The Scent of A Man

October 20, 2011
The Scent of A Man

I started wearing cologne back in high school, and worked my way though Polo, Grey Flannel and Farenheit before settling on Cacharel Pour Homme as my signature scent though most of my 20s and 30s. I wore so much of it at the time, that my co-workers could smell me in the office before they saw me, and even an hour after I left. I don’t remember exactly when I figured out that the guys I wanted to bed weren’t impressed by my French cologne, but I try to remind myself of that phase and go easy on the hunters I meet these days who are easily over-doused with the scent du jour.

Personally, I’m drawn to more natural smelling guys: not over-marinated, but that clean, ever-so-slightly musky scent that develops naturally after a recent shower and an hour of manual labor. I cultivate that kind of smell myself through a judicious, non-daily use of an unscented deodorant , and an occasional fine mist of cologne, not sprayed on my skin, but in the air above me, allowing it to sparingly settle on my head and shoulders. I’ve written about my two current favorite colognes on, along with my source for all cologne at a deep discount.

I’m curious how you feel about the scent of your men: Can you find love with a guy who smells like the fragrance counter at Macy’s? Is there a limit to the appeal of natural man scents? And can you tactfully tell a guy you’d like him to smell more (or less) manly?

Tags: grooming, cologne
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share this
Post written by Billy Kolber (View Author Profile)
About this author: Billy Kolber is a writer, consultant and entrepreneur, living and loving in New York City. Billy blogs about Shopping, Sex, Food and Travel at
View all posts by Billy Kolber


In general, I prefer a man to smell clean but natural...nothing wrong with a tiny bit of musk if he's been to the gym or been doing light yardwork/housework (provided he wasn't funky before he started), or better yet waking up together (assuming he doesn't have dragon breath). I generally don't wear any fragrance myself, but if we're going on a date somewhere nice, a little fragrance (on me and/or him) can be OK (I like your 'spray it into the air' idea), provided it's not sickly sweet or flowery, but it can depend on the guy/where we're going.

Oddly, I have nice memories of past lovers who wore cheap fragrances like Old Spice and Stetson (again, lightly), so again depending on the guy, that could be a bit of a turn-on!

And if I'm in a really raunchy mood, a little all-out armpit funk can really turn my crank in a major way. :-X

Oh, and an old favorite for myself is Calvin Klein Escape.

Great topic. Strong cologne to me is almost always a turn-off. It seems feminine and I think I'm allergic to some of it. It's not just an issue with gay guys. I've played tennis with straight married guys who overuse the stuff and was glad when the match was over. Some of those colognes make me think "Man, I'd much rather smell your honest sweat than that artificial stuff you're wearing."

My views about man scents are kinky. The scent a guy can leave in his ballcap, t-shirt, briefs, jockstrap, socks, athletic shoes, work boots, etc. has always been a turn-on for me. I used to get a "high" from sniffing boot socks worn by an understanding Florida construction worker.

There are exceptions to most rules. Once in a while something subtle like Old Spice or that Bay Run stuff they used to have in barber shops is OK. Deodorants are common courtesy in social situations like the gym. In general I'd say: guys, never underestimate the appeal of your own natural pheromones versus those expensive colognes.

I agree. The smell of well-worn socks and caps have always been a big turn-on. I mix a little Gray Flannel with leather oil. It is a rush of butch.

The man I had spent the most beautiful years of my life with to date used Sagamore (by Lancôme). Curiously, he had no body odor even after a day's work, so I totally associated this eau de toilette with him: it is delicate and fresh, not effeminate at all, and its aroma would remain in my "olfactory memory" even when he was away (he didn't put much of it on him -- I don't like men to smell like a bottle of perfume -- I had then a very sensitive nose --, but the whiff to add a kind of "hint", as if it were; nor do I like strong body odors -- which is not to say I didn't like them at all). Too bad Lancôme stopped producing it.

As to me, I had tried a variety of scents. Dior's Jules (an elderly cousin used it, and I thought it smelled really nice: this was before I came to realize that the same scent can smell quite different on different bodies), Gerlain's Vetiver, Yardley's English Blazer, Paco Rabane's Ultraviolet man, to end up with Givenchy's Insensé Ultramarine).

But some years ago, while testing scents in a duty free shop in an airport, I suddenly felt a sort of shock at trying one of them (I don't recall which one), and realized I had lost my (very fine) sense of smell. For good, or almost: now, from time to time, I can smell something, and even if it's a foul smell I wouldn't enjoy, the fact I can smell this at all is a comfort: maybe my sense of smell will return and I will again be able to enjoy men's odors, natural and not.

Its taken me years to find a scent that I truly thought was me.
I have at last settled on Polo Ralph Lauren in the blue bottle. I thought I liked the green bottle one ( explorer ) but now I've decided the blue bottle is the one is for me.
Personly I like to stick to the same fragrance all the time because it permeates into clothes and even the house somewhat
Im not a fan of men smelling like they have just left the gym and some men particularly younger men ( and I like younger men ) can be a bit smelly at the end of the day. You can't beat a fresh shower and a subtle underarm deodrant but a small spray of fragrance at the end of ablutions just adds a nice finishing touch

NO COLOGNE or fragrance for me. I love man scents. And the older I get, the more I am turned off by sprays, perfumes, and some deodorants. And the older I get, the more I love the way men have a great natural scent to them. It is such a turn on for me. Whenever I come across a man with cologne on....It feels to me that they are trying to cover up something. Perhaps not comfortable with who they are--trying to be someone they are not. In some cases, it seems like instead of cleaning up, they just put on a spray of sorts and think that it is ok. Well, it's not!

The natural, out of the shower, out of the bath, man who is comfortable with himself, seems to even smell better than one who is not. I don't mind a little musky scent. I love the confidence a man exudes when he gets out of the shower, and does not wear deodorant. Scented or non-scented. Those pits are sexy. And need love too!

i could have written this myself lol

IMHO - Except for a formal evening out, i think nothing is preferable to the clean smell of soap and water on a man. (And even on formal occasions, fragrance should both be be used sparingly and should suit the context and nature of the occasion.)

I have always been a colonge type guy. I got my first bottle when I was in the 5th grade - canoe. Have tried a boatload since and found many I like - my current fav is calvin klein's eternity for men. I tend to like fragances with a green /mossy bottom note and a fresh lite top note. When I find a guy I can hook up with , if he has colonge on , it enhances the pleasure for me[ unless he has on brute- in which case I just have to move on]. Man musk isn't a bad thing - but I prefer a pleasantly scented man - even a good smelling deordant is a turn on for me. ummm.

I experimented in college with many scents....Tuscany, Paco, Antaeus, Eau Sauvage. A few years ago when I quit smoking, I got my sense of smell back and realized just how awful my city smelled...and many of the people in it. I got into scent as a hobby and have about 40 bottles. I don't wear it to announce my presence in a's for me and anyone who gets close. I like guys to smell good...and cmon....that "perfect moment" of "just got out of the shower and a little bit of blue collar physical activity" smell???? I don't believe in it. I use unscented deo, as I sweat like a mofo so it's not up for debate. I like to err on the side of caution, "natural" usually is code for "stank." That being said, I will refrain from cologne if my boy doesn't like it; and I will (and have) ask someone to shower if they wear something I find objectionable, as many mainstream popular colognes are in my nose. Oh and by the way? Scenting one's body is a very very old practice, and there's nothing effeminate about it.

To me I have no problem with cologne on a man, but it should be faint almost an afterthought (if that makes any sense). Funny thing - I had some interesting attention some time back after doing some baking. I had the lingering scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and probably allspice on my clothes. I had probably 4 guys stop and ask what cologne that was and where they could find it. Pretty funny, guess I smelled like Mom's pumpkin pie or something. Been meaning to try it on purpose some time.

yeah that's what you want to do... remind a man of his mommy?
don't forget the clove and vanilla!
the four guys that stopped you, what they look like?

I mix Hermes Terre and Royal Copenhagen. Mmmmm

I told my ex "...Irish Spring on a man gives me an erection..."

I am not into natural smells at all....go take a shower. ☺

Back when I was in high school in the late '60's and living at home with my smoking parents, cologne wasn't that common. I used some from time to time, thought it smelled pretty good (but got occasional comments that it was too heavy).

But I have always been smoke-free, and so is almost everyone I associate with. And for the last 20 years or so, most colognes and scents have really bothered me. Although a mild deodorant is important, anything stronger gives me a headache, so I guess I am allergic to any strong scent.

It looks like being away from tobacco smoke has livened my olfactory sensors. Please keep this in mind, guys, that many of us can't handle strong scents. If I can smell you from 10 feet away, it's wayyyyyyyy to strong. (And if you're a smoker, your nose probably is desensitized to colognes, etc., so it's easy to use too much -- ask a non-smoking friend if what you're wearing is too strong.)

I don't like colognes or other fragrances. Men smell yummy.

Man scent does nothing for me. The smell of a great scent on a man is what does wonders for me. I have over 30 colognes and know more about colognes than pretty much anyone else I know.

I like all different types of scents: woodsy, oriental, name it.

My fave over the past couple years has been Vera Wang, but now I have found a new favorite and it is Penguin. WOW does it smell amazing.

I'm always introducing friends to some of my scents and next thing I know, they are buying the same one as me.

I would wear anything from Hugo BOSS any time of the day - every fragrance from his line is just hot!

to cologne or not...
Sweat on a man does not stink, it's the bacteria that doesn't smell so good.
The sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses.
With scented soap/conditioner, facial scrubs, toners, shampoo, de"odor"rant, laundry detergent... then, trendy over hyped over priced over marketed over used fragrances. It's just too much.
You guys that bathe in your cologne (you know who you are) really smell. It's amazing to walk into a bar- leather, blue collar, bear... and not walk out smelling like you are wearing test strips from every parfume counter in town. Especially CK1 and usher.
Hey I use my Giorgio Armani and Chrome too, but usually on letters, try sending a scent through cyberspace.
~ Derrel

"What is it?"
"Essence of Man" ("Yeah.....")

From the film 'Barbarella', the 1968 Franco-Italian camp SF classic based on Jean-Claude Forrest's 'Barbarella' comics, directed by Roger Vadim and staring his then wife, Jane Fonda. A clip of the above scene (involving a man floating in a giant hookah, a gaggle of seriously stoned babes, and a passing security patrol) is available on YouTube. Personally, if you've never seen this film, it's worth the rental - it's really a hoot. I mean, seriously, who can forget the orgasmatron! LOL

Guys that have smelly pits and feet move to the head of the line......but please wash that ass I do not like to have smelly fingers.and please brush your teeth ....on the other hand,I do splurge on fragrances such as Tom Ford, Guilty by Gucci,Hermes, and D & G to name a few.

cannot handle cologne or any fragrences that are based in chemicals, they are actually starting to make me headachey and nauseous. but a nice clean, worked out armpit, all musky and man-smelling gives me a big ole boner every time. love the smell of men as long as they are healthy and not rank. the butthole must be clean however!

I STAY AWAY FROM MEN WHO ARE WEARING A BLACK TEE SHIRT AND HAVE SWEATED ALL DAY IN IT. Nothing ruins the moment more than someone who stinks like rotten fruit.

Every scent has it's place.
Strong BO can be fine at a gym, leather bar or bed depending on the guy. It's not fine at work or out to dinner or in a subway car. Even though I don't wear cologne I think a suble one lightly worn can be nice most anywhere. I'll make a plug for Terre d'Hermes here.
Many guys like myself like a man's clean smell. The problem with the "fresh from the shower" odor is that so often it smells of Dial, Ivory or worst of all Irish Spring. I hate the smell of soap on a guy. It makes me think the guy is real uptight.

I don't like smelling cologne on a man; it's distracting, and I find it usually unpleasant and overdone. I just like the smell of a good, clean man. There is an occasional play partner who likes to lick my armpits. I oblige, as he soon moves on to other more pleasurable activity. It makes no "scents" to me, but whatever floats your boat.

I wear Paco Raban or nothing at all.

Paco Raban is nice but have you tried Paco Raban "Ultra Violet Man" ? That scent is so sexy. Its a real head turner.

my favorite is Comme De Garcon(Jaisalmer)..its in their insence smells like sweet part of it at all... its less than 2oz..comes in a black bottle and its around 75bucks or sweet just wood..i like lumberyards.......

i stick to Hugo Boss, even though i love natural menn smell :)


Thierry Mugler: A Men has always been my all time favourite and have to have my pits fresh most of the time, but the total opposite when it comes to 'playtime'. Especially when the sweat smell is being produced there and then if things get really raunchy...