It goes without saying that a man's smell is a deeply personal thing. It's also, by default, a natural form of self-expression. So to get a feel for the best scents being offered this year, we consulted with Marlen Harrison, creator and editor of theperfumecritic.com and contributor to Basenotes, NowSmellThis,and Fragrantica. "This season it's all about the wood," says Harrison, referring to many current fragrances that are dominated by woody scents, typically sandalwood, cedar, and oud. Some even contain a dash of citrus or aromatic notes for character. Think of fragrances as similar to wines, whiskeys, or cigars; they all have various layers of notes and their characters are apt to change over time. With input from Harrison, we compiled a list of 2013's 10 best new colognes.
Derby by Guerlain
Derby was initially released in 1985 and quickly became a hit, but its time eventually faded and by the end of the nineties, it had disappeared. Guerlain brought it back in 2005 as a limited edition, but the new formula wasn't well received. Unswayed, the company revisited the composition again this year and it seems to have gotten the formula right this time. The update seems like a diluted version of the original, but then freshened with hints of artemisia, mint, bergamot, lemon, jasmine, nutmeg flower, and rose, as well as leather, sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, and vetiver. The overall effect is honeyed leather. "This is one of the most unusual scents on this list," says Harrison. [$245 for 3.3 oz; saksfifthavenue.com]