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Flower Fragrances

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Why men should embrace smelling of roses (and other florals)

For hundreds of years the greatest men in history and across cultures have worn the scent of flowers – Alexander The Great wore roses, the Pharaohs lotus flowers, the Japanese Samurai cherry blossoms. And their masculinity was never questioned. As spring/summer ‘14 fashion trends have dictated, manly florals are the way to go, and your fragrance wardrobe can follow suit. And just as Givenchy and Prada have butched up florals with macho colours and stronger graphics, fragrance houses have given flowers a manlier edge.

It’s about stylish florals shaken up with some extra body – think night rose emanating with moss, lavender sharpened with ice or floral bouquets bulked out with woods. Every once in a while we like to cross our boundaries and the world of fragrance should be no exception. Just remember, fortune favours the brave and men should not miss out just because convention dictates they stick to the eau de colognes and pour homme nuits. The only tricky part now is choosing which flower to wear…

From France to Egypt

Never one to brandish its bottles with gender restrictions, Diptyque’s scents appeal to an audience rather than referencing them as being masculine or feminine. This sends an important message about gender stereotypes in the world of perfumery: gone are the days of ‘citrus for men, flowers for women’. It’s about smelling good and wearing what you want. Geranium Odorata takes on the two types of geranium from Egypt and France to bring a fresh, crisp scent highlighted with woody notes of cedar and vetiver, and fresh top notes of bergamot. It’s not just one flower you’re wearing in this lively fragrance, but two.

Tougher Tom

There’s no better way to toughen up a fragrance than with a touch of oud wood. Tom Ford – the man who can be counted on to always get it right – got it spot on with Oud Fleur. The scent is a recent discovery that’s been made by commercial architect Winston Luk, aged 33: “I’m a huge fan of Tom Ford fragrances in general – Black Orchid was the first floral fragrance I’ve owned, and now I have a few. Oud Fleur is the newest to my collection – even though it’s quite flower-dominant, the heaviness of the wood and incense balances it out.” For existing floral fragrance wearers, or those who are open to experimenting with stronger florals, Oud Fleur is a great choice to add to a collection, or even begin a new one.

Rocks star

Peter Kersting, a 38-year-old IT manager, is excited about the upcoming launch of Lavender On The Rocks by Atkinsons: “The lavender is not too overpowering like some of the traditional lavender fragrances, where all you smell is just the flower. It is surprisingly fresh – I would wear it every day. I like the reference to alcohol, too.” Lavender fragrances often have a powdery, warm quality, but Atkinsons’ sharp update of this English favourite is surprisingly cool and uplifting. Top notes of basil and geranium create an invigorating effect and have reformed lavender with a much-needed modern edge. The lightness of this fragrance is an ideal choice for those who are breaking into their first floral or looking for a floral for everyday wear.

Roughed Up Rose

Giles Butcher, a shipping lawyer, aged 28, has been wearing Rose Noir by Byredo for two years: “This is an unusual interpretation of a rose – there’s nothing particularly feminine or sweet-smelling about it. It’s become my favourite for casual evening dinners and parties.” Byredo’s bottled version of the rose is one of the most unique. Rather than emphasise the uplifting freshness that is commonly identified with a rose, all romantic associations are removed and translated into a dirtier style. Gritty tones of citrus moss and musk bring the context to night rather than day, wet instead of dry, earthy as opposed to airy; it’s a wild rose – black in colour and animalistic in character. Rose Noir would be more suited to men who prefer a bit of weight to their fragrances and are more daring with their choices.

Bring The Mint

Jasmine can be a difficult flower to convince men to choose – not only is the name associated with a Disney princess, but the scent itself is also commonly associated with weddings and floral bouquets. The trick is to find a fragrance that takes the ‘whiteness’ out of the flower when teamed with it. All-time Jo Malone favourite White Jasmine & Mint was re-launched as part of the London Rain Collection and converted 25-year-old James Cranston who works in digital marketing: “I never thought I would like a jasmine fragrance – the mint gives it a good contrast, but there’s something dewy about the smell which makes it very interesting. It might become my new summer fragrance – even if it is rain inspired – but then again we can all relate to summer rain in Britain.”

Geranium Odorata eau de toilette (pictured at top of page) £65 for 100ml by DIPTYQUE; diptyqueparis.com

Oud Fleur eau de parfum £140 for 50ml by TOM FORD; selfridges.com

Rose Noir eau de parfum £130 for 100ml by BYREDO; liberty.com

White Jasmine & Mint £78 for 100ml by JO MALONE; jomalone.com

Lavender On The Rocks £115 for 100ml by ATKINSONS; harrods.com

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