Man Week: Choosing Cologne

With Father’s Day less than a week away, you may be pondering gift choices.  A classic choice is cologne.  While this could be a great gift if you know just what he likes, it is a very personal choice.  On the other hand, if the alternative is he wears no scent at all, perhaps it’s time for you to intervene.

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A man of distinction wears a fragrance that is distinctly him.  This may not always be easy to find.  Fragrance reacts differently with each person’s body chemistry.  You will have to try several on and weed out those elements that don’t appeal to you. Navigating the fragrance counter can be a tricky endeavor indeed.  Go along with Dad armed with the following information... or at the very least, for moral support.

savour… distinction

Anatomy of Cologne:

Fragrances are typically made of top notes, middle notes, and base notes.

Top Notes – This is the 1st impression so to speak of your fragrance.  It’s the scent that is most prominent, first to be noticed, and first to go.  This often consists of light fragrance such as fruity, citrusy, or green as it will fade to reveal the middle notes.

Middle Notes – The middle notes last just a brief time and are somewhat of a bridge between the lightness of the top notes and the lasting effects of the base (or basic) notes.  For men’s fragrance you will often detect spices and woods at this phase.

Base Notes – This is the real soul of the fragrance and it lasts long after the other layers have started to fade.  This part of the fragrance is commonly scented with musk, tobacco, or mosses.

The perfect combination of these notes reveals a scented symphony that should be better than the sum of its parts.  While the top notes beg for attention in the beginning, you should still be able to detect fragrance from the other notes, as well.  This careful combination takes real craftsmen to assemble.  Their formulas are kept top secret as you might imagine.

Top tips:

People should NEVER smell you before they see you.  Reveal the magic a little at a time, like peeling away the layers of a fantastically fragrant onion.

Put it where your pulse is!  You are warmer at pulse points and hitting those spots will distribute the scent better.  Shoot for elbow folds, wrists, behind the ears, and neck.

If they sell your cologne at a supermarket, it might be time to move on.

Choose a deodorant that is not too fragrant so it doesn’t compete with your cologne.

Allow yourself another quick shot before heading out for dinner to revive the scent.

Choose a signature cologne that is timeless and likely to be around for years to come.  Some people keep different cologne for specific reasons such as one for work, one for weekends, and one for nights out on the town.  Variety can be good, but one steady fragrance become synonymous with you and helps define your style.

Trying them out:

  • Take a break as necessary between sniffs to avoid overwhelming your senses.
  • Many perfumeries keep coffee beans on hand to sniff and ‘cleanse the palette’.
  • At some point you will have to move beyond the sprayed cardstock and try it on your skin.  That’s the only way to truly know if you and the cologne can become one.