I was hoping you could offer some recommendation for my perfume-virgin boyfriend. I love the way he smells after chainsawing a tree (with the lingering exhaust smell), but I am afraid that replicating this scent would be environmentally detrimental in the long term.
I also really like the smell of incense on him (Comme des Garçons Avignon is great), and he recently found he likes the earthy, grassy smell of vetiver. I think any fragrance for him would have to wear close to the skin since he is so used to smelling au naturale.
By the way, I have tried Le Labo Vetiver 46 and Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance on myself, but neither seem to be right. I would appreciate your brainstorming.
What is it with the trees around here? Sara from the last Viewer Mail wanted to smell like her favorite tree, and here you are, Emma, getting out the chainsaw. Luckily for your boyfriend – and the trees – he doesn't need to pull the ripcord every time he wants to enjoy some pleasing inhalants. There are a surprising number of fragrances that play on the appealing nuances of gasoline and exhaust fumes.
I explored some of these scents in an earlier Viewer Mail, "I Want to Smell Like Chinese Air Pollution."
One of my recommendations there, Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline, might fit the bill with its peaty truck exhaust and incense. The readers' suggestions for that post are spot-on as well.
I asked my Perfume Pen Pal Dan to weigh in, since he's particularly good with the intersection of esoteric and cockamamie, and he had this to say:
Y'know, I'm loving Gravel ("A Man's Cologne".) It's such a cool scent, supposedly unchanged since '57 (according to the perfumer), which seems hard to believe when you smell it because, while it's definitely masculine, it smells post-modern, almost like one of those CdG Synthetics, Tar or Garage maybe.
At first, it smells a little like your hands after you've just put gas in the tank. Which, to me at least, is an excellent smell. I think that smoky grassy smell of vetiver kind of reads as gasoline.
The perfumer came up with the "gravel" concept because he thought it would make men more amenable to wearing fragrance. Sometimes life is just that simple.
The problem is it's not very available, as far as I can tell, only in one online shop (for a very pricey price). But, yeah, it's a great choice for your gent.
My take is that Gravel smells like slightly sweet, slightly burnt hair. It's soft and a little powdery. It's lemon-y, then frankincense-y, then sandalwood-y. I'm shocked that it's from 1957, because it's true that it smells absolutely contemporary.
But if you want a hit of pure petrol, you can't beat the hit off the top of Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia, though at a some stage it pulls out of the garage and reconfigures into a kin of Bulgari Black.
My top suggestion for a gas-inflected, close to the skin scent is Donna Karan Fuel for Men. A puff of petrol lingers over intensely desiccated apple and cool, strokable leather. Fuel for Men shifts gears on the skin, fluctuating between sweet gasoline, brooding ashiness and buttery sandalwood. It's foxy.
Fumies, can you gas Emma out with your suggestions for petroleum pleasures?