Need Ideas? In this part two of our gift guide - and before looming shipping deadlines make it impossible to buy cologne on the Internet - we look at fragrances that represent masculinity in its most obvious, manly and rugged form because it's an ideal for many - and those scents are not that common.
To put the list together we turned towards some theoretical ideas, olfactory impressions and then online comments, from men.
OK, so let us start with the King of colognes in this genre, Old Spice (1938). You might see it as too low-brow for a Christmas gift but as it turns out, men love this perfume. They loved it so much in fact that they took it away from women ca. 1937 who themselves reportedly never really cared for it. Add a few toiletries in a tool box turned Xmas hamper, and you're done.
Online commenter Ecrofirt writes on the brand website,
Classic Old Spice is one of the manliest scents on the face of the earth. Perhaps the only other smell of equal masculinity is sawdust. I am a 24 year old man, and I have loved the smell of Old Spice since I was a young boy. I have always equated the smell with pure rugged manliness
Taking his cue, we can now also recommend two perfumes which smell of sawdust: Demeter Sawdust and Christian Lacroix Tumulte for Men; the latter is available at discounters.
Of Demeter Sawdust, Nellieesh says on Basenotes that,
It does smell like sawdust and I think it may blend well with a deodorant like Axe or something, which my friend wears.
It does not smell unpleasant, but, I wish it had a sweeter scent like a sawmill does. It smells more like dried sawdust rather than fresh sawdust.
Christian Lacroix Tumulte for men is a cedar-heavy fragrance - there are 4 kinds - which lists notes of Laurel Bay Leaf, Virginia Cedar, Texas Cedar, Atlas Cedar, Chinese Cedar, Balsamic Note, Frankincense, Juniper Berry. It literally smells of a carpenter's workshop - also appropriate for the Holidays if you think of the Christian associations with Joseph and Jesus.
It was composed by a woman, perfumer Nathalie Gracia-Cetto and launched in 2005. It has become hard-to-find but it's worth a little effort to find it.
Juniper Ridge have a Slacker Pack which includes Cascade Glacier Trail Soap, Siskiyou Incense, and Big Sur Trail Resin Cologne (2014).
Breathe in notes of evergreen forests, glacier-fed rivers, and cozy cabins with the smell of winter right around the corner. Fir and Pine give way to ice-age glaciers as the towering mountains peak and the stars go on forever.
Casswell-Massey Newport Cologne is also a good choice for a quick brushing-up on masculinity scent-wise. Online commenter Jann39 says on Amazon that,
This was a gift to my son-in-law and he has now decided it his favorite cologne. It does smell good. Nice and masculine.
Fragrance notes are: "The top notes are crisp and clean green notes accented with bergamot, mandarin and lemon. The mid notes of geranium, lavandin, muguet and rose, give character to the fragrance. The long lasting dry down is soft, warm, and sensual-redolent with amber, sandalwood, vanilla and cedar."
Apart from Old Spice, the easiest cologne to find last minute on this list is Dior Jules, which aimed in its brief for the idea of virility. "Jules" in colloquial, slangish French also means "boyfriend". Main notes in this woodsy fougère are green galbanum, black pepper and, again, cedarwood, from Virginia.
Caron Yatagan is perhaps the easiest one to borrow for a woman on this list despite its dry, foresty and rugged charm. It's masculine but at the same time there is something artistic and evocative about it which makes it borrowable. Online commenter addyeddy writes on Basenotes,
Make no mistake, this is an animalistic scent for men, it won't appeal to the homoegenous 'I want to smell like a grapefruit' brigade, and I don't think you'll get many compliments off the ladies, this is a statement scent, take me as I am or don't, I don't really care. Truly unique.
Finally, for young men - tweens and teens - on their way to ruggedness and more affirmed masculinity, I would recommend Guerlain Eau du Coq (1894) as an entry point. It's fresh, dry and less overtly sexual - more restrained. It presents the advantage of tutoring them in intelligent perfumery and the classics.
Happy Last Minute Shopping for the Holidays!