Scents marketed to the other gender - which ones do you enjoy?

Ken_Russell

Well-known member
Jan 21, 2006
Too many to mention, but a few highlights have to include/second names like:

TF Black Orchid EDP, some Lutens and/or vintage Shiseido scents like Feminite du Bois but also Chypre Rouge, several Guerlains from both the regular and the designer exclusive niche tier lines anywhere from Shalimar to Songe d'un Bois d'Ete to mention only a few by this house, Extase Musk by 4711/Muehlens, Chanel No. 19 and Cristalle in several vintages, concentrations and versions of each, Versace Red Jeans plus part of the Crystal Noir series by the same house, Jasmine Noir from Bvlgari
 

justfoxie

You smell nice
Basenotes Plus
Oct 23, 2018
I've been acquiring some women's scents lately and two that are definite standouts to me are:

YSL's Opium (not the horrible 2009/current version.)

and my SOTD today: Krizia's Teatro alla Scala.

Next week I think I'm going to do a ladies' week where I'll only wear fragrances marketed to women.
Oooh I like the idea of a "gender switch" week! A good way to explore scents that maybe we didn't think were "for" us originally but to get us out of our comfort zones a bit.
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
Lots of great comments!

I like mostly what are officially male-gendered fragrances, but I have about 20 or 30 officially female-gendered fragrances that I enjoy for my own wear. Generally speaking, they come off sporty, fresh, non-stereotyped floral, spicy, warm, woody, or something that doesn't strike me mentally as inconsistent with my style in fragrance. Pure fruity florals with no spice and dainty florals are not really me, although I can pull off some of the latter rather nicely as "freshies".

Top of my list is Galop d'Hermes. Allegedly feminine, but Hermes markets it more unisex in reality, and I could even describe the gender as "equestrian", or at most "equestrienne", which is basically unisex. My wife wanted it for me - she thought it was too masculine for her. Not a problem!

Prada Infusion d'Iris always struck me as sportier and more "masculine" than the more "perfumey" Infusion d'Homme. My wife and I love both, but we each prefer the opposite-gendered version.

Dior Addict EDP is a funny one. When we were younger, I loved that fragrance on her, and wearing it myself seemed a bit odd, but as we got older, it fell out of her style, because strong ambery fragrances now strike her as more masculine. It's an easier wear for me, now, as it's more "me" than her.

We both like Chanel No. 5 L'Eau on each other and on ourselves.

One of my favorites is Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere. This was the one where I "got" Thierry Wasser wearing Idylle around for six months. When you really want to experience the beauty of a fragrance, you just have to wear it and let the world adjust. The No. 5 accord does get noticed. Tongues may wag. ;)

I also own and love Coco Noir EDP, Creed Jasmine Imperatrice Eugenie, Creed Vanisia, Habanita EDP, Eau de Shalimar, Shalimar Parfum Initial, La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraiche Pistachio Dryer Sheets (the fresh, sport, green one), Menard L'Eau de Kasaneka, Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Femme, L'Instant de Guerlain, Must de Cartier, Neil Morris for Takashimaya New York, Guerlain Vetiver Pour Elle, and Theorema. All great fragrances which I highly recommend to everybody.

I enjoy gendered marketing of fragrance, even though I don't stay in my lane. I admit it's stupid, but ALL recreational things are ultimately stupid in so many wonderful ways. I think the French have it right with "vive la difference". It's a game. Enjoy it!

I would love to see a few "duosex-marketed" singular fragrances, as opposed to just having "unisex-marketed" fragrances. I think that a lot of mainstream designer fragrances could be marketed to both sexes strongly but separately with a common linking theme, and it would be the best of both worlds. Spicebomb and Dior Homme were great examples of men's scents that women wanted to poach in a big way. Give them permission (that they don't need, but whatever - people are like that!) Spicebomb was named right, but Dior (SomethingElse) could have sold to both men and women. We don't necessarily need the "pour homme" and "pour femme" tweaks in fragrances themselves - but we also don't need to keep bi-gender-marketed things unisex or androgynous, either. Tom Fords lend themselves to this approach really well. Bulgari Black would have, too.
 

ascentofdreams

Well-known member
May 18, 2021
more fresh and green, heavily citrus and wood type fragrances of the sort marketed toward men tend to go quite sour on me. However, I find Guerlain to be the easiest house in which to cross gender marketed lines, followed by Hermès. So Habit Rouge EDT is my favorite in that category (no surprise considering my love for Shalimar), followed by L’Instant pour Homme EDT. Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu and Eau de Gentiane Blanche are quite beautiful. And the ambered leathers which so often are marketed toward men and yet work so beautifully on both sexes: Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme, HdP 1740 ( really grew on me, love it now), Guerlain’s Cuir Intense and Bois Mysterieux, DS&Durga Amber Kiso.
 

Kotori

Can I borrow your odorant?
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
Top of my list is Galop d'Hermes. Allegedly feminine, but Hermes markets it more unisex in reality, and I could even describe the gender as "equestrian", or at most "equestrienne", which is basically unisex. My wife wanted it for me - she thought it was too masculine for her. Not a problem!

Prada Infusion d'Iris always struck me as sportier and more "masculine" than the more "perfumey" Infusion d'Homme. My wife and I love both, but we each prefer the opposite-gendered version.
^Two of my favorites^, and yes, definitely feminines that lean masculine or could be unisex
We both like Chanel No. 5 L'Eau on each other and on ourselves.

The No. 5 accord does get noticed. Tongues may wag. ;)
I’m sure it does get noticed! But honestly that accord is only gendered because we make it so. I agree that L’Eau is for anyone. Another of my favorites, and the clean musky base makes it available for anyone.
I also own and love …La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraiche Pistachio Dryer Sheets (the fresh, sport, green one)…
LOL- pistachio dryer sheets! Yes! I owned that one in early 2020 and it was a perfect sporty comfort scent for drywalling and painting as we remodeled the upstairs during the lockdown. After that, my (at the time 10-year-old) son claimed it. He doesn’t care about the girly packaging. He thinks it smells more like a men’s than a women’s fragrance.
I would love to see a few "duosex-marketed" singular fragrances, as opposed to just having "unisex-marketed" fragrances. I think that a lot of mainstream designer fragrances could be marketed to both sexes strongly but separately with a common linking theme, and it would be the best of both worlds.
Great idea.
 

Ed Wardian

Well-known member
Oct 28, 2020
Some great mentions here indeed! Love it!

Oooh, I enjoy Calandre by Paco Rabanne quite a bit, also Cabochard by Gres and Clinique Aromatic Elixir, far more moxy, sexier than Bernard Chant's masculine renditions, IMO.... Most of the classical Guerlain period particularly Shalimar and L'heure Bleue... Tilda Swinton Like This by Etat Libre d'Orange...

Lately, I've been intrigued by Lalique offerings of Perles de Lalique and la Parfum (this one particularly due to Ga. Peach and Brooks Otterlake respective experiences).
 

Bangkok Hound

User of Toilet Water
Basenotes Plus
Nov 4, 2015
Next week I think I'm going to do a ladies' week where I'll only wear fragrances marketed to women.

And today I've begun my Ladies' Week with Jean Patou's Ma Liberte EDT. I've had this one for a while, but this is only my second wearing. It's often mentioned in reviews as being unisex or even leaning masculine. The heliotrope in the opening and musk later on doesn't feel very masculine to me, but the lavender and spices do tilt it toward the center of the spectrum. There's nothing I really dislike about it, but it didn't make a big impression the first time I wore it and not much has changed this time around either. I do think it is very easy for most men to wear however - it just doesn't excite me.
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
I’m sure it does get noticed! But honestly that accord is only gendered because we make it so. I agree that L’Eau is for anyone. Another of my favorites, and the clean musky base makes it available for anyone.

L'Eau was a real gift to the boys! Closest thing to No.5PH yet!

LOL- pistachio dryer sheets! Yes! I owned that one in early 2020 and it was a perfect sporty comfort scent for drywalling and painting as we remodeled the upstairs during the lockdown. After that, my (at the time 10-year-old) son claimed it. He doesn’t care about the girly packaging. He thinks it smells more like a men’s than a women’s fragrance.

Love that your son reads it that way, too. It was an "instant poach" for me in the store, when my wife was "OK" with it!
 
Nov 20, 2017
Most of what I wear falls masculine or unisex, but I own and enjoy
Prada Infusion d'Iris : I too prefer it to Infusion d'Homme or Infusion d'Iris Cedre - cool, discreet and clean for work/healthcare appointments
Hermes Hiris : another cool, pale, clean scent
Guerlain L'Heure Bleue : I find this comforting to wear at night to combat insomnia
Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue : full-fat version of IdI, reminds me somewhat of LHB; also for insomnia

Etro Dianthus : as a gardener, I like the scent of carnations and pinks; I originally bought this to layer with Etro Gomma, in an attempt to create an uber-carnation approximation of vintage Equipage or other old-school scents. Now I have a bottle of vintage Equipage (the carnation in this is beautiful), I rarely feel a need to layer the Etros and hardly wear Dianthus, whereas Gomma remains a favourite in its own right.

ETA : how could I forget, seeing as I recently posted about it - Bottega Veneta EdP - suede, violet and plum. Such a fine leather; seems more unisex to me.
 

Bangkok Hound

User of Toilet Water
Basenotes Plus
Nov 4, 2015
Yesterday I wore Dior's Poison. I love it, yet I can understand why most men probably would never consider wearing it. It reminds me of Fahrenheit in that it doesn't smell dated at all. It could have been released yesterday by a niche house and be celebrated for its boldness.

Today, its Femme (Rochas - new version.) This one definitely smells like its from the past. Very dynamic with florals, fruitiness, cumin, and leather. Doesn't seem to project so much though. If a man can wear many of the floral Areejs or Bogue's Maai, then he shouldn't have any problem with this.
 

Bangkok Hound

User of Toilet Water
Basenotes Plus
Nov 4, 2015
For my Ladies' Week, yesterday's SOTD was YSL's Opium (from an early 80s splash bottle.) Opium is the scent that pushed me to try more women's marketed fragrances. I bought a partial 30ml spray bottle about a month ago and what an impact it made. I immediately bought a bottle of the current version (big mistake) and then this older splash (and I have a full 30ml and a 50ml Secret de Parfum on the way - see? I said it made an impact!) I believe this could be released today as a masculine scent and no one would bat an eye. Exceptional from beginning to end.

Today, it's Dior's Dune. From my perspective, I'd say that it leans feminine, but not by a lot. The overall dryness minimizes any sweetness from the florals. So much better and more interesting than the men's version.
 

ClockworkAlice

Cakesniffer
Basenotes Plus
Jan 3, 2019
I immediately bought a bottle of the current version (big mistake)

I do love the current Opium EDP. What do you dislike about it?

I haven't tried the vintage. I do have a mini of men's Opium EDT (I don't know if it's new or old) but I do not enjoy it - it's neither spicy nor resinous to me, too green and has too much of that sharp/herbal/minty men's cologne vibe. I'm glad I only bought a mini, although I hope I'll warm up to it.
 

justfoxie

You smell nice
Basenotes Plus
Oct 23, 2018
For my Ladies' Week, yesterday's SOTD was YSL's Opium (from an early 80s splash bottle.) Opium is the scent that pushed me to try more women's marketed fragrances. I bought a partial 30ml spray bottle about a month ago and what an impact it made. I immediately bought a bottle of the current version (big mistake) and then this older splash (and I have a full 30ml and a 50ml Secret de Parfum on the way - see? I said it made an impact!) I believe this could be released today as a masculine scent and no one would bat an eye. Exceptional from beginning to end.
Opium is one of those scents that makes me weak in the knees regardless of which gender wears it. I bought a bottle for my first boyfriend in high school and he was a bit skeptical about wearing a "woman's" perfume...until he smelled it for himself and saw the results.
 

Ga.Peach

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2021
So,I want to get some Poison. It is a nostalgic scent for me.(Those were the days.)
Do I need to look for the vintage stuff or is current production alright?
I truly detest searching for vintage;but,knowing it is always best/better. If memory serves there seemed to be a suggestion of a grapey note to it?

Would love to smell some vintage Opium.

I am still enjoying Le Parfum. From what I can tell from my reading it is a quite
polarizing fragrance. Love it or hate it. Some people enjoy cilantro and to others(like me)
it tastes like soap!
 

andym72

Well-known member
Dec 19, 2008
Midnight Poison (love this one, totally unisex)
Elixir des Merveilles (ditto)
Aromatics Elixir (less aldehydes and so better than its Aramis 900 twin)
POAL (who doesn’t like a rose?)

Anything with strong Jasmine or Iris notes, regardless of who they are marketed to, I struggle with. Jaiper Homme and Dior Homme come to mind.

I bought Mauboussin (pour Femme) years ago on the recommendation of Redneck… it was just too much feminine floral for me. I gave it to my girlfriend and it’s too much for her as well!
 

Bangkok Hound

User of Toilet Water
Basenotes Plus
Nov 4, 2015
I do love the current Opium EDP. What do you dislike about it?

I haven't tried the vintage. I do have a mini of men's Opium EDT (I don't know if it's new or old) but I do not enjoy it - it's neither spicy nor resinous to me, too green and has too much of that sharp/herbal/minty men's cologne vibe. I'm glad I only bought a mini, although I hope I'll warm up to it.
My current is the EDT. I find it plasticy (my daughter says it smells like sanitary pads. 😆) It hints at being Opium, but never goes all the way. Maybe it's just my bottle - who knows? 🤷‍♂️

Opium PH EDT I find very spicy. I enjoy it, but vastly prefer the women's version.
 

ClockworkAlice

Cakesniffer
Basenotes Plus
Jan 3, 2019
My current is the EDT. I find it plasticy (my daughter says it smells like sanitary pads. 😆) It hints at being Opium, but never goes all the way. Maybe it's just my bottle - who knows? 🤷‍♂️

Opium PH EDT I find very spicy. I enjoy it, but vastly prefer the women's version.
Interesting - thank you for your input! I found EDT much smokier than EDP, but it also dries down a bit sweeter. I do not get plastic nor sanitary pads in any of them, but I don't think it's the bottle, we probably just smell it differently.
Interestingly, I do not Opium PH EDT spicy - but regular Opium (2009) is a real bomb of cinnamon to my nose and that's why I love it so much.
 

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