Must-Have Colognes For a Man Who Likes to Smell Different

By Sam, Fragrance Contributor

Sam is am 18-year-old freshman at New York University, who is double majoring in Russian Literature/Language and Psychology with a minor in Vocal Performance. Were you to seek him out outside of class, you might find him brushing up on his fencing techniques (épée) at the local academy preparing to try out for NYU’s Division I after a two-year hiatus from a national team. He may be on set at a photoshoot, pursuing his career as high fashion model (you just might spot him walking the runways of NYFW soon!). Or he could be restaurant hopping, hitting up Balthazar for their terrine de lapin, Momofuku for a quick pork bun, and Café Boloud’s lounge side for a cocktail and hideously overpriced dessert. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch him belting out “Later” (from “A Little Night Music”) or “Purpose” (courtesy of “Avenue Q”) in the streets or dorm halls. But you can always catch him breaking his diet and sorting though a bag of almond M&M’s, snagging only the blue and green ones. Yellow if he’s desperate!

Must-Have Colognes For a Man Who Likes to Smell Different

It’s becoming a disturbing trend in the fragrance world for companies to rush out new colognes and perfumes simply to have a new bottle in their repertoire. But if you test it alongside other scents you could pull off any shelf, you won’t be able to detect much of a difference. Unfortunately, fragrance producers (as the tricky, conniving beings they are) have found out and distilled what sells to the masses and tend to stick to tried-and-true formulas and notes, throwing in only minor variations that are hardly noticeable amongst the muddled mix of generic woods and too-smooth leathers.

While it may be hard to find interesting, unique fragrances outside of niche perfumery houses or breaking the bank for gilded bottles, there are certainly a few you won’t have to search too hard for that fit this bill. And ladies, take note: although most of these are marketed as masculine colognes, many of them can be worn easily by a confident woman.

Some of these colognes are not going to appeal to many, especially those used to the overly-blended, generic scents that plague the market today.   These few special concoctions will become must-haves for anyone who enjoys taking a risk or simply wants to smell different than anyone else.

  • BVLGARI Black Eau de Toilette Spray ($54.00) | This cologne, housed in an interesting, round phial encircled by a black tire, has notes of black tea, heat, and rubber. It brings to mind contrasting images of hot asphalt and an attic in a summer home filled with old books and wooden chests of curios and mementos collected over decades. This one happens to be one my signature scents.
  • Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle ($77.00) | Even the bottle—a well-sculpted male torso—is interesting and different enough. With notes of powdery orange blossom, straw, and something vaguely sweet, this cologne projects sophistication and a subtle hedonism, for a fifties gentleman who enjoys his pleasures and the Italian Piazza.
  • Dior Fahrenheit 1.7 oz Eau de Toilette Spray ($54.00) | An interesting scent that many will dismiss based off of its odd description. And they would be foolish to do so. A powdery, slightly peppery opening smoothly develops into a unique combination of nutmeg and violet. These two intertwine and produce a scent that makes me unfailingly think of an old telephone pole coated in tar on a boardwalk at dusk. There’s a bit of that hot, raw tar smell combined with the saltiness of crushed shells and the warmth of a a setting sun radiating off white sand.
  • Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche Eau De Parfum Spray ($175.00) | A round, luxurious scent that calls to mind ancient Middle Eastern harems with its syrupy amber notes and smoky incense. Although it is sweet, there is nothing gourmand about this scent save for the slight hint of vanilla that occasionally peeks through. It’s an ethereal, dreamy cologne for those who prefer an more than an edge of mystery and allure.
  • Bang by Marc Jacobs Edt Spray 3.4 Oz For Men ($74.00) | Probably my favorite 2010 men’s cologne release, BANG is a unique, aggressive cologne that screams sex and danger. An opening heavy with spicy cinnamon straight from the bark of the tree develops into a mixture of black, white, and pink peppercorn with a bit of tobacco, reminiscent of extremely expensive cigarettes smoked only by Russian aristocracy in black designer button-downs and indigo wash slim jeans at an exclusive art opening downtown.
  • Philosykos Eau De Toilette ($88.00) | If you own one fig cologne, it should be this. A sweet creamy fruitiness is tempered with earthy greenness that may as well be the soil that lies of the base of the elegant fig tree itself. Or rather, this cologne is simply the experience of sitting below that tree, biting lazily into the soft flesh of the fruit plucked from the branches at the peak of ripeness distilled and bottled.