You’re dressed to the nines: a carefully crafted outfit complete with shoes that function as splendidly as they look, and punctuated with the right amount of accessories that say you’re all about the fine details. From the first glance of the ensemble, it’s obvious that you know who you are and what you like. The aesthetic is set. What more can elevate it? The right scent.

That’s the idea behind fragrances guided by luxury fashion houses. Yes, they’re often thought of as entry-level introductions to a fashion house—an affordable way of immersing oneself into its tenets—but conceptually, they act more like final touches to a look. The final accessory, if you will.

It is counterintuitive, however, to complete a head-to-toe Dior Men fit with a Dior fragrance—it says little about you as a person than you’d think. As is the case with style and fashion, it’s not so much about what you wear as it is about how you wear something.

Master perfumers may sometimes take inspiration from the fashion house but more often than not, the fragrances tend to stand on their own. They remain true to the spirit of the house they’re crafted for, yet hardly are they literal manifestations of a certain collection or fashion creation of the house. And that means that these fragrances are as malleable as fashion, capable of being paired and layered to suit a mood or occasion.

Of delicate couture lines

H24 Herbes Vives eau de parfum, HERMÈS. La Collection Privée Christian Dior New Look eau de parfum, DIOR. Replica From The Garden eau de toilette, MAISON MARGIELA

Subtle nuances rank high in fashion. The simplest and most minimal of fashion creations should never be taken as the easiest to execute—the more seemingly minimal a piece is, the more technical the craftsmanship needed.

The latest expression of the Hermès H24 eau de parfum is a strong representation of the notion. Formulated by the director of creation and olfactory heritage for Hermès Parfums Christine Nagel, the H24 Herbes Vives revisits the original with a more vegetal vision. The result is a greener fragrance brought about by a combination of fresh herbs the likes of parsley, hemp, and sorrel while still retaining that slightly metallic signature allure of H24. The latter is reimagined with Physcool® that adds a hint of mint to the mix.

Francis Kurkdjian interprets Dior’s iconic New Look spirit as a fragrance, reimagining it as an encapsulation of the term for today. The top note consisting of a soaring aldehyde strikes with a clean, almost sterile, hit that is then grounded with the earthy characteristics of frankincense. What gives the La Collection Privée Christian Dior New Look even more body is the base amber accord for a completely balanced fragrance that hardly overpowers.

Maison Margiela’s Replica From The Garden is essentially a bottled memory of harvesting tomatoes in a rich and healthy garden. Hence, the freshness of tomato leaves is matched with bright green mandarin, patchouli, and geranium essences for a truly green concoction. It’s fresh but not cutting, so much so that you’d smell like a bush; rather, a spritz of the very best of nature.

Of deep, sensual tailoring

BOSS Bottled Elixir eau de parfum, BOSS. MYSLF eau de parfum, YSL BEAUTY. Noir Kogane eau de parfum, ARMANI/PRIVÉ

For more intense flavours, these latest selections offer more body and depth that are best suited to be worn on their own. Take the BOSS Bottled Elixir for example. The eau de parfum is a more elevated take on the popular eau de toilette original that’s become part of a starter pack for men venturing into fragrances. Just like the original, the overall fragrance is warm and heavy. Incense and cardamom top notes combine with earthy vetiver and patchouli before being rounded with cedarwood essence and labdanum absolute. It’s typically what one would think of as a masculine fragrance but amped up in intensity.

YSL Beauty’s new MYSLF eau de parfum is its take on “new masculinity”. While it is as bold and heavy as other masculine fragrances, there are hints of vibrant freshness. A bergamot accord serves as its top note, giving off that freshness while a middle orange blossom heart dials down the citrus with sweetness. And for that depth typical of masculine fragrances, a woody accord of Indonesian patchouli and Ambrofix.

If rich, leather-inspired scents are what you feel, add that luxurious complement to your fit, the Noir Kogane eau de parfum by Armani/ Privé deserves a spot in your fragrance rotation. The leather base is topped with sharp elemi and pink pepper, with saffron and frankincense adding on to the intensity. But if the first spritz is intense, the fragrance dries down into a sweet balance of leather and tobacco in a rather satisfying way.

Photography: Jaya Khidir
Styling: Asri Jasman
Styling Assistant: Chua Xin Xuan

Diptyque international commercial director Eric Cauvin.

We are sat in a private salon towards the back of Diptyque’s latest store in Singapore. It’s the third standalone Diptyque store on the island, and it is ensconced in Ion Orchard’s revamped beauty-centric B2 level, flanked by multi-label Escentials and Jo Malone London—the former would officially open the next day.

For a small city and market like Singapore, opening a third standalone store seems excessive, especially since they are all concentrated within the central region. Eric Cauvin concedes. “We do have three stores here, which is quite a lot. But if we’ve opened this third store, it’s because the first two been successful. We have had a love story with Singapore for many, many years,” reasons Diptyque’s international commercial director.

That love story is perhaps the most apparent in this latest Ion Orchard outpost. Cauvin politely asks for the door of the room to be opened—the brand was getting ready to host a lavish opening party here a few hours later—and raises his arms towards the fresco that envelops the given space outside. Pastel green walls have been handpainted with a plethora of random blooms that extend to the ceiling—the work of one Jacky Mak. The Singaporean artist has also lent his hand to the walls at the front of the store, creating a monochromatic teaser to the floral burst at the back.

“Did you also see the ropes as you walked through the store? Those are by another Singaporean artist, Natalia Tan,” Cauvin tells us. “This is our way of forming a connection with the local population, through its own artists, and we decided to make it really unique.” Mak’s murals and Tan’s braided rope knots are not the only Singaporean works that are contributing to the new store’s eclectic aesthetic. Furniture pieces—the likes of an orange lacquered table that was crafted in Singapore, as well as a mirror trimmed with wooden components by Singapore-based Studio Kallang—fill the space. The latter’s pieces have also found their way into a number of other Diptyque stores at home and abroad. The studio’s latest contribution is fixed atop a central fireplace akin to what you’d find in a typical Haussmann apartment in Paris.

Murals by Jacky Mak, and braided ropes by Natalia Tan are two of the Singaporean touches to the Diptyque Ion Orchard store.

“Every Diptyque store is unique; you wouldn’t find any two having the same look,” says Cauvin. “If you go to Japan, and then Paris, you’ll see some very nice stores but they’re all completely different from one another. But they’ll all have the same spirit and the same chemistry of local artistic collaboration. Our founders were artists, all three of them, so it’s really important that we keep that spirit.”

While many are familiar with Diptyque’s fragrances and candles that are almost always adorned with a playful arrangement of its typeface, its origin story is often left undiscussed.

Diptyque didn’t start out with what it’s now categorically known for. The brand’s founders—three friends with a passion for the arts and craftsmanship—launched Diptyque in 1961 at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris’ fifth arrondissement. It was a multi-label concept space with a selection of objects sourced from all over the world, or as Cauvin tells us, “It was the Colette before Colette” (referencing the now-defunct multi-label boutique that was the style and design space of Paris from 1997 to 2017). The candles were conceived in 1963, and fragrances introduced five years later.

Vessels take on artistic forms, perfect for displaying.

It is precisely this heritage of being enthralled by artistry—not just French but also of many different cultures—and collecting and presenting them in a unique way that Diptyque continues to embody throughout its expanding range. Modernism is always at the forefront of the brand, and that extends to the design of all its products.

Les Mondes de Diptyque refillable candles, for example, are a revolution for the brand, both in concept and design. Instead of the maximalist labels, the glass vessel in itself is a work of art, comprising three stacked oval-shaped tiers with “Diptyque” elegantly spelt out at the bottom centre and the brand’s original address in its usual layout at the top. A glass cap features Diptyque’s fragrance burner emblem. Every design element—save for the Diptyque branding on the vessel’s body—is shaped from the glass itself, creating a seamless and minimalist look.

The various ways to scent the home at Diptyque.

“The refillable candle is an evolutive version of the candle, but if you know our range, there are electric diffusers, and some new products that will come that are totally different. We need to keep being innovative in the way we scent the home, so you may be surprised at some of the new things coming but it’s important for us to make sure that we’re still the ones driving and creating,” explains Cauvin. There is a constant need to evolve and innovate, yes. But at the same time, as Cauvin reiterates throughout our conversation, it’s necessary for everything to make sense and tied to the origins of Diptyque.

Stepping back into Diptyque’s Ion store, it feels like entering the home of a collector—not just of art, but also of craft-centric pieces as though from a lifetime of travelling the world. Certainly, the foundations are Parisian and undeniably chic, but every element is a careful curation of experiences and stories. And as you smell each of the candles, you are transported to the exact moment they were designed to encapsulate—a magic that still permeates our spaces more than 60 years later.

We don’t need to tell you that your fragrance does say quite a bit about you. What you like, where your energy level is at, and even your personality might be discerned from the fragrances you gravitate towards. In the same manner, fragrances can be a tool of projection: you can use them quite effectively to communicate an initial visual impression—be it a sense of confidence, mystery or playfulness.

In the spirit of new beginnings for the new year, there’s absolutely no better time than the present to pause and reset your fragrance roster. While that may seem like we’re asking you to consider more mild-weight options, that’s absolutely not the case. This edit of fragrances—some perennial favourites with a few new releases thrown in—are meant to reintroduce a more refreshing scent profile that cuts right through headier bodies.

Think of this edit as the base on which to build on. The overall profile may be generally clean, but that really allows the opportunity to layer and mix to create ever more nuanced scents.

Hundred Silent Ways X extrait de parfum, NISHANE

Istanbul-based perfume brand NISHANE has been around for only a decade, yet its growing presence in more than 120 countries is a mark of its niche extrait fragrances. A consistent top-selling fragrance across its entire repertoire, Hundred Silent Ways is part of a collection inspired by 13th-century poet Rumi. The fragrance starts with a citrus top note, which then settles into a vanilla body. The new Hundred Silent Ways X is a reworked version created as a celebration of the brand’s 10th anniversary and leans even more heavily on the original’s gourmand body, adding on leather to amplify the sensuality of the fragrance. The top notes remain prevalent, making this a thoroughly balanced scent.

Iris de Gris eau de parfum, L’ARTISAN PARFUMEUR

L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Iris de Gris ranks top as the freshest fragrance in this edit. Part of the fragrance house’s Le Potager collection—a series dedicated to the use of vegetable notes in perfumery—Iris de Gris employs the use of a pea accord as the defining element of the fragrance. You smell it almost immediately, a crisp freshness that’s surprisingly reminiscent of a freshly picked and washed bag of peas. But of course, you won’t exactly be smelling like the vegetable. Iris and galbanum add refinement to the fragrance, with the mint (part of the concocted pea accord) lifting the fresh quality of Iris de Gris.

English Pear & Freesia eau de cologne, JO MALONE

As classic as they come, English Pear & Freesia is a quintessential Jo Malone fragrance that is the perfect balance of sweet and sensual. It’s not cloyingly sweet in any way, thanks to the main King William Pear note that gives a juicy expression to the fragrance. As with many of Jo Malone scents, the patchouli base provides for the fragrance’s longevity—this one sticks to your skin for awhile despite being a lightweight cologne formulation. While English Pear & Freesia is categorised as a women’s perfume (but what exactly is the point of gender labels in the world of fragrances?), its floral notes lean on the lighter side and, if anything, add a touch of freshness to the overall scent.

H24 eau de parfum, HERMÈS

Just like the previous fragrance on this list, H24 is created by Christine Nagel, the current in-house perfumer of Hermès. There’s a reason why Nagel is a celebrated perfumer and H24 is one of many examples of her refined take on perfumery. This eau de parfum formulation of H24 is headier than its eau de toilette predecessor but still retains a metallic note—thanks to the inclusion of sclarene—that’s signature to the fragrance. This metallic element cuts through to bring about a fragrance that perhaps isn’t for everyone. But the unique quality of it definitely sets the H24 apart from any other woody and musk-heavy fragrances out there.

Cologne Céleste eau de cologne, CELINE

The latest addition to Celine’s bath and body range—a range that was only introduced this year—is its first cologne. There’s an overall powdery radiance to Cologne Céleste brought about by notes of orris butter that ties it to the house’s refined haute parfumerie collection. Cologne Céleste, however, is designed to be an after-bath ritual meant to reinvigorate and soothe. The intended effect is brought about by the cologne’s more refreshing citrus and floral notes comprising neroli, orange blossom and sweet lemon essence. And as a way of bringing back old-school self-care gestures, Cologne Céleste can either be used as a splash (think Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone) or as a classic perfume with the removable metal pump included. Either way, the cologne is one you can easily incorporate as an everyday go-to.

A Floral Verse eau de parfum, GUCCI

Rather multi-faceted in essence, Gucci’s A Floral Verse is quite a journey, beginning with floral notes that then bring you to a green middle before settling down to a white musk base. A Floral Verse opens with Indian jasmine sambac that’s a splendid combination of floral, with semblances of warmth. The middle Sri Lankan black tea note provides a dry expression that counters the more floral elements of the Indian jasmine sambac, while at the same time infuses a dose of smokiness. The name may allude to a floral-heavy fragrance, but A Floral Verse is actually more green than floral, and layers easily with more robust fragrances.

Photography: Jayden Tan
Photography Assistant: Aisyah Hisham

L'art & La Matière Tobacco Honey eau de parfum, GUERLAIN

Tobacco and honey go on a head-on collision in Guerlain’s latest expression of its L’Art & La Matière collection. The headiness of raw tobacco (think a woody, almost intoxicating ruggedness) is smoothed over with Calabrian honey (a beloved honey extract of the house), to form a sensual tension of opposites. At the heart of both ingredients is a common warmth that grounds Tobacco Honey. It is ambery in profile, but the concocted tobacco accord—a combination of various raw materials to replicate that distinct tobacco note—is enveloped in vanilla, tonka bean and sesame for a balanced sweetness.

There is no doubt that Tobacco Honey is rich and decadent, reflected by its liquid gold-like colouring of its resulting formulation. And because this is part of Guerlain’s L’Art & La Matière collection, the fragrance’s vessel is just as decadent. Artist Anne Féat Gaiss, whose work involves sculpting paper, created a plate for Tobacco Honey’s cap involving sculpted paper that’s then glided with copper leaf as a beautiful reflection of the fragrance.

Myrrhe Mystère eau de parfum, TOM FORD BEAUTY

One of the oldest known perfume ingredients, myrrh is often considered to have a complex fragrance profile that is difficult to describe. It is earthy in nature, lending a woody and warm aroma that can be pungent and bitter at the same time. In perfumery, it is often used to add depth, based on its complexity alone. In Myrrhe Mystère, Tom Ford Beauty plays on its mysterious profile as its central hero.

Myrrhe Mystère enlists the power and mystique of two myrrh-based elements—myrrh essence and a trademarked myrrh resinoid orpur formulation—that are then combined with its Ultra Vanille accord infused in a number of existing Tom Ford fragrances. The resultant fragrance is one that envelopes with a rich aura. It’s an undoubtedly sophisticated scent meant to act as a provocative and vibrational expression of myrrh. But with the balanced blend of the earthiness of myrrh, the sweetness of vanilla and the woodiness of sandalwood, Myrrhe Mystère evokes a calm serenity.

Libre L'Absolu Platine eau de parfum, YVES SAINT LAURENT BEAUTY

Yves Saint Laurent Beauty’s Libre series is proving to be a favoured androgynous fragrance. The House expands the tension between masculine and feminine nuances with Libre L’Absolu Platine. Concocted by master perfumers Anne Flip and Carlos Benaïm—the duo behind the original Libre eau de parfum—a new accord that they’re calling “white lavender” gives Libre L’Absolu Platine its piercing scent.

The Libre series is already beloved for its Diva Lavender Heart (crafted specifically for Yves Saint Laurent) that amps up the floral expression of the lavender essence extracted from Diva lavender grown in Provence. The white lavender accord elevates the natural characteristics of lavender with its icy sheen provided by a vegetal aldehyde, polygonum. The result is an almost metallic note that cuts through, bringing about a renewed freshness that’s balanced out with orange blossom—another Libre ingredient. Like the best of tailoring, Libre L’Absolu Platine is sharp while altogether cool and powdery for a fragrance that’s undeniably sexy.

Myriad extrait de parfum, LOUIS VUITTON

The latest in Louis Vuitton’s Les Extraits collection by master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud is Myriad. Like its five other single-named fragrances in the collection, Myriad is what Louis Vuitton considers its ultimate expression of perfume that breaks free from convention.

Oud is the olfactory ingredient on which Myriad is based. Belletrud looked to the essence of Assam oud selected from a supplier in Bangladesh that is now exclusive to the maison. The strong woody and spicy depth of oud is beautifully balanced with floral notes developed through a combination of different roses. Bulgarian rose and Grasse-sourced May rose are mixed to produce a delectable rose combo that is fresh and rounded. To amplify the leathery nuances of oud, saffron is added to the mix, while cocoa, ambrette, white musk and a note of moss work together to lift the fragrance for a velvety finish. There is intensity and lightness—an unlikely contrast that speaks volumes of the complexity of Myriad. It is topped with a Frank Gehry-designed cap to further accentuate the exceptional level of quality.

Troye Sivan and Steele Mellet, the brothers behind Tsu Lange Yor.
Photo: Joe Brennan

Two years ago, Architectural Digest released its “Open Door” feature with Australian musician and actor Troye Sivan. It was a walkthrough of Sivan’s Melbourne home, which he had purchased in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The 12-minute clip was typical of the series’ celebrity-driven features—an intimate tour of someone’s home, often peppered with anecdotes about rooms or certain items of furniture. It revealed that Sivan had been quite invested in the decorating process. He rattled off names of some of the artists whose works took pride of place in nooks and on tabletops throughout his home, all while justifying their individual purpose in the space they occupy. It may well be the creative in him that allowed Sivan to exude a sense of grounded reality to the feature—that he actually works and lives in his eclectic Victorian-era home.

“I had been living in the States for about five years, longing to be in Australia, before the pandemic brought me home. As much as I’ve missed touring and seeing people, it’s been cool to be forced to stay still for a time. I wake up every day excited to make something new, in a house that tells the story of my life and the places I’ve loved,” Sivan told Architectural Digest.

That “something new”, we recently learnt, is a new venture wholly separate from Sivan’s music and acting careers.

“I have always wanted to work in this space, but really did think it was more of a niche side passion of mine—maybe something I’d do quietly as I got older,” the 28-year-old tells us. “The Architectural Digest video really emboldened me to believe that maybe people would like some of the same things I do, and to have the confidence to share my design voice.”

Tsu Lange Yor was teased as early as May this year. Eagle-eyed fans noticed Sivan following a @tsulangeyor on Instagram and when Vogue released a video of the star getting ready for the premiere of HBO’s The Idol, the consummate professional slyly name-dropped his then-upcoming brand. “I feel like the thing that, to me, takes you over the edge to where it’s like, ‘Whoa! Who is that?’ is scent. It’s called Luca by Tsu Lange Yor,” Sivan says to the camera before spritzing himself with the fragrance.

If you’re wondering, the name comes from a Yiddish phrase that means “to long years”. Sivan’s Jewish great-grandmother—a holocaust survivor who escaped from Lithuania to Johannesburg, South Africa, where Sivan was born—spoke only Yiddish and “tsu lange yor” is one of the phrases that has stuck through the generations in the family and remains in use till today. The brand is also a family-centric partnership between Sivan and older brother Steele Mellet.

“From the outset, we wanted this project to be a reflection of things that are deeply personal—such as our homes, heritage and self-expression. We don’t think other people can explore those themes for us,” says the duo. Mellet left his job back in April 2022 as an intellectual property lawyer at one of Australia’s leading law firms to devote his full attention to Tsu Lange Yor as co-founder and managing director. It’s the first time that the brothers have partnered up professionally, although Mellet had used his expertise at times to look over Sivan’s contracts.

Officially launched on 18 August via a pop-up in Melbourne’s hip Fitzroy neighbourhood, Tsu Lange Yor is simply separated into two categories: Self and Sanctuary. The former consists of the teased Luca, Pool, and the brand’s signature scent in collaboration with Sydney-based perfumer Craig Andrade, TLY 5755 (“It’s the Hebrew year that I was born in,” says Sivan). They’re all eau de parfum formulations available in either 50ml or 25ml, with the latter cheekily bottled (intentionally or not) as an allusion to Sivan’s biggest musical hit to date, “Rush”.

The Tsu Lange Yor 50ml eau de parfums.
The Tsu Lange Yor 20ml eau de parfums.

The three fragrances are inherently different. As Sivan explains, they’re meant to “cover some of my most common moods”. He’s specific on how he should smell like depending on his outfit, mood and the weather. “For example, we have Luca with bergamot, cedarwood and moss that is perfect for a night out. We also have Pool, with tomato leaf, cucumber, lychee, and coriander that’s beautiful for a warm spring or summer day. I think our most dynamic and exciting scent is probably our signature TLY 5755, with Tasmanian mountain pepper, shiso and vanilla—it’s fresh, green, peppery, and then totally warmed up and rounded out by the vanilla. It’s an awesome journey of a fragrance,” he explains. TLY 5755 specifically instructs the wearer to reexamine the scent in intervals—at the two-, 20- and 45-minute marks—after application as the scent gradually evolves.

Sanctuary is an extension of Sivan’s design sensibilities. The first drop features a trio of scented candles and oil blends formulated with TLY 5755, Pool and Sassafras, a woody and smoky profile.

The Tsu Lange Yor oil burner.
Photo: Lauren Bamford

An oil burner and a limited edition dreidel—both designed in collaboration with artist Joel Adler and hand-cast in recycled aluminium alloy—complete the home offerings. The pieces are beautifully sculptural. “The oil burner looks gorgeous, whether lit or unlit. And the ritual alone of dropping the oil in and placing the tealight candle immediately puts me at ease,” expresses Sivan.

There is reason why Tsu Lange Yor debuted with a focused four-scent release. This first drop is merely a foundation to what the brand is hoping to grow into, and at the same time, a showcase of the kind of precision and commitment to quality that it intends to centre the business around.

The Tsu Lange Yor scented candles.
The Tsu Lange Yor oil burner blends.

“Our approach has always been clear: focus on authenticity and quality, ensure every product reflects our values, and eventually that identity will be able to stand independently,” explains Mellet.

The brothers aren’t naive to discount the fact that Sivan’s celebrity status helps amplify Tsu Lange Yor. The initial online drop sold out within the day. The pop-up was buzzing with people wanting to be in on the brand early and, surely, also hoping to catch a glimpse of the star.

Celebrity notwithstanding, both Sivan and Mellet have put in the work needed to ensure that this doesn’t end up being some one-off side project. For starters, Tsu Lange Yor is a completely independent company, with Sivan handling all the creative aspects of the business while Mellet takes a behind-the-scenes role, focusing on all the commercial aspects.

There’s a set of guiding principles that they’ve laid out in order to cement Tsu Lange Yor’s brand positioning. Apart from committing to the highest standards of quality, everything coming out of Tsu Lange Yor has to be art-driven, celebrate young talents and queerness, as well as be a conduit for collaborations with inspiring creatives.

“My ultimate goal is for it to grow beyond Troye and me—to something that reflects and resonates with anyone who is art-focused and creative with their space and with themselves,” expresses Mellet.

A limited edition dreidel hand-cast in recycled aluminium alloy.
Photo: Lauren Bamford

It’s community building at its most organic. Sivan enlisted Melbourne-based Flack Studio—the interior design team behind his much-raved home—for the launch pop-up working alongside other local collaborators including Castorina and Halcyon Lake for furnishings as well as plants by Florian Wild, who all succeeded in making the space look and feel like an artfully curated home. And apart from the aforementioned Australian collaborators who worked on the scents and objects for Tsu Lange Yor, the brand also namechecks a host of creatives involved in other aspects of the brand—majority with a footprint in Australia.

From a largely Australian home base, Tsu Lange Yor has already made its way to another. Home to a treasure trove of all things fashion-forward and most importantly, creative, Dover Street Market is the brand’s first retail partner—and only within weeks of launching. Tsu Lange Yor is now stocked both in-store and online at Dover Street Parfums Market over in Paris. There’s a partnership with a gallery in Sydney that’s in the works too but the brand is sticking mostly to its own e-commerce as well as pop-ups for now.

“Slowly and intentionally,” says Sivan when asked about how he’d want people to enjoy a Tsu Lange Yor item. It’s hard to miss the subtext that that’s probably how the brand is intending on making its mark too. And if there is anyone who knows about playing a long game, it’s definitely the man who started out singing at telethons and creating YouTube videos before becoming one of this generation’s most popular pop artists.

It may be too early to foretell the brand’s future, but tsu lange yor.

Tsu Lange Yor is now available online as well as both in-store and online at Dover Street Parfums Market.

Coco Noir eau de parfum, CHANEL. Erémia eau de parfum, AESOP. Highgrove Bouquet eau de parfum, PENHALIGON’S. L’Art & La Matière Herbes Troublantes eau de parfum, GUERLAIN. Green Irish Tweed eau de parfum, CREED

Take a second and think about your favourite go-to scents. Chances are, you’re thinking about something that’s woody, musky and perhaps powdery—sensual notes that are typically at the base of some of the best-selling men’s fragrances out there. Dior Sauvage and Bleu de Chanel for example, contain base notes of vanilla and amber, and sandalwood respectively.

These grounded notes belong to the warmer side of the fragrance wheel where olfactive families the likes of amber, woody, and fougère (French for “fern”) reside. The latter of which is probably the most used olfactive family in masculine scents. In fact, both the aforementioned Dior Sauvage and Bleu de Chanel are classified as such.

A fragrance is more often than not, quite a subjective experience. While there tends to be a gendered approach to it—as with most things—there’s hardly any reason why a scent shouldn’t be used because it’s crafted and tagged to be worn by a specific gender. Having said that, there’s a common understanding that masculine fragrances favour a heavier overall feel. That’s totally fine, except in cases where humidity levels already weigh one down.

There’s a reason why warm-profile fragrances are typically worn in the colder months of the year. The rich and sometimes intense notes of warmer fragrances may be great for a lingering sillage, but in humid conditions, they’re often overpowering. Couple that with incessant sweating, and you’ve got yourself quite an uncomfortable combination.

Green fragrances are one of the more underrated scent profiles, especially in the men’s fragrance space. Green sits somewhere in between floral and aqua scent profiles. They’re meant to capture the feeling of being in the outdoors with natural notes of grass as well as the sharp freshness of cucumber-esque notes. An inherent lightness lies in the base notes exuding a typically subtle scent, but green formulations can be mixed with more full-bodied accords to create quite a well-balanced fragrance.

Consider a green fragrance like a much needed spritz of cool mist in the summer heat—inviting and thoroughly refreshing.

Where the wild things are

Because the great outdoors, in essence, comprise of a myriad of scents, it’s not exactly right to say that green fragrances have little aromatic impact. Take Guerlain’s Herbes Troublantes for example. The first whiff is immediately light and refreshing, brought about by essences of thyme, mint and rosemary. It then settles to a powdery body, but only just a tinge.

The same can be said of Jardin à Cythère by Hermès. Inspired by the Greek island of Kythira, the fragrance is a sublime combination of grasses and olive wood that is tied together with fresh pistachio. There’s a slight warmth that comes through but like a breath of fresh air, Jardin à Cythère gives off an overall feeling of brightness.

Fico di Amalfi eau de toilette, ACQUA DI PARMA. Aqua Media Cologne Forte eau de parfum, MAISON FRANCIS KURKDJIAN. Un Jardin à Cythère, HERMÈS

Citrus notes help to elevate both Acqua di Parma’s Fico di Amalfi and Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Aqua Media. While Italian lemon gives the former a distinct lemony accent, the latter gets its citrus inflections thanks to a verbena accord that heightens the citrusy aspects of verbena leaves. Both fragrances pack quite a punch at the start before smoothing out to a clean and natural finish.

For something slightly on the floral side, opt for Highgrove Bouquet by Penhaligon’s. Its deceptive in the sense that one wouldn’t probably expect a dose of sweet floral to cut through. Yet at the same time, it’s wonderfully light and airy.

Start small

If you’re hesitant about leaving behind the musk, there are a number of green fragrances that have been teamed up with musky accords. Start off with Creed’s Green Irish Tweed—one of the house’s best-selling fragrances—consisting of a familiar sandalwood base. It’s in the inclusion of Egyptian geranium, lavender, violet as well as bergamot that tips the fragrance to the green side of things.

Chanel’s Coco Noir bridge the olfactory space between amber and green quite beautifully. It’s an overall musky scent but is somewhat muted by the presence of bergamot and geranium rose leaf. And yes, it’s categorically a women’s fragrance but who could even tell?

Probably the most musky of the lot in this edit—at least in the initial whiff—Aesop’s Erémia remains vibrant and fresh. The top notes are mostly citrus-heavy with yuzu and grapefruit, and then balanced with bergamot. Its middle goes full green with green tea and mimosa, but it’s in the base that the green profile is further enhanced with galbanum. To tie it all down, patchouli affords Erèmia that distinct musky scent you’d easily be drawn to.

Photography: Jaya Khidir
Styling: Justin Neo