There are certain scents that we associate with manliness. They tend to be earthy, musky and woody — because we like to see ourselves as such. But what notes should you really be looking for in male grooming products?
We turned to internationally-renowned grooming and beauty brand L’Occitane en Provence for the olfactory answers. And, from little known citrus scents to the frequently-avoided floral, here are their suggestions: five of the best fragrances — and the products in which they can be found.
Cedrat is the perfect year-round scent
No, it’s not a typo of cedar (although the coniferous, woody scent is also one of our favourites). Rather, cedrat is a citrus fruit, and affords any product it is infused into a cascade of freshness. It is a green, sparkling scent to start, a delicate nature quickly undercut by the bitterness of the woody rind.
Cedrat, for both its scent and scarcity, is one of our go-to fragrances — especially in summer. It pairs well will aromatic spices and smokey, woody bases to give an impression of sophistication. So, although it isn’t as similar to cedar in scent as it is in spelling, the two make for a delightful combination.
We recommend: L’Homme Cologne Cedrat
Black Pepper brings spice to summer scents
Of course, we know black pepper for its place in the kitchen rather than the bathroom, but this spice is as suited to scents as it is seasoning. Just as it adds an edge to your food, black pepper as a manly scent intensifies, sophisticates and offers a longer-lasting fragrance than many other options.
It may seem a little too heavy for summer, but delicately applied and as a gentle top note to cap off an aftershave or balm, it can work wonders. In the past, pepper was known as ‘Black Gold’ in some trade circles, and we can see why: Stimulating, warming and comforting — what more could you want?
We recommend: Aromatic L’Occitan Collection
Bergamot is as versatile as scents come
A common stablemate of cedrat above, Bergamot is a shape-shifter of a scent. Pair it with something fruity, and it will smell floral. Mix with woodiness, and the musky notes will take centre stage. Swirl it with something spicy, and it will soften the edges without dulling the fragrance.
It’s bitter, tart, elegant and light. It contradicts itself. But bergamot most definitely has a place in your bathroom cabinet, where it will make friends with your familiar fragrances and reinvent them. Seek out products that include this magic ingredient, and you’ll be introduced to a whole new world of complex manly scents.
We recommend: Invigorating Cedrat Collection
Juniper, to bring pungent musk to your grooming products
Best known for lending its flavour to your favourite gin, juniper has so much more to give. The berries are used extensively in aromatherapy, and this camphorous scent is pungent, herbaceous, peppery and pinelike.
Also known as ‘cade’, it is typified by its strong smoky, woody aroma, and is the epitome of manly scents. Like an ingredient created exclusively for lumberjacks, it will go lower than the bassiest of your base notes, and afford a fresh earthiness to any scent.
We recommend: Cade After Shave Balm
Verbena will bring freshness to your woody scents
A sparkling scent with a universal freshness, Verbena stands apart from the other fragrances on this list. Where the black peppers and junipers wallow in their woodiness, this plant is unremittingly light, bringing simplicity and brightness to a collection of otherwise musky aromas.
It’s a great one for summer. With hints of the other scents — a pinch of pepper for spiciness, a dash of cedrat for acidity — it can create the ultimate base for a seasonal aftershave, and keep you feeling invigorated through the most oppressive of humid days.
We recommend: L'Occitane Verbena Eau de Toilette
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