Niche Fragrance Magazine

Men’s Grooming Part 1: Fragrances for Traditional Wet Shavers

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Why should there be a special post on fragrances for traditional wet shavers? Well, as those who embrace this traditional practice have learned, the process of wet shaving is not merely a daily task, but rather is a meditative ritual that can provide delight and even intellectual stimulation. Everything from scent to sound becomes more acute as the razor is brought to the face, perhaps because the brain instinctively understands that this a practice that requires special attention and care. In my own experience, shaving in the early morning will awaken the mind and revitalize the senses far more effectively than an espresso. Because of the alertness and sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving a flawless shave, certain fragrances will provide a particularly enjoyable conclusion to the shaving ritual. I shave in the morning and I am a traditionalist when it comes to pairing my fragrances with wet shaving, so I prefer fresh, barbershop, and conservative scents that are able to extend this sense of alertness and accomplishment well into the afternoon.

Here are a few suggestions for fragrances that pair well with a traditional wet shaving ritual:

Geo F. Trumper’s Extract of West Indian Limes:

Are you a minimalist? Do you hate wearing fragrance and/or find the very idea effeminate? What are you doing on this website then?! GET OUT!! If this describes you, look no further than Trumper’s Extract of West Indian Limes. Quintessentially British, fleeting, and eminently understated, Extract of West Indian Limes is elegant, yet only slightly more powerful than an aftershave. Smells like the name.

Acqua di Parma’s Colonia and Essenza:

Acqua di Parma’s offerings conjure images of the rich and famous. Powdery, citrusy, and clean, the original Colonia (and its update, Essenza) is a classy way to start the day.

Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino:

Modeled after the original 4711 cologne, Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s creation for the Tom Ford Private Blend is a tribute to the eau de cologne that properly lingers. Especially in the heat, Neroli Portofino is the perfect choice for gentlemen who possess a lively demeanor.

Penhaligon’s Sartorial:

The scent of a Savile Row tailor, composed masterfully by Bertrand Duchaufour. Simultaneously classical and modern, Sartorial combines the scent of a traditional lavender fougere with elegant notes of metal and beeswax.

Creed’s Original Vetiver:

Original Vetiver smells like a successful American businessman on holiday in the South of France. The wearer will carry with him a cooling breeze of tart mandarin, green vetiver, and spiced ginger.

Roja Dove’s Scandal Pour Homme Parfum:

Are you in charge of a corporation with an annual budget that is larger than the GDP of most countries? If so, Scandal Pour Homme Parfum is for you! Roja Dove’s take on a traditional aromatic fougere smells like old money, power, and exquisite taste.

Fragrances by Penhaligon’s, Acqua di Parma, and Creed can be found at Essenza-Nobile.

Something to think about: What is a barbershop fragrance? There have been many debates on both shaving and fragrance forums regarding the makeup of barbershop scents. What exactly is a barbershop fragrance supposed to smell like? I’d suggest that there can be no consensus on this matter simply because barbershop scents will vary from region to region. For instance, many American barbershops have a heavy lemon scent that emanates from various disinfectants. Other American barbershops and some British barbershops still use horsehair-brushed talcum powder and consequently smell quite powdery. Some French barbershops favor the chypre notes that are present in Pinaud-like aftershave splashes. Italian barbershops are known for the scent of almond. And so forth. This should be sufficient to demonstrate the diversity of shaving rituals around the world and would suggest that there is no universal consensus on what a barbershop is supposed to smell like. What fragrance notes come to mind when you think of a barbershop scent?

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