Brian Fantana: ...Time to musk up.
Ron Burgandy: Wow. Never ceases to amaze me. What cologne you gonna go with? London Gentleman or wait. No, no, no. Hold on. Blackbeard's Delight.
Brian Fantana: No, she gets a special cologne...It's called Sex Panther by Odeon. It's illegal in nine countries...Yep it's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.
Ron Burgandy: It's quite pungent.
Brian Fantana: Oh yeah.
Ron Burgandy: It's a formidable scent...it stings the nostrils. In a good way.
Brian Fantana: Yep.
Ron Burgandy: Brian, I'm gonna be honest with you, that smells like gasoline.
Brian Fantana: They've done studies, you know. Sixty percent of the time it works, every time.
Ron Burgandy: That doesn't make sense.
-Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy
Ladies never seem to forget that first crush. How he looked at her in geometry class. How he wore his super cool Generra Hypercolor t-shirt. And most notably, how he smelled like Cool Water.
Scent does trigger the memories. Call it an olfactory scrapbook of sorts. So, gents if there's still a bottle of Cool Water sitting on your dresser, it may be time to create some new olfactory memories for the lady in your life. When a reader suggested a post on colognes, PR jumped at the chance to do a post for the boys. After all, the right cologne is key for the well dressed man. So, RW and I grabbed our notebooks, took a field trip to Neiman's and spent our lunch at the cologne counter. Let's just say, we smelled very masculine for the rest of the day, but all in the name of helping one more good man smell...well...good.
So boys (and those purchasing cologne for the boys in their lives), here are your basics. Just like perfume, cologne is not a single scent but a combination of many. These different smells are called notes. There are top notes, middle (or heart) notes and base notes. But don't expect to smell them in stages. Top notes are usually light; middle and base notes are usually the dominant ones. Base notes usually give the fragrance its staying power. So due to this structure, when you test a cologne, gentlemen, try it on and wait 10 minutes at the store to let all the notes emerge, before you decide to buy. (I suggest spraying the cologne of choice, taking some time to buy the lady in your life a gift and then deciding if you want to purchase your cologne).
Here are the Pink Rickshaw picks for best at the cologne counter (And don't worry, careful effort went into picking fragrances that were not too feminine. After all, I figured you want your cologne to help pick up chicks, not smell like one.)
Gucci by Gucci
Top notes: bergamot, cypress, violet
Heart notes: tobacco leaves, jasmine
Base notes: patchouli, amber, incense
PR notes: This woody fragrance smelled quite macho but pleasant with a lingering layer of musk. May be a bit too much for an everyday cologne, but definitely works for a night out.
Jo Malone Dark Amber and Ginger Lily
Heart notes: spice, orchid
Base notes: kyara wood, cardamom
PR notes: This unisex fragrance can be worn alone or combined with other Jo Malone fragrances. I tried this one and added the Jo Malone Grapefruit cologne for a layered scent. It is definitely reminiscent of incense, and maybe that's why it has a strangely calming feeling. May be more appropriate for evening to night like the Gucci. (Note: Try a light citrus based cologne like the Grapefruit as your day cologne and a heavier, woody cologne at night.)
John Varvatos Vintage
Top notes: rhubarb, quince, absinthe, spices
Heart notes: lavender, cinnamon, jasmine, orris, fig balsam
Base notes: patchouli, oak, moss, tonka bean, tobacco, suede accents
PR notes: Leathery and spicy...what a man should smell like.
Notes: Apparently, this Chanel fragrance does not use a traditional pyramid notes structure and is instead multi-faceted, with no single note dominating. Some of the many notes are honeysuckle, water lily, magnolia, mandarin, passion fruit, and bourbon vanilla.
PR notes: Classic and Chanel definitely go hand-in-hand. A pleasant scent if you are looking for something sophisticated and a little more mature.
Notes: bergamot, lemon, vetiver, nutmeg, clove, heliotrope, amber, vanilla
PR notes: Sensual and spicy
Creed Green Irish Tweed
Base notes: citrus and sandalwood (from Mysore, India)
Other notes: french verbena, florentine iris, violet leaves, ambergris
PR Notes: Drumroll, please, this is PR's pick for the best cologne we may have ever smelled. It is not overpowering and can be worn day or night. However, it comes with a hefty price tag. At $250 a bottle, this is what being wealthy (and hot) must smell like. This particular Creed fragrance was created for Cary Grant and later worn by Richard Gere and Robert Redford. It is elegant but sporty, fresh, masculine and as unique as the sandalwood from Mysore.
If Creed is currently out of the budget, here are some other PR recommendations (from male friends and family of the site) that may be slightly more affordable:
-Armani's Acqua di Gio (woody but light)
-Issey Miyake (however, be wary of Miyake's new fragrance "A Scent by Issey Miyake". As RW described it, it should be more like "A scent that I hate".)
-Hugo by Hugo Boss (Brothers, SOs, and guy besties all named this one over and over as a good everyday fragrance. It is interesting with notes of green apple and spearmint.)
-Good day colognes include Lacoste Essential and Boss Pure
Men.style.com's Colognes (rated for butchness, wearability and snob value)
Esquire's Cologne Reviews
image source: neimanmarcus.com