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Men’s fragrances commonly feature ‘dry’ notes – they give a fresh smell and are achieved with ingredients such as woods, herbs and mosses.Men tend to prefer fragrances that were either worn by their father or smell similar to them.This is because we only learn to think of smells as ‘good’ by associating them with good feelings – and these are imprinted permanently by our early teens.This provides some explanation for why certain men’s fragrances remain widely imitated bestsellers generations after their launch, such as Old Spice, Tabac, Eau Sauvage and Brut, which still achieves sales of over £40m a year.
Heat causes deterioration, too, so ideally – if you’re a real fanatic – a scent should be kept in an aluminium bottle and refrigerated at 3-7°C. The top notes give the fragrance’s initial impact and last for five minutes to half an hour (wait at least five minutes before buying a fragrance).
The middle or ‘heart’ notes provide the ‘body’, and are usually made of floral, spicy or woody ingredients.
The base notes come to the fore after about 30 minutes and are the notes that linger – the ingredients used are made of the largest molecules and are slowest to evaporate.
Fragrance design today is increasingly about pressing subliminal buttons to create a sense of well-being, safety or nostalgia.
Niche brands have made welcoming smells their pitch: Demeter produces Laundromat, and Smell This offers Cookie Dough and Fresh Towels.