Arriving in a shiny, black, wicker-inspired bottle, John Varvatos Artisan Black ($78) is a terrific choice for those times when you're feeling not-so-sunny. This limited edition fragrance is based on JV's original Artisan scent, imparting it with darker, more masculine notes that are perfectly suited to goth-like attire. [Thanks, Roland]
While Burberry has made some non foul-smelling fragrances in the past, they tended to evoke the brand's somewhat stuffy, haymarket check-clad clientele. Not so with Burberry Sport ($60). Sporting a spicy mix of ginger, grapefruit, and wheatgrass, with a little splash of tonic thrown in for good measure, this scent offers a cleaner profile than the company's prior Brit and Beat colognes, while retaining just enough of a woodsy undertone to identify it as coming from the iconic British fashion house.
Fresh off outfitting the U.S. Olympic team at the Winter Olympics, Ralph Lauren is back with its Polo Red, White & Blue ($57) fragrance. Fittingly inspired snowy, icy mountain peaks, Red, White & Blue offers scents of cucumber, red apple zest, sage, lavender, blond wood, and white musk. So even if you're not a mountain climber, at least you can smell like one. Or something.
With a bottle that looks as good as the fragrance smells, Alford & Hoff Classic Eau de Toilette ($125) makes quite a first impression. As it turns out, that's by design, as this nuanced scent — crafted by world-renowned perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux — offers an immediate fresh tone, followed by a smooth, sexy musk, and finishing with a rich, warm woody background note, echoing the design of the scent's packaging.
It's not very often we cover a product that isn't going to be made anymore, but that's precisely the case with Creed Private Collection Tabarome ($405). Because the quality and quantity of natural ingredients needed to make this rich, peppery, citrus-y scent no longer meet the standards of the Creed family, no more Vintage Tabarome will be produced, making the remaining stock, taken from the private supply of Creed's President and encased in a shatterproof spray bottle wrapped in embossed caramel Italian leather, all the more desirable.
Time for a sharper, darker scent? Kenneth Cole Vintage Black ($68) combines "top notes of fresh green lime with a dry oakwood to create an icy tequila accord." Sounds (and smells) good to us.
"It devises its own destiny, gratifying every whim as it orchestrates an enthralling spectacle for the aesthete and connoisseur." We're used to seeing nonsense in fragrance descriptions, but the above line for Cartier Roadster ($105) takes the 2009 award for most absurd. With notes of English mint, cashmere wood, patchouli, cistus labdanum and vanilla, it may not be an "enthralling spectacle," but it smells damn good. For those looking for a more active scent, Roadster Sport ($105) packs citrus notes of lime and tangerine, as well as herbs and spices like sage, rosemary, and black pepper, for a decidedly more masculine musk.
"Never resist the call of the game." At least, that's what Lacoste Challenge ($60) thinks you should do. With a woody base that's complemented by citrus notes of lemon and orange, as well as lavender and rosewood, it's a fine fall fragrance, and comes in a skyscraper-esque glass bottle with black lid that will look great on your counter — which is a good thing, since it's height will likely make it a no-go for the medicine cabinet.
Made using natural scents found in Switzerland, Victorinox Swiss Unlimited ($75) is a breath of fresh air for those used to overly-processed fragrances. It features hints of both Genepi liquor and Absinth, mixed with a little woodsy Swiss Alps Silver Fur for good measure, and comes in an awesome special soft rubber case with solid metal carabiner, so you can be ready for a freshen-up anytime, any where.
When its time to don more sophisticated rags than your standard shorts and polo, make sure you've got a fragrance to match. Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Eau de Toilette ($125) is a fine option, with notes of citrus, spices, bourbon, incense, and rosewood heart, all encased in a grey bottle reminiscent of 1950's ceramic glass flacons, with a matching silver-trimmed glass cap, and packaged in an eco-friendly box.
We'd imagine rock 'n' roll smells like cigarettes, booze, and sex, but luckily John Varvatos doesn't seem to have the same problem. John Varvatos Rock Volume One ($82) is a rock-inspired take on the classic Varvatos fragrance, adding notes of rose absolute and coffee beans to the original formula to give it an edgy, sensual scent that'll have you smelling much better than your average lead singer.
Sure, its bottle might look like a knock-off MP3 player, but the scent inside is anything but. Givenchy Play ($53-$71) is a terrific fragrance for the summer to fall transition, thanks to its Caribbean Amyris wood base. It offers a mix of fresh and woody scents, with notes of orange, grapefruit, coffee flower, and black pepper, a mix that'll work well whether you're heading to an end of summer beach barbeque or autumn evening bonfire.