Scents with a Modern Perspective

John Varvatos’s Artisan has explored vast complexes, fashioned with a rich exploration of eccentric tonalities, a scent for the contemporary man with an unusual vision evinced by its hand-woven rattan palm flacon. It first introduces itself with a citrus-laded exterior of Sicilian clementine, tangelo fruit, Mexican tangerine, aromatic thyme, and Greek lavender; then deepens into a spicy and herbal concoction of North African orange blossom, Indian plant Murraya, a combination of jasmine and orange, and three shades of ginger: Nigerian, Chinese and “purple ginger” developed in Givaudan laboratory. Artisan is casual, self-possessed, and amenable but with a quiet assurance maturing into brushwood impressions. He’s ultimately definitive, daring, and refined with a classic integrity and unabashed singularity. Artisan is perfect for a night of intrigue or with distinguished company.

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American Crew’s Nine approached the architecture of cologne as EHarmony did with dating in that attraction is a science, which can be categorized and quantified. American Crew had devoted itself a few years ago to an ambitious study of what particular scents attract women. Years later, American Crew is so confident in its new sex bomb they call it “Nine” — because nine out of ten women were swooning for more. Behold the black magic for a rooftop engagement in the Meatpacking District, a speakeasy in Lower East Side, or a newfangled hideaway in the West Village; yet, it has the right amount of indirectness to gain attention at the local grocery market or bookstore.

What makes this scent so right is an anonymous fusion of the top, middle, and base notes. With a lot of men’s colognes that try for a balanced masculinity, the top notes assault you with a fruit basket drowning the rest of the spectrum. Nine’s only citrus top accords are bergamot and apple with an unusual black pepper that lingers nicely. Thus, it leaves an appropriate segue into the jasmine, cistus labdanum, coriander, and clove middle notes. The composition of patchouli, cedar, sandalwood, amber, and musk has the right strength to hold everything else up.

For years playing matchmaker to reach what’s impossible to please — after all, nine women liked it, not ten — it’s still pretty good.

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Clean for Men’s launch of Classic in March personifies the modern vision of the classic man. Their perspective combines a reserved masculinity behind an upbeat exterior. The contemporary gent needs to be versatile, strong, and adaptive without overdoing it; precisely the statement “Classic” leaves. It could hold up to suits and rib eye steaks at a company dinner and segue into a light Sunday afternoon engagement without changing costume. Clean’s approach pairs top notes of bergamot, basil, and saffron against juniper berry, violet leaf, and jasmine middle tones. The base scruff contains musk, vetiver, and oud without trying to dominate as respect is earned with a clean poise. The packaging is muted, an angular square bottle getting to the point with Eurostile typeface. The classic man is there, only retrofitted, defining himself with balanced complexity and integrity without campaigning it.

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Hugo Boss’s Intense is a casual iteration of the modern gentlemen. Their interpretation is a man that’s easy going and sensitive but strong enough when he needs to be. Although inspired with slightly more woods and spices than the original Boss, it’s a lighter affair fit for afternoon sangrias or a beach cantina with informal company but has enough backbone to hold up to a guy’s night out at the lounge. It’s perfect snuggling material with its warm tones of cinnamon, clove, vanilla, and orange blossom and the strength of sandalwood, cedarwood, and vetiver. Because of its high concentration of essential oils, you can be intense without saying too much.

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