Grooming

We Tried These New Scents To See If They Lived Up To Their Promises

Do these make you feel like a legend, a lemon, or an alternative color?
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When choosing a new scent, sometimes you have nothing to go by but the name on the bottle. And yeah, that can get pretty daunting, especially when a floor full of perfume assistants are eager to fill your wonky nose with all sorts of smells. 

What does Leather Poison Extreme mean? How about Blue Monsieur Free? And if you put on Moonshine Against Night, will you really shine bright like the space rock?

To help you sort it all out, we've evaluted the following scents against what their names say. Let us know what you like. 

1| Hermès Cologne Eau De Citron Noir

The green lime in Hermès Cologne Eau De Citron Noir is buried underground to develop depth.

Citron noir means black lemon, which just makes the premise of this cologne intriguing. Is the lemon a variety of designer fruit in chic black? Nope. It is actually green lime, which has been boiled in salt water and then buried under the sand. In its slumber, it turns from green to an almost black. 

More interesting is what the process does. Citrus fragrances are one of the most ubiquitous kind of scents around. The transformation of regular ol' lime to a fermented fruit lends a smoky, almost metallic nuance to the concoction. Yes, it reminds you of a juicy lemon crushed in your monster hand, but there is also a sharpness here. Some say they smell black tea.

Of note, the French luxury house frames cologne, which in the world of scents possesses a lower potency, as all about feeling good. It is an immediate pleasure, and certainly the lemon scent is the feel-good element here, but what makes it even better is how, through the careful work of perfumer Christine Nagel, a new elegance has been suffused to the standard. 

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One more thing: The bottle comes with a separate spray nozzle, which, when attached, renders the mushroom-shaped cap unusable (it won't fit). It becomes a battle between form and function. Do you mind putting on cologne by hand, as in dabbing it on your skin with your fingers, to keep the integrity of the design? Or would you rather have the ability to spray in an instant, but lose the cap? Tough choice.  

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2| Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme

Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme combines wood and leather to create a potent scent for the woke male.

If you think you will become absolutely guilty of becoming unapolegetically sexy like Tom Ford-era Gucci, then you would be mistaken because the Guilty line debuted under Frida Giannini-era Gucci and this one, in particular, was released under the current trippy imaginings of Alessandro Michele-era Gucci.

While it remains faithful to the sensual ethos of the fashion house, there is now a touch of strange. Imagine opening a very old chest in the attic of your grandfather's house. That is to say Guilty Absolute is a combination of leather and wood, twin odors that is very much linked to masculinity and the deed (whips and paddles, anyone?), so, yeah, you will feel a twinge of guilt. 

Actually, you will feel virile. This smells like man musk. But because we are living in the time of wokeness, so that man, according to Gucci, defines his own sexuality. Read into that as you will. Or just refer to the aesthetic images of Jared Leto, the face of the scent, in a shirt with a soft necktie. 

Anyway, the bottle, shaped like a slim flask, is handsome, but it (at least the one we have) does not come with a spritzer, so you'll have to dab, dab, dab. That feels manly, too. 

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3| Issey Miyake L'eau Majeure d'Issey

Issey Miyake L'eau Majeure d'Issey mimics the gentle force of the ocean.

This, according to Google Translate, says major water, but maybe it is more like medium water, because it feels not so much like a waterfall crashing down on you, but like ocean waves lapping at your feet. That's just fine. You'd prefer water that nourishes versus water that plunges you into the depths of the abyss. 

The pure scent of water has always been the starting point of L'eau d'Issey line, and this one, they say, is a reflection of the iconic perfume of the '90s. The update? There is a salty quality to Majeure, which just reminds you of an early morning walk on the beach or maybe being adrift at sea. That is enough to tick the box of different, and this is the one to choose if you'd rather a scent that requires close contact (like a hug) to be appreciated.  

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4| Mr. Burberry Indigo

Do you like the bowtie and button-inspired cap of Mr. Burberry Indigo?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to indigo. Merriam-Webster defines the color as “a deep reddish blue,” while the cartoon Rainbow Brite characterizes indigo as a young girl who dreams of becoming an actress. 

Okay, we're going to rephrase that last bit as the color between blue and violet in the rainbow. Point is: It is a comely color, a fresh alternative to red and blue or blue and violet. And maybe Indigo would like to be this, a crispy-wet, green-infused (mint, moss, rosemary) addition to the Mr. Burberry family of scents. It does not introduce a blow-your-mind breakthrough. Rather, it is a dependable scent for daytime. 

We also like that the bottle wears a bowtie around its neck, as if it is reminding us to always be presented well or, conversely, mocking us for being underdressed. The bottle one ups us even more with a monogramming service. Ask the counter.  

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5| Mont Blanc Legend Night

Reminiscent of a night cap, Mont Blanc Legend Night projects energetic charisma.

Vanilla can come off as cloying, but this is more boozy vanilla, the dark kind you won't get sick of downing at night. In other words, this is a masculine scent. If we're to contrast this against that other muscular bottle on the list, we'd say Guilty Absolute is more roarin' and sweatin' and Legend Night is more like a low voice vibrating in the ear of a lady. 

In short, this is for the gentlemen who wants to project charisma and mystery. And yes, that sounds vague on print, but we're finding it hard to describe the excellent mix. Which just might be Legend's full effect.  

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6| Nautica Voyage Heritage

Don't count out Nautica Voyage Extreme, which speaks of the active pleasures of the water.

Color us surprised, because we kind of like this one? We're also going to trust our overstimulated nose and say that there is something in the mix that can only be described as the opposite of sweet—and that is the weird little hint that holds your attention. 

In contrast to L'eau Majeure, which posseses a moody chill, Voyage Heritage is warmer, as if you are in the thick of things, on an actual boat sailing away from... the responsibilities of your desk prison. How we wish we are on a yacht now! 

Available at leading perfume counters.

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About The Author
Clifford Olanday
Senior Fashion Editor, Esquire Philippines
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