If you’re shopping for an aftershave as a gift and aren’t sure where to start, choosing a universally popular aftershave is an excellent option. Aftershave scents are deeply personal, and it can be difficult to know exactly what someone might like.
By choosing a popular scent, you can be confident that it is likely to be a welcome gift – after all, how could so many people be wrong?
Before you go forth and choose a scent, let’s look at a few of the aftershave terms you need to be familiar with.
Aftershave terminology you need to know
When shopping for aftershave, you might feel overwhelmed by the choices available and the terminology used. Having a basic understanding of what we mean by things like “base notes” “top notes” and “blend” will help you to navigate the world and identify which fragrances you prefer.
For example, if you’re buying a gift for someone, and you know that they like earthy scents, you should look for scents like sandalwood, cedarwood, musk or patchouli. Earthy scents typically fall in the woody scent realm, but can also include more spicy scents.
You should also be aware of how top notes, middle notes and base notes work. This generally refers to how the scent presents over time. The top notes are the ones that catch your attention first. These are the ones that last the least amount of time and are more fleeting.
On the other hand, base notes are the heavier scents that last the longest. At the end of the day, it is the base notes that will linger on your clothing and skin.
The middle notes, or heart notes, capture the essence of the perfume. They stick around for about an hour and provide an anchor between the top and base notes. This is generally what the scent is known for.
What makes a popular aftershave?
Popular aftershaves change with the times. Certain scents are known as iconic fragrances from specific time periods. This is why young men often find that their fragrance choices are completely at odds with what their father will be wearing.
The earliest men’s fragrances were incredibly limited. At the start of the industrial revolution, men could choose between unisex eau de cologne or English lavenders. Acqua di Parma Colonia and Guerlain’s Mouchoir Pour Monsieur were some of the earliest fragrances, which were designed to be put on handkerchiefs, rather than the skin.
After the second world war, there was a boom in demand for male grooming products, including aftershave and scents. Fashion houses led the way, with Chanel releasing Pour Monsieur, and German house Mäurer & Wirtz releasing Tabac Original.
From the 1960s, iconic fragrances were released, including:
- Fabergé – Brut Pour Homme (1964)
- Lancôme – Balafre (1967)
- Christian Dior – Eau Sauvage (1966)
- Estée Lauder – Aramis (1964)
- Paco Rabanne – Pour Homme (1973)
- Gucci – Pour Homme (1976)
- Ralph Lauren – Polo (1978)
If you’re looking for a classic fragrance, this list is a great place to start, as it shows that some scents never go out of style.
What is the most popular aftershave choice?
There are a few classic choices for an aftershave. The most iconic include:
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò
This has been a staple in the aftershave industry since the 90s. This is a marine-inspired scent with a clean and classic finish. It has bright notes of bergamot, neroli and green tangerine. It’s a perfect summer and spring scent to leave you feeling like you’ve just stepped out of a bracing shower all day long.
Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Parfum
Chanel is known for luxurious and high end scents, and this one is no different. As the mysterious deep blue bottle suggests, this scent has considerable depth and sophistication. Expect base notes of spicy incense, amber, cedar and sandalwood. It also has unexpected top notes of grapefruit and bergamot which mix with the mint and nutmeg perfectly. It’s an unexpected fragrance that is a tried and tested favourite.
This iconic bottle features a bust of medusa carved into an intricate labyrinth design. The scent is undeniably fresh, perfect for a bold summer’s day. Expect crisp notes of mint, green apple and lemon mingling with amber and vanilla. It’s a warming scent that is deeply masculine and sophisticated.
This incredibly popular cologne is sold as the rugged man’s choice, evoking scenes of rocky mountainscapes and savage deserts. The scent is quite complex, introducing bergamot and pepper alongside lavender, vetiver and floral geranium. To keep this scent earthy and not too floral or citrus, it also contains base notes of cedar, ambergris and labdanum.
Paco Rabanne 1 Million Eau de Toilette
Styled like a gold bar, this bottle certainly stands out on the shelf. It’s a fresh, spicy and leathery scent with excellent staying power. The brand is associated with wealth, luxury and excess, and this is communicated through the use of frosted grapefruit, blood mandarin, musk and cinnamon to create a complex and sophisticated scent that is just a little bit cheeky.
Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit de l’Homme
The ombre bottle with a large hexagonal black lid will bring a touch of class to your dressing table. This masculine scent brings together cardamom, lavender, cedar and bergamot for a classic scent that is at once warm, woody and spicy. This is a popular scent for those looking for a subtle lift, as it isn’t too overpowering or dominant. It’s sophistication and class in a neat little package.
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme
This classic summer scent is an ideal choice for those looking for something bright and uplighting. Be transported to the Mediterranean with every spray. It has bright top notes of grapefruit, mandarin and juniper which are balanced by the more heady middle notes of black pepper and rosemary. To bring the scent together, base notes of musk, incense and oakmoss help to keep this a truly masculine and sophisticated scent that will evolve as the day goes by.