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The Sweet Smells of Success

Men's Colognes Have Grown Up and So Has the Way They Sell the Smell
Kimberly Cihlar
From the Print Edition:
Ernest Hemingway, Jul/Aug 99

(continued from page 2)

A fragrance comprises three components. Top notes are released when the fragrance first touches your skin; the body reveals itself when the fragrance starts to mix with your body chemistry (about 10 minutes after application), and the bottom note, is the final expression of the fragrance as the scent becomes yours. The most popular colognes combine some of the following scents or fragrance blends:

Chypre A fragrance blend with a heavy, dry scent. Sometimes characterized as a leather scent. Typically composed of some of the following: oakmoss, patchouli, bergamot, labdanum and sandalwood. In women's scents rose and/or cassie achieve floral notes in this blend. Citrus adds a lift to fragrances with this base. May have a tobacco note, as in Cigar Aficionado cologne. Also found in Aramis, Salvador Dali and Dunhill.

Citrus Popular as top notes, with their fresh, clean, sharp citrus scents. Derived from the oils of lemon, lime, tangerine, bitter orange and bergamot trees. Found in Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet, 4711 Eau de Cologne and CK one.

Oriental Exotic smelling, oriental scents often blend nutmeg from the West Indies, cinnamon from Asia, clove bud oil from Zanzibar, bay oil from the West Indies and basil from the Mediterranean. Patchouli oil, from leaves grown in India, British Malaya, Sumatra and South America, impart a musty note and a sweet, herbaceous, spicy, woodsy-balsamic odor. Carnation, ginger and lavender are also used. Found in Jaipur Homme, Joop! for Men, Gucci Envy, Tiffany for Men, Opium for Men, Le Male and Contradiction for Men.

Fougere This fern or forest note comes from lavendar from the South of France, labdanum resin from Spain, coumarin taken from the bean of tonka trees grown in Venezula, bergamot and geranium oil from the Island of Reunion. Typically, there are also citrus and tobacco notes. Found in Canoe, Paco Rabanne for Men, Monsieur Givenchy and Kouros.

Fresh Aromatic This new blend in the fragrance world was created by adding a fresh-smelling aroma chemical called dihydromyrcenol to scents formerly found in the fougere family. Gained were soapy, watery-marine qualities, lost was the tobacco note. Pineapple, apple, and woody (from ambroxan) notes fill out this fragrance blend. Found in Cool Water, tommy by Tommy Hilfiger, Aqua di Gio, Dolce & Gabanna Pour Homme, L'eau D'Issey Pour Homme and Good Life by Davidoff.

Woodsy-Mossy Very popular for masculine fragrances, woodsy scents are typically made from vetiver from Haiti and Java, sandalwood from India, cedar from Virginia, and flamed birch. Earthy oakmoss, rosewood and fern notes accentuate this flavor. Found in Dunhill Edition, Bulgari for Men and Vetiver.

As with any grooming tool, certain rules of thumb apply to wearing, purchasing and caring for fragrances.

First, a little goes a long way. Don't bathe in cologne like Sam Malone, the superodorous barman of television's "Cheers." Your scent should not hold your office mates and fellow diners hostage, nor precede you into a room. Every individual has his own "scent circle," a radius approximately an arm's length from the body. Instead of the slathering approach, brush it across pulse points (where each heartbeat accentuates the fragrance).

For a long-lasting effect, layer scents all over the body, rather than dousing more it all in one place. Since fragrance rises during the day, apply it from the feet up in diminishing doses until you reach the head. Sense of smell is keener later in the day, so apply more liberally in the morning than the evening.


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