The (abridged) history of men's cologne

December 22, 1993|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,Staff Writer

Brand: Canoe

Introduced: 1932

Official description: "A brisk, fresh, sportive scent for men, with bergamot, lavender and oakmoss."

Appeal: Can you seduce a woman with oakmoss? Bergamot, sure. But oakmoss?

Brand: Old Spice Original

Introduced: 1937

Description: "Touches of Haitian vetiver and Yugoslavian oakmoss complete this complex, distinct and definitive fragrance."

Appeal: Forever the "Dad" scent. Our dads wore it, our grandfathers wore it. And women don't want their boyfriends to wear it or they would smell like their fathers and doesn't that kill the mood.

Brand: English Leather

Introduced: 1949

Description: "Leathery."

Appeal: There has never been an empty bottle of English Leather. Grown men still have English

Leather gift sets with the seals intact. The smell of English Leather Timberline can drop a woman at 50 yards.

Brand: Jade East

Introduced: 1964

Description: "The middle is dry notes of floral spicy carnation."

Appeal: The beginning and ending aren't too bad, either.

Brand: Brut

Introduced: 1964

Description: "Citrus notes backed up with woods and nuances of geranium and the excitement of spice."

Appeal: Thanks to pitchman Joe Namath, Brut was the official cologne of legions of boys. That green bottle with the phoney Roman chains! Brut Soap-On-A-Rope!! It was almost too cool to use.

Brand: Aramis

Introduced: 1964

Description: "Topnote blends diffusive citrus notes, and bright herbaceous notes."

OC Appeal: A definite upgrade. And could be the final fragrance --

what we settle on after all those childish tryouts.

Brand: Pierre Cardin

Introduced: 1972

Description: "A fresh masculine scent."

Appeal: Can't go the distance with Aramis.

Brand: Jovan Musk for Men

Introduced: 1973

Description: "A sensual and masculine musk creation sparked with manly citrus notes."

Appeal: Attracts females, but of the wrong species. When wearing Musk, note reaction of zoo animals.

Brand: Polo

Introduced: 1978

Description: "A masculine expression of woods, leathers and tobaccos."

Appeal: Like Safari, Polo is in Ralph Lauren's stable of scents. Fact: Hip horses splash a little Polo down their necks.

Brand: Chaps

Introduced: 1979

MA Description: "A blend of deep leather notes, fresh sage, warm

amber tones and citrus."

Appeal: Cool leathery bottle. But we use Chaps only when we are cheating on our usual brand.

Brand: Stetson

Introduced: 1981

Description: "A balanced complex of citrus, rich woods and spices."

Appeal: Another one-night stand.

Brand: Obsession For Men

Introduced: 1986

Description: ". . . with a drydown of animalistic and warm amber notes."

Appeal: You have to be the kind of man who looks very good naked. All others should reconsider that six-pack of English Leather stowed in the old shoe box.

Brand: Super Bowl XXVI Commemorative Men's Cologne

Introduced: 1991

Description: "Green, lavender and citrus."

% Appeal: Unfathomable.

Source: The Fragrance Foundation Reference Guide, 1993.

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