Uncommon scents 2: Who’s the Boss?

Design giant Hugo Boss has released some thoughts on what goes into a ‘modern classic’ in terms of men’s fragrances. To be honest the answer is probably a depressing mix of focus group opinion and staying power in the market, followed by a sales report.

Boss for Men (from Flickr: Odolphie’s photostream)

Boss isn’t quite so cynical. Its research suggests people are concerned about evocativeness, reminders of their childhood (so the Play-dough aftershave is about due), and of course durability in the market. It nominates a couple of its current offerings as classics of course, and it’s been kind enough to send them over. My own favourite is Bottled Night – actually that’s not quite true and I’ll tell you why in a mo.

Bottled Night has note of lavender, is a bit woody and at the same time refreshing and is my idea of a good scent. My wife, crucially, also quite likes it. My actual favourite from the range, Boss Orange, is new; it has apple, vanilla and is so far from the run-of-the-mill identikit cologne (you know the sort of thing, you buy a cologne and it smells the same as the last one you had in spite of the different name).

Unfortunately my wife is one of the handful of people who has a very strong reaction to scent; I put it on and she got a headache, nausea – this isn’t a comment on the scent but on some people’s sensitivity (she also has trouble when she walks past a Lush shop). I like it myself and I would wear it in a minute, but I know it’ll upset my partner. So that’s in the back of the cupboard for when we have a row.

Boss for Men I also like, fruity and fresh, but haven’t chanced it with Carol around just yet;  Hugo Man is a little spicier and I like it very much, while Hugo Boss Different has a bit of zingy mint and lemon in the mix. I’m not terribly worried about whether these are modern classics; I’d wear any of them occasionally (although the ad campaign leads me to suspect they’re chasing a younger demographic – am I going to end up looking like a walking mid-life crisis? Or smelling like one..?) but if I took one lesson away from this sniffing session then it’s “don’t buy your colognes alone – your partner will have to inhale too”.

I’ve also looked at a couple of non-Boss scents recently. I was favourably impressed with the cucumbery, apple-y Polo Ralph Lauren Red White and Blue, which is very refreshing indeed. Current favourite of the new crop is one from Vintage, sold to me by the guys at The Valet in Addiscombe. Called Mod, it’s light, gives you a splash of spearmint and lemon to start you off and as it settles you get warm vanilla and (I think, although I can’t find any other write-ups that say so) a bit of cocoa. Maybe I eat cheap chocolate with an overdose of vanilla and only think I’m smelling cocoa.

A pretty good crop then.


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