The 10 best perfumes of 2016
The past 12 months have turned out to be an impressive year for men’s fragrances. From the uber-commerciality of this year’s biggest launch, Mr. Burberry, to the resurgence of old-fashioned fragrance genres exemplified by Floris 1962, 2016 has proven that while sales growth can be slow in the market perfumes, there are still a lot of great perfumes made out there. But with a slew of great launches, it can be difficult to decide which ones to add to your rotation. To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled the top 10 launches of 2016, so we’re bringing you the Olfactory Oscars here.
L’Envol de Cartier
A favorite among the grooming press, Cartier’s sixth major release for men garnered more good reviews than a Frank Ocean album. The reason? A creamy and delicious blend of honey, musk and warm woods that tone down the sweetness to create a juice that is both light enough for the day and sexy enough for the evening. The bottle is cool too, especially the 100ml refillable version, which features a removable interior resembling a nitrous oxide bulb. Which is really appropriate, because wear it to a party and you will be laughing until your dating success. Available from John Lewis, priced at £ 87.30 for 100ml EDP.
Armani Code Profumo
Scent flankers (variations of existing scents) are a lot like remixes of your favorite bangers – they rarely match the original. This one, which builds on the phenomenal success of the 2004 Armani code, is however an exception. A woody-amber number, it still features the vanilla tonka bean which is Code’s signature note, but reinforced with the help of leather and tobacco. Like its predecessors, Code Profumo is the perfect evening fragrance: complex, sensual and long-lasting. All you need to provide is a proper business. Available from Boots, priced at £ 50.20 for 60ml.
Launched in the spring, Mr. Burberry was accompanied by all the finery of a big-money mega-launch. A high-level “nose” (Francis Kurkdjian, creator of the iconic Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier); a big-budget commercial by Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen; and a pair of not-so-ugly ambassadors in the form of actor Josh Whitehouse and model and actress Amber Anderson to lead the campaign. As you would expect from Burberry, the scent itself is fiercely commercial, down to its smoky, woody side that’s impossible to hate. It might be a scent by numbers, but it’s a fantastic scent to wear. Available from John Lewis, priced at £ 65 for 100ml EDT.
Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo
The trend for gourmet fragrances (those with notes like vanilla, chocolate or cinnamon) has dominated the world of men’s perfumery for several years now. But each successive sweet and sweet scent has shaken the initial appeal somewhat. This one, however, is worth having on your menu. Built around the scent of the most Italian of puddings, tiramisu, it’s a deep, complex, and extremely sensual confection that, as you’d expect, is big on coffee. It almost slipped undetected and with little press attention when it launched in July, making it arguably this year’s best-kept scent secret. Available from Ferragamo, priced at £ 66 for 100ml EDT.
Acqua di Parma Note from Colonia III
To mark its 100th anniversary (how is it to last?) Acqua di Parma released three high-end fragrances this year under the aegis of Note di Colonia. The third, Acqua di Parma Note di Colonia III, is a far cry from the bright and sparkling citrus scents for which the legendary Italian house is famous. Leathery and elegant, without being overbearing, it’s perfect for connoisseurs of perfumes as its price point (£ 280 a pop) and limited availability gives it a whiff of exclusivity almost as alluring as the notes of vetiver, jasmine and myrrh. which he brags about. Available from Acqua di Parma, priced at £ 280 for 150ml.
Ermenegildo Zegna Essenze Musk Gold
If you’re a fan of rich, heavy, and opulent scents, then the trio of eau de toilette that Zegna added to her critically acclaimed Essenze collection in June is an olfactory heaven. Amber Gold and Incense Gold are great on their own, but it’s Musk Gold that’s the deepest, darkest, and sexiest of the three. A playful evening scent that’s leathery and musky and contains this year’s must-have scent ingredient – saffron – it’s grown-up, potent, so not for the faint of heart. Available from Harvey Nichols, priced at £ 146 for 125ml EDT.
Comme des Garçons Blackpepper
Another scent that has wowed reviewers, this super spicy concoction has proven that Comme des Garçons is back in shape after medium scents like Blue Cedrat and Blue Santal. To say it’s fiery is an understatement: the black pepper note (typically hidden in many other masculine scents) is heavily featured in the blend here, providing a start, middle, and end that tingle the nostrils. Fear not, you won’t smell the pepper mill. Thanks to cedarwood, patchouli and creamy tonka bean, black pepper is much more than a one-note wonder. Sexy and durable, it’s the perfect way to spice up your fragrance wardrobe. Available from Selfridges, priced at £ 83 for 100ml EDP.
The past 12 months have seen a revival of old-fashioned fragrances, reminiscent of what men wore in the 60s and 70s. Unabashedly retro, 1962 from centennial perfumer Floris smells like you’d imagine Sean Connery’s Bond. A gentlemanly blend of citrus and wood, it also possesses an invigorating minty freshness and a hint of lily of the valley, giving it an old-fashioned barber freshness. Part of a collection celebrating decades gone by, it’s ideal for anyone looking to tune in to the scents of ’60s Soho – the inspiration for the scent – with an added touch of old-fashioned elegance. Available from Floris, priced at £ 140 for 100ml EDP.
Zadig & Voltaire It’s Him!
Like the first albums, the first-time fragrances set benchmarks that are difficult to match with subsequent launches, in part perhaps because so much love, care and attention goes into their success – before greed. shameless does gain the upper hand with subsequent exits. Zadig & Voltaire’s first male fragrance enters this year’s top ten directly thanks to its sexy, punchy and youthful character. A sultry, woody and spicy blend of grapefruit, vanilla, black pepper and sandalwood, it’s perfect for first dates and clubbing when you need a scent that creates an impact. Fingers crossed, the Parisian fashion house does not suffer from the syndrome of the second album without a sequel. Available from Superdrug, priced at £ 55 for 100ml EDT.
Oliver Sweeney Bosco Selvatico
Oliver Sweeney may be best known for his shoes, but the English brogue meister has also released two exceptionally good fragrances in recent years. Bosco Selvatico follows on from the excellent Argento of 2015 and continues in a similar vein of independent and trend-defying spirit. The name means ‘wild wood’ in Italian, but it’s actually a vetiver-based scent that’s rich in galbanum – a note that gives scents a leafy green vibe. Take a deep breath as there is even an unexpected whiff of the sea there. Available from Oliver Sweeney, priced at £ 99 for 100ml EDP.
Leathery and leathery Alizarin from Penhaligon; the Private Blend Vert D’Encens inspired by the 70s by Tom Ford; John Varvatos’ tribute to bikers, Dark Rebel Rider; The reworked version of Dior de Fahrenheit, Fahrenheit Cologne, the spicy version of Joop de Joop! Man, red king; and the eccentric and aromatic green scent of Beaufort London Fathom V. – Do you have a favorite scent that was new for 2016? Why not tell us about it using the comments box below.
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