Red for Men fragrance notes

  • Head

    • cumin, artemisia, basil, bergamot, green note
  • Heart

    • juniper, geranium, rose, wormwood, jasmin, carnation, thyme
  • Base

    • cedar, patchouli, oakmoss, amber, leather, olibanum

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Latest Reviews of Red for Men

Like a late-‘80s mainstream fragrance. A rich, spicy manly scent that is also very fresh and aromatic smelling which to me is what makes this a great scent. Think of a less fresher Drakkar with deeper leather and added soapiness. Sure, it's synthetic as expected for a drug store legend. However, it does not smell cheap. It's surprisingly interesting and great enough to keep in a collection. It scent smells grey and black, and it's more conceptual than descriptive.

Red for Men is a lovely smelling absolute moss & leather bomb with a touch of fresh green spicy notes making it remincent of old school powerhouse colognes. Leather, oakmoss and carnation overwhelm everything except some very minor acquatic fresh, green leafy notes which add little nuance to an otherwise uninteresting, monotone fragrance. The overall effect is that of a high quality leather jacket in the cold air of winter... air that's blowing through a forest nearby and there's a freshly cut pile of logs around. A tinge of bitter, but this adds to the manly coolness in the best way.
20th April 2023
1991 must have been a strange year to be a perfume company. Big 80's powerhouses were going out of style (and the oakmoss required for them had just been banned), marine scents were new and exciting, and CK One was about to shock the world and turn everyone into fans of fruity, soapy aquatics.

Meanwhile, here's Red. Based on the notes, it's clearly a powerhouse chypre, but it's topped with aggressively artificial chemicals, which I assume were an attempt to smell more modern at the time. As such, instead of chypre topnotes, it opens with a mix of overheating plastic, charcoal grill lighter fluid, and hot wax.

I can see how these topnotes were meant to be clever - the smells of burning and hot wax are clearly meant to pair with the herbal and wood notes that come next, giving an illusion of char, burnished wood, and herbs burning on a grill. Unfortunately, the wax note is just so strong that a clever juxtaposition never comes - there's just the smoky waxy smell of a recently-snuffed candle while everything else is just a thin waft in the background. Late in the day, the char note turns out to be leathery birch tar, which (still flanked with wax) turns out to be the base.

In all, I feel like there's a lot of missed opportunity here. The wax note just drowns everything, so I'm voting thumbs down. For those keeping track, I've been wearing the sample version in the red box.

9th March 2023

The first few aldehydic minutes of Red on the skin is reminiscent of the smell of wet mossy stones right along a running river. I almost hear a waterfall. Minutes in, and the herabaceous notes take center stage, as if you've crushed a handful of thyme, basil, and wormwood leaves in your hand; phenolic, and a bit minty.

The heart is primarily carnation, spicy and bit prickly to the nose, with the foreshadowing of animalic leather.

By the dry down, the mossiness amps up on the skin, joined by the leather and patchouli, with receding spices rendering the base a sultry mass of masculinity for a few hours.

Red is a great thrill ride for those nose and it's just under 15 bucks. Winner winner chicken dinner.
5th March 2022
For a guy who likes classic 80s/90s fragrances, the whole Giorgio Beverly Hills line somehow escaped me until a few months ago. After trying GBH for men and loving it, I ventured into two of their other offerings, Red and VIP (uh, this one is amazing). As for Red, the GBH Red ETD I purchased (not Elizabeth Arden) I thought was very nice but it has an "edgy harshness" element to it at the opening. The drydown helped. But just today I received what I believe to be the original, vintage EDC version and it is smooth and rich all the way. Overall, it's more of a spicy-oakmoss rather than a dark-oakmoss (that's VIP) or floral/honey-oakmoss (GBH men). I really like Red, glad it's in my collection, and I get compliments (though, those are secondary to me; I like what I like). So, if you can, purchase the EDC. UPDATE: purchased a .5 ounce EDT boxed sample. It is better than my 1.7 ounce EDT bottle but still not as delightful as my EDC.
3rd March 2021
Bigsly was right.

Tracking down a vintage bottle of Red has definitively proved that my conception of 80's Giorgio as the blistering height of "you can't afford it" Rodeo Drive snob appeal bordering uncomfortably on gaucherie was correct, and not merely my own personal mythmaking about the brand. I now own the big three Giorgio "classics" in vintage form - Giorgio for Men, VIP and Red. They are all redolent of a level of ingredient quality simply not seen in designer perfumery today. (I'm reminded of a quote from a well-known perfumer I can't place, perhaps Pierre Bourdon? saying that designer fragrance briefs today ask for blockbuster hits with final production costs less than a fifth of what was commonplace twenty years ago.) My other suspicion - that the attention, quality and cost put into vintage reformulations runs in almost direct proportion to the brand's current cachet as measured by its place on the TJMaxx / graymarket price hierarchy - is also shaping up to be more true than not. Hence Drakkar Noir, which has remained a beloved international bestseller (if not Guy Laroche's sole export these days) has never slid into that sub-$20 price bracket of DOOM and remains quite well reformulated today, while those that fell below the $15-for-a-huge-bottle demarcation are for the most part ghastly, unrecognizably cut-rate impressionistic sketches of the originals (Halston, ODLR and of course, the entire Giorgio stable).

Giorgio Beverly Hills is unique in that perhaps no one else in that bracket fell down from a greater height, so they are useful if you are really interested in understanding the kinds of compromises that need to be made when taking fragrances which were untenably opulent, even for their time, and recreating them on a shoestring budget.

Having had (and having promptly given away) the EA reformulated version of Red, I was almost startled by the sensation the vintage juice creates immediately after the firehose blast of the sprayer hits the skin - the sensation of HEAT, like your skin temperature just went feverish in the area of application. It's a stunning effect and the first of many subtleties missing from the EA version. I've experienced something similar with vintage Givenchy Gentleman but this is really pronounced.

As this subsides you start to apprehend the indecipherable mess of notes you're dealing with, however a few spotlight notes do rise above the fray, most notably cinnamon and other oriental spices, which play off against a cool fresh streak of calone? dihydromyrcenol? and a slight ambered sweetness. The projection is nuclear as is typical for Giorgio. As with its other dizzyingly complex contemporaries, the first hour or two is notes whizzing randomly by, first feeling oriental, now with a fougere freshness, now a deep woody leather etc.

As you slowly begin to land on the base you can detect a very finely powdered, almost velveteen woody note, perhaps sandalwood. It's present in Giorgio for Men and especially VIP, suggesting a sort of "Giorgio-ade" signature base accord, another fascinating aspect of the brand completely stripped out of the reforms. Overall a markedly more interesting and dynamic ride than the flat, cheap smelling EA reform (you can always tell who's reviewing what version because just about anyone opining about the "cheapness" of Red is reviewing current juice; the vintage, however controversial its note choices, is nothing a discerning nose could ever write off as cheap-smelling.)

Red is a powerhouse, of its time and not without its "dated" elements. What it attempted - sort of an oriental-fougere-leather hybrid - had some history dating back to at least Z-14, and opinions of Halston's success in that endeavor remain split down the middle just as with Red. But vintage Red is abundant and cheap now, and I promise you have not smelled anything like its far drydown.
2nd February 2020
Old School Intimidating Leather Fragrance most likely to keep anybody younger at 40 at safe distance :)
Grantees privacy and personal space to the person who wears it.
Recommended for concerts and new year celebrations
11th November 2019
Red for Men is a GEM of a fragrance. Similar to Devin by Aramis but so much better. Red doesn't have that overwhelming Galbanum note that Devin has, that can be cloying to my nose. No, Red is an absolute joy to wear. It's interesting. It's clean, yet it's funky. The contrasts make it come alive. It's fragrances like this that make me glad I'm in this fragrance game. If you are a serious collector with a sophisticated nose, and you've never tried Red for Men, I highly recommend you get a bottle.
5th October 2019
i've also heard that this fragrance was supposed to originally have something like 500 different ingredients...I can see this...has an old-school vibe , but still interesting enough to be worn today...hard to pin down any individual notes...I get a cloud of spices and herbs with little touches of musk/patch/leather...has a semi-animalic vibe that , to my nose , gets stronger as it dries down...was a big fan back when this first came out and wore it a lot...bought a newer bottle at TJMaxx and kind of enjoyed wearing it...finished the bottle, but probably won't get another...had my fill of this one...
7th November 2018
I admit, I've seen this on shelves at discount stores more than of actually opening up a bottle and trying it on. The one time that I did, I got a definite impression: Old!

Being old doesn't make it bad automatically. But let's face it, certain old-school, back-in-the-days colognes (and perfumes) just can't "de-old" themselves, owing to the era they hail from and the strong associations that come with it.

Red for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills is one of those colognes. A period piece and nothing less, Red for Men is chock full of yester-decade fougere richness (just like GBH for Men original and its cousin VIP, which take a certain frame of mind to wear and process in 2018!).

Similarities are there to scents like Givenchy's Xeryus (original), Polo (green pre-reformulation original), and Puig's Quorum: Bold, complex, musky, exuding a brash mix of all kinds of exotic spices and florals and warm ambery-mossy base. I can see the disco globe / rave lights flashing bright whenever I sniff this potion!!

Red for Men had an interesting niche-like personality in its time, and to this day it does stand out proudly no matter what one may think of it today. I applaud Red for being a credible contender in its time amid the large array of options that clubbing / party-happy young men had to splash on themselves before taking on the night back then. But personally, I feel it's too stigmatized and rife with connections to the aspects of that era which I have moved on from; I couldn't see myself wearing it even for a private, casual whirl around the house.
23rd August 2018
wow. picked this up for $10-3,4 oz and love it. Old school in a way but not harsh or dated to me.For some it may be on the border of old manish-70's disco hairy chest open shirt like but it doesnt really head there in a huge way.
It has an oily like feel and great longevity and sillage on me. I love cheapies that perform well. Go easy on the sprayer(i dont) as some may be offended.
20th July 2018
Red for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills (1991) came at a time when its particular style of masculine perfumery was nearly at an end in the mainstream market, representing a class of fragrances launched between 1988 and 1992 that all more or less shared the same doomed fate. Sure, an initial splash was made because people just don't change tastes overnight, but the in the long run, Red was a flash in the pan that only got a second lease on life due to Elizabeth Arden wanting to properly re-issue most of the prominent Giorgio Beverly Hills catalog from the brand's days under Avon. My guess is that Avon never really gave this brand much of a fair shake, and just gobbled up both prestige labels like Giorgio, and designer perfume manufacturers like Parfums Stern to diversify its holdings while it was still king of the catalog world in the 1980's. Like with Sears, this decision to diversify holdings rather than reinvest in the business proved just about fatal, and Avon only survives today due to the marketability of its history by larger companies that have since bought and sold it several times since the 2010's. As for the scent of Red for Men itself, we have a mish-mash of things from soapy fougère-like top and heart notes, to indolic floral dandiness further into the dry down, and finally a sneaky ambery leather base that veers just shy of being oriental. If Aramis JHL (1982) and Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir (1982) had a love child, and the wedding was presided over by Avon's own Cordovan (1982) and Everafter for Men (1990), you would be really close to the smell of Red for Men,.

Now, I'm not saying that Red is 100% iterative perfumery, but since Avon was at the creative wheel, it would be folly not to at least consider that Cordovan and Everafter for Men didn't at least give some of their DNA to Red, since it was clear that Avon was still straddling an in-house lab and a transition to outsourcing perfumers via Anne Gottlieb's creative direction at the time. Whatever the case may be, we neither know the perfumer nor supplier here of the original Red for Men, but it was the second of three Avon-crafted masculines for Giorgio., following the V.I.P. (1987) flanker, and itself followed by Wings for Men by Giorgio (1994). The opening here is going to be soapy, clean, a bit sweet, and full of similar countenance to fragrances like Preferred Stock by Coty (1990) and Xeryus by Givenchy (1986). Cumin is cleverly hidden under artemisia and bergamot, with sweet indolic jasmine and just enough juniper to avoid it being sweaty. Carnation further fusses up the heart, as basil and galbanum keep things greem. Metalliic geranium and rose recall a bit of Aramis 900 (1973), but lavender avoids any close comparisons. The ambery leather conjures up another Aramis fragrance in the form of Devin (1978), but the amber is stronger, with a much sweeter scent profile overall, Oakmoss, frankincense, patchouli, and cedar make a close parable to an oriental finish, sans any real animalic musks or sandalwood Wear time and performance are good, with no complaints on sillage either. Best use would be fall through spring for me, in a casual setting.

Most talk surrounding this fragrance will come in the form of reformulation arguments, and you'll have wildly different opinions about both different batches of the original GBH bottles and different batches of the Elizabeth Arden bottles, drilled down even to where they were made, going just shy of batch code hysteria. Now, older bottles can simply be explained away as different storage conditions between bottles for the most part, while latter bottles should if anything be more strictly-controlled for materials by IFRA and therefore have less variation between them. A general comparison between any old and any newer bottle is going to yield the usual results of yeah, the older one is deeper and a bit richer, perhaps more noticeable oakmoss and frankincense, while the newer bottles will feel thinner, cleaner, more-restrained. Are the newer bottles of Red for Men shadows of their former selves? I don't think so, and I really hate using that term so take it with a sense of irony when I do, as most people who lay the claim never actually do the homework to back up their online hubris. One thing is certain about newer bottles of Red for Men, and that is they do not project as far, and live in the top notes a bit longer. Overall, the fan base for this one is small, and therefore exceedingly rabid about it, as Red for Men is a fragrance that slipped through the cracks of time to be appreciated only by those who wish time stood still; as a "Heinz 57" of the late 70's and 80's, I still enjoy it more than I probably should. Thumbs up
15th August 2017
I came across this fragrance after hearing it associated, scent-wise, with Drakkar Noir.
This doesn't smell anything like Drakkar Noir, at least to me.
What it does remind of is Preferred Stock and Calvin Klein's Obsession.
First impression is that this stuff is really pungent, smells very much like its amber color. It's a very "loud" scent in my opinion and spicy.

From the opening to the mid-notes, it smells tacky or sleazy. It comes on way too strong.

The dry down is where it gets better. It's like it goes from Medallion Man to the Monopoly Man. It's still not that great though.

The bottle is cheap. The name is appropriate because it feels "red" for some reason. Oppressive even.
9th August 2017