It’s a given that your wardrobe cycles seasonally. However, it’s your fragrance that sets the subconscious tone for said wardrobe. What winter is to heavy musk, summer is to light citrus. But don’t take that guiding principle as gospel. All too often, fragrance is split into bold extremes, sweet or pungent, leading men to shy away from experimentation. After all, citrus is a winter fruit. Try something new and unexpected, and side with what you like best. We visited two of New York City’s most trusted fragrance shops, Twisted Lily and MiN, to choose our own favorites and help get you started.
In collaboration with Comme des Garçons, Sugi takes its name from the national tree of Japan, known abroad simply as Japanese cedar. The nose behind the scent: Antoine Maisondieu, the renowned perfumer responsible for Monocle’s Hinoki and Laurel scents. Monocle’s third scent grounds itself in an earthiness that is both woodsy and lightly peppered, yet distinctively bright with sweet floral hints of iris.
Escentric Molecules Molecule 01
Iso E Super (also known by its much longer name) is a synthetic compound used widely in fragrance and cosmetic production for its sandalwood and cedar-esque aroma. Escentric Molecules pushes the envelope here with a scent entirely composed of the ingredient, previously unheard of in the world of fragrance. Subtle in its simplicity, Molecule 01 is said to be unique to its wearer, both in intensity and overall emanation. Our experience: mellow white pepper and green wood. The scent lingers, ebbing in and out with effect.
Kerosene R’oud Elements
Commonly called agarwood, R’oud is the production of a dark, aromatic resin at the core of infected aquilaria trees in Southeast Asia, a practice with religious and spiritual significance reaching back thousands of years. This rendering of the prized substance comes from John Pegg at Kerosene, packaged in a bottle colored with gray automotive paint and a glossy clearcoat finish. R’oud Elements is musky and animalic, with additional notes of amber, pulverized wood dust and sweet cocktail bitters.
Arquiste The Architects Club
“Gourmand” denotes a relatively recent fragrance family in perfumery, categorized by notes of chocolate, honey and vanilla, among other edibles. Too often, however, perfumeries hinge on cloying sweetness without much restraint. With The Architects Club, Arquiste presents a gourmand with refreshing accessibility, defined by smoky vanilla with undertones of weathered oak and British gin. All of Arquiste’s fragrances are tailored to a specific time and place in history, each carrying their own aura and sensibility. The Architects Club: Dusk, March, 1930, a hazy smoking room in central London.
Crafted by self-taught perfumer Josh Lobb in Portland, Oregon, Norne stirs up the coniferous coastal region of the Pacific Northwest. Dense, boozy, and slightly bitter, its astringency finds balance with earthy notes of lichen and moss. The scent sprays on dark and heavy, refusing to soften until it’s gone completely.