And who are these guys? (We mean the ones buying the specialized scents from the fancy shops.) “I hate to sound cliché, but I think it’s people with money and taste,” says Burr. And people with internet connections, too, it seems. With the proliferation of the web consumers’ access to information and products has influenced the market.
“The bloggers are so knowledgeable about fragrance and beauty,” says O’Neill. “They’re very much into the perfumer, they love the whole romance part of it, but they’re very educated. And everyone has an opinion.”
And people are listening, it seems, whether they’re buying these smaller scents from eBay, or a shop in Williamsburg. “Traditional channels are showing decline,” says Grant. “The smaller channels, and we’re talking really small, are beginning to show such robust activity from men who looking for information on these sites, or shopping on these sites.”
These sophisticated shoppers, whose numbers are growing, are increasingly buying scents that could be worn by man or woman, (scents that are as eunuch as they are unique, I guess). It appears that men are not wearing scent every day, saving it more for occasions, and the trend right now is for scents of the woods varieties—a further indication that men prefer something distinctive as opposed to subtle, a scent that is very much their own.
Ultimately, and unsurprisingly, the main driving force behind a man’s choice of fragrance is whether it will please his partner.
With this in mind, I asked Burr what fragrances women can helpfully suggest for their significant others.
“L’Eau D’Hiver, by Ellena, from Frederic Malle; Noir Epice by Michel Roudnitska from Frederic Malle, Musc Ravageur from Maurice Roucel from Frederic Malle; I would buy Rose Barbare by Guerlain, which is marketed to women but men should wear it; I would definitely wear Cannabis Santal by Fresh; Eau de Gingembre by Roger & Gallet, which, by the way is something like 17 bucks and it’s absolutely terrific.”
But even as he celebrates these niche scents, Burr doesn’t discriminate against the bigger boys. “Terre D’Hermes is one of the greatest perfumes of the past decade,” he says. “I think it’s a masterpiece…it has a voice, and a presence and it’s fucking insanely handsome.”