcoholic fragrance solution containing up to 20% of concentrated essential oils 

Eau De Toilette: An Alcoholic/Water-based fragrance solution containing up to 15% of concentrated essential oils

Eau De Cologne: A fragrance solution usually containing 3% of concentrated essential oils. Alcoholic/water-based, much lighter than the above.

Eau Fraiché: Water-based solution containing between 1-3% concentrated essential oils

Note: this is just a general guide, some EDT's are known to be stronger and last longer than some parfum's.  

Notes (Top, Middle, Base)

The ingredients of a perfume, Notes are what makes up a fragrance's smell. They are separated into three categories, Top (Head), Middle (Heart) and Base.

Top (Head): The top note, also referred to as the headnote, is the initial smell of the fragrance. A top note scent is detected as soon as a fragrance is sprayed and lasts around 5-20 minutes. 

Top notes usually emit citrus and light floral scents.

Middle (Heart): Middle notes, also referred to as heart notes, make up the "heart" of the fragrance. Heart notes retain some of the top note's aroma while introducing new scents. They remain evident for the full life span of the fragrance and are a buffer for the base notes.

Middle Notes usually emit Floral and Oriental Scents. 

Base Notes: Base notes form the foundation of a fragrance. They kick in around 30 minutes after the fragrance is sprayed and are very rich/long-lasting. They add depth to a fragrance while helping boost lighter notes.

Base Notes usually emit Oriental and Woody Scents    

Season 

Temperature has a huge impact on the way a perfume performs. In the same way you wouldn't wear a jumper on a 40-degree day, you shouldn't wear a winter fragrance in summer weather.  

Summer:  Heat amplifies a scent, so it's best to choose a light, crisp fragrance, something citrusy and earthy like Ralph Lauren Polo Blue. 

Winter: Just like your clothes, a fragrance that's light and barely visible isn't appropriate in the winter. We suggest a heavier scent such as Dior Sauvage, that way your fragrance will be noticed.

Occasion 

You Dress for the occasion, so why wouldn't you smell for the occasion. Here are some tips to get you smelling just right for every situation.

At Work: You're going to want something that can get through the whole 9-5, so long-lasting is key. Also something that separates you from your other colleagues and is reasonably priced, considering you'll be wearing it most days of the year. 

Our recommendation: Clinique Happy for men 

An Interview: Chances are you're going to be crammed into a small meeting room when you're faced with questions like " So how can you benefit our company". The Key to an interview fragrance is something light and subtle, you don't want to threaten the interviewer with an overpowering fragrance.

Our recommendation: Versace Eau Fraiche 

Date Night: We're sure your alluring personality will do most of the work, but if you're looking for that second date then you'll want to leave a lingering impression on your companion. You want to pick something with a bit of strength, that is unique and you know she probably hasn't smelled before.

Our recommendation: YSL La Nuit De L'Homme 

Wedding: The perfect excuse to look your finest and bust out your best bottle of perfume. Weddings are a formal event and it's only right you smell just as good as you look. A powerful scent that goes the distance is your best bet. 

Our recommendation: Parfums De Marley Layton 

Designer vs Niche 

Fragrance Experts Divide their perfumes into two Categories; Niche and Designer. And this is important to know when making your purchase.

Designer: When it comes to Designer Fragrances its pretty self explanatory. It's designer brands (Example Gucci, Armani, Hérmes, Boss etc.) making fragrances mainly to appeal to the masses. While not true for all, designer brands usually don't use as quality ingredients in their fragrances in comparison to niche, and this is reflective in its price.

Niche: Niche Fragrances are perfumes developed by brands who's main focus is its fragrances. Niche fragrances are less popular and appeal to people looking for something unique. They use more quality natural ingredients which boosts there prices.

Should You Have a Signature Scent?

A Signature Scent refers to a fragrance someone always wears, it's the scent you start to connect with and recognize someone by. One versatile fragrance for every occasion.

Now is it a good or bad thing to have one? The answer is neither.

A versatile Signature Scent is safe, suits most occasions and works all year round. Having a signature scent is more affordable and you can't go wrong with one.

However, the benefits stop there. While signature scents go well with most occasions, there will always be a fragrance that will suit the occasion or even the weather better. having just one fragrance can get boring.

If you're new to the fragrance world, then we suggest starting with a Signature Scent, a versatile one like Creed Aventus or Paco Rabanne 1 Million, and then as you get more accustomed to different types of notes and aroma's, start to branch out and experiment.  

Application 

One of the vital parts in the process of your fragrance. Application. You can have the most desirable fragrance and scents but if you don't know how to apply it, then it's all for nothing. Proper Application develops your fragrance properly, creates the perfect projection and will make it last longer.

The two key points of fragrance application are amount and area

Depending on the occasion, vary how much / how little you spray. A Crowded outdoor event may require more sprays than a standard day in the office. 

A general consensus is 5-7 sprays onto any pulse points on the body, This will ensure your fragrance gets noticed, develops to its full potential and maximizes its longevity. 

Do's, Dont's and Myths  

Do:

  • Spray 5-7 times:  At Above The Collar we recommend 5-7 sprays, The perfect balance between too little and too much.
  • Spray After The Shower: This is when your skin emits the most moisture, giving your fragrance something to hold onto.  
  • Target Pulse Points:  As mentioned a couple of times now, Pulse points release the most heat on your body and this develops your fragrance into everything you expected.

Don't:

  • Create a spray cloud:  Spraying open space and walking through it has very minimal, if not no effect at all. It's a waste of your perfume and is a sin.
  • Rub it in:  By rubbing in your fragrance, you destroy/Alter the Notes (In particular the Top Notes) Molecules, in-turn ruining the aroma and longevity of your fragrance. 
  • Store Your Fragrance In The Bathroom:  The heat and moisture of a bathroom can spoil the fragrance by causing scent oils to break down. 

Myths:

  • More is less: Why? In the words of Tom Ford "if you have a scent that you love, why not be generous with it". Instead of smelling a little bit good, wouldn't you rather smell a lot good?
  • Don't Spray Your Clothes: Your clothes absorb your fragrance better than your skin does, meaning it holds onto the scent longer. If you're worried about stains, apply it 1-2 inches further than usual. 

Our Favourite Fragrances  

#1 Creed Aventus EDP: Creed's most popular product, and for good reason. This killer fragrance is regularly regarded as the best male fragrance of all time, and we're not disputing that.

#2 Dior Sauvage Parfum: A true masculine fragrance. Italian Bergamot, Sauchen Pepper and Ambrox are the main notes that make up this perfect accord. There's a reason this is one of the best selling fragrances on the market.

#3 Chanel Bleu de Chanel Parfum: Easy to wear and very refreshing, Bleu de Chanel comes in at #3 on our list for a reason. A fragrance that can go the distance and will draw in compliments like no other.

#4 Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L'Homme EDT: The perfect night time fragrance. La Nuit De L'Homme emits an assertive spice that will leave the people around you, intrigued.

#5 Tom Ford Noir EDP: Addictive and Beautiful, This fragrance holds a character of its own, giving you a retro vibe. Tom Ford Noir is comforting and easy to wear.   

The Wrap 

To conclude this lengthy blog, we'll leave you with a scenario

"It's 7:30 pm, it's cold, The occasion, a date. you've just gotten out of the shower and your skin is dripping in moisture, almost begging for something it can absorb. You enter your room, put on your finest attire and look to your fragrances. Context in mind, you want a parfum. the Dior Sauvage will do. You go to spray that frivolous fragrance cloud you used to do, but you remember, now you're better than that. You drape behind your ears, your collar and throat. You smell the top note as you leave a silage behind you" 

You're ready, Now Go...