classic fragrances for men

10 classic fragrances that will never go out of style

When it comes to finding a signature fragrance, it always pays to stick to the classics...

Our sense of smell is powerful. It can conjure up memories from decades past, and even the briefest of whiffs can remind us of specific people or places. So it pays to invest in a good signature scent — if only to make a good first, fragrant impression.

But which to spritz? There are plenty of options out there — with many brands bringing out new, fresh and idiosyncratic aftershaves and eau de toilettes every year. But we wouldn’t recommend going for one of these fleeting fad fragrances. Instead, for your signature scent at least, we’d suggest keeping it classic. Here are ten of the most timeless fragrances for men…

For the gentleman about town, Floris No. 89

floris no 89

With notes of: Sandalwood, Cedar, Oakmoss and Ylang-Ylang

Why choose it: Introduced in 1951, Floris’ signature notes of bergamot, lavender and neroli have been a hit with gentlemen of many generations. Even Ian Fleming, the man who brought James Bond to life, was a fan. If you’re a traditionalist, there are few fragrances that can stand up to this — formulated by a family who have been in the perfume business since 1730.

For modern sophistication, Czech & Speake No. 88

Czech & Speake No. 88

With notes of: Geranium, Rose Otto, Cassie and exotic Frangipani

Why choose it: They may be more modern than Floris above, but small, London-based Czech & Speake has caused ripples around the world with its slick, suave grooming products. No. 88 was sniffed out as an instant classic upon its launch, with notes of sandalwood and geranium offering a bold — and unisex — scent.

For instant confidence, Creed Aventus

10 classic fragrances that will never go out of style

With notes of: Calville Blanc Apple, Blackcurrant, Pineapple and Italian Bergamot

Why choose it: Another fragrance house to stay in the hands (and noses) of one family for hundreds of years, Creed was first founded in 1760. This best-selling scent, Aventus, bears the hallmarks of steady, seasoned hands — and affords the wearer instant confidence upon the first elegant spritz.

For an continental feel, Acqua di Parma Colonia

Acqua di Parma Colonia

With notes of: Lemon, Sweet Orange, Calabrian Bergamot

Why choose it: Crafted from the zestiest of citric Italian ingredients, this offering from Acqua di Parma is the essence of Sicily in a bottle. Just a couple of sprays will whisk you away to the coastal orange groves of southern Italy — and give you the sprezzatura and sophistication of a quintessentially Italian gent.

For a deep masculine scent, Tom Ford Oud Wood

Tom Ford Oud Wood

With notes of: Rare Oud Wood, Sandalwood, Chinese Pepper

Why choose it: Rare. Exotic. Distinctive. That’s how Tom Ford describes his intense, incense-inspired perfume. It smells like you’ve just stepped into a Bhutanese monastery — and is just as zen. There’s also a hint of mystery to this one; an elusive, elegant aftershave perfect for accentuating your masculinity.

For a royally-approved aftershave, Clive Christian No. 1

Clive Christian No. 1

With notes of: Indian Sandalwood, Powdery Musk and Vetiver

Why choose it: If you didn’t already know, Clive Christian was the perfumer who Queen Victoria allowed to use a likeness of her crown. The royally-approved alchemist then gathered the rarest and most expensive ingredients in the world, and combined them to create one of the world’s most iconic scents. This is that scent.

For a classic British scent, Penhaligon’s Blenheim

Penhaligon’s Blenheim

With notes of: Lemon, Black Pepper and Pine

Why choose it: Originally created for the Duke of Marlborough, this bottling smells like bowler hats and stiff upper lips concentrated into an eau de toilette. Quintessentially British, it’s almost like a dry London gin; crisp, sharp and the perfect partner for a man of sparkling wit.

Penhaligon’s Blenheim

Penhaligon’s Blenheim


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For effortless elegance, Bleu de Chanel

Bleu de Chanel

With notes of: Pink Pepper, Grapefruit, Dry Cedar, Labdanum

Why choose it: While Penhaligon’s offering above may have captured Britain, this iconic Chanel fragrance has bottled the essence of France. Intensely woody, immensely fashionable and formulated for those who know exactly what they want, this is the aftershave equivalent of a confident, insouciant shrug.

For refined simplicity, Issey Miyake L’eau Majeure D’Issey

Issey Miyake L’eau Majeure D’Issey

With notes of: Wood, Citrus, Bergamot, Grapefruit

Why choose it: Taking inspiration from the power and motion of water, this is a scent that positively overflows with freshness. Produced by the Miyake Design Studio — and created with the same simplistic principals that Issey Miyake puts into its clothing range — it is fresh, honest and with a spray that seems straight off the ocean.

Issey Miyake L’eau Majeure D’Issey

Issey Miyake L’eau Majeure D’Issey


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For an enigmatic essence, Dior Sauvage

Dior Sauvage

With notes of: Reggio di Calabria Bergamot, Ambergris, Wood

Why choose it: Because it is so much more than Johnny Depp’s scent of choice. Powerful, rich and mysterious, there’s a touch of smokey wood lingering in this aftershave. It was inspired by the ‘magic hour’ in the desert — when the hot air of the day potently mixes with the cool of the night.

Looking for something more specific to the season? These are the best autumn fragrances for men…

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