Five Fragrances That Work Any Time Of The Year
It’s pretty well regarded that citrus scents are great for summer and woody notes work best in winter. But at the heart of any man’s fragrance arsenal should be something from that elite bunch of eau de toilette, whose versatility, complexity and adaptability makes them all-weather workhorses.
Like a killer pair of jeans, a fine-gauge sweater or a cotton-poplin shirt, these invaluable scents will traverse seasons, smelling fantastic regardless of the weather without ever coming across as overpowering or out of place – chameleons of your bathroom cabinet, if you will. They’re sound investments, too. If a “man for all seasons” is one who can deal with any situation and adapt to any occasion, then these are your “scents for all seasons”. Wear them day-in, day-out, all year-round.
01. Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake
“I’ve loved the smell of lavender ever since my grandmother showed me how to make lavender water as a child,” says Mr Frank Sawkins, founder of luxury British grooming brand Czech & Speake. “But for my Oxford & Cambridge cologne, I wanted a more complex, versatile fragrance that could be worn all day and all year-round. So I added citrus and mint to the lavender for a little freshness and oak moss for a powerful, lasting undertone.” The result is a work-friendly cologne of contradictions – one that’s elegant, crisp, fresh and aromatic, yet quietly warm and sensual – and one which epitomises a very British kind of understatement.
02. Super Cedar by Byredo
Super Cedar’s position as an all-weather essential lies in the fact that it’s neither super heavy nor super light. Like Escentric Molecules’ Molecule 01, it’s the olfactory equivalent of ambient music, quietly doing its thing in the background, neither too shouty nor too quiet. This makes it perfect for all seasons and all occasions. (In one online poll, as many people rated it as being good for work as those who said it was for leisure.) A woody floral, it places the evocative, comforting smell of pencil shavings at its heart, but this is softened and rounded out by a narcotic rose note, while musk and earthy vetiver give it an understated sensuality on the skin. Soft yet robust, it’s the perfect expression of contemporary masculinity and comfortably take you from desk to after-hours outings.
03. Vert Fougère by Floris London
For sheer versatility, you can’t beat a fougère. Meaning “fern-like”, fougères are a family of fragrances usually built around notes of lavender, geranium, oak moss and coumarin – an ingredient that smells a bit like freshly mown hay. Their enduring popularity (the first one appeared in 1882) is largely down to their timeless, herbaceous, barbershop-y, freshness. “A good fougère is clean and refreshing initially, but there’s also an inherent darker sensuality,” says Mr Neil Chapman, author of Perfume: In Search Of Your Signature Scent. “Different facets of a well-made one will become apparent according to the weather and the combination of musks, herbs and spices leads to a well-balanced ‘orchestral’ effect that can work in all seasons.” As the name suggests, Floris London’s take is altogether greener than most other fougères you’re likely to encounter (think freshly crushed forest leaves). It’s smokier, darker and – thanks to patchouli – much earthier, too, allowing it to compliment your autumn/winter wardrobe as much as your spring/summer one. The fact that it scooped Best New Independent Fragrance at the 2020 Fragrance Foundation Awards – the Oscars of the fragrance industry – seals the deal.
04. Baie 19 by Le Labo
Santal 33 might be Le Labo’s cult classic, but it’s this latest addition to the New York-based perfumer house’s range that’s going down a storm. Literally going down a storm, as it happens, because Baie 19 takes its inspiration from the smell created when heavy rain hits dry earth after a shower – a unique odour known as petrichor. Like Floris London’s Vert Fougère, Baie 19 also scooped an award at the 2020 Fragrance Foundation Awards – this time for Best New Fragrance For Men – and it’s easy to see why. Quirky but wearable, it starts off fresh and metallic, with a slightly aquatic vibe, before softening into something earthy and slightly musky. Unlike fleeting downpours, though, the effect is long-lasting because, like all Le Labo eau de parfums, this one has great staying power on the skin.
05. Cannabis Perfume Oil by MALIN + GOETZ
We know what you’re thinking. But you needn’t worry: the cannabis referred here to is more a mood than an actual ingredient, so you’re more likely to experience Woodstock-inspired dry down rather than a stop-and-search pat down. Spicy, vegetal and woody, with black pepper, patchouli, cedar wood and sandalwood, Cannabis Perfume Oil echoes the scent of MALIN + GOETZ’s cult Cannabis candle, but here is subtler and more understated. What makes this an all-season all-star, though, isn’t the fragrance so much as the format and delivery system. Presented as a pocket-sized perfume oil, it’s brilliantly portable, while the rollerball makes it a cinch to apply, meaning you can top up whenever and wherever – at work, on holiday or, yep, when you’re up to your knees in mud at a festival.