As is the case with fashion, the fragrance world is made up of distinct seasons; each packed with new launches to encourage you to ditch your current rotation in favour of something fancier, fresher and altogether better fitting for the months ahead.
Even if you’re yet to feel the thaw, there’s no harm in being prepared (in fact, if there’s any season that requires it, it’s spring). So we’ve done the leg-, err, nose-work to compile the 11 best new fragrances for men worth sniffing, out and the classics they smell like, so you know you’re onto a winner.
Prada L’Homme Prada Water Splash
Part of the appeal of any Prada fragrance is the tactile nature of the etched leather and the eye-catching, original prints on the packaging. Smother a bottle in all of that, and you’ve already got most stylish guys reaching for their wallet. Add a pleasing, summer-ready scent that includes neroli, green mandarin, and a dash of ginger on a cedar-sandalwood base, and it’s in the bag. Wear this one to a summer wedding, and it’ll always be the first thing people compliment.
Acqua di Parma Cipresso di Toscana
Acqua Di Parma has long set the standard in smelling good, especially when it comes to the brand’s ever-expanding Blu Mediterraneo collection. Each fragrance focuses on the provenance of a particular plant or fruit; we’ve got figs from Amalfi, oranges from Capri, cedar from Taormino and myrtle from Panarea. Now, Cipresso di Toscana takes us to the cypress groves of Tuscany via transportive notes of petitgrain, star anise, pine, sage and lavandin. Just imagine the sun on your back on an Italian country path, with nothing but the lazy buzz of an insect to break the silence and you’re practically there.
The work of three top perfumers behind the likes of Paco Rabanne 1 Million, Burberry Brit and Davidoff Horizon, Montblanc Explorer not only smells good but does good too. The slightly woody fragrance uses ingredients from a sustainable sourcing program that invests in the communities that produce them. With vetiver, patchouli, pink pepper, clary sage, bergamot, the overall accord gives off ‘rich uncle with a sports car’ vibes (in a good way). The leather-clad bottle is a nice object in itself too, like an artfully crafted paperweight, just waiting to compliment one of the brand’s fancy pens.
Boss Bottled Infinite
Another flanker in the Boss Bottled story, this time it’s ‘Infinite’. In a 200ml bottle, it would appear it’s infinite only in name, but it does have the typical fresh, woody appeal that the brand promises. There’s green apple again, with the ever-popular patchouli, lavender and sandalwood, plus cinnamon and a hint of olive tree. Plus, if it’s good enough for Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth…
Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Night Vision
Eccentric design duo Viktor & Rolf are to this generation what Jean-Paul Gaultier was to the last: obscure but brilliant, with bold, accessible scents for all. With ‘bomb’ in the name, you know this flanker of the 2012 original isn’t a shy, retiring wallflower type of men’s fragrance. The explosive green apple top dies back to the more familiar spicy territory. Despite what the name suggests, you won’t be able to see it in the dark, but people will probably be able to smell you coming.
Tom Ford Costa Azzurra Acqua
Tom Ford’s love of the Italian Riviera runs deep. We doubt he’s familiar with the traditional beach clubs there, which usually involve long queues, tickets, finding the last empty sun lounger fifty rows back from the sea, on a beach so crowded it looks like breeding season in a penguin colony. No, his version would include a wild and secluded pine-fringed cove, waves lapping gently at the shoreline, a single yacht bobbing in the distance, and the mix of salty, sun-warmed skin in the air. And that’s precisely what Costa Azzura Acqua smells like. Heaven.
Armani Code Absolu
For the launch of Code Absolu, Armani has tapped Ryan Reynolds as its face; no doubt because of his annoyingly good looks and some of that famously dry, self-deprecating humour. Does he wear it? Unlikely. Perhaps some of his A-list fairy dust will rub off on us if we do? Even more unlikely. We’d even guess he’s probably giggling somewhere at his billboard black tie selfie. Still, with orange blossom, nutmeg and tonka bean, it smells damn good. Next time, can we have it with the Deadpool commentary? Now, that’s a fragrance ad we’d like to see.
Gucci Guilty Cologne Pour Homme
Ever moved into a new apartment and couldn’t wait to rip the carpet out? Living with someone else’s taste can be awkward, so spare a thought for Alessandro Michele. When the Italian fashion designer got the top job at Gucci, he immediately set about making drastic changes. But he can only tinker with the fashion house’s fragrance collection so much. Why? Because it makes truckloads of cash. One of the main reasons for this is the Gucci Guilty franchise, the latest of which is a herbal, soapy cologne with powdery notes of violet, rosemary and patchouli. It’s another of Michele’s gender-blending designs fronted by his dandily suited muse, Jared Leto (who else?).
Hermès Un Jardin Sur La Lagune
The garden collection by Hermès is like discovering someone’s travel album. You may never have been to India during the monsoon, journeyed up the Nile, or visited the roof garden above the French label’s Paris headquarters, but these fragrances offer an olfactory snapshot of what it would be like. Un Jardin Sur La Lagune, a scented portrait of the Venetian lagoon (thankfully, devoid of tourists and belching cruise ships), features flowering magnolia and Madonna lily and a salty, aquatic edge. It’s like carrying a little piece of paradise around with you.
Dunhill Signature Collection Arabian Desert
Dunhill’s new Signature Collection, available exclusively at Harrods, is a quartet of scents designed (we imagine) to capture the international mix of tastes that flow through the doors of London’s most luxurious department store. The headline fragrance, Arabian Desert — which sits alongside Indian Sandalwood, Moroccan Amber and British Leather concoctions — has notes of pink pepper, rose and oud. It’s an exotic and expensive combination, perfect for those wanting to smell like the global one per cent.
Calvin Klein Eternity Flame For Men
Even Hollywood knows that blockbuster sequels offer diminishing returns. So with an era-defining scent like Eternity from the nineties, you’d think Calvin Klein should probably stop diluting the name with new editions and remind us how great the original is instead. But then they go and drop an update like Eternity Flame. A sweet-smelling scent composed of pineapple, rosemary and labdanum, even if it’s only a holiday romance this spring, it’ll keep you smelling a lot better than your natural, slightly stinky self.