Almost sex: 10 men’s fragrances that you can’t resist

Ivan Bezugly – about the sexiest male fragrances that are able to establish even the most seemingly hopeless personal life.

Почти секс: 10 мужских ароматов, перед которыми не устоять

I’ll make a reservation right away — I’m not a big fan of all sorts of lists and ratings. To choose from people, books, dogs, cakes or, as it is now, flavors of the most worthy in their category and award them places, I think it is more entertaining than obvious. But be that as it may, my “personal” top of fragrances has accumulated not for yesterday, but has been thoroughly checked many times, many places and many with whom. I won’t venture to guess what was in the air or in my head then. What my body lacked at that moment or, on the contrary, was in excess. But I declare with all responsibility that any man with far-reaching plans for life (or at least for today) needs one of these fragrances. Why I think so categorically, I hasten to tell below.

Amber Sky, Ex Nihilo

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On the left: the oriental-spicy aroma of Amber Sky, Ex Nihilo with notes of bergamot, coriander, geranium, nutmeg, white cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, amber and tonka beans. On the right: “view of Constantinople by moonlight”, Ivan Aivazovsky, 1846.

Perfumer Olivier Pesho admitted that when creating the fragrance, there was one picture in front of his eyes — a sunset of crazy beauty over the Bosphorus Strait. When I hear Amber Sky, I also have one picture in front of my eyes. Always a long and silent passport control at DXB airport (Dubai). I’m a little dizzy from perfumes per square meter and I’m not worried about a blank page in my passport at all, although by tradition an immigration police officer will stamp me there. More precisely, the Persian prince, whom I will persistently consider for a short time. Search and not find a single, even a tiny spool on a dazzling white shirt-candure. Trying to figure out what this tourniquet is made of over the scarf on his head. How can the skin be so perfectly dark, why is the edge of his beard so smooth and where did he get such beautiful hands if he is clearly not a pianist.

Eau de Cade, L’Occitane

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Left: illustration by Rene Gruau. On the right: woody fragrance Eau de Cade, L’Occitane with notes of immortelle, juniper, white cedar and bergamot.

22:30, Le Saint Laurent bar at the intersection of Sause and Montalivet streets in Paris. People have poured out into the street, sitting on each other’s heads at tiny tables in a row, smoking Galoise cigarettes and drinking iced chardonnay to endless chatter. Our thighs are almost desperate to find a free and independent space, so I know everything about him, although I don’t really want to: he has a snow-white shirt, a slightly loosened tie, barely noticeable gray hair is shining in his temples, he reeks of wine and an indecently sexy fragrance. I see that he is constantly sitting on Tinder and it seems that his evening is about to get better. During the time the waiter runs to him with the bill, I get brave and still ask what the hell he smells so amazing. It’s funny, but after that incident I recognized the same fragrance three more times and each time only in French! Such an injustice – I’m sure that on Russian skin, somewhere in the evening on the terrace in the Pokrovka area with a decanter of the same chardonnay or something stronger, he will open up even sexier.

Dior Homme, Christian Dior

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You have no idea how difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, it is to release a fragrance that will become a cult of its time. For me, all the most memorable things in perfumery ended by the twentieth century. The century that has come is marked by the era of endless flankers, heavy niche artillery and a host of other, new, wonderful, wonderful and delicious flavors, which, unfortunately, could not reach the status of “cult”. And it’s not even about numbers, forecasts, sales and the banal classification of “like or dislike” — any fragrance can linger on the shelf or sell out in one day, but not every fragrance will be able to hook, shake, make yourself remember, recognize and drive crazy. In 2005, when no one was waiting, he appeared – not at all brutal, classic in his formula, thick with amber and patchouli, thoroughbred from iris, slightly mannered from lavender and sage, mysterious from a pinch of cocoa. He came and stopped the show. I remember how at one point all men coveted him, how their women furtively applied him when he was the only one and he was advertised by a man with a tendency to BDSM.

I have never worn this fragrance on myself, but I have always allowed it to dominate me: I still remember that immobilized flight in an uncomfortable chair in the middle only because a handsome man was sleeping peacefully next to me in a Dior Homme cloud, and I pretended with all my might that I was reading a book.

French Lover, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

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The green-woody fragrance of French Lover, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle with notes of spices, galbanum, frankincense, angelica, oak moss vetiver and musk.

A smell with a telling name, which eventually puts a bandwagon and fills a pretty big bump. From the name “French lover” you expect at least a Parisian coxcomb, and you get a sailor from some Aquitaine overgrown with stubble. Instead of body and powder, you get an overdose of pine needles and pastis, and instead of courtship and dessert with a spoon, prickly and clumsy kisses that turn into rough intercourse. A brutal and terribly beautiful fragrance of thrills, which Frederick Mall personally recommended to me in 2007, when the brand was just launched in Russia, and I was looking for a replacement for it among other brand smells all this time, but I did not find it.

Le Sedecteur, M. Micallef

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Leather fragrance Le Sedecteur, M. Micallef with notes of bergamot, wormwood, mint, galbanum, rosemary, patchouli, moss, honey, leather and musk.Photogetty Images

Actually, here I was going to sing the praises of the fragrance “Steel Water” (Steel Water), but during our cloudless relationship with him, a terrible thing happened — he was taken out of production. He was one of those scents in whose company even I was silent — a fierce opponent of the division of smells for him and for her. He was exclusively and unequivocally male, without any “buts” and “ifs”.

As it turned out, this case was not the only one for the M. Micallef brand. The beginning of the exercises on the theme of desperate masculinity was laid in 2009 with the fragrance of Le Sedecteur. And if Steel Water reminds me of Christian Grey’s seduction tactics, then the pioneering fragrance works on the principle of Sir Malcolm Murray – with courtship, wine, the moon, literature and a missionary pose. Can he still perform an erotic feat in our turbulent times? Without a doubt, yes.

Kingdom of Dreams, LM Parfums

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On the left: woody fragrance Kingdom of Dreams, LM Parfums with notes of black pepper, frankincense, vetiver, patchouli and cedar. On the right: Johann Heinrich Fussley’s painting “The Awakening of the Elf Queen Titania” (1775-1790).

The classic reception of all soap operas — a charming and young holy father meets an equally charming parishioner on his way and … begins. Thoughts, dreams, visions, confessions. Anything to prevent sin.

The fragrance of Kingdom of Dreams according to the laws of the genre turned out to be holy and sinful at the same time. There is one bright and leading, the most religious note — incense – which behaves extremely demonstratively throughout the entire audible length: at first detached, then interested, then anxious, and finally begins to beat in theatrical convulsions from the recognition of its own fall. Laurent Mazzone’s incense turned out to be humane and lustful, with all the ensuing consequences.

Black Afgano, Nassomato

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Woody fragrance of Black Afgano, Nassomato with notes of hemp, aromatic resins, coffee, tobacco, oud.

I have never been to Afghanistan, but I know a young man from those places. He has a very soft voice, a chiseled nose, huge and for some reason not at all hairy hands, eyes boring through you-cherries and a bag of tobacco mixture in the pocket of oversized trousers. He is always squinting in the sun like a stray cat, carefully stuffing, twisting and slobbering tissue paper, smoothing back his resin curls and telling stories. My favorite is about the Ka Farashi Bird Cage Market in Kabul.

To find him, you need to go to the singing trills away from the Puli-Hishti mosque. In addition to wooden cages of all shapes and sizes, any feathered animals are sold here — from banal chickens, canaries and cupcakes to green long-tailed parrots and falcons specially trained for hunting. 

1 Million Privé, Paco Rabanne

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1 Million Prive fragrance with notes of mandarin, cinnamon, hookah tobacco, myrrh, patchouli and tonka bean absolute.

In matters of global perfumery, I am a spoiled and frivolous scoundrel. In matters of sexual perfumery, I am generally a complete cynic. Until some accompanying “hot” story happens (see above), it’s better not to count on me in such matters, it’s right to the consultant in the store, who has this and everything else on his blue eye.

But with one commercially successful fragrance that you always pay attention to as a professional and never as a potential buyer, I broke down. The funny thing about this story is that I was hooked not by the original, but by a flanker (a subsequent version designed to revive interest in the fragrance), which generally happens extremely rarely, not like me, but in general for most users. Having agreed with snobbery, I just approached the perfumer Christophe Reynaud at the presentation and told him everything I think about this brilliant masterpiece. After some time, the people to whom I persistently advised 1 Million Privé said that life somehow got better and began to play with new colors. And life, if anything, meant sexual.

Oligarch, Roja Dove

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Ologarch, Roja Dove fragrance with notes of lime, lavender, thyme, jasmine, black currant, mate tea, anise, oak moss, vanilla and pink pepper.

You can expect anything from a fragrance with such a straightforward name, but not what the perfume prestidigitator did with it.

Let’s just say that a very charming, well-read and educated young man came out from under the difficult hand of Roger Dove, who was not spoiled by big money and fleeting connections. Handsome, sexy, generous, affectionate and very attentive turned out to be an uncle — well, just a dream!

Kenzo Homme, Kenzo

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Kenzo Homme, Kenzo fragrance with notes of mahogany bark, sage, bergamot, clove, peach, fir balsam and sea accord.

The epochal and nostalgic fragrance of the 90s, which permeated all my student years with its corrosive spicy-sea smell, has always been strongly associated with the TV series “Beverly Hills 90210”.

At that time, when the fans were divided into two camps, I was sure that this was what the bully with the washboard-flat stomach of Dylan McKay (actor Luke Perry) smelled like, and not Brandon Walsh with his puppy-dog look, shaggy eyebrows and an endless change of flannel shirts.

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