Earlier this week, WordPress informed me that I’ve been blogging for four years, which means some of you have actually been following along for four years—through my ramblings and Tolkien deviations and attempts to learn how to use a camera, etc. Crazy. You know what else I realized? If you search up “holiday gift guide,” not a single one comes up. Four years of holiday beauty, and I haven’t done a single gift guide for this site.
Part of it is because I
suspect know that if I start compiling gift guides on the regular—in other words, a giant wish list—my wallet would be empty in a matter of hours. So this year, I’m bringing you a brief fragrance gift guide for the guys in your life, mostly because I won’t be tempted to purchase any of these (although come to think of it, Atlas does smell pretty damn good…).
Now obviously I’m hardly an expert on the male fragrance market, but since none of my guy friends are fighting over the chance to spotlight as guest blogger, we’re just going to do this my way. I should also mention that midway through scent-testing, my roommate showed up as unofficial guest editor, and I thought it would be a pity not to include her thoughts (suffice it to say that we have very different tastes). So here we go, my thoughts & her thoughts on the rare man-fragrance that crosses my desk, plus the unsniffed formulas currently on my holiday radar.
Starting off with the ones I’ve smelled:
1. The Motley Formula 0142: Atlas Cologne, $45*
This stuff is crazy, crazy good. It’s warm and green all at once: a blend of Atlas Cedar, oakmoss, leather, bergamot, musk, and spices. Technically, it’s a cologne, but it could very well be unisex—although you’d need confidence in spades (and good taste in fragrance) to pull it off. Atlas is the result of a creative collaboration between siblings Matthew and Madison Ruggieri and a Los Angeles perfumer—with creative input from Darren Criss. I was lucky enough to chat with the three partners behind The Motley this summer, so if you’re curious about the fragrance, you can read more about it here. All I’ll say is that while the other bottles on this list will eventually make their way to other homes (I hardly have a good excuse to hang onto cologne with so many perfumes lying around), this one’s staying tucked away in my purse.
The tiny bottle pictured above is a sample size (so cute, right?), but you can buy the full-sized version here. I’m also loving this released-for-the-holidays cologne trio with the brand’s other two scents, Bergamo and Oud. They come in my favorite 5 mL rectangular bottles, which should be reason enough for you to snap up the set.
Roommate’s take: You’d want your boyfriend to smell like THAT?
2. Jean Paul Gaultier Le Beau Male EDT, $64*
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male has been around for eighteen years now (the female counterpart, Classique, is my go-to gourmand), so perfumer Francis Kurkdjian decided to revamp the formula earlier this year with Le Beau Male. “The redefinition of of lavender that characterizes Le Male remains, but the oriental facet has been toned down,” he says. The effect is “as if the skin were exuding fragrance.” The opening verges on too sharp, but it quickly cools down into a clean elixir of lavender of mint. There’s a little bit of green (the sage?) and something faintly musky—it’s fresh, but different somehow and I find myself bringing arm-to-nose again and again as it dries down. And of course, you can hardly fail to recognize that signature bottle.
Roommate’s take: Hmmm, I feel like I’m sleeping in Abercrombie!
3. Salvatore Ferragamo Acqua Essenziale EDT Pour Homme, $80*
This is undoubtedly a summer scent, and you might be thinking it’s ridiculous to gift such a watery composition when there’s snow falling from the sky in certain parts of the world—but wait. While I turn my nose up at gourmands and warm blends during the summer months, sometimes I need a spritz of fresh fragrance when the weather says sun’s gone into hibernation, goodbye. For those occasions, Acqua Essenziale should do the trick nicely. It’s got grapefruit, mint, rosemary, lavendar, and a whole lotta patchouli and vetiver. Think fresh, watery, crisp. Very easy to wear.
Roommate’s take: Spray it in this corner over here! Oh, it’s lighter than that other one.
Moving on, we come to the unsniffed formulations (not pictured):
4. Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men Holiday Edition, $82
Ok I confess, I’m mostly digging the bottle here because who wouldn’t want a platinum-encased flacon hanging out on their dresser? This is basically as sexy as perfume packaging gets. The scent is billed as “unapologetic masculinity with a warm, refined edge”—make of that what you will. Notes are as follows: top notes of grapefruit, coriander and basil; heart notes of cardamom, ginger and carnal orange blossom; and a drydown of cedar wood, ambergris, and tobacco.
5. Prada Infusion D’Homme, $58
I did sniff this one quite some time ago when one of my friends was asking for cologne advice (why you would ever go to me with scent-related questions, I have no idea). It’s quite good, a blend of neroli, iris (gets me every time), vetiver, cedarwood, incense, and benzoin. If you’ve been saving up, shell out for the giant 6.75 oz spray bottle ($102).
6. CB I Hate Perfume Winter 1972 Perfume Absolute, $13-95
Everyone has heard of this by now, yes? If not, I highly recommend a little internet research—now tell me you don’t want to start stockpiling this immediately.
Got any gift-worthy man fragrance suggestions? Hit me up in the comments!
Full Disclosure: Items marked with an asterisk (*) are press samples sent for editorial consideration. For more information on my review policy, please refer to my disclaimer.