what men want, lavenderoom, fragrances, gifting guide


Face it we don’t want to pander to male egos but we love them when they are besotted and smitten. Here is a guide of what men want to smell on the women they love. This list makes for a good gifting guide as well.

I often have friends ask me for recommendations for scents that they should pick up at the Duty-Free. However, a particular brief from a dear friend got me thinking. She was looking for a perfume that would invite her date to lean in a bit closer to get a whiff of what she was wearing on her skin. Now the question is, does a fragrance really hold the power to make a man go crazy for you? Most advertisements for fragrances would definitely have us believe that scents and sensuality are intrinsically linked. As much as I seriously doubt their efficacy in making a man go weak in the knees, I do believe that a fragrance is designed to be an invisible tool used to draw people towards you.

But when it comes to men I thought I should hear it from them. So I spoke to about 100 interesting men — fighter pilots, submariners, investment bankers, creative directors, real estate agents, consultants, publicists, communication managers, and professional photographers — to figure out what scents they like on women.

Results varied in terms of brands mentioned but were quite similar in terms of what they would like to smell. Unlike women, most men let their noses take a backseat. It only turns into a “favourite” scent, for them, when they get really attached to a woman. My dear friend, an officer in the Royal Air Force, Neil Jones sums it all in a sentence, “Perfumes for me are linked to the woman. My wife Louise could wear almost anything and I’d like it!”

what men want, fragrances, lavenderoom,
eunice-stahl @unsplash

In a nutshell, the Aparrna –analytics.

“As exciting as leaving a strong fragrant trail sounds, more often than hypnotizing, it’s annoying”

A fragrance shouldn’t shout. It should whisper. It should not invade somebody’s olfactory space but gently knock at its door indicating your arrival. I found strong-willed, adventurous men, who appreciate space in their personal relationships, don’t like their olfactory space being attacked by cloying fragrances. As a New York-based investment banker said, “Even though it may smell good, when someone walks into an elevator and the scent is too strong I feel like I am in a perfume store.” Often it isn’t about the kind of scent but how it is applied. When wearing addictive fragrances (read gourmand/oriental) like Guerlain ShalimarMugler Womanity or Dior Hypnotic, the trick lies in wearing it light.

Often our noses often get desensitized to our favorite fragrances and we commit the mistake of applying it way too much. Spray, and walk inside a cloud of fragrance letting the fragrance mist your skin and hair.

  • My pick: Mon Guerlain from the house of Guerlain is a fresh oriental fragrance that captures the subtle aroma of lavender (usually used in men’s fragrances) with jasmine and sandalwood. The enchantingly subtle Peony & Blush Suede Cologne by Jo Malone London features notes of red apple, peony, and suede.what men want, fragrances, lavenderoom, jo malone london

“Instead of strong floral bouquets or sweet-smelling fruits, men are more taken in by fresh aquatic scents with watery accents of water lily, hyacinth, reminiscent of a refreshing sea breeze.”

Most of the men used the word clean and crisp to describe the kind of scents they liked. “I like it when women smell like dew drop on a leaf,” said one. A successful IT head honcho mentioned how he liked “a mild, watery floral” spell on his woman. Aquatic scents smell earthy of sun-kissed skin deliciously moistened by the salty sea breeze. The picture you get is of a Mediterranean, Caribbean, or exotic beach holiday. It’s evocative of bare skin on sand and with the graphic way a man’s mind works, what’s not to like in this?

  • My pick: L’Eau d Issey Pure by Issey Miyake resonates with green, floral watery notes. Delicate and transparent with a carnal floral twist, this is meant to smell like water on a woman’s skin. Chloe Eau de parfum consists of well-balanced notes of musk, marigold, narcissus, orange blossom, vanilla, and Plumeria
  • chloe eau de parfum, what men want, lavenderoom

 “He likes you to smell of him … for him”

It’s like the boyfriend jacket or the boyfriend shirt – men get turned on when you stake a claim on his territory. For Him, On Her. Confident, fun-loving, and flirtatious guys quite like spicy and marine notes flirting with women’s delicate skin. Sugar is nice but he likes to be surprised with a hint of fire and spice. Men don’t like boring. wearing something wildly addictive will pique his interest and intrigue him. A dash of spice? Think pepper. A woody trail? Look for cedarwood and sandalwood. The smell of cut grass? Vetiver. Addictive? Musk. The mere imagery is loaded with innuendoes. Scents are perfect for an intimate dinner date.

“Typical sweet feminine fragrances give me a headache. I feel Chanel’s Allure, Issey Miyake Intense (for men) and CK Eternity (for men) smell brilliant on women,” said one of my respondents.

  • My Pick: Paco Rabbane’s Pure XS has notes of icy ginger, spicy cinnamon, mellow vanilla and a cocktail of leather-liquor-musk. It smells great on a man but is surprisingly delicate on a woman’s skin. Narciso Rodriguez Fleur Musc is a bouquet of fresh pink roses, warmed by a dash of pepper on a seductive base of wood and amber.

So much for men, but here’s my ‘smell-fab’ thumb rule:

We don’t want to smell like a perfumed garden, candy shop or canned juice. We want to smell human but divinely so. Don’t go by how a perfume smells, rather go by how it makes you feel. Concentrate on emotions it stirs – happy, confident, sexy, relaxed, carefree, ecstatic and euphoric. Match the emotions to the place/occasion (confident- a job interview, date – happy/sexy/confident, depends on what you want to be that day) and you will get what you desire from a fragrance!

First published in www.geetaslist.wordpress.com.  I have updated ‘my picks’ with the latest favourites.


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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