Welcome to Fragrance Friday, where each week we’ll be keeping you abreast of the newest and most iconic releases in the dynamic world of men’s fragrances. Born out of the desire to showcase one of the most overlooked, yet versatile, elements of any discerning man’s style this weekly column will help you finesse your own signature scent.
The days of rolling out of bed and slugging your way to the office in what might as well be your pyjamas should be well behind you. Even if you’re set up in the most creative of industries, where uniform is unheard of and your colleagues can’t hide their occasional sloppiness, the older you get the more you don’t mind taking the time in the morning to dress up with confidence. The man who values presence never ignores fragrance as an absolute non-negotiable on-par with some crisp white sneakers and some statement-making outerwear.
Even if you’re cooped up in an office with a bunch of other blokes you aren’t particularly looking to impress, smelling fresh and having a signature scent goes beyond just attracting attention. It’s then wise to get across some of the best everyday wear fragrances you should have sitting on your shelf that neither feel particularly special enough to not waste on a monotonous day in the office, nor are cheap enough that you feel like you might as well be reaching from some Lynx Africa.
Here I’ve rounded up just some of the current favourite bottles of men’s perfume for office days. And you want to be looking for a few things when it comes to these versatile, largely inoffensive fragrances.
First, you don’t want something with strong projection. Similarly, you don’t want something with anything more than a faint sillage. Having some degree of strength here is acceptable, but you don’t want your scent to be overwhelming. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve annoyed my colleagues by spraying perfume at my desk, and don’t want to embody that for the entire work day.
Second, you don’t want something that’s too expensive otherwise you’ll feel guilty about “wasting” it on your colleagues. On the other hand, you don’t want anything that’s too cheap either.
It’s tempting to just go down to Chemist Warehouse and drop a casual $50 on some big-brand fragrance. Sometimes it works out, but quite often it just gives you a perfume that you’d easily grow bored of and one that comes across as too excessively syrupy and synthetic. No one wants to smell like that all day.
Below you’ll find 10 perfumes at different price points, some closer to the $150 mark and others hovering around the $300 mark. Yes, those are still investments worth thinking about but they’ll give you perfumes that can be used as everyday wear in the office while also doubling as scents that are appropriate for wearing out as well.
10 Bottles Of Men’s Perfume For Office Days & After-Work Drinks
Issey Miyake ‘L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme’
The quintessential woody aquatic fragrance. Issey Miyake has presented a timeless scent with ‘L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme,’ ideal for the office with modest sillage and projection but still a complex enough bill to really feel like something.
Too often, fragrances at this price point can often wither and disappoint, but perfumer Jacques Cavallier has worked the recipe incredibly well. You’ve got a lot of notes buzzing around here, but all of them are gently layered. It’s clean, reliable and absolutely one of the best office fragrances for men.
Top notes: Yuzu, lemon, bregamot, lemon verbena, mandarin orange, cypress, calone, coriander, tarragon, sage
Middle notes: Blue lotus, nutmeg, Lily of the Valley, saffron, bourbon geranium, ceylon cinnamon, mignonette
Base notes: Tahitian vetiver, musk, cedar, sandalwood, tobacco, amber
L’Artisan Parfumeur ‘Un Air De Bretagne’
Un Air De Bretagne makes an impression without making a show. But that’s what L’Artisan Parfumer always seems to do quite well, presenting these very affordable fragrances that dial into the mid-range but still give a sense of luxury without the price tag.
Much like the Issey Miyake, it’s a woody aquatic fragrance that skews a bit gourmand with bergamot and citrus on the top before it boils down to this pleasant base of seaweed, cypress, ambergris and cedar. It lasts long, doesn’t project to the point of nausea and doesn’t leave much of a trail. Like I said, impression without making a show.
Top notes: Bergamot, citrus
Middle notes: Calone, neroli
Base notes: Seaweed, cypress, ambergris, cedar
Aramis ‘Special Blend’
Aramis Special Blend flew under the radar for me. I was sent a bottle earlier this year but that was at a time when about a dozen other fragrances landed on my desk as well. I neglected it for weeks until I picked it off the shelf and gave it a spin. Gorgeous.
This woody spicy fragrance, which was released in 2019, is beautifully done with more spice than wood, dictating cinnamon, bergamot on the top, with clary sage to help freshen it all up a bit. Whisky and Cyprus oil build the bridge to the woody, slightly gourmand base of Virginian cedar, amber, cashmeran and tonka bean.
When you’re looking for men’s perfume for office days, you need something versatile. That’s Special Blend to a tee.
Top notes: Cinnamon, bergamot, clary sage
Middle notes: Whisky, Cyprus oil
Base notes: Virginian cedar, amber, cashmeran, tonka bean
Ralph Lauren ‘Polo Ultra Blue’
Ralph Lauren may get overshadowed by more niche perfumery every and again, but not many discerning fragrance fans can deny just how damn addictive Polo Ultra Blue is. This EDT favours those really fresh, aromatic notes and throws in a bit of saltiness to help bring a bit of coastal summer to your skin.
On the top, you’ll get a lot of lemon and basil before the bridge of mineral notes and ambertonic. The very masculine base comes through quickly, sporting a lot of salt, musk and woody notes. It’s sophisticated, especially for something priced so well.
Top notes: Citron, lemon, basil, lemon verbena
Middle notes: Mineral notes, ambertonic
Base notes: Salt, musk, woody notes
Hermes ‘Terre d’Hermes’
Terre d’Hermes launched over a decade ago, and yet it’s still front of mind when you’re talking about those really reliable classics that you can wear each day into the office. Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena worked in a bit of a fruit basket to what is overall a woody spicy bill, starting off with a very gentle wave of orange and grapefruit before quickly bringing in pepper and flint to seamlessly work in the quintessential woods – cedar, patchouli and benzoin.
The fragrance has picked up more than a few awards over the years, and with the primo balance between price and quality, it’s not hard to smell why.
Top notes: Orange, grapefruit
Middle notes: Pepper, pelargonium, flint
Base notes: Vetiver, cedar, patchouli, benzoin
Montblanc ‘Legend Red’
As the newest fragrance on this list – it just launched in Australia – Legend Red is a nice continuation for Montblanc’s consistent play towards the lucrative men’s perfume market. It reminds me a lot of Moncler Pour Homme, which also launched recently, and is also a solid choice for an office perfume. I would imagine it’s the clary sage on the top, helping freshen up the very natural-smelling bridge but preceding that with a lot of zest from blood orange, grapefruit and cardamom.
By the time the perfume melts down into its base of atlas cedar, mahogany and tonka bean, there’s a real sense of sophistication here that’s not at all too strong and wear closer to the skin – exactly what you want if you don’t want something that’s obnoxious and divisive. It’s a great men’s perfume for office days and for after-work drinks.
Top notes: Blood orange, grapefruit, cardamom
Middle notes: Cedar, juniper berries, clary sage
Base notes: Atlas cedar, mahogany, tonka bean
Juliette Has A Gun ‘In The Mood For Oud’
Smokey oud bombs are often obnoxious and divisive in the office. Juliette Has A Gun comes through with a swift exception with In The Mood For Oud. Like the name says, oud is very much the focus here, with a lot of those masculine leathery notes offset quite brilliantly with saffron, raspberry and, on the base, tonka bean and vanilla.
Throughout the life of the perfume, which isn’t super strong in its projection, you’ve got that overarching firey ode smelling like a heavily peated whisky but then there are those slight sweet details that help restrain it. It’s still a fairly new fragrance, having been released in 2019, and is still one of the most impressively reliable from Juliette Has A Gun’s Luxury Collection.
Top notes: Bergamot
Middle notes: Agarwood, papyrus, saffron, raspberry
Base notes: Tonka bean, vanilla
Bottega Veneta ‘Pour Homme’
Perfumer Daniela Andrier took a worldly approach for Bottega Veneta Pour Homme, and it pays off beautifully. The adventurous leather fragrance was created for men but could easily be worn by anyone as it distils the image of, as Andrier describes, “a man leaving region Veneto towards to the north, to the dolomites.”
The muse for this perfume clearly travels through mountains and forests to get there, since there’s a lot of really natural freshness here with Canadian fir resins and clary sage on the bridge, sandwiched by a zesty top with Calabrian bergamot, Siberian pine and juniper sourced from the Balkans, and a base of labdanium, leather and patchouli.
Top notes: Bergamot, pine, juniper
Middle notes: Jamaican pepper, fir resins
Base notes: Labdanium, leather, patchouli
NarcisoRodriguez ‘For Him’
This Eau de Toilette from the reliable NarcisoRodriguez is one of the most versatile in the game, skewing old-school with an elegant, expressive homage to the great masculine Fougere fragrances of the 80s. Expect a nice, gentle wave of musk, amber, violet leaf and patchouli, all restained and worked in such a way that doesn’t overwhelm but also has enough projection to really stamp in your presence.
Top notes: Lavender, pink pepper, violet
Middle notes: Musk
Base notes: Musk, patchouli
Bvlgari ‘Man Terrae Essence’
Earthy and elegant, Alberto Morillas really outdid himself when he turned in Man Terrae Essence for Bvlgari’s dependable men’s line last year. In many ways, it’s a sketch of the quintessential masculine perfume but without the dull same-sameness that a lot of similar perfumes crumble into. Yes, woody perfumes on men are expected nowadays, but by starting off above the ground with zest and then slowly spiralling beneath the soil, Morillas has landed on an everyday winner.
Top notes: Citron, calamansi
Middle notes: Vetiver, orris
Base notes: Earthy notes, styrax
Men’s Perfume For Office – Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a men's perfume suited for office days?
You want something that’s not too strong with mid-range projection and sillage. Something that’s not going to be too divisive but will last you all day so you don’t have to re-apply before after-work drinks.
What are some great men's perfumes to wear to the office?
Some great bottles of men’s perfume for office days include L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme by Issey Miyake, In The Mood For Oud by Juliette Has A Gun and Pour Homme by Bottega Veneta.