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.
Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Red
Lacoste has clearly been spending time in the lab lately. But while most of the brand's selection of fragrances are all about florals, citrus, and grass, L.12.12. Red (named for the first generation Lacoste tennis shirt) is a dynamic departure, a woody and fruity concoction. It opens with powerful aromas of red roiboos tea, mandarin liqueur, and juicy mango. Then it turns spicy with notes of black pepper, ginger, and cardamom. The warm base follows with benzoin and acacia wood. "Unlike the other woody, spicy, or powdery scents on this list, Red is a youthful, sporty aroma perfect for casual wear," Harrison says. [$39 for 1 oz spray; lacoste.com]