The best thing about fragrances is the constant newness and reinvention put into their construction. Each scent has a perspective and, like music or fashion, they’re all time capsules, tiny icons for the year and season in which they were released.
They’re fun to discuss too — even more so when you’re passing them around like a bottle of scotch, for the sampling. Ask any group of enthusiasts about the best spring scents of all time or the best new fragrance house of the 21st-century, and a polarizing debate ensues. Imagine it like a heated exchange on music: Were the Beatles better than the Rolling Stones? What was Prince’s best song or Bowie’s best album? Opinions will surface.
For this reason, one of the best debates you can have, I think, is a speculative one, based entirely on a first impression. The best new _____. You don’t know if that new album, or fashion trend, or fragrance will stand up for years, much less past your lunch break. So you have to trust your gut. Is it a flash in the pan, or a new standby? As for this season’s spring offerings — the best new fragrances, that is — these are the floral, fougere and fresh ones I believe have the most staying power. So if you’re looking for a new signature scent or want to gift without concern for return, shop from this list. They’re the words that enthusiasts are likeliest to be discussing passionately in 10 or 20 years.
Louis Vuitton Les Colognes Sun Song
Sun Song is one-third of Louis Vuitton’s unisex Les Colognes launch, alongside the maté-hued Cactus Garden and citrus-soaked Afternoon Swim. All three could round out the spring’s best—even if they’re geared towards summer—but Sun Song reverberates as boldest of the bold. It’s an orange-blossom in full bloom, embellished with citron and musk. You’re nostalgic for Sun Song as soon as you climb into bed, but the morning promises its return. This scent, and this entire trio, are something to sing about.
Ermenegildo Zegna Essenze Italian Bergamot EDP
So, technically Zegna’s Italian Bergamot isn’t new — the brand’s excellent (but not so spring-like) Madras Cardamom is the star rookie of its Essenze lineup. However, in tandem with Madras Cardamom’s release, the luxury brand has upgraded its Essenze scents from Eau de Toilette (EDT) to a higher-grade Eau de Parfum (EDP) collection. This means you now get more sillage and longevity from each spray. And since the crisp and eye-opening Italian Bergamot was our favorite amongst the EDT crowd, we were ecstatic to find that its prominence is even bolder and more arousing as an EDP.
Givenchy’s Gentleman is an example to us all. He’s sophisticated and dimensional in any iteration, always staying fresh and trying something new. In the brand’s latest take on its 45-year-old formula, iris takes center stage, with supporting arcs from bergamot, lemon, rosemary, vetiver and musk. Of the lot, it means the most business, but it’s also casual enough for a buttoned-down affair.
Tom Ford Beau de Jour
And the award for “Most Likely to Be Your New Signature Scent” goes handily to Beau de Jour. This fougere scent plays well from every angle: patchouli and amber base notes give it strength, while lavender makes a fresh impression. It’s balanced with an herbal-earthy heart—rosemary, mint, and basil and oakmoss. From every approach, its warm enough for the night and winter, but light enough for spring, fall and all the livelong day. If you’re a man of one scent, then there’s no need to change from one day to the next, much less one season to the next. Pick Beau de Jour, and stick with Beau de Jour.
Diptyque Eau de Minthé
The latest entry into the spring scent race is Diptyque’s May launch of Eau de Minthé. Like Beau de Jour, it’s a fougere scent — akin to ferns, in that it’s both herbal and earthy, much like most barbershop fragrances. And in this case, that all centers on mint. Its freshness is embellished with floral tones of geranium and rose, and anchored by a bed of patchouli. It’s a big statement to suggest that Diptyque has produced its best scent yet, but the argument must be made.
Jack Black Turbo Body Spray
Some guys may never buy into the fragrance world. On the outside, it seems expensive, and it’s hard to tell which one of the thousands is worth your wear. That’s fair. If you’re skeptical, or if you’re plenty invested in the game but needing a surprise, then buy this body spray. For the skeptic, it’s a post-shower cologne in disguise (and a steal at $32 for 3.4 ounces), and a graduation from your dime-store body-spray days. For the enthusiast, it’s a sexy (yes) alternative to your everyday staple. Rosemary, eucalyptus, and juniper berry give it some serious seduction vibes, and as a bonus, the bottle could hold court next to Givenchy and Tom Ford.
Montblanc’s aptly named Explorer is an aromatic, leathery scent can navigate any season or occasion. Like the adventure it inspires, its ingredients were sourced from all over the globe: Explorer has the depth of a winter scent, thanks to Haitian vetiver and Indonesian patchouli, while its top and middle notes (Italian bergamot and French clary sage) balance things out with sunnier, lighter spirits.
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