Like women’s perfumes, there are hundreds, if not thousands of incredible men’s fragrances on the market over the past several decades. In fact, both men and women have been wearing scents since ancient times, with the most highly prized perfumes of the past coming from the ancient Egyptians, who believed perfume was the sweat of the gods, and used aromatic resins to make the smell of sacrificial offerings more palatable.
As for the first fragrance for men, the credit goes to French perfume house Caron, who launched the first exclusively male scent in 1934, kicking off the fragrance industry for men. In the ‘60s, men’s fragrances rose to prominence, making way for some of the most iconic perfumes that we still love to enjoy today.
And as you keep on reading, you’ll find that it’s these timeless scents that are a whiff out of the ordinary, having survived passing trends and fads to earn their place as some of the best men’s fragrances of all time.
Dior Eau Savage
One of the most groundbreaking perfumes that emerged in the ‘60s is Dior Eau Sauvage – the Maison’s first men’s fragrance – which was introduced in 1966. This perfume’s legendary status is credited to its fresh and citrusy characteristics, woven seamlessly with its masculine, woody base. It encapsulates the enduring “Dior spirit”, with its floral-citrus signature coming from the San Carlo bergamot that’s harvested exclusively for Eau Sauvage. It plays with a touch of hedione, and evolves into a velvety floral, while leaving a distinctive chypre trail. W dior.com
Acqua di Parma Colonia
Refined, floral, and inherently fresh, Colonia is the enduring icon in Acqua di Parma’s collection of men’s fragrances, whose history can be traced back to 1916. However, despite its age, it continues to define itself as a timeless scent that still feels and smells as fresh as a crisp Oxford shirt. It bottles up sunny Sicilian citrus fruits such as lemon, sweet orange, and calabrian bergamot – to embody the best of Italy. Its brightness is harmoniously blended with lavender and damask rose at the heart, then rounded off with the woody notes of sandalwood, vetiver, and patchouli. W acquadiparma.com
Chanel Allure Homme
Following the success of its feminine counterpart which was released three years prior, Allure Homme by Chanel was launched in 1999 as an amber-woody fragrance for men. Crafted by perfumer Jacques Polge, it’s described as a “fresh, spicy and woody” fragrance, with its invigorating nature taken from the charming bergamot. It paves the way to the clean yet intense vetiver notes, before warming down into a sensual trail of Tonka bean, cistus labdanum, and Madagascan black pepper. W chanel.com
Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous
It’s practically impossible to pick the best perfume by Tom Ford – but if one had to pick number one, it would be the uncensored, glamorous, audaciously-named Fucking Fabulous. Probably one of the most legendary scents in the modern perfume market, this is a deliciously warm and spicy scent made up of fresh spices and sweet gourmands. With rich leather at its heart, the herby brightness of clary sage and lavender is given a rich, savoury-sweetness with bitter almond and vanilla. Tonka bean and orrisroot drive the scent to create a creamy warmth that leaves an unforgettable impression. W tomford.com
Davidoff Cool Water
Known as “the original marine fragrance for men”, perfumer Pierre Bourdon helped launch Cool Water in 1988 as an ode to the strength and intensity of the ocean, and still serves as a blueprint for many of today’s fresh-scented masculine fragrances. This sharp and aquatic scent is dominated by the freshness of mint, lavender, rosemary, and green nuances to echo the liveliness of the untamed ocean. A heart of jasmine, sandalwood, geranium, and neroli offer sweetness, while the a warm and woody blend of cedarwood, musk, amber, and tobacco grounds the perfume like nature’s seabed. W zinodavidoff.com
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio
Another leading man in the fresh, citrusy, aquatic fragrance line is Armani’s most famous formulation from the late ‘90s. Since its best-selling days in 1996 until now, Acqua di Gio remains one of the most popular men’s fragrances thanks to its versatility and freshness. This aquatic hyacinth fragrance opens with the effervescence of Calabrian bergamot, neroli, and green tangerine. Its citrusy lightness is deepened and sweetened by jasmine, crisp rock rose, rosemary, persimmon, and warm patchouli – with a lingering sensuality that still feels fresh long after it’s been sprayed on. W armanibeauty.com.my
Paco Rabanne 1 Million
In the pursuit of creating a fragrance that embodies unapologetic flamboyance and dangerous fantasies, noses Christophe Raynaud, Olivier Pescheux, and Michel Girard created Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million as a fragrance for the baddest boys. It’s a scent that unravels the rich and complex aromas of leather, interwoven with the freshness of mandarin and peppermint. Its spicy character is owed to the intrigue of pink cinnamon, warmed by hints of amber, white wood, matte blonde leather, and patchouli. And to really reflect its opulence, the brand called on the talents of Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance to craft its signature gold bar bottle. W pacorabanne.com
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
If summer in Sicily had a scent, it would be Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue.Fresh, fruity, and aquatic – with none other than Sicilian mandarin making up the top notes of the perfume. Together with the tanginess of grapefruit peel and juniper, it takes on its signature blissful character, while notes of Sichuan pepper, rosewood, incense, and oak moss create an understated, masculine sexiness. W dolcegabbanabeauty.com
Versace Eau Fraiche
While the original 2003 Versace Man fragrance was beloved for its woody and spicy character, it’s the Eau Fraiche version that has won the hearts of both men and women since it was unveiled three years later. As the softer, fresher, and sexier version of Versace Man, Eau Fraiche captures the fresh sweetness of the cool Mediterranean seaside with lemon, bergamot, green leaves, and rose. The spirit of the Italian coastline is further enhanced with the woodiness of cedar, tarragon, sage, and pepper. A hint of tobacco deepens the perfume, and blends seamlessly with the base notes of amber, musk, and saffron to create a truly complex scent. W sephora.my
Hugo Boss BOSS Bottled
The modern scent of confidence and success, BOSS Bottled is the encapsulation of the BOSS man in a fragrance since 1998. Combined with the clean lines of its packaging, this fragrance is a classic that continues to leave its presence today – thanks to its embodiment by Ryan Reynolds and Chris Hemsworth. Vibrant yet sensuous, it balances the crisp sweetness of apple with the brightness of citrus at the top, rounded off by the floral spicy heart that’s dominated by pelargonium, cinnamon, and cloves. At the base, it’s a scent built on the rich and masculine notes of sandalwood, vetiver, and cedar. W hugoboss.com