From powerhouses to Fresh Ozonic/Aquatics, to natural-Fruity, to Oud Woody: The timeline

Andrei Bolkonsky

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2020
How would you describe the timeline for trends in the perfume industry in the last 40 years? I find it interesting that two trends seem to coexist, and in a certain way they are incompatible: The Oud Frenzy (even mass marketers are using oud) and the popularity of Fresh Aquatics. Can anyone explain this paradox to me? And how do the fruity perfumes fall into this timeline (e.g. Jardin sur le Nil)? Please focus primarily on the main designer market, and not on niche and on the proliferation of niche.


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Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
I think the clock needs to be rolled back further than 40 years if we're talking men's designers, since the very important distinction of there being no men's designers until Chanel pour Monsieur (1955) factors into this story. Here's a bit of context which sets up what I'll be tackling later.

Men did and mostly still do not wear perfume for its own sake. Going back before figures like Count d'Orsay made short groomed hair and curated/shaved faces popular (along with all the "dandy" accoutrements of dress), men didn't even bathe as often -or regularly- as women. We're hardwired to be hairy, stinky, and get all the grunt work done it seems. Eau de colognes help with personal hygiene some, and when double-edged razors made it easier for more men to jump on the "dandy" craze of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (thanks to the influence of d'Orsay), the earliest scented products men liked were ones that imparted the feeling of being clean, groomed, structured, and ready to face the day in modern urbane society.

Still, many Luddites among the average Joe made it hard to market a fragrance to men without a practical purpose (after-shaves, hair tonics, eau de colognes), so most traditional luxury perfume houses (which we retroactively consider niche today) didn't bother with scents for men, meaning that task was left to the druggists, apothecaries, barbers, and larger health/beauty suppliers of the day. Quite literally all early men's styles were born from the hands of people like Ed Pinaud, William Penhaligon, William Hunter (Caswell-Massey) and so forth: barbers and chemists. Yeah, you had the fluke success of perfumes like Yardley English Lavender (1873), Houbigant Fougère Royale (1882), Guerlain Jicky (1889), and so on leading to a few experiments from these same high-end perfume houses in releasing things like Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur (1902), and Knize Ten (1924), but even the first "pour homme" of Caron Pour Un Homme (1934) was a reaction to men liking something (lavender), not something born from a novel idea to market a men's fragrance.

This leads me to my point...

There wasn't much evolution in men's fragrances until the mid 20th century, when enough drugstore-level companies like Avon, Shulton, and MEM, plus a clutch of higher-end traditional perfume houses like Lavin and Rochas made it clear there was a market for perfume beyond grooming items or basic toilette splashes for men. Chanel was first to market with a designer scent for men in 1955 the same way they were first to market with a designer perfume at all in 1921 with Chanel No 5, and that's where the first evolutionary leap occurred. By the end 1960's, men's fragrances had solidified into genre staples we know today like fougères, chypres, and orientals, with plenty of examples predating that of course, but nobody really composing in a standardized way until then. All the fougères emulating the barbershop experience and all the chypres focusing on bright citrus, sharp woods, mosses, and sometimes leather and/or tobacco made it clear perfumers were trying to get into guy's heads and figure out what they liked.

From there, we can cover the last 40 years or so a little more easily. Scents like Aramis by Estée Lauder (1965), Capucci pour Homme (1967), Pierre Cardin pour Monsieur (1972) and Paco Rabanne pour Homme (1973) set up archeypes for the leather chypre, citrus chypre, semi-oriental fougère, and aromatic fougère respectively. I think the idea that a lot of older men love green, raw, and verdant smells comes from a combination of these and older barbershop archetypes. Progressing into the 70's, musk became popular because people were feeling more sexually free thanks to countercultures and stuff like Disco, so being a little virile and animalic was embraced. Naturally, stuff like the old drugstore musks based on synthetic stuff like muscone was huge (Jovan, Coty, etc), while higher-end perfumes played with amimalics like civet, castoreum, and so forth into the 80's. Coniferous and mossy perfumes continued to amp up in intensity from the late 70's into the mid 80's, while stuff like YSL Kouros (1981) and Chanel Antaeus (1981) set the standard for animalic styles.

How we got to where we are now.

Everything that had been evolving through the 70's and 80's came to a head by end of the latter decade, when men's perfumes became widespread in style (and costly) enough that someone decided they needed reigning in and dialing back to make the most of their investment into this field. People were throwing whatever they wanted onto the wall to see what sticks beforehand, but marketing and consumer testing to assure success was ramping up to prevent costly failures, coupled with depleting naturals, the advent of newer (cheaper) synthetics, and data showing that cleaner/lighter accords overall did better in consumer testing. All this paved the way to the "fresh revolution" of the 90's. Stuff like dihydromyrcenol, hedione, or calone had been around forever, just used sparingly or not at all in men's perfumes until the 80's outside a few examples, but they were adopted in ever-larger quantities by designers which had started to overpopulate the perfume market and choke out drugstore brands, eventually replacing them as they spread out in price point low to high.

After the "fresh" 90's, sweet comfy gourmands and semi-orientals enjoyed some popularity for contrast, then older styles started to reappear with revised twists into the 2000's for mature men, while young guys had bombastic sour candy ozonics and fresh aquatics tossed at them. Niche was starting to come into its own by this time and It was the wild west into the 2000's, when the first clamp-down on oakmoss by IFRA in 2001 set a warning siren across the industry that they'd need to get more creative with synthetics, plus even more homogenous with styles to meet increased cost/profit optimization from the emerged shareholder economy. Stuff like the oud craze seems to go counter to that but remember oud had been bubbling up in niche circles since the 90's, with a brief trial in the designer Balenciaga pour Homme (1990), so by its introduction proper to the west in 2002 with YSL M7, it was something fragrance enthusiasts had already heard of if not tried. The "oud" used in most designers now is the furthest thing from the real stuff in smell as can be anyway, so it arguably doesn't count, in the same way most musk isn't really "musky" by the original definition anymore.

Timeline (not exhaustive)

It's hard to say for sure what is first and most important, but this is my best compilation. I also mention things not made for men but that inspired the direction the market for men took by labelling them as "men enjoyed it"

(1709) Farina Eau de Cologne - First cologne, first prolific use of neroli - men enjoyed it
(1792) 4711 by Muehlens - First mass-produced and most-popular eau de cologne in history
(1840) Caswell-Massey Jockey Club (1840) - First publicly-sold scent of any kind to specifically target men
(1861) A. H. Riise Bay Rhum - First commercial "bay rum" scent using bay laurel leaf from St. Thomas
(1872) Hammam Bouquet by Penhaligon's - First commercial rose/sandalwood perfume for men.
(1874) Yardley English Lavender - First commercial lavender fragrance - men enjoyed it
(1880) Ed Pinaud Lilac Vegetal - First "Hygiene et Toilette" made to supplement/replace bathing, commissioned by the Hungarian Cavalry
(1882) Houbigant Fougère Royale - Introduction of coumarin, introduction of the standard-bearing "fougère" style - men enjoyed it
(1889) Jicky de Guerlain - First truly abstract perfume, but also had a dominant animalic note of civet - men enjoyed it
(1902) Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur - First publicly-sold perfume by a French house made for men.
(1902) Peau d'Espagne Santa Maria Novela - First publicly-sold animalic leather perfume using birch and civet - men enjoyed it
(1912) Eucris by Geo F Trumper - First publicly-sold oakmoss-focused men's scent. Retroactively considered "chypre".
(1917) Chypre de Coty - Introduction to the standard-bearing "chypre" style - men enjoyed it
(1917) Williams Aqua Velva - First mass-marketed after-shave lotion with a menthol top note, had a leather/tobacco base
(1919) Caron Tabac Blonde - First fragrance made for smoking women - men enjoyed it
(1919] Guerlain Mitsouko - Landmark chypre for women but famously worn by men like Charlie Chaplin.
(1924) Knize Ten - introduction of isobutyl quinoline "tannery" leather note that would come to dominate leathery perfumery
(1924) Guerlain Shalimar - Introduction of the standard-bearing "oriental" style
(1931) Mennen Skin Bracer - First commercial after-shave combining mint and the standardized fougère accord to great success
(1934) Dunhill Cologne/Dunhill for Men - First "smoker's" cologne made for customers of the tobacconist. Retroactively branded for men
(1934) Caron Pour un Homme - First fragrance publicly-sold and advertised with "for a man" in the name, based on lavender colognes and the fougère style.
(1936) Dana Canoe - The prototypical "barbershop fougère first made for women but then launched as a men's scent
(1940) Antonio Puig Agua Lavanda - First mass-marketed lavender splash. Men enjoyed it.
(1940) Clubman Pinaud by Pinaud US - First mass-produced "barbershop" fougère, basically copied Canoe, but pitched to barbershops all over the US.
(1937) Shulton Old Spice - First "oriental" composition that gained widespread usage among men during/after WWII, retroactively marketed towards them.
(1949) Avon for Men - First scent for men marked by the direct sales/mailorder juggernaut. A fougère with a minty aftershave counterpart.
(1949) Moustache Rochas - First commercially-made proper citrus chypre fragrance marketed to men.
(1949) MEM English Leather - First mass-marketed isobutyl quinoline leather scent for men.
(1949) Acqua di Selva by Victor/Visconti di Modrone - First mass-markted oakmoss-centered fragrance.
(1955) Chanel pour Monsieur/for Men/A Gentleman's Cologne - First men's fragrance made by a designer couture house.
(1955) Pino Silvestri by Vidal - First mass-marketed pine scent for men.
(1957) Carven Vetiver - First commercially-sold western vetiver fragrance
(1957) Arden for Men - First full line of men's fragrances from a large-scale cosmetics company
(1959) Monsieur de Givenchy - First citrus chypre for men made by a designer couture house
(1959) Tabac by Maurer and Wirtz - First mass-market tobacco scent fragrance for men
(1961) Guerlain Vetiver - The second commercially-sold but most-popular standard-setting men's vetiver fragrance in history
(1963) Kiehl's Original Musk - First commercial western musk fragrance - Men enjoyed it
(1964) Brut by Fabergé - First mass-produced fougère for men. A wild success that helped build the fougère into a masculine standard
(1965) British Sterling by Speidel-Textron - First aromatic fougère for men, originally sold only in watch stores, then mass-produced under license.
(1965) Guerlain Habit Rouge - First oriental fragrance marketed towards men from inception
(1965) Aramis by Estée Lauder - First aldehyde perfume made for men, based on the leather fragrance Cabochard by Bernard Chant for Grès
(1966) Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior - First notable use of hedione in a perfume, first "fresh" fragrance made for men.
(1967) Capucci pour Homme by Roberto Capucci - Standard-setting citrus chypre for men that set the tone for most to follow
(1967) Avon Wild Country - First "country western" themed masculine. Avon's most enduring scent for men
(1972) Pierre Cardin pour Monsieur - First "semi-oriental" fougère that focused on a woody/spicy/amber base that would inspire a sub-genre
(1973) Jovan Musk for Men - Genre-defining synthetic musk fragrance for men, based on the original 'Jovan Musk Oil' of 1971.
(1973) Paco Rabanne pour Homme - Genre-defining aromatic fougère with a notable first use of dihydromyrcenol and orris to create a clean/soapy feel
(1974) Givenchy Gentlemen - Genre-defining designer patchouli fragrance for men with a civet musk base
(1976) Halston Z-14 Genre-defining aromatic spicy chypre for men.
(1978) Azzaro pour Homme A groundbreaking aromatic fougère that used lemon and anise in novel ways with leather and barbershop accords.
(1978) Ralph Lauren Polo - Genre-defining aromatic chypre fragrance full of prominent tobacco that inspired the "tobacco" genre
(1980) One Man Show by Jacques Bogart First mass-produced mens fragrance to feature a prominent animalic castoreum "leather" note
(1980) Avon Black Suede Leather amber scent for men. Highest selling in Avon's history, signaling peak saturation and decline for maildorder/drugstore brands and the beginning of designers taking over.
(1981) Yves Saint Laurent Kouros - First "powerhouse" fougère to feature a prominent civet musk in its otherwise soapy and clean composition style
(1981) Chanel Antaeus - Groundbreaking animalic castoreum leather chypre that popularized the style into the 80's.
(1982) Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche - Unprecedented used of dihydromyrcenol as a booster for lavender and other elements to make a clean fougère.
(1986) Calvin Klein Obsession for Men - Groundbreaking prominent use of "clean" linalool in an otherwise musky men's oriental fragrance context.
(1986) Hermès Bel Ami Genre-defining spicy isobutyl quinoline "leather" oakmoss chypre for men
(1987) Lapidus pour Homme Fruity musky animalic fougère that helped defined the decade
(1988) Davidoff Cool Water - Birthplace of the "aquatic" genre, adapted from previous work by perfumer Pierre Bourdon for house Creed.
(1988) Yves Saint Laurent Jazz - The first designer fragrance in the antique traditional fougère style
(1988) Aramis New West - First prominent use of calone 1951 molecule in a mass-market mens fragrance.
(1988) Fahrenheit by Christian Dior - Groundbreaking "petrol" violet and leather chypre made almost by accident.
(1989) Joop! Homme by Parfums Joop! First fruity floral fragrance for men. Very polarizing.
(1989) Calvin Klein Eternity for Men - First "fresh fougère." fragrance that relied heavily on aromachemicals more than traditional notes.
(1989) Claiborne for Men by Liz Claiborne - First "ozonic" fragrance for men, built on a white floral chypre foundation.
(1990) Chanel Égoïste - A controversial and groundbreaking sweet rose oriental fragrance for men
(1990) Balenciaga pour Homme - First western oud fragrance and also first such fragrance for men. A commercial failure.
(1992) Nautica/Nautica Classic - First hedione-based aquatic "fougère." hybrid.
(1994) L'Eau d'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyaki - Ozonic citrus fragrance that standardized the genre.
(1994) Chanel Platinum Égoïste - First use of metaliic aldehydes in a "fougère" context, lending an impression of pressed dry cleaning.
(1994) Calvin Klein ck One - The first successfully-marketed intentionally unisex fragrance. Men enjoyed it
(1994) Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger - A fresh fruity apple masculine showcasing the most popular use of calone in a men's fragrance
(1996) Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani - Ozonic/aquatic hybrid and most popular men's fragrance in all history
(1996) Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne - The most popular "fresh fougère" in all history, the DNA of which inspired countless copies.
(1996) A*Men by Thierry Mugler - First men's gourmand fragrance.

2001 - First IFRA restriction on oakmoss, perfumes using it were cut with treemoss at this time, or discontinued

(2002) Yves Saint Laurent M7 - First western oud fragrance auspiciously marketed as such to men. An inspirational commercial failure
(2003) Kenneth Cole Black - A timberol-based synthetic ambergris fragrance with a fresh mint/citrus top. A presage to later development
(2005) Dior Homme - A novel use of iris and leather in an oriental gourmand hybrid fragrance that set the trend for the next decade
(2006) Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme - Among the first notable uses of ambroxan in commercial designer perfume as part of a "woody amber" profile
(2006) Terre d'Hermès by Hermès - An unprecedented use of Iso E Super in a woody vetiver perfume for men. Very inspirational.
(2007) Tom Ford Black Orchid - A landmark floral fruity patchouli (fruitchouli) perfume using a molecular isolate of patchouli. Men enjoy it
(2008) Paco Rabanne 1 Million - First heavy use of sweet coumarin base in a perfume, set the trend for the future of "clubber/night out" scents for young men.
(2009) Tom Ford Grey Vetiver - A new standard in vetiver fragances, with a focus on citrus and synthetic woods base
(2010) Chanel Bleu de Chanel - First post-aquatic "blue" fragrance and heavy use of "ambroxan chypre" type base, with only minimal oakmoss.

2011 Second IFRA restriction on oakmoss, rendering it almost untendable to use in many old designers without high-cost workarounds. Mass discontinuations

(2011) Gucci Guilty pour Homme - Birth of the sweet ethyl maltol/ambroxan "bubblegum showergel" accord in men's fragrances.
(2011) Montblanc Legend - First fully-synthetic fougère with the aromachemical evernyl replacing all instances of oakmoss
(2013) Paco Rabanne Invictus - Popularization of the ethyl maltol/ambroxan "bubblegum showergel" accord in men's fragrances.
(2015) Sauvage by Christian Dior - Birthplace of the "ambroxan bomb", utilizing intentionally overdosed ambroxan and norlimbanol for a sandy dry warmth
(2019) Montblanc Explorer - First designer take of a masculine style previously exclusive to the luxury niche market, conceding the niche market's influence on the industry as a whole.
(2020) Tom Ford Beau du Jour - Re-entry of the traditional fougère yet again into the mainstream marketplace, this time with patented captive molecules replacing oakmoss

Some trends that went nowhere like the failed animalic florals of the late 80's, the brief fig/plum/tobacco stint of the 90's, and the "radioactive grapefruit" ozonics of the Y2K period were left out. History has shown they are not remembered as having contributed to the development of men's perfume much. Also, the last 15 years or so have seen a drastic reduction in not just stylistic innovation in the designer space, but also in the realm of perfume design. IFRA has restricted a lot of commonly-known materials into oblivion or their natural sources are too expensive. Most newer novel materials are held under patent by the chemical firms who produce them, so either their names aren't known or you can't work with them unless you hire the perfumers working at that firm, meaning it gets harder and harder to historically track the evolution of men's fragrances much past the mid-2000's in terms of what goes in them because more and more stuff is under lock and key.

It took me way longer to do this than I was expecting. I hope you enjoy!
 
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ION-ONE

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2013
Great Post, well worth the effort to digest. I dislike all those post 2011 scents (haven't tried the TF).

Its crazy to consider BDC and TDH as already part of perfume history, that has been replaced by these new breed of amped up aroma-chemical things.

Respect to the perfumers who must keep trying to be creative with such a restricted pallette
 

Ken_Russell

Well-known member
Jan 21, 2006
Thank you Zealot Crusader for the very detailed information and the very well documented historical data and facts.

While highly volatile due to various economic, societal, cultural changes, trends and variables and as contradictory as the timeline of male fragrance history may seem, several main categories, notes and styles seem to have endured over time and never fully disappeared, just revived, rediscovered and reinterpreted again and again.
 

slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
How would you describe the timeline for trends in the perfume industry in the last 40 years? I find it interesting that two trends seem to coexist, and in a certain way they are incompatible: The Oud Frenzy (even mass marketers are using oud) and the popularity of Fresh Aquatics. Can anyone explain this paradox to me?

The paradox is very simple: different people like different things.

However, more obviously, if you can introduce 'more' to the market, and convice your buyers of the need in owning something different, you make more money. The oud trend is quite different to the aquatic trend in my mind, as it simply isn't as overwhelming nor as pervasive. The oud trend is more just dipping the western toe in to exoticism: very few of the designer ouds actually smell like 'oud' in any tangible sort of way. Some manage it well enough, but by and large, it's a bit a culture clash akin to going to Japan and seeing what they do to pizza or other European food staples. Yeah, it's pizza/oud...but only 'sort of'. Of course that's changing in the niche world, but as you said to ignore that, the designers really are the Mayo Jaga pizzas of the fragrance world...

The aquatic trend is something I've written about in the dark blue thread and the idea of 'sexy' fragrances designed for women to like, so won't repeat that at length, but it basically 'updated' masculinity with a less 'tryhard' and more female-friendly, summer-and-active-centric user in mind, while getting ready for a world that was swiftly turning away from smoking and the olfactory and environmental impact that has when it comes to fragrance.

I would add another, quite obvious category that is just - if not more relevant - to male perfumery than oud: the 'sweet' trend. From Joop Homme through 1 Million all the way to Stronger With You, designers have really honed in on the gourmand category as something women love to smell, and therefore will love to smell on men. I would say that *that* is the successor to aquatics as much as anything else: and that aquatics branched off in to wispy, lily-livered boring scents that smell like alcohol and citric water, and on the other hand they morped in to the much more successful 'dark blue' in the wake of Bleu de Chanel and its derivatives.
 

Andrei Bolkonsky

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2020
The paradox is very simple: different people like different things.

However, more obviously, if you can introduce 'more' to the market, and convice your buyers of the need in owning something different, you make more money. The oud trend is quite different to the aquatic trend in my mind, as it simply isn't as overwhelming nor as pervasive. The oud trend is more just dipping the western toe in to exoticism: very few of the designer ouds actually smell like 'oud' in any tangible sort of way. Some manage it well enough, but by and large, it's a bit a culture clash akin to going to Japan and seeing what they do to pizza or other European food staples. Yeah, it's pizza/oud...but only 'sort of'. Of course that's changing in the niche world, but as you said to ignore that, the designers really are the Mayo Jaga pizzas of the fragrance world...

The aquatic trend is something I've written about in the dark blue thread and the idea of 'sexy' fragrances designed for women to like, so won't repeat that at length, but it basically 'updated' masculinity with a less 'tryhard' and more female-friendly, summer-and-active-centric user in mind, while getting ready for a world that was swiftly turning away from smoking and the olfactory and environmental impact that has when it comes to fragrance.

I would add another, quite obvious category that is just - if not more relevant - to male perfumery than oud: the 'sweet' trend. From Joop Homme through 1 Million all the way to Stronger With You, designers have really honed in on the gourmand category as something women love to smell, and therefore will love to smell on men. I would say that *that* is the successor to aquatics as much as anything else: and that aquatics branched off in to wispy, lily-livered boring scents that smell like alcohol and citric water, and on the other hand they morped in to the much more successful 'dark blue' in the wake of Bleu de Chanel and its derivatives.

Thanks so much, I needed someone to talk about this.
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
I suppose I never did answer the paradoxical question but there is no direct explanation. Aquatics emerged as the answer to overbearing powerhouse styles in a world where smoking and ostentatious styles of dress were both falling out of favor, so along with it goes loud fragrances. Designers were getting bigger and with larger-scale releases couldn't work with dwindling naturals like sandalwood anymore, plus greed making chemicals a cheaper and safer alternative anyway. Lighter styles were the best test bed for the switch, and aquatics were good for that. Fast forward 30 years and the loudest of designers are now nearly 100% synthetic.

Oud on the other hand, that's this generation's sandalwood or ambergris: a precious status-embuing substance that tickles the same desire for the exotic and exclusive which foods like caviar and truffles trigger. Obviously most designer oud is synthetic and moulded away from the earthier or more animalic tones of the real deal, but still stands almost paradoxically from aquatics as the choice for those with the need to exclaim their worth/superiority/desirability in a world that now values personal space and privacy. I imagine outside the fragrance community, the narcissistic rich boys with an extroverted need to impress are the same group buying Amouage bottles or Parfums de Marly at retail too, the same way all the rich land owners in the 18th century dripped of pure ambergris. Vanity it seems never goes out of fashion, but I digress.
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
I suppose I never did answer the paradoxical question but there is no direct explanation. Aquatics emerged as the answer to overbearing powerhouse styles in a world where smoking and ostentatious styles of dress were both falling out of favor, so along with it goes loud fragrances. Designers were getting bigger and with larger-scale releases couldn't work with dwindling naturals like sandalwood anymore, plus greed making chemicals a cheaper and safer alternative anyway. Lighter styles were the best test bed for the switch, and aquatics were good for that. Fast forward 30 years and the loudest of designers are now nearly 100% synthetic.

Oud on the other hand, that's this generation's sandalwood or ambergris: a precious status-embuing substance that tickles the same desire for the exotic and exclusive which foods like caviar and truffles trigger. Obviously most designer oud is synthetic and moulded away from the earthier or more animalic tones of the real deal, but still stands almost paradoxically from aquatics as the choice for those with the need to exclaim their worth/superiority/desirability in a world that now values personal space and privacy. I imagine outside the fragrance community, the narcissistic rich boys with an extroverted need to impress are the same group buying Amouage bottles or Parfums de Marly at retail too, the same way all the rich land owners in the 18th century dripped of pure ambergris. Vanity it seems never goes out of fashion, but I digress.

A big part of why I don't like oud oils. There are of course ouds out there that are just ouds not trying to upcharge but all the research that goes into not getting scammed is too much for me to care about it. Ensar and his like are just as bad as Roja in that they're telling you caviar is what the rich folk eat, so eat it. No taste just consume luxury.
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
A big part of why I don't like oud oils. There are of course ouds out there that are just ouds not trying to upcharge but all the research that goes into not getting scammed is too much for me to care about it. Ensar and his like are just as bad as Roja in that they're telling you caviar is what the rich folk eat, so eat it. No taste just consume luxury.

Yeah, there is oud then there is "oud", and a lot of entry-level or mid-tier perfume companies from the Middle East just call anything dark or rich as "oud" because over there the term is almost used as a genre descriptor like "sport" or "black" is over here. For example, Oud 24 Hours is more or less a clone of Tom Ford Black Orchid, which is the furthest thing from an oud fragrance. Real oud (which I do like) admittedly dominates a composition, and my time spent with some Areej le Dore samples and travel-sized Bortnikoffs (alongside some attars made by a local perfume shop I visited pre-COVID) has shown me that it can be a hard material to balance in a complex composition anyway, making most genuine oud scents sort of linear in that they're oud + support players rather than the oud mixing and supporting other notes a la oakmoss or ambergris.

Definitely not knocking the folks who love oud. I can see the appeal.
 

Darjeeling

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2012
I've read Zealot Crusader writing on this in depth before, so I was hoping he'd reply. This went into even more depth than other posts of his I've read. What a great timeline and post.

The paradox is very simple: different people like different things.

However, more obviously, if you can introduce 'more' to the market, and convice your buyers of the need in owning something different, you make more money. The oud trend is quite different to the aquatic trend in my mind, as it simply isn't as overwhelming nor as pervasive. The oud trend is more just dipping the western toe in to exoticism: very few of the designer ouds actually smell like 'oud' in any tangible sort of way. Some manage it well enough, but by and large, it's a bit a culture clash akin to going to Japan and seeing what they do to pizza or other European food staples. Yeah, it's pizza/oud...but only 'sort of'. Of course that's changing in the niche world, but as you said to ignore that, the designers really are the Mayo Jaga pizzas of the fragrance world...

The exoticism thing is definitely a big one. It has always been present in perfume with the mythical naming and tales of the sourcing of exotic and rare materials from far off lands. Oud has just been a new color to add to the palate. I think I've read that it's basically a new woody note to play with, and maybe doesn't carry the baggage associated with notes like patchouli.
It's kind of like seeing what western countries do to sushi or other Asian food staples ;)
Actually, most western countries also do a pretty good job of committing crimes against pizza :)
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
As a supplement to ZC’s exceptionally detailed commentary, consider that some shifts in taste are informed by generational rebellion, like popular tastes in entertainment and fashion. Sometimes, people wear things just to be different from their parents—even if that entails being more like their grandparents. (I’m looking at you, hipsters.)
 

slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
I've read Zealot Crusader writing on this in depth before, so I was hoping he'd reply. This went into even more depth than other posts of his I've read. What a great timeline and post.



The exoticism thing is definitely a big one. It has always been present in perfume with the mythical naming and tales of the sourcing of exotic and rare materials from far off lands. Oud has just been a new color to add to the palate. I think I've read that it's basically a new woody note to play with, and maybe doesn't carry the baggage associated with notes like patchouli.
It's kind of like seeing what western countries do to sushi or other Asian food staples ;)
Actually, most western countries also do a pretty good job of committing crimes against pizza :)

Yeah, I think that's a large part of its appeal. That, and it's also a sign of globalism: the highly price Harrods staples like Roja Dove are definitely selling oud 'back' to Arabia when the wealthy Saudi etc. tourists visit London. I wonder where it will go next - I do think oud is here to stay, partly because of the less defined cultural borders of the modern world, and partly because Westerners seem to have taken to oud well enough that it'll probably be an 'old cologne guy' smell in 30 or 40 years akin to patchouli and hippies today. I'm not too sure there's too many more ingredients that could cross over, really - we've got men wearing sweeeeeet vanillas and florals as normal these days, so I don't think there's too much left. But perhaps there is, who knows. Something a little less niche than oud, or sandalwood, or patchouli.

On the topic of pizzas, it's not a perfect analogy, and of course pizza is butchered all over the world, by everyone, but it had a functional purpose - to denote the geographical and cultural differences; Japan, like Arabia, is an old culture that was very much distinct from the rest of the world until post-1945. Now Arabia probably less distinct, but different and 'exotic' to Western Europe/USA, anyway. And Japan is basically the perfect country for 'taking familiar things' from a certain place/culture, and making them their own, very different sort of thing.
That's what I think oud has become in western designer perfumery. It's 'sort of' oudy, like pizza is 'sort of' pizza in Japan, but the differences are so profound that any Neopolitan (or Arab in the case of oud) would be hard pressed to ever think of them as one and the same.
 

Rüssel

Well-known member
Dec 23, 2010
People want novelty. New, change, out with the old, in with whatever, so when someone found Pandora's box, opened it and unleashed calone, it sold like chicken McNuggets.

The future, sustainable gender free scents and immersive celebrity genitalia perfume experiences.
 

Renato

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2002
I think the clock needs to be rolled back further than 40 years if we're talking men's designers, since the very important distinction of there being no men's designers until Chanel pour Monsieur (1955) factors into this story. Here's a bit of context which sets up what I'll be tackling later.

Men did and mostly still do not wear perfume for its own sake. Going back before figures like Count d'Orsay made short groomed hair and curated/shaved faces popular (along with all the "dandy" accoutrements of dress), men didn't even bathe as often -or regularly- as women. We're hardwired to be hairy, stinky, and get all the grunt work done it seems. Eau de colognes help with personal hygiene some, and when double-edged razors made it easier for more men to jump on the "dandy" craze of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (thanks to the influence of d'Orsay), the earliest scented products men liked were ones that imparted the feeling of being clean, groomed, structured, and ready to face the day in modern urbane society.

Still, many Luddites among the average Joe made it hard to market a fragrance to men without a practical purpose (after-shaves, hair tonics, eau de colognes), so most traditional luxury perfume houses (which we retroactively consider niche today) didn't bother with scents for men, meaning that task was left to the druggists, apothecaries, barbers, and larger health/beauty suppliers of the day. Quite literally all early men's styles were born from the hands of people like Ed Pinaud, William Penhaligon, William Hunter (Caswell-Massey) and so forth: barbers and chemists. Yeah, you had the fluke success of perfumes like Yardley English Lavender (1873), Houbigant Fougère Royale (1882), Guerlain Jicky (1889), and so on leading to a few experiments from these same high-end perfume houses in releasing things like Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur (1902), and Knize Ten (1924), but even the first "pour homme" of Caron Pour Un Homme (1934) was a reaction to men liking something (lavender), not something born from a novel idea to market a men's fragrance.

This leads me to my point...

There wasn't much evolution in men's fragrances until the mid 20th century, when enough drugstore-level companies like Avon, Shulton, and MEM, plus a clutch of higher-end traditional perfume houses like Lavin and Rochas made it clear there was a market for perfume beyond grooming items or basic toilette splashes for men. Chanel was first to market with a designer scent for men in 1955 the same way they were first to market with a designer perfume at all in 1921 with Chanel No 5, and that's where the first evolutionary leap occurred. By the end 1960's, men's fragrances had solidified into genre staples we know today like fougères, chypres, and orientals, with plenty of examples predating that of course, but nobody really composing in a standardized way until then. All the fougères emulating the barbershop experience and all the chypres focusing on bright citrus, sharp woods, mosses, and sometimes leather and/or tobacco made it clear perfumers were trying to get into guy's heads and figure out what they liked.

From there, we can cover the last 40 years or so a little more easily. Scents like Aramis by Estée Lauder (1965), Capucci pour Homme (1967), Pierre Cardin pour Monsieur (1972) and Paco Rabanne pour Homme (1973) set up archeypes for the leather chypre, citrus chypre, semi-oriental fougère, and aromatic fougère respectively. I think the idea that a lot of older men love green, raw, and verdant smells comes from a combination of these and older barbershop archetypes. Progressing into the 70's, musk became popular because people were feeling more sexually free thanks to countercultures and stuff like Disco, so being a little virile and animalic was embraced. Naturally, stuff like the old drugstore musks based on synthetic stuff like muscone was huge (Jovan, Coty, etc), while higher-end perfumes played with amimalics like civet, castoreum, and so forth into the 80's. Coniferous and mossy perfumes continued to amp up in intensity from the late 70's into the mid 80's, while stuff like YSL Kouros (1981) and Chanel Antaeus (1981) set the standard for animalic styles.

How we got to where we are now.

Everything that had been evolving through the 70's and 80's came to a head by end of the latter decade, when men's perfumes became widespread in style (and costly) enough that someone decided they needed reigning in and dialing back to make the most of their investment into this field. People were throwing whatever they wanted onto the wall to see what sticks beforehand, but marketing and consumer testing to assure success was ramping up to prevent costly failures, coupled with depleting naturals, the advent of newer (cheaper) synthetics, and data showing that cleaner/lighter accords overall did better in consumer testing. All this paved the way to the "fresh revolution" of the 90's. Stuff like dihydromyrcenol, hedione, or calone had been around forever, just used sparingly or not at all in men's perfumes until the 80's outside a few examples, but they were adopted in ever-larger quantities by designers which had started to overpopulate the perfume market and choke out drugstore brands, eventually replacing them as they spread out in price point low to high.

After the "fresh" 90's, sweet comfy gourmands and semi-orientals enjoyed some popularity for contrast, then older styles started to reappear with revised twists into the 2000's for mature men, while young guys had bombastic sour candy ozonics and fresh aquatics tossed at them. Niche was starting to come into its own by this time and It was the wild west into the 2000's, when the first clamp-down on oakmoss by IFRA in 2001 set a warning siren across the industry that they'd need to get more creative with synthetics, plus even more homogenous with styles to meet increased cost/profit optimization from the emerged shareholder economy. Stuff like the oud craze seems to go counter to that but remember oud had been bubbling up in niche circles since the 90's, with a brief trial in the designer Balenciaga pour Homme (1990), so by its introduction proper to the west in 2002 with YSL M7, it was something fragrance enthusiasts had already heard of if not tried. The "oud" used in most designers now is the furthest thing from the real stuff in smell as can be anyway, so it arguably doesn't count, in the same way most musk isn't really "musky" by the original definition anymore.

Timeline (not exhaustive)

It's hard to say for sure what is first and most important, but this is my best compilation. I also mention things not made for men but that inspired the direction the market for men took by labelling them as "men enjoyed it"

(1709) Farina Eau de Cologne - First cologne, first prolific use of neroli - men enjoyed it
(1792) 4711 by Muehlens - First mass-produced and most-popular eau de cologne in history
(1840) Caswell-Massey Jockey Club (1840) - First publicly-sold scent of any kind to specifically target men
(1861) A. H. Riise Bay Rhum - First commercial "bay rum" scent using bay laurel leaf from St. Thomas
(1872) Hammam Bouquet by Penhaligon's - First commercial rose/sandalwood perfume for men.
(1874) Yardley English Lavender - First commercial lavender fragrance - men enjoyed it
(1880) Ed Pinaud Lilac Vegetal - First "Hygiene et Toilette" made to supplement/replace bathing, commissioned by the Hungarian Cavalry
(1882) Houbigant Fougère Royale - Introduction of coumarin, introduction of the standard-bearing "fougère" style - men enjoyed it
(1889) Jicky de Guerlain - First truly abstract perfume, but also had a dominant animalic note of civet - men enjoyed it
(1902) Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur - First publicly-sold perfume by a French house made for men.
(1902) Peau d'Espagne Santa Maria Novela - First publicly-sold animalic leather perfume using birch and civet - men enjoyed it
(1912) Eucris by Geo F Trumper - First publicly-sold oakmoss-focused men's scent. Retroactively considered "chypre".
(1917) Chypre de Coty - Introduction to the standard-bearing "chypre" style - men enjoyed it
(1917) Williams Aqua Velva - First mass-marketed after-shave lotion with a menthol top note, had a leather/tobacco base
(1919) Caron Tabac Blonde - First fragrance made for smoking women - men enjoyed it
(1919] Guerlain Mitsouko - Landmark chypre for women but famously worn by men like Charlie Chaplin.
(1924) Knize Ten - introduction of isobutyl quinoline "tannery" leather note that would come to dominate leathery perfumery
(1924) Guerlain Shalimar - Introduction of the standard-bearing "oriental" style
(1931) Mennen Skin Bracer - First commercial after-shave combining mint and the standardized fougère accord to great success
(1934) Dunhill Cologne/Dunhill for Men - First "smoker's" cologne made for customers of the tobacconist. Retroactively branded for men
(1934) Caron Pour un Homme - First fragrance publicly-sold and advertised with "for a man" in the name, based on lavender colognes and the fougère style.
(1936) Dana Canoe - The prototypical "barbershop fougère first made for women but then launched as a men's scent
(1940) Antonio Puig Agua Lavanda - First mass-marketed lavender splash. Men enjoyed it.
(1940) Clubman Pinaud by Pinaud US - First mass-produced "barbershop" fougère, basically copied Canoe, but pitched to barbershops all over the US.
(1937) Shulton Old Spice - First "oriental" composition that gained widespread usage among men during/after WWII, retroactively marketed towards them.
(1949) Avon for Men - First scent for men marked by the direct sales/mailorder juggernaut. A fougère with a minty aftershave counterpart.
(1949) Moustache Rochas - First commercially-made proper citrus chypre fragrance marketed to men.
(1949) MEM English Leather - First mass-marketed isobutyl quinoline leather scent for men.
(1949) Acqua di Selva by Victor/Visconti di Modrone - First mass-markted oakmoss-centered fragrance.
(1955) Chanel pour Monsieur/for Men/A Gentleman's Cologne - First men's fragrance made by a designer couture house.
(1955) Pino Silvestri by Vidal - First mass-marketed pine scent for men.
(1957) Carven Vetiver - First commercially-sold western vetiver fragrance
(1957) Arden for Men - First full line of men's fragrances from a large-scale cosmetics company
(1959) Monsieur de Givenchy - First citrus chypre for men made by a designer couture house
(1959) Tabac by Maurer and Wirtz - First mass-market tobacco scent fragrance for men
(1961) Guerlain Vetiver - The second commercially-sold but most-popular standard-setting men's vetiver fragrance in history
(1963) Kiehl's Original Musk - First commercial western musk fragrance - Men enjoyed it
(1964) Brut by Fabergé - First mass-produced fougère for men. A wild success that helped build the fougère into a masculine standard
(1965) British Sterling by Speidel-Textron - First aromatic fougère for men, originally sold only in watch stores, then mass-produced under license.
(1965) Guerlain Habit Rouge - First oriental fragrance marketed towards men from inception
(1965) Aramis by Estée Lauder - First aldehyde perfume made for men, based on the leather fragrance Cabochard by Bernard Chant for Grès
(1966) Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior - First notable use of hedione in a perfume, first "fresh" fragrance made for men.
(1967) Capucci pour Homme by Roberto Capucci - Standard-setting citrus chypre for men that set the tone for most to follow
(1967) Avon Wild Country - First "country western" themed masculine. Avon's most enduring scent for men
(1972) Pierre Cardin pour Monsieur - First "semi-oriental" fougère that focused on a woody/spicy/amber base that would inspire a sub-genre
(1973) Jovan Musk for Men - Genre-defining synthetic musk fragrance for men, based on the original 'Jovan Musk Oil' of 1971.
(1973) Paco Rabanne pour Homme - Genre-defining aromatic fougère with a notable first use of dihydromyrcenol and orris to create a clean/soapy feel
(1974) Givenchy Gentlemen - Genre-defining designer patchouli fragrance for men with a civet musk base
(1976) Halston Z-14 Genre-defining aromatic spicy chypre for men.
(1978) Azzaro pour Homme A groundbreaking aromatic fougère that used lemon and anise in novel ways with leather and barbershop accords.
(1978) Ralph Lauren Polo - Genre-defining aromatic chypre fragrance full of prominent tobacco that inspired the "tobacco" genre
(1980) One Man Show by Jacques Bogart First mass-produced mens fragrance to feature a prominent animalic castoreum "leather" note
(1980) Avon Black Suede Leather amber scent for men. Highest selling in Avon's history, signaling peak saturation and decline for maildorder/drugstore brands and the beginning of designers taking over.
(1981) Yves Saint Laurent Kouros - First "powerhouse" fougère to feature a prominent civet musk in its otherwise soapy and clean composition style
(1981) Chanel Antaeus - Groundbreaking animalic castoreum leather chypre that popularized the style into the 80's.
(1982) Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche - Unprecedented used of dihydromyrcenol as a booster for lavender and other elements to make a clean fougère.
(1986) Calvin Klein Obsession for Men - Groundbreaking prominent use of "clean" linalool in an otherwise musky men's oriental fragrance context.
(1986) Hermès Bel Ami Genre-defining spicy isobutyl quinoline "leather" oakmoss chypre for men
(1987) Lapidus pour Homme Fruity musky animalic fougère that helped defined the decade
(1988) Davidoff Cool Water - Birthplace of the "aquatic" genre, adapted from previous work by perfumer Pierre Bourdon for house Creed.
(1988) Yves Saint Laurent Jazz - The first designer fragrance in the antique traditional fougère style
(1988) Aramis New West - First prominent use of calone 1951 molecule in a mass-market mens fragrance.
(1988) Fahrenheit by Christian Dior - Groundbreaking "petrol" violet and leather chypre made almost by accident.
(1989) Joop! Homme by Parfums Joop! First fruity floral fragrance for men. Very polarizing.
(1989) Calvin Klein Eternity for Men - First "fresh fougère." fragrance that relied heavily on aromachemicals more than traditional notes.
(1989) Claiborne for Men by Liz Claiborne - First "ozonic" fragrance for men, built on a white floral chypre foundation.
(1990) Chanel Égoïste - A controversial and groundbreaking sweet rose oriental fragrance for men
(1990) Balenciaga pour Homme - First western oud fragrance and also first such fragrance for men. A commercial failure.
(1992) Nautica/Nautica Classic - First hedione-based aquatic "fougère." hybrid.
(1994) L'Eau d'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyaki - Ozonic citrus fragrance that standardized the genre.
(1994) Chanel Platinum Égoïste - First use of metaliic aldehydes in a "fougère" context, lending an impression of pressed dry cleaning.
(1994) Calvin Klein ck One - The first successfully-marketed intentionally unisex fragrance. Men enjoyed it
(1994) Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger - A fresh fruity apple masculine showcasing the most popular use of calone in a men's fragrance
(1996) Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani - Ozonic/aquatic hybrid and most popular men's fragrance in all history
(1996) Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne - The most popular "fresh fougère" in all history, the DNA of which inspired countless copies.
(1996) A*Men by Thierry Mugler - First men's gourmand fragrance.

2001 - First IFRA restriction on oakmoss, perfumes using it were cut with treemoss at this time, or discontinued

(2002) Yves Saint Laurent M7 - First western oud fragrance auspiciously marketed as such to men. An inspirational commercial failure
(2003) Kenneth Cole Black - A timberol-based synthetic ambergris fragrance with a fresh mint/citrus top. A presage to later development
(2005) Dior Homme - A novel use of iris and leather in an oriental gourmand hybrid fragrance that set the trend for the next decade
(2006) Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme - Among the first notable uses of ambroxan in commercial designer perfume as part of a "woody amber" profile
(2006) Terre d'Hermès by Hermès - An unprecedented use of Iso E Super in a woody vetiver perfume for men. Very inspirational.
(2007) Tom Ford Black Orchid - A landmark floral fruity patchouli (fruitchouli) perfume using a molecular isolate of patchouli. Men enjoy it
(2008) Paco Rabanne 1 Million - First heavy use of sweet coumarin base in a perfume, set the trend for the future of "clubber/night out" scents for young men.
(2009) Tom Ford Grey Vetiver - A new standard in vetiver fragances, with a focus on citrus and synthetic woods base
(2010) Chanel Bleu de Chanel - First post-aquatic "blue" fragrance and heavy use of "ambroxan chypre" type base, with only minimal oakmoss.

2011 Second IFRA restriction on oakmoss, rendering it almost untendable to use in many old designers without high-cost workarounds. Mass discontinuations

(2011) Gucci Guilty pour Homme - Birth of the sweet ethyl maltol/ambroxan "bubblegum showergel" accord in men's fragrances.
(2011) Montblanc Legend - First fully-synthetic fougère with the aromachemical evernyl replacing all instances of oakmoss
(2013) Paco Rabanne Invictus - Popularization of the ethyl maltol/ambroxan "bubblegum showergel" accord in men's fragrances.
(2015) Sauvage by Christian Dior - Birthplace of the "ambroxan bomb", utilizing intentionally overdosed ambroxan and norlimbanol for a sandy dry warmth
(2019) Montblanc Explorer - First designer take of a masculine style previously exclusive to the luxury niche market, conceding the niche market's influence on the industry as a whole.
(2020) Tom Ford Beau du Jour - Re-entry of the traditional fougère yet again into the mainstream marketplace, this time with patented captive molecules replacing oakmoss

Some trends that went nowhere like the failed animalic florals of the late 80's, the brief fig/plum/tobacco stint of the 90's, and the "radioactive grapefruit" ozonics of the Y2K period were left out. History has shown they are not remembered as having contributed to the development of men's perfume much. Also, the last 15 years or so have seen a drastic reduction in not just stylistic innovation in the designer space, but also in the realm of perfume design. IFRA has restricted a lot of commonly-known materials into oblivion or their natural sources are too expensive. Most newer novel materials are held under patent by the chemical firms who produce them, so either their names aren't known or you can't work with them unless you hire the perfumers working at that firm, meaning it gets harder and harder to historically track the evolution of men's fragrances much past the mid-2000's in terms of what goes in them because more and more stuff is under lock and key.

It took me way longer to do this than I was expecting. I hope you enjoy!

Thanks. I've copied your post and filed it away for future reference.

One point though - A*men was the second men's gourmand fragrance. The first was Animale Animale.

I was amused at your point about the fig-leaf scents not going anywhere, though if they started in the 90s, there were also plenty around in the early to mid 2000s.

One scent development that I think you miss out on is the "blue" scents that came out at and after the time that Polo Blue came out in 2003. Not all, but very many of those Blue scents had that note in them which I greatly disliked in Polo Blue.

I'm not sure that there ever was an Oud craze except here at Basenotes. Lots of oud versions of designer scents did come out - but were they successful?
I've never had any positive comment on any oud scent, starting with M7. And they've never occupied much by way of shelf space that I could see down here in Australia nor in Italy which I visited frequently - something I'd have expected to have seen, if it wasn't just a relatively quick passing phase like the fig-leaf scents were.
Regards,
Renato
 

Trauerkraut

Well-known member
Nov 14, 2009
Now, now, why so grouchy? It's nice that someone makes the effort to write these longer outlines.

I'm sorry! It wasn't meant to be 'grouchy', I just thought it was a good idea to have something like a Essay Thread where fellow Basenoters could express their literary ambitions with stories, theories, feelings etc. that take more room than a couple of lines. Zealot's fine collaboration could perfectly fit in... Nothing more/nothing less!
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
I'm sorry! It wasn't meant to be 'grouchy', I just thought it was a good idea to have something like a Essay Thread where fellow Basenoters could express their literary ambitions with stories, theories, feelings etc. that take more room than a couple of lines. Zealot's fine collaboration could perfectly fit in... Nothing more/nothing less!
BN has a blog section that suits precisely that purpose. ZC is amongst those who've made good use of it.
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
Thanks. I've copied your post and filed it away for future reference.

One point though - A*men was the second men's gourmand fragrance. The first was Animale Animale.

I was amused at your point about the fig-leaf scents not going anywhere, though if they started in the 90s, there were also plenty around in the early to mid 2000s.

One scent development that I think you miss out on is the "blue" scents that came out at and after the time that Polo Blue came out in 2003. Not all, but very many of those Blue scents had that note in them which I greatly disliked in Polo Blue.

I'm not sure that there ever was an Oud craze except here at Basenotes. Lots of oud versions of designer scents did come out - but were they successful?
I've never had any positive comment on any oud scent, starting with M7. And they've never occupied much by way of shelf space that I could see down here in Australia nor in Italy which I visited frequently - something I'd have expected to have seen, if it wasn't just a relatively quick passing phase like the fig-leaf scents were.
Regards,
Renato

I forgot about Animale-Animale, can update later if it even matters now.

As for Polo Blue, Bvlgari Aqva, and that 2000's generation of aquatics, I see them as just a "round two" progression of what started in the late 80's and early 90's with Cool Water and Polo Sport, but some may consider it a separate movement. Also yes, some fig scents endured and got tossed up with tobacco a la Michael by Michael Kors or Vera Wang for Men, but those never caught on either. The whole thing was an undercurrent.
 

Renato

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2002
I forgot about Animale-Animale, can update later if it even matters now.

As for Polo Blue, Bvlgari Aqva, and that 2000's generation of aquatics, I see them as just a "round two" progression of what started in the late 80's and early 90's with Cool Water and Polo Sport, but some may consider it a separate movement. Also yes, some fig scents endured and got tossed up with tobacco a la Michael by Michael Kors or Vera Wang for Men, but those never caught on either. The whole thing was an undercurrent.
Thanks for that - but Cool Water and Polo Sport smelled pretty good.
Whatever that awful note (to me) was, it wrecked a lot of scents - but they seemed to sell well.
I think from memory that note was prominent in Bvlgari Aqua Marine which on one occasion I had the opportunity to buy a slightly water damaged gift set for A$20 (US$13). I passed.
Cheers,
Renato
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
Thanks for that - but Cool Water and Polo Sport smelled pretty good.
Whatever that awful note (to me) was, it wrecked a lot of scents - but they seemed to sell well.
I think from memory that note was prominent in Bvlgari Aqua Marine which on one occasion I had the opportunity to buy a slightly water damaged gift set for A$20 (US$13). I passed.
Cheers,
Renato

Maybe it was some form of synthetic woods? "Karmawood" and "Clearwood" (based around Iso E Super) were popular then, and all those aquatics mentioned had some form of them. It's still in use now too but not as pervasively.
 

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