More Manly Scents

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, everyone!   Safe travels if you´re heading off somewhere.  We´re going to leave this post up through the weekend.  Continuing our efforts to overcome the massive estrogenic overload on the blog due to my recent lipstick/nail polish posts, I´ve found two tasty men´s scents I want to blog about.  With the holiday season coming up, and in the spirit of gift-giving to someone other than, you know … yourself, today´s post is on a couple of giftable men´s scents with the added bonus that you may want to sneak a spray of them too. 

Zirh Ikon – new at Bloomie´s.  You know what I love?  All sorts of things, including hot buttermilk biscuits and big, sparkly cocktail rings.  But I also love running into a new fragrance and sniffing it and falling into instant love, which as you know is expressed by the mathematical formula:


Total, total love on this one. Notes are: cardamom, davana, ginger, lemon, orris, labdanum, cinnamon, clove buds, frankincense, patchouli, cedarwood, vetiver, amber.

My first thought smelling it was, this would fit right into the CdG Incense series.  You know where I´d plug it in?  Right on top of Ourzo — Ortzo … Ourzazo … that spicy one I can´t spell, much less say.  I´d delete Orzowhatsit on the grounds (sorry!) it smells bad on me, and replace it with Ikon.

I popped over to Kevin´s review and was amused to see he immediately came up with the CdG as well, although to him Ikon is softer and lighter.  This is one of those men´s-shelf scents women could wear without hesitation and without waiting for some guy-signifier opening (e.g., citrus-bergamot) to fade.  In fact I kind of wonder whether men might find it a little feminine – although I guess you´re supposed to be reassured by that very manly-looking bottle.

I get the mother lode of cardamom and ginger up front, which I love.  The orris is more powdery/violet than rooty on me, and contributes along with the frankincense to the instant “spicy/incense” read of the scent.  I kept waiting for the other guy-frag shoe to drop.  You know what I mean – a big fat hit of cedar or some man-cologne accord – but it never happened.  The cardamom fades a bit, sadly, but never goes away, and the clove helps keep things from getting too dark.  It´s very smooth; the patchouli is there but pretty clean and not camphorous.  It gets a little woodier in the drydown, but still very unisex.  I thought it was wonderful just the way it is.  Kevin doesn´t get much iris so he layered it over Prada Infusion d´Iris with nice results.  I did the same layering thing with the Jo Malone Black Vetyver Café  – and okay, you could probably call the result Cliché Pour Homme, but it smelled wonderful. 

I liked it so much I did three big sprays at Bloomies, and days later it´s still lingering on my scarf, making me very happy.  The bottle, as you can see, isn´t stunning, but it isn´t hideous either.   And best of all, because it´s a department store man-frag it´s $50, and what´s not to like about that?

Second — Chanel Allure Homme Edition Blanche.  The Allures (male and female) don´t do much for me, but Kevin liked it, and he and I clearly like some of the same things, so I thought it was worth checking out.  They have it at Bloomies but I´ve never seen it anywhere else, maybe it´s exclusive. 

Like Kevin, I can´t argue that Edition Blanche is in any way wildly innovative, but it sure smells nice. Jacques Polge did the scent, notes are lemon, bergamot, cedar, sandalwood, tonka bean, white musk, vetiver, ginger, amber, vanilla, white and pink pepper.  I might buy Zirh Ikon for myself, but if I wanted a younger, hipper-looking Chanel that smelled delicious I´d go for this one.  Again, apologies to Kevin – I swear I´m not blog-lifting – but we both used the word  “delicious” and it smells expensive and sophisticated, two concepts pretty much missing from the original and Allure Sport.  Yeah, it´s got your standard-issue top, but the ginger and pepper kick it up into something fun, and it dries down into an elegant musk-vetiver that´s saved from utter guy-frag dullsville by that creamy vanilla.  The bottle´s elegant in its own quiet but kinda hip way — it’s a matte metal and feels great in the hand.   I think the guys on Basenotes are pretty meh about this – again, no argument from me that it´s breaking new fragrance ground.  But sometimes … particularly if you´re giving a gift, and you want to play it a little safe and not look like a total cheapskate … you just need a very nice, approachable man scent.  This definitely qualifies, in my opinion, as a good choice for the less experienced consumer.

I´d love to hear:  are there any scents you bought for your man just so you could borrow them?  Or, are there scents of yours he´s run off with, without any prompting from you?   The Big Cheese has just done this for the first time – my Jo Malone Black Vetyver Café seems to have found its way to his dresser.


  • sherobin says:

    Czech and Speake No. 88 and Montale Black Aoud. I thought these were supposed to be big masculine scents, but unfortunately the rose is just a little too feminine on my husband. The good news is they are SPECTACULAR, deep, romantic, and lasting on me. I also borrow his Polo Double Black, which smells great on him, but just doesn’t have a strong enough presence without him dousing himself in it.
    He doesn’t have his own opinions on men’s fragrances – just wears what I tell him. Funny though, that on me he strongly prefers big, white florals – esp. gardenia and jasmine. The more indolic the better. I like deep, dark roses, spices, woods, and fig on me best, so I thought I might like something like that on him. No go. He smells best in strong woods, leather, and incense.

    • March says:

      Oh, I love Double Black! One of my favorite mainstream men’s scents from the last couple of years. It smells interesting without being too challenging, and really, really good. And I think it’s both sweet and sexy that your husband likes indolic florals. 😡

  • joe805 says:

    Hmm, I spritzed Ikon on a strip at Sephora today and it seemed ok (I was not won over by Kenzo Power, however). After reading your take on it, I think I need to head back to Sephora and spritz myself all over — I just pulled out the strip again and it smells REALLY good. And I loves me some Ouarzazate.

    I’ve been looking for Edition Blanche since Kevin wrote about it, darn it! No Bloomies near me.

    I’ll throw down the gauntlet: I’d like to send one of you ladies a sample of Kouros and see how well you wear it and if you can handle the experience — especially those of you who claim to lurve the skank. Ha!

    Other “men’s” scents that I’m sure some women could love are Terre d’Hermes & Mechant Loup. I’m all about erasing the “men’s/women’s” labeling — and what do you think I discovered I really love today at Sephora?: Kenzo Winter Flowers.

    • March says:

      Oh, THAT’S how you spell it. :d But how do you say it? Glad to hear you liked the Ikon. I was surprised (but delighted) to see it Sephora. I really, really love the way it lingers on my clothes.

      Kouros. Yikes. The problem for me is, I get the same experience someone (LT?) wrote about. Maybe it was Chandler Burr. I get the *whole* bathroom — the less-nice parts, plus a heady whiff of those urinal cake things designed to smother certain odors. I find Kouros both fascinating and slightly unbearable at the same time. There’s a perfume shop near me that actually stocks a tester, so I resample periodically, but … wow. Can’t quite bring myself to spray it on me. 🙂 I did ask once and she told me it’s a relatively popular seller “with older men” — whatever that means. 😕 (over 30? 60?)

      Oh, so glad Winter Flowers worked for you. I thought it was lovely and interesting.

      • joe805 says:

        Well, I say it “wahr-zahh-zahht,” but you can call it whatever you want. “Whuzzat?” probably works. 🙂

        Re: Kouros. “Older” men? Hrrmph. But yeah, for a typical SA that probably means over 35 (i.e., oooooooooold). What’s funny is that I used to wear Kouros all the time when I was about 21 and I’m kind of mortified now, years (many, many years) after the fact. I was so innocent then :d, but must have had such a big skank sillage! I bought a pack of 10 sample sprays last year and they’ll probably last the rest of my life — I do get the urge for that delicious aromatic skank experience every couple months. It’s a classic somehow, and definitely “fascinating” and scary a the same time. Would be interesting to smell it on a woman (or anyone else, for that matter).

        • joe805 says:

          And I meant to add that yes, I think it was Burr who said that Kouros is “unwearable in this day and age” or something like that, to which I say: “Grow a pair, scaredy-cat!”

          • March says:

            Every now and again they make the sort of pronouncements like that that make my eyes roll. LT also described Coco as “terribly dated” or some such, and he can bite my Coco-scented …. scarf. 😉

  • Tara says:

    We officially share Fumerie Turque, Musc Koublai Khan, Czech & Speake Frankincense & Myrrh, Guerlain Derby and Amouage Dia (women’s version). I tell him I’m buying it for him so it doesn’t look like I’m spending so much on myself, but he is wise to my ploys… fortunately he is also indulgent.

  • sweetlife says:

    Ummmm…Poivre. I have two tiny samples and that is just about right since it is scrumptious on my about 5 days out of the year. But oh, those five days!

    My DH has suddenly Taken and Interest. We have little SOTD sessions in the morning and of necessity, everything is from my collection. I started off gently, with various citrus and vetivers, and he liked them, but then we had a little breakthrough with CDG Sequoia–his eyes went wide and he broke into a grin and said, “Wow!” Who knows what will come next?

    Best of Thanksgivings to you and yours and everyone!

    • March says:

      My apologies, I forgot about Caron! I should clarify I’m babbling about the new Le Labo. I don’t love any of the LLs really except for Vetiver, which isn’t really vetiver, but Poivre is lovely. Peppery incense.

      CdG Sequoia! I could definitely see that catching a man’s interest.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too. 😡

  • sybil says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! DH steadfastly refuses any sort of scent at all. Sigh…despite all my begging, he won’t wear the Vetiver Oriental, the Bulgari Black, and the Terre d’Hermes. And now, it looks like, the Zirh Ikon will be hanging out on my dresser. Oh well, merry early Christmas to me!

    • March says:

      Hey, as long as someone’s getting the thrill out of them! My husband is in general not interested in fragrance, and sometimes I want to smell a man’s fragrance but not “wear” it. So I often spray a dab on my shirt (hey, half that stuff’s designed to smell better on paper than skin anyway.) Then I get the whiff of man when I want it. 🙂

  • GGS says:

    Amouage Jubilation XXV. I haven’t been stealing it too much though because it smells good on him and I’m happy he likes it.
    THANKS to Amouage for making the affordable travel size bottles available to the etailers this summer.

    Also Dior Cologne Blanche.

    • March says:

      Cologne Blanche I gave short shrift to in my excitement over Eau Noire, but gosh it’s nice, isn’t it? I haven’t quite forked over the dough yet, but I might next summer.

  • Meliscents says:

    I just got an ARAMIS EDT meaning to give to the husband but I haven’t been able to turn it over. I think it’s just gorgeous. Very vintage Cabochard with a yummy drydown. The one he has that I sneak is Signature by St Dupont. I got it for him at TJ Maxx for next to nothing but it smells yummy. Especially on him. And the bottle is kinda cool. I always make a “B-Line” for the men’s fragrances. The women’s choices lately are so sweet.

    Everyone have a great Thanksgiving!

    • March says:

      That’s funny, I have no idea what Aramis smells like! I will have to rectify that.

      • MattS says:

        Aramis smells so close to EL Azuree, maybe a little less green, less floral. Same perfumer, same time frame. I think I read somewhere on NST that Azuree was created in response to women’s enthusiasm for their husbands’ Aramis. Wonderful stuff.

        Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Robin says:

    Ah — still haven’t seen that Chanel & didn’t know it was hiding at Bloomies, where I almost never go. Haven’t smelled Ikon either, so have nothing else to say but happy Thanksgiving!

  • Christina H says:

    Oh, yes, my boyfriend is the proud owner of Egoiste and Dzing!, which I basically bought for myself but gave to him so he wouldn’t gripe so much about all my perfumes; and I’m thinking he might be finding Zirh Ikon in his stocking this Christmas too. 🙂

    • March says:

      Egoiste. Sigh. I put on, like, two drops of that and you can smell me across the room. But it’s so freaking GORGEOUS. And I love Dzing! but it doesn’t smell as good on me as on lots of other people. 🙁

      I was out w/Louise and just discovered Ikon at Sephora, BTW.

  • violetnoir says:

    Nothing really to say, babe, other than to wish you and your family a great Thanksgiving!


    • March says:

      And a great Thanksgiving to you too, hon. Played with Louise this morning! I’m wearing Poivre and it smells scrumptious on me, if I do say so myself. 😉

      • Louise says:

        Poivre does smell amazing on you. I’m so jealous at the sillage you got from it, though the basic scent is the same on me. Wonderful juice-and wonderful time 😡

        • Lee says:

          What fun you ladies have!

          Happy Thanksgiving!

          • March says:

            Dude. Poivre is AMAZING. My sweet potato pie is also amazing. I have my second one in the oven for today because we, uh, already ate the first one.

          • joe805 says:

            Sorry for being so non-perfumista, but is this “Poivre” you’re all swooning over the new Le Labo, or some other Poivre?

          • Louise says:

            Le Labo in this case :d/

          • March says:

            Totally my fault, my apologies. I am so out of touch with my old nemesis Caron, I forgot about Poivre. I’m referring to the Le Labo, which … wow. I was expecting to be underwhelmed, that line doesn’t really do it for me. It’s peppery incense drying down to vanillic incense. It had extraordinary sillage, excellent lasting power, and was all around fantastic.

          • joe805 says:

            Great. Another fabulous thing to add to the list (though it’s been catching my eye lately anyway). Happy Thanksgiving, by the way!

          • March says:

            You’re welcome! :d And to you as well.

    • louise says:

      Happy Holiday to you, sweetie >:d<

  • Kathryn says:

    DH has very politely told me that I’ve given him enough perfume to last this lifetime, but I’m proud to say that he wears the Yatagan I gave him to work. I can’t quite pull off Yatagan myself, but SL Vetiver Oriental is definitely something we share. It’s much less sweet and powdery on him than it is on me, but it works for both of us. I’m looking forward to smelling that on him over the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    • March says:

      I love me some Yatagan. I’m not sure how well I’m pulling it off either, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing it.

      I just revisited Vetiver Oriental and was surprised how much I liked it. It seemed Too Much for me previously. Now — just right. 🙂

      • Shelley says:

        March, when you had Yatagan on in Chicago, it smelled good on you. In one of those nose-does-a-double-take “wait a minute, WHAT was that, let me smell it again” kind of ways. You are International Woman of (Powerful) Mystery with it on.

        Just tried VO myself for the first time, and I do believe I am still in the whomp-bamp-aloo-bomp early portion of the curve. Have other happy orientals to carry me along until when/if I move along… :>

        • Kathryn says:

          LOL at the Little Richard “Tutti Frutti” reference, Shelley. With my scent-eating skin, I’m hoping that the sillage is tutti, but not frutti. But in any case, I don’t mind at all bringing to mind a bit of classic rock. Thanksgiving is, after all, an occasion that seems to call for a bit of excess. Hope you have a happy one!

          • Shelley says:

            You just made my morning! I hit “save” to post that, and then thought, “wait a minute; is that clear what I was saying/referring to?”

            It was more for effect than fruit reference, so hopefully you’ll get all the tutti you want, hold the frutti. 🙂

            Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!! :d/ >:d<

          • March says:

            I’m with Kathryn — I’m wanting the tutti, hold the frutti, thanks. :p

  • Jubilee says:

    My SO and I pretty much grab from the same shelf, although I have officially stolen New York from him, and he’s now laid soul claim to Dzing. That doesn’t bother me too much– Dzing smells fantastic on him. Otherwise we share and share alike. Well, I do get a little possesive over our little bottle of Mitsouko extrait, but it’s the first of all the things I started bringing him to sniff that made him, you know, GET IT– and finally understand how I could be so into all of this perfume stuff– so I try to be good about sharing Mitzy too. 🙂

    Oh, and in the spirit of giving (please forgive me, March, for hijacking your post and using it as a bulletin board), but if anyone in New York is free on December 8 at 6:30 and interested in going to Chandler Burr’s Times Talk on “The History of Perfume,” I have a ticket I won’t be able to use (It was a gift, and I’m going to be out of town that day). It’s just one ticket, I’m afraid, but if anyone wants it, please let me know.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  • Krista says:

    I bought Creed Virgin Island Water on a cold rainy day, when I needed a little carribean fantasy. The coconet, rum and lime are perfect for pretending I’m not in Canada. I love the smell of it on my hubby, but I can’t wear it for long, the boozy rum makes me feel a little too morning after. My hubby doesn’t like to wear fragrance, so I have to beg him to put it on for special occasions 😉

    • March says:

      I love that fragrance. Creed irritates me, and I thought it was expensive for what it is, but … dang, you’re really making me want it. 🙂

  • Shelley says:

    Erm…does spouse need to have conscious awareness of the idea that the purchase was made “for him”? Because my answer is going to be Caron 3rd Man, but I’m not sure he knows that… ;;)

  • helenviolette says:

    The Fromage only owns scents that I have bought him – so I am sure you know what that means! Eau Savage, Guerlain Vetiver, Poivre Sacarmande, Equipage- yum! He’s getting a bottle of Bvlgari Black for Christmas ;))

    (need to sniff out the Zirh Ikon- sounds fab)

  • kathleen says:

    Geez, where are my manners. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  • kathleen says:

    What happens in our house is I buy it for me and once he gets a sniff I don’t see it again. I bought Tom Ford TV, SL EetL, Fumerie Turque, Montale Black Aoud, Ava Luxe Fumari. His, his, his, his, & his. Some scents just seem “too big” for me, as I am a fairy person. But Don’s lucky, in that everything smells good on him. We haven’t come across one yet that doesn’t. Strange…

    • March says:

      Heh heh. Although I’d have put up a fight with the EetL. How far away is his dresser? 😉 😕

      Lucky man, I say. And I need to smell TV on a man. On me it is unbearably sweet, but men tend to kill that sweet part off, in my experience.

  • Melissa says:

    DH doesn’t wear scents most of the time because he 1) isn’t very interested and 2) doesn’t want to compete with mine. As you know, DS is very interested in fragrances and yes, I buy bottles for him so that we can share. I hate to think about the fight that we will have when he goes off to college. (Him: “But mom, you bought Silver Factory for me. You said that you’d be happy with a decant”! Me: “My money, my bottle. You get the decant, bwah ha ha”!)>:)
    In the case of Ikon, the price is so right that if we wind up fighting over a bottle, I will simply buy another. Wheee! And spray my husband down with it too. Ahhh, the beauty of liking the same fragrances as your guys. :d

    • March says:

      Dude definitely has to leave the Factory with mom. He can come visit it. [-(

      I’d love some other opinions on the Ikon. I did look on Basenotes (? might have been POL) and there was some of that … meh, smells like a guy cliche. Well, I must be sniffing the wrong men’s scents, because I didn’t smell it and think, oh, been there done that. I also want a good cardamom that isn’t buried inside a HUGE spice scent, one of those death-by-spices deals, you know? This is strongly cardamom but immediately wearable.

  • Olfacta says:

    Well,mine is a bit — quite a bit — behind me in the scent-exploration department. But I’m proud of him, because he’s gone from “I don’t wear cologne” to “Is there patchouli in this?” and some of his observations are really quite on-target!

    I’d wear all of them except maybe the Eloge du Traitre. I’ve gotten him decants of Tom Ford tobacco vanilla, Eau Noire and bottles of both the Grey Flannels — the Eau and the regular. He’ll wear the Eau to work, says its subtle enough, but really doesn’t like the classic one much; no problem, I love it, it’s perfect for one of those Southern summer days, to spray all over. I love men’s colognes for summer, as they don’t go all sweet on me the way some of the women’s do.

    Happy Thanksgiving to those that celebrate it!

    • March says:

      Yummy! Your husband must smell great! I love Grey Flannel, although I wouldn’t buy it for the Cheese b/c it’s my dad’s regular scent, and that would just be too weird. 🙂

      It gets miserably hot here. I tend to wear men’s colognes then as well.

  • Silvia says:

    Zirh Ikon instantly sold to me, ticks all the boxes (as the man in the ad, incidentally). Must have gone under my scent radar as I never heard of it.
    Have a great break, dear American pals !**==

    • March says:

      I only remembered that Kevin had reviewed it, although I couldn’t remember what he said, and I think it’s fairly new. I sprayed a little tentatively on a strip and then said, oooh! Lemmee at it! SA didn’t even bother to ask if it was for my husband since I put it on me with such cheerful abandon. 🙂