Gordon's All Time Top Ten Colognes

What kind of fragrances do you prefer?
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10165
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Gordon's All Time Top Ten Colognes

Post by drmoss_ca »

All time top 10
Eau de Cologne, using 4711 as the most famous example
Lavender Water, for which I'll chose Atkinson’s
Houbigant's Fougere Royale
Caswell-Massey #6
Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet
Knize Ten
Old Spice
Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur
Floris No89
Aqua di Parma

Such a list would be more difficult (and every bit as subjective) than the personal one. I'll give it a try, but bear in mind that this is just one possible list, others would create a different, and just as valid a one.

1) Eau de Cologne, using 4711 as the most famous example.
I think that few would argue with this one. Eau de Cologne was THE most influential gentleman's cologne style during the first half of the 19th c., Napoleon's favor of it saw to that. Even after stronger scents for men returned in the second half of the century, 4711 and it's peers continued to be popular. Richard Wagner ordered it in large sized bottles, and in the 20th c. it was favored by Benny Goodman and other jazz greats. And these scents are, of course, still worn. I included Truefitt's Freshman and Harris's Arlington on my personal list, and these are Eau de Cologne variants.

2) Lavender Water for which I'll chose Atkinson’s as a very old and classic gentleman's version.
Although Lavender Water, in some form, goes back to ancient times, it really came into it's own as a more refined cologne around the same time as Eau de Cologne, especially in England. It was one of the main taproots for the creation of more modern complex men's scents, especially the classic fougeres like English Fern.

3) Houbigant's Fougere Royale. Although more complex fougere scents were probably created earlier by Truefitt & Hill, the Fougere Royale became widely known, and very influential. It was created in the 1880s, and was still 'de rigueur' with upper crust gents in the 1930s and 1940s. It may still be available in some markets like Japan.

4) Caswell-Massey #6. There is no way to exclude a fragrance that's been made to (more or less) the same formula for two centuries and is still their most popular cologne. Some Europeans pay top dollar for #6. Like 4711, it is a whiff of the late 1700s, and like it too, it is a superb scent. Marching resolutely on (this is even harder then I thought it would be).

5) Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet (a toss up with their Hammam, but I'll go with this).
Blenheim first appeared in 1902 and was initially personally blended for the Duke of Marlborough. Even more then Royal Yacht or Eucris, Blenheim Bouquet is THE classic English gentleman's scent. Crown Town & Country and Trumper's Wellington are extremely similar, but as far as I know, the Penhaligon’s was the first, the original. You have to respect a cologne that was favored by both Winston Churchill AND Andy Warhol. Penhaligon’s has provided this, and/or Hammam to every British monarch from Edward VII (as Prince of Wales and as King) to Prince Phillip today.

6) Knize Ten.
I've posted about this scent earlier, so suffice it to say, that like Hammam Bouquet, Knize Ten is a scent that always been known to, and worn by the true cognoscenti, men like Fred Astaire or Visconti. Unchanged in formula or label since the 1920s, Knize Ten is undeniably one of the great classic gentleman's colognes, always difficult to find, and worth seeking out.

7) Old Spice.
It's popularity was/is unrivaled, and its influence has been greater then many realize. Like Knize, at the other end of the price spectrum, Old Spice, also, has remained largely unchanged since the 1930s. A populist American classic.

8. Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur.
"Say what? Never heard of it." This scent was first offered in 1904. Many consider it as the masculine version of Jicky. These two scents together, along with Fougere Royal, are really the beginning of 'modern' complex gentleman's colognes in France (and hence in Europe, and to a great extent in America. England is a separate thing, with it's own timeline and traditions). M de M is another scent like Hammam or Knize, that is a scent that's generally only known to the more sophisticated, or knowledgeable. It is not currently available in any stores in the US, and in Britain, can only be found at Harrod's. It is a superb scent, subtle, refined, classy to the max. For our more well heeled members, who might be traveling to Paris (or London/Harrods), I encourage you to check this out. Needless to say, it is not inexpensive.

9) Floris No89.
There was no way that this cologne was not going to be on my list. First made in the 1950s, No89 has been a staple with tasteful English gentleman ever since. A man like Ian Fleming would wear No89 (as, in fact, he did). Suits from Henry Poole, shirts from Turnbull & Asser, Bentleys, Floris No89. You get the picture. Beautifully balanced, and subtly long lasting, No89 is the Hammam Bouquet of the second half of the 20th century.

10) Aqua di Parma.
Although some might consider this an Eau de Cologne, I think that is not quite the case. Aqua di Parma is considerably more potent, and has a pronounced note of the very expensive Bulgarian Rose. First made in 1916, it is another of those aristocratic fragrances that for decades only real connoisseurs like Cary Grant were aware of. It was exceedingly difficult to find in the US. It became much more widely known in the 1990s when a group of tasteful Italian businessmen, including the CEO of Ferrari bought the firm. Aqua di Parma is worn all over the world by celebrities and business moguls. The firm was recently acquired (regrettably) by one of the giant cosmetics/fragrance corporations. But so far, Aqua di Parma remains unchanged. It is very high quality stuff; even the boxes are a cut above.

Well, that's it. I could make a case for ten entirely different colognes, but I think that this list is a good one. I tried to be detached and fair. Some of these scents, I don't necessarily care for personally, but they are all great 'classics'. Thanks for the opportunity to give this question a go.

Gordon
(again, I am a mere etc..)
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
User avatar
McNutt
Posts: 852
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Post by McNutt »

Great list, Gordon. Unfortunately my knowledge of colgones is about as broad as my knowledge of wine. I've never heard of any of these scents except for Old Spice (which isn't my thing), but you've made me want to try some out. I really want to try out Eau de Cologne 4711 since you say it was the cologne of choice for the world's greatest composer, Richard Wagner.

Can you give me some links that you use to order this stuff? Thanks.
User avatar
Austin
Don't mess with Texas!
Posts: 7026
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:32 pm
Location: Texas

Post by Austin »

Gordon and Chris, thanks for the primer and descriptions. I have owned or sampled all the colognes on the list and totally agree with Gordon. Kudos Gordon.
User avatar
drP
Shaving Brush Stockpiler
Posts: 2563
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 1:55 pm
Location: Netherlands

Post by drP »

The most remarkable fragrance on this list is eau de cologne 4711; i cannot emphasize in words strong enough that this fragrance is considered in Holland as an ("excusez le mot") old wives fragrance, with a very cheap and discount "aura" around it. There are no people younger than let's say 80 years old who want to be associated with 4711, let alone ware it. It's also associated with fainting; when somebody feels dizzy or has nausea then you can put a few drops of 4711 on a handkerchief and put it under the nose of the "patient"......

Some scents do have a cultural component in them, while others are appreciated worldwide. everybody likes them, regardless of culture.


but then again.....where's Holland on the worldmap huh?

Peter
Peter
bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
Posts: 27408
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Post by bernards66 »

Peter, There are definately sometimes cultural components. I'm told that one can't give lavender scents away in some Muslim countries, for example. In the US, 4711 has gone through several cycles. In the late 19th and earlier 20th c. it was an expensive and upper crust product, sold in exclusive shops on 5th Ave. In the 1950s and 60's it was marketed to men, with ads in Playboy Magazine, etc. Then it started to be pitched more to women again, and now we are back to it appearing on the products lists of some 'old time barbershop' type websites. There are, of course, a few other genuine eau de colognes still available, but I chose 4711 as a representative of the type because it's the most widely known. And personally, I still think that it's one of the best.
Regards,
Gordon
bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
Posts: 27408
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Post by bernards66 »

Tony, Yeah, Wagner ordered 4711 in large amounts, and would always try to talk them down on the price. The correspondance still exists, in some archive or other. I've personally never ordered it online, but I've seen it here and there. Googling it will turn up web sources. Here in Tampa, it's available at a couple of German food shops, and sometimes you'll see some at CVS.
Regards,
Gordon
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10165
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Post by drmoss_ca »

One update on Guerlain's Mouchoir de Monsieur - I have mail ordered it from Harrods in the past, but their online shop no longer lists any Guerlain products. However, the Guerlain website has a page that shows many boutiques around the world, though no doubt you pay top price at them. There are even two sources in Toronto!

Chris
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
User avatar
Austin
Don't mess with Texas!
Posts: 7026
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:32 pm
Location: Texas

Post by Austin »

drmoss_ca wrote:One update on Guerlain's Mouchoir de Monsieur - I have mail ordered it from Harrods in the past, but their online shop no longer lists any Guerlain products. However, the Guerlain website has a page that shows many boutiques around the world, though no doubt you pay top price at them. There are even two sources in Toronto!

Chris
You can also order it here at a discount:

http://www.imaginationperfumery.com/p/m ... ne-for-men
bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
Posts: 27408
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Post by bernards66 »

Chris, A helpful site, but, unless I missed something, there is nothing there to necessarily suggest that the Mouchoir de Monsieur is available at any of the listings for the US. As far as I know, it is not. I even tried the well stocked French Pavillon at Epcot, and no go. I've also talked to them at Saks and Bergdorf Goodman in NYC, and they didn't have it, and said that they couldn't get it. It's a pity.
Regards,
Gordon
ARenaissanceMan
Posts: 873
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:27 pm

Post by ARenaissanceMan »

I remember hearing that MdeM was out of production.
bernards66
Duke of Silvertip!
Posts: 27408
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Post by bernards66 »

Clark, Perhaps, but I don't think so. It's simply not available in the US, and some sellers, either unawares, or deliberately, say instead, that it isn't made anymore. It's still listed on that Guerlain site that Chris provided.
Regards,
Gordon
User avatar
Blue As A Jewel
Posts: 3837
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:14 am
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Post by Blue As A Jewel »

It is also showing on basenotes as still being in production.
- Ravi -

You can mistrust me less than you can mistrust him. Trust me.
optimo
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:12 am

Post by optimo »

One month ago I recived GMdeM from Paris . It has been bought for me in Guerlain's shop at Champs-Elysees and it is expensive. It cost me 84.50 Euros including VAT, 100 ml EdT spray. I haven't been told about stopping production. It is very,very unusual fragrance for me, never smelt anything like this before. It lasts six to seven hours on me. I found it, thorugh this very same lists I read on Wetshavers archive. I wanted to write about it, but I am not good in explaining fragrances through words. Probably the best explanation is, sophisticated, as Gordon wrote it. I am too trying to find others from the both lists. Up to now, I have Acqua di Parma Colonia, Knize 10, Old Spice and Atkinsons English Lavender.

Regards,


Optimo
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10165
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Post by drmoss_ca »

I would call it a powdery sweet rose, sickly if you use too much. A scent that most today would classify for female use, but if you want to imagine yourself back in late Victorian times, this was the way it was for a certain class of gentleman.

Chris
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
Michel
Posts: 65
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:08 am
Location: Netherlands

Post by Michel »

MdeM is still in production, not in the large plastic bottles, but since 2 years it's only available in the 'bees-bottle'. Unfortunately they changed the formula, the strong and weird, almost faeces-smell in the topnotes has gone. The new owner of Guerlain have changed all their old formulas, trying to make them easier to appreciate and because of some EC regulations. In their Paris flagship store you can buy the original formulas
User avatar
Troy
Posts: 485
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:13 pm
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

pronunciation of "Knize"

Post by Troy »

Just to steer the thread in a bit different direction, what is the proper way to pronounce "Knize"?

-Troy
The difference between theory and reality is that in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality, but in reality, there is.
--Anonymous
User avatar
Blue As A Jewel
Posts: 3837
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:14 am
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Re: pronunciation of "Knize"

Post by Blue As A Jewel »

Troy wrote:Just to steer the thread in a bit different direction, what is the proper way to pronounce "Knize"?

-Troy
I say "Knize". Glad to help.
- Ravi -

You can mistrust me less than you can mistrust him. Trust me.
User avatar
Austin
Don't mess with Texas!
Posts: 7026
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:32 pm
Location: Texas

Post by Austin »

:lol: :lol: :lol:
User avatar
Ben
Posts: 2806
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:17 pm

Re: pronunciation of "Knize"

Post by Ben »

Troy wrote:Just to steer the thread in a bit different direction, what is the proper way to pronounce "Knize"?

-Troy
If you pronounce it "Kwoo-Neet-Cha," you'll sound like you're in the know. Very important when buying Knize.
Hell-bent ... hell-bent for Feather!

"As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown flask in my shaving kit."
— Dr. Gonzo, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
User avatar
Gatorade
Posts: 3805
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:11 pm

Re: pronunciation of "Knize"

Post by Gatorade »

Troy wrote:Just to steer the thread in a bit different direction, what is the proper way to pronounce "Knize"?

-Troy
Gazoontite!
Post Reply