Looking for a new cologne
December 31, 2013 6:12 AM   Subscribe

I’ve worn the same cologne off and on for about 20 years, and I think it’s time for a change. I’m looking for scents for everyday wear with woody notes (or citrus/fresh notes, like what I wear now). Nothing musky or spicy!

I’ve worn Davidoff’s Cool Water for forever—I’ve always liked a light citrus scent (as has my wife). But after two decades or so of it, I’d like to mix it up—and citrus strikes me as a young man’s scent, and the gray hairs in my beard betray my ineluctable march towards middle age. But the sexy middle age of a sexy sex man! Growl!* (*Offer of growl and sexy sex reserved for Mrs. Haddock.)

I don’t like musk, amber or spicy scents, but I’d be open to smoky, leathery, sandalwoody, cedar-y scents. An elegant scent would be lovely, befitting my rank as Admiral.

Available in the US only. I'm flexible on cost.
posted by Admiral Haddock to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Chanel Pour Monsieur starts with citrus but gets woodier. Egoïste (the classic one, not Platinum) has sandalwood and vanilla. So: classic Chanel, classic Guerlain (Habit Rouge, Vetiver, or perhaps Derby.) And while Creed tends to generates opinions, Green Irish Tweed is often considered the inspiration for Cool Water, but has way more going on.
posted by holgate at 6:33 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

The base notes of Green Irish Tweed by Creed might fit the bill. (my standby) Some say is it overrated but it is still excellent. Perhaps also Himalaya by the same house. Both have some citrus in the top notes but I think the middle and base of Himalaya would fit your sandalwood/cedar bill. Get a few 1.5 ml sample vials and see what works for you.

I'll also throw out Bois du Portugal, again by Creed, but I have seen both love and hate reactions to it. (I love it)
posted by Tanizaki at 6:36 AM on December 31, 2013

I am in love with Lalique's Encre Noir. It lasts throughout the day, but shifts and changes as the day goes on. Warm, smoky, clean, woody all at once.
I don't talk about scent very well, but someone said to me once that it is the best kind of cologne - the kind that makes you sigh when you open a box that the person wearing it had in their dresser; the scent continues to change but doesn't degrade. In fading, it doesn't become stale.
posted by Tchad at 6:52 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

A lot of the citrus colognes use white musk, which is much cleaner and fresher than other musks, and helps them register as aquatic. I tested L'Occitane's Vetyver EDT recently and was struck by how much it read like a mature version of a citrus/white musk cologne, anchored down by heavier green notes. It was a nice balance.

Amazon says it's unavailable but I definitely saw it in a L'Occitane store last week, so maybe do some poking around? If you like woodsier scents and can handle a little bit more incense-y musk (still not super heavy) you might try their Baux as well.
posted by WidgetAlley at 7:15 AM on December 31, 2013

I'll also throw out Bois du Portugal, again by Creed, but I have seen both love and hate reactions to it. (I love it)

BdP now feels a bit... young. Or perhaps I'm old, but I've grown out of it to some degree, because of the initial sweetness.

A slightly more outré suggestion: Fahrenheit. It's not quite the bottled 80s rocket fuel since its reformulation, and it's worth a reassessment, especially if you've avoided it since it fugged up school gyms in the early 90s. You may hate it. But it is one of a kind, has sandalwood notes, and I think it has aged well.
posted by holgate at 7:17 AM on December 31, 2013

Also, definitely consider getting some samples before you invest in a bottle!
posted by WidgetAlley at 7:19 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I came here to suggest vetiver scents and that's exactly what Encre Noire and Vetyver are, so +1 to Tchad and WidgetAlley. You might also like Chanel Sycomore, also a vetiver but woodier and more smokey; and CB I Hate Perfume Cedarwood Tea, which is woody in a different way: clean and light.
posted by clavicle at 7:29 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

You want elegant?

How about a scent that's been around for over a hundred years?

How about the cologne that was designed for Lord Randolph and then worn by his son, Sir Winston Churchill?

That's right I'm talking about Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet. Citrusy with pine notes, a great fragrance especially during warmer weather.
posted by C^3 at 7:37 AM on December 31, 2013

Geir is a lovely but not overpowering wood/herbal fragrance that I find really intriguing. It's both light and masculine, and doesn't have the stale notes that some of the more overtly woody scents can take on.
posted by judith at 7:54 AM on December 31, 2013

It may be tough to find and try in person, but Pineaud's Clubman Special Reserve is my current favorite old-school manly man fragrance. This is a different scent than the ubiquitous Clubman, which is what a lot of people think of as THE classic barbershop aftershave. My favorite review of it described it along the lines of "imagine a leather chair that's been in the library of a gentleman's club for 100 years." It's definitely on the leathery/woodsy/tobacco end of the spectrum. A really nice and inexpensive fragrance. (FWIW, a lot of the Amazon reviews use the words 'musky' and 'spicy' but I wouldn't have used either of them to describe it.) The label says "aftershave cologne" and I'd describe it as somewhere in between; stronger than many aftershaves, but not quite as persistent as many colognes.
posted by usonian at 8:21 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding a vetiver fragrance. Guerlain in particular. In the US, Nieman-Marcus carries the entire Guerlain line it seems, but you can find standards like their Vetiver at other stores if you look around.
posted by zippy at 8:32 AM on December 31, 2013

You know, I've really been digging the scent of Wild Man Beard Conditioner (Original) by Wild Rose Herbs over on Etsy. They do colognes and aftershaves too, if you don't have a beard (though you could always just put a bit in your hair).

I would say that its main scent is "piney", as in the smell of a pine forest (not a "Christmas" scent). It's definitely got some more complex stuff going on under there, but I don't really have the vocabulary to explain it. Definitely not musky or spicy. It's a nice clean scent that's really invigorating. I'd be happy to sniff it all day if I could, but that would mean putting so much on that everyone around me would be just bathed in it.
posted by Scientist at 11:19 AM on December 31, 2013

Bel Ami by Hermes. That's what you're looking for. All of the things. Citrus, leather, wood, moss...
also if you check out the chanel pour monsieur, you want the 'Eau De toilette concentree`' (in the flat bottle) not the other one (plain Eau De toilette?) It's definitely a different, better, scent.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:57 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

My luxury is Boucheron for Men. Clean, masculine, long lasting and a big hit with everyone. Do try a sample first.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 2:56 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing a vetiver scent. You can NOT go wrong with Guerlain's Vetiver. At all. It is a very wearable and nice woody scent and it is a classic for a reason. Because it's awesome.

Thierry Mugler's Cologne is more like the citrus scents you favor, but it finishes into a sexy clean soapy smell with a hint of wood. (It has a "secret ingredient" and I've heard joking references that that is "a couple drops of Guerlain Vetiver." It's very much in that category in an unexpected way.)

Bvlgari Black would be an outlier choice for you- it's a leather-vanilla scent that starts out, well- rubbery. It basically smells like the inside of a new luxury sedan at first. To me, the vanilla is sometimes too strong, but it really depends on how vanilla wears on your individual skin. On the right person, it's very masculine and sexy and more interesting than a lot of dude colognes.

Invasion Barbare by MDCI Parfums is the most masculine, dudely, I just chopped down an entire old-growth forest and look, my ascot isn't even out of place thing I have ever smelled. The most interesting man in the world doesn't always wear cologne, but when he does, he wears Invasion Barbare. I wouldn't recommend a full bottle for you as it would be way too much, but the times I have worn a sample I have cracked myself up at how Traditionally Masculine it is. I'm pretty sure you could roleplay Titan of Industry and Muckraking Journalist with nothing more than this cologne and a legal pad. And the legal pad would be superfluous.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:44 PM on December 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

For Christmas I got my man a set of 22 fragrance samples from The Perfumed Court. They specialise in decating frangrances and offer heaps of different combinations by scent family etc. You could try ordering a sample set and then just pick the one you like best.
posted by Youremyworld at 7:00 PM on January 5, 2014

Response by poster: I'm still trying to locate some the colognes suggested--Invasion Barbare and Blenheim Bouquet sound great--but in the interim, I've settled on Bulgari Man, which I'm really, really enjoying. I think I'd like to get one or two more to mix it up, but the Bulgari lines were all pretty great.

posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:37 AM on January 14, 2014

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