The Best Subtle Fragrances

The Best Subtle Fragrances

The Best Subtle Fragrances


There is a flipside to everything including men’s fragrances. I know many men like to wear masculine, musky colognes.


That’s great. But, there is a time and place for musky colognes. Musky fragrances are the best way to go on certain occasions. However, there are times when more subtle fragrances are better.


Let’s find out more.


Do Women Prefer Subtle Fragrances?


Yes, many women prefer subtle fragrances. This is not always true, but I go as far as to say it is true most of the time.


Once again, I am coming at this from a personal standpoint. I do know many of my girlfriends feel the same way.


Musky colognes and aftershaves often overpower a situation. First dates are a classic example. After all, you want the woman to remember you, not your aftershave.


What Is Special About Subtle Fragrances?


As I am really into perfumes, you can imagine what I am like when I meet a man for the first time.


My nose immediately starts working over time. More than once I have asked myself why a man is wearing a certain cologne. What signals is he sending?


That’s the trick, gents. You want to think about what signals you are sending. Ladies don’t want to be overwhelmed by your scent.


I can only compare this to talking on first dates. Instead, of doing all the talking, try to do more listening. Just like a subtle cologne, listening is a gentler form of communication.


When I meet a man who wears a subtle cologne, I immediately think he is more sophisticated and a better companion. He is not trying to overwhelm me with the scent of his cologne.


Guys, let me say this. You can be sophisticated without being suave. The muskier the more suave - this could even set alarm bells ringing in her head.


A subtle choice of fragrance also tells me that he is not frightened of being himself. I consider him a much more honest person than a guy who wears a more intense, musky fragrance on a first date.


We communicate with signals all of the time. That includes our choice of fragrance.


In other words, subtle fragrances tell us ladies you are sophisticated, approachable and confident. The expression in touch with your feminine side springs to mind.


A musky fragrance tells us ladies you are out to seduce us and have something different in mind than just a pleasant evening.


Did you know women often talk about the cologne or aftershave men wear on dates? We may not know the name, but we will certainly recognise if it is intense or subtle.


On a scale of one to ten, a subtle perfume is closer to getting top marks.


When Should Men Wear Subtle Fragrances?


Let’s cover this before we move to my list of subtle fragrances.


A subtle fragrance is a must on the first couple of dates. This is when you do the groundwork for a possible future relationship.


You should also wear a subtle scent when you meet someone’s family for the first time. Once again, it is about making a good personal impression.


The same thing goes for meeting her friends. Please make sure you smell nice but don’t overpower the occasion.


Subtle colognes are great for both the daytime and nighttime. Wear one if you are thinking about taking a work colleague out for drinks after work.


Without further ado, let me give you some suggestions.


Subtle Men’s Fragrances


Prada L’Homme


This is a great fragrance when you are going out with friends, family or a girlfriend.


I love the opening statement of soft neroli slightly spiced with black pepper and cardamom. Then, you get a slightly nutty note which comes from carrot seeds.


In the midrange, you have other subtle notes including violet leaves and gentle iris. In the background, there are hints of cedar, amber and sandalwood. Then just a touch of patchouli.


A lovely scent with excellent longevity.


L'eau d'Issey by Issey Miyake


This scent combines citrus and woody notes in the perfect arrangement. The fragrance is aromatic without overpowering.


There is a hint of fresh species somewhere in the middle. Then, L'eau d'Issey by Issey Miyake finishes with slight floral accords and green freshness. There is something for everyone in this scent.


The best way to describe it is as a combination of a late spring day and an early summer’s day. Fresh, clear and invigorating.


Eau de Lacoste L.12.12


I love the fact Lacoste has not been afraid to add a few masculine nuances into the mix. The soft finish of leather and vetiver works well.


The fragrance opens with the freshness of grapefruit highlighted by cardamom. Tuberose and ylang-ylang feature in the middle before you are hit by those more masculine base notes.


Virginia Cedar makes this a soft scent while offering endurance.


YSL L’Homme


This is such an excellent men’s scent.


I instantly recognise its fresh slightly cheeky opening. Ginger has been added for extra interest. This is offset with bergamot and lemon.


You also got a few herbal touches in the blend. Basil is one of them and maybe pepper. Cedar and vetiver make an appearance. The blend is held together by soft tonka bean.


This fragrance proves YSL is a master perfume. Despite being launched in 2006, YSL L’Homme remains hugely relevant.


Chanel Allure Pour Homme


A treat for the senses is the best way to describe Allure Pour Homme.

What does it smell like? This is a combination of many notes. You get freshness, spiciness and a slight muskiness. The scent manages to be masculine without taking over or imposing its masculinity.


Fruity, woody and floral notes blend well before finishing with the seductive and gentle nature of oakmoss. The fragrance draws you in and is one of my favourite colognes for men.


Then again, I would not excerpt anything else from Chanel.


Versace Pour Homme


It is fair to say this fragrance for men is almost tactile.


I love the way citrus and aromatic notes hang in the air. It is almost like you can reach out and grab them.


Then you got that delicious combination of spices and rose. I have always loved that. Rose adds a certain unique softness and richness.


The finish is fresh and green. It is an enduring fragrance which you can smell for many hours. A lovely subtle scent with so much to offer.


Tom Ford Grey Vetiver


This is a truly sophisticated scent. You can even call it elegant.


But, it is not the sort of elegance that shouts at you. Instead, it makes a soft statement with notes of wood and citrus. This is set to a backdrop of gorgeous vetiver with notes of fresh earth and a few spices thrown in for good measure. I think the addition of vetiver is intensely masculine in a sophisticated way.


The spicy finish is great and helps build up the longevity of the fragrance. I think Grey Vetiver is slightly sexy, but it is just a hint. Overall, this is an elegant fragrance which manages to be sophisticated without going over the top.


Bvlgari Pour Homme


Don’t let this slightly spicy blend put you off. Thanks to an earthy background, aromatic and spicy notes work very well.


The fragrance is also fresh thanks to the addition of citrus notes. The powdery notes carry the fragrance on a fluffy summer cloud.


It seems to waft and then disappear before gently re-emerging. A lovely fragrance from a world-class perfume brand.


Bvlgari Pour Homme deserves a space on your bathroom shelf. It is a great date night cologne.


Eternity For Men by Calvin Klein


Why Eternity For Men?


I know many are surprised when I mention this as a subtle fragrance for men. But, despite having been around for a long time, it is a scent that many women appreciate.


As it was launched in 1990, it could be many women recognise this fragrance. Maybe their fathers wore Eternity. Over time, it has become an almost comforting scent.


I think Eternity deserves to be on this list. It is a subtle fragrance which wears well during the day.


What does Eternity by Calvin Klein smell like? You know that fresh clean scent you get when you dry the washing on the line? I know it sounds silly, but Eternity reminds me of that smell.


White floral notes mix easily with aromatic and slightly spicy tones. There’s a hint of herbs and warm spices set against a fresh, powdery backdrop. The green finish is perfect for this trusted men’s fragrance.


Eternity by Calvin Klein can be called a go-to fragrance. It works well for both young men and more senior gents.


Also, a great backup for when your favourite daytime scent is about to run out.


Eternity Aqua For Men


The ocean - many women find aquatic scents and ocean breezes intensely romantic. Fortunately, Calvin Klein has managed to bottle them in the form of Eternity Aqua for Men.


The fragrance was launched back in 2010 and became popular quickly. Since then, it has perhaps given away to other subtle men’s fragrances. However, just like Eternity, it deserves a spot on this list.


It is one of the few scents that blend aquatic and woody notes in the right combination. The softness of the fragrance is almost gentle at first.


Then you notice citrusy and fresh notes before you get to the powdery and fruity finish. A gentle note of lavender wraps it all up.


I find it romantic and masculine all at once.


Bvlgari Man Rain


This is a recent addition to the men’s fragrance range from Bvlgari. Once again, it is the softness of water that does the talking.


Man Rain is a very pure fragrance. It smells clean and powdery without saying I just had a shower. Amber and woody notes make it interesting and floral notes along with the freshness of citrus add highlights.


I think Man Rain is subtle with hints of masculinity from wood and amber.


Guerlain Habit Rouge


Oriental roses have an amazing aroma. The scent is not too strong and not too subtle. That is what Habit Rouge is all about.


This is a very sophisticated and elegant scent created by Jean-Paul Guerlain itself. The fragrance is floral but not overpoweringly so.


You can enjoy hints of freshness, vanilla and warm spice. The finish is one of leather and the lightest balsamic note.


I love the fact it was created by Jean-Paul himself. It makes it a classic men’s fragrance still relevant in the modern age. You can say Habit Rouge is a timeless men’s fragrance.


Jimmy Choo Man Blue


Clary sage - I have never met a woman who does not like the scent of clary sage.


This is exactly what Jimmy Choo Man Blue offers as an opening statement. If you like, Man Blue sort of invites you into its fragrance bouquet.


The base is soft sandalwood. But, before you get there, you are invited to enjoy amber, bergamot and slightly spicy pepper. Vetiver spices things up a bit before being toned down by vanilla.


A lovely man’s fragrance with a big heart.


Clinique Happy For Men


Are you taking your partner out on a daytime date? If so, why not try Clinique Happy For Men?


I love the lightness of this fragrance. You have lime and citrus which makes it great for daytime wear. Hints of aquatic notes and freesia mix with green freshness. At its base it has guaiac wood forming a soft backdrop.


A nice fragrance for the daytime which works well for active, fun dates.


Final Thoughts


I encourage all men to try new scents. Maybe you have a tried and tested favourite. Great!


Keep your trusted friend, but please consider adding something new to your repertoire. It is nice to have a couple of different subtle fragrances on standby.





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