June 27, 2011

Smell Like A Million Bucks, Spend Far Less

Now, I don't want to ruin my carelessly cultivated internet reputation as a woodsy gourmand, but I must digress into the world of finery here for a moment because I am compelled. Whenever I visit friends and I see a bottle of those horrible Euro bodysprays sitting on the sink, a little bit of me dies. Those horrible sprays smell like wrung out German underpants in the worst way. They scream to all those in nostrilshot "MY TASTE EXTENDS ABOUT AS FAR AS MY ARM IN THE DRUGSTORE. DISREGARD ME IF YOU CAN SMELL ME!"

The larger point here is that cost and accessibility are ostensibly the biggest excuses for those not trying a little harder -- hell, it doesn't take much effort at all -- and as such, I'd humbly like to provide some options for those wanting not to smell so...sophomoric.

Firstly, we have what I consider to be my favorite: Florida Water from Lanman And Kemp. From what I understand, it's the American version of Eau de Cologne and in contrast to its French counterpart, it happens not to smell like unadulterated ass. Our yankee version is very versatile, simple, and it comes in a massive bottle so unless you're showering in the stuff, it'll last forever. It is, admittedly, more of a summer scent though with some citrus and spice thrown in there for good measure. I've worn it in the winter and it does well, but it definitely hits its stride in the height of the summer. Oh, yeah, did I also mention it's less than five bucks.
Probably about $3.00 with shipping on Amazon. Buy.  

Next up we have Lilac Vegetal from Clubman. Yes, Clubman of you dad's golf club locker room fame. But not that horrible green bottle of crap that smells like grandpas. No, this stuff's a bit more complex and and less grampsy. It still has that smell of antiquity without smelling "old." Don't fear the flower in the title. If a woman smelled you, she wouldn't be able to say "Oh, Lilacs!" It's more earthy, but it's definitely a little floral so if that's not your style, then we might have some other choices here.

About $9.00. Buy

So far, we haven't yet broken the ten dollar mark yet (so you really have no excuse, ever, to be wearing the eurosprays). This next one is a bit pricey at a whopping twenty bucks. We've got the C.O. Bigelow Barber Elixir Green no. 1582. It's a little harder to get a hold of but you can't go wrong by going to the source. Bigelow Chemists on 8th ave in Chelsea or over the internet. It's a very clean, dry smelling fragrance that won't overpower. It's got hints of vanilla and spice, but you know, in a masculine way not a holiday latte way. 

$19.50 at Bigelow. Buy

This last one tops the cost scales, but is still nowhere near the price you'll pay for say, Creed or Hermes. Now, if you can afford one of those, go buy some. But if you can't part with the better part of a benjamin for some smellgoods, then a good bet is Verdon by L'Occitane. Now, I know what you're thinking. Yes, it's L'Occitane and yes they have stores in malls. That your girlfriend/wife/mother shops in. But these companies like L'Occitane and Crabtree and Evelyn have that one mens shelf, and usually the stuff on it is worthwhile. This stuff smells pretty athletic, but think more post-Petanque rather than post-pumping iron. 

Direct from L'Occitane or in one of their bazillion stores for $35. Buy

The following honorable mentions are only mentioned honorably and not as part of the whole big round-up as they get closer to "real" cologne prices. They're still on the cheapish side, but certainly not drugstore cheap. To that end, I really like Eau Sauvage from Dior. It's timeless (been around since '66), and can be pulled off by the right man in any season. It's citrus with a bit of herbs and...something else. Something astringent, but not too much so. It's advertised at about 50 bucks, but keep your eye out as most duty free shops will sell it for about 40ish or less even depending on where you are and what size they have.

Sephora for about $54.00 if you can't get to a duty free. Buy.

Finally, there's Lacoste Essential. It's a "real" cologne and costs basically real money, but again, it's not the most expensive cologne you can buy and smells pretty damn good. Not over the top. It's got enough class that you can wear it to work or to the bar without smelling out of place. Nothing says "I'd rather be jagerbombing" than an overdose of Acqua Di Gio at the office. This is not that. My only beef with this stuff is the spray volume is MASSIVE so it goes pretty quickly. Just a heads up. The smallest bottle is only about 40 bucks, but if you like it, you'll run out inside of three months. Buy the big one.

Sephora for $69.00. Buy

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