If I’m being honest, I’m not sure I have ever smelled a traditional cologne until only very recently. I’m not talking about the highly diluted concentration (eau de cologne) or the generic term for men’s fragrances (side note: it’s a trend that is both lazy and stupid, so please stop). No no, I’m talking about the good ol’ fashioned genre of fragrance, that classic, zesty blend of citrus and herbs:The Cologne. The closest I might’ve come is the bottle of Zirh my first boyfriend gave me as a birthday gift, but when I checked its notes online, I saw there’s oakmoss in it, so I wonder if that one’s more of a modern chypre than a cologne, per se, but it’s been ages since I’ve last smelled it, and I most certainly have been wrong about these things before, and whatever, I digress.
As I was trying to say, today I’m wearing Mugler’s Cologne, and like any truly great fragrance, it’s taught me something about myself that I never knew before: namely, that I think I love the unruffled simplicity of a good, clean cologne! As fragrances go, Cologne feels about as minimal as you can get without falling into monochromaticism–and I mean that as a very good thing. According to Fragrantica, Cologne was based upon a Moroccan soap that Mugler was quite fond of, and it’s built around (I kid you not) “a mysterious “S” note at the heart – a molecule kept in secret.” There’s this lovely citrusy/herbacious accord of neroli, bergamot, African orange flower, and petigrain that delicately wraps the
marketing ploy “‘S’ note” and a clean musk at the base that lends it an oh-so-slightly-soapy essence. Cologne is so crisp and clean I’d dare to call it Kubrickian, and while I might be the Christina Crawford of New York City Summers…
…I’m such a fan of Cologne that I might actually welcome the impending seasonal insta-sweat for once. (Just kidding! That’s just the recent adjustment to my anxiety medication talking, but still.) And should you not be the sort to consider how such a crisp, refreshing fragrances might make you feel about the summertime tragedy known otherwise as underboob sweat stains, I’ll leave you with Luca Turin’s way-less-intimately-specific-but-in-no-way-less-perfect second opinion from Perfumes: The Guide: “[it’s] hissy like hot steam from an iron… [a] triple-distilled essence of space-age barbershop.” How could you not love this?
My point with all of this is that while I may never learn how to love living in New York City in the summer, I can certainly learn how to love wearing colognes as a temporary solution to an interminable problem, so I ask all of you out there: what’s your favorite cologne? What do you recommend, and for that matter, what makes it a cologne to you? Feel free to leave your comments below, and don’t be shy to respond. After all, there are no wrong answers, and besides: inquiring noses want to know!