Men and women traditionally wear distinctly different scents: wood, leather, and smoke for the former, heavy florals for the latter. But the line between the two has become increasingly blurry, leading to an uptick in the popularity of unisex scents. And why not? Scent plays a huge role in attraction for both sexes, so it makes sense to arrive at an aromatic middle-ground.
Because they aim for universal appeal, unisex perfumes are often more balanced, and wearable, than a traditional formula. Here’s a list of winners, for anyone interested in toeing that line.
It might not have been the first unisex cologne, but CKone certainly made the biggest splace when it launched in 1994. The crisp, green tea-based fragrance remains one of the most popular scents on the market.
Melding cedar notes with violet overtones, Cartier’s scent is a deft marriage of femininity and masculinity.
It might have top notes of bergamot and pepper layered over pine needles and a base of amber, vanilla, and sandalwood, but this sleekly packaged scent is deliciously easy to wear.
Commes des Garcons offers a wide array of unisex scents, but it’s Hinoki, produced in collaboration with Monocle magazine, that leaves the strongest impression. Inspired by a chilly spring morning in a Kyoto forest, it’s both woodsy and refreshing.
With Volutes, Diptyque set out to recreate the atmosphere of a journey from Marseille to Saigon, so this scent is rife with rich earthy tones with hints of spice and smoke.
Kiehl’s Original Musk
As legend has it, when Kiehl’s discovered this scent in their lab in 1950, they dubbed it “Love Oil.” Now it’s named for its strongest note, though the musk is balanced with citrus and floral. If this is what love smells like, we’re in.
Fresh is the key word here—and not fresh like daises, but fresh like a load of just pressed laundry. Lutens wanted something that smelled as natural as the air. Mission accomplished.
In typical Tom Ford fashion, this Mediterranean influenced scent smells like money. But it also smells like the Amalfi coast, bursting with citrus and florals.
Photo: Courtesy of Byredo