The Trick to Understanding Fragrances (And Figuring Out What Works Best For You)
A trip to the perfume counter can be overwhelming—what with the pushy salesmen, the melee of scents, and the steep price tags, all demanding you make a clear, level-headed decision fast.
You can make the transaction quick and painless by having an idea of what you're looking for before you get there. Fragrances are usually classified into four olfactory families: fresh, floral, woody, and oriental.
As smell is a sensory thing and words on a computer screen only have a limited capability, it's best that you seek out the examples we've mentioned here and start your search there.
The most palatable of the olfactory families, Fresh spans citrusy, green (grassy, herbal, and mossy) and aquatic notes—which can be confusing because, well, what is water supposed to smell like? Describing its taste is already hard enough (I dare you).
Jimmy Choo Man Ice
Smells like A citrusy, youthful musk—very friendly, in stark contrast to the cold name and frosty bottle
Best worn In the daytime
Will help you Smell clean and friendly
Clinique Happy for Men
Smells like Oranges and then fades into a mild yet unmistakable fragrance (This is among those that have the mythical aquatic notes.)
Best worn On a hot day—which is virtually every day in our country
Will help you Stay positive and pleasant
Diptyque Eau de Lierre
Smells like A wall of creeping leafy vines
Best worn To a garden party or a picnic
Will help you Feel one with nature without actually roughing it
The easiest to pick out in the list, florals are self-explanatory, except they don't always take on the smell of flowers you know. Take the smell of baby powder or the overbearing cloud of your lola's perfume that announces her arrival before you even see her.
Acca Kappa Muschio Bianco
Smells like Familiarity and clean sheets
Best worn In small enclosed spaces, like your car
Will help you Seem neater than you actually are
Diptyque Eau Des Sens
Smells like Baby cologne but adapted for grown-ass men
Best worn To places of worship—church or club—depending on your god or idol
Will help you Feel like a saint
Jo Malone French Lime Blossom
Smells like Hotels and soap
Best worn Under a stronger scent to create complexity
Will help you Feel fresh all day
Think of your ninang's camphor chest, Muji pest-repelling cedar blocks, and the oak that you can taste in your favorite whiskey—those are the notes that you'll find in a woody fragrance. These scents are comforting and complex, and are great aids in painting yourself the outdoorsman when you're actually chained to your desk all day.
Diptyque Tam Dao
Smells like A bark with green leaves and then fades into a faintly powdery scent that is reminiscent of fresh laundry
Best worn Every day
Will help you Smell different from everyone else
Jo Malone English Oak and Redcurrant
Smells like Wood! Mild with a sharp spiciness
Best worn With plaid flannel and a full beard
Will help you Become a lumbersexual
Acca Kappa Sandalwood and Black Pepper
Smells like A warm, spicy Christmas treat
Best worn To an intimate gathering
Will help you Leave an olfactory trail
Oriental is the heady scents of spices, incense, and amber. Like a good whiskey, it is smoky and smooth. Or like a strong cup of chai, intense, powerful, and bold.
Jo Malone Dark Amber and Lily
Smells like A relaxing massage in an upscale spa with dim-lit, cozy rooms
Best worn To a low-key hang
Will help you Ease into an intimate moment
Smells like A sweet, burning pyre of flowers and wood
Best worn On a boys' night out
Will help you Keep warm
Jo Malone Nutmeg and Ginger
Smells like The epitome of men's cologne
Best worn By traditionalists
Will help you Become someone's zaddy