What Makes A Fragrance Masculine

When a perfumer creates a fragrance, he has a certain selection of people in mind. This could be anything, but the most common ones are masculine, feminine, and unisex.

What makes a fragrance masculine? When a perfumer creates a fragrance, he labels the fragrance as either masculine, feminine, or unisex. A masculine fragrance is usually a fragrance with a woody, green, smokey, or spicy scent with a heavy emphasis on the base notes of the fragrance.

In this post, we’ll go more in-depth in what makes a fragrance masculine and why you might not want to care too much about what a fragrance is classed, as well as some great examples!

The Most Noticeable Traits Of A Masculine Fragrance

Putting into words what a masculine fragrance smells like is quite difficult. We all have a certain picture of it in our head, but it is difficult to put it into words. That being said, there are a few things that are clear differences between masculine and feminine fragrances.

Masculine fragrances are usually a little less sweet than what you would see with a feminine fragrance. Instead, masculine fragrances focus more on other notes, like woods, greens, spices, herbals, or even smokey scents. These scents are usually more of an outdoor scent, inspired by ‘masculine’ things, like pipe tobacco, lumberjacks, leather, or strong booze like whiskey.

Masculine fragrances have less of an emphasis on sweet scents. They’re usually less powdery, floral, or fruity.  That being said, there are many, many fantastic masculine fragrances that are very sweet. For example, an often used note in fragrances is vanilla. This gives off a sweet scent, and despite it being sweet, it still makes some fantastic masculine fragrances. Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme, for example, is a fantastic masculine fragrance with a very sweet and spicy scent.

One more thing that is often found back in masculine fragrances is that there is more of an emphasis on the base notes. These are usually the stronger, longer lasting notes. These can be anything, but you often see notes like musks, woods, or strong spices.

Now, these are just some guidelines. There are countless masculine fragrances that completely defy these points. But, often times, these points do come back in masculine fragrances.

Some Fragrances Smell More Masculine Than Others

Every fragrance gets classed as either masculine, feminine, or unisex. When a fragrance gets classed in a certain group, it usually just fits better with those people. Wearing a feminine fragrance when you’re a man might be a bit off-putting, as the fragrance was not created for a man.

However, not every fragrance classed as masculine is on the same level of masculinity. Every fragrance has a different scent, and there is no possible way that every masculine fragrance has the same masculine scent.

For example, you can compare two fragrances. First, we have Creed Aventus. Second, we have Paco Rabanne One Million. Both these fragrances are classed as masculine, however, Creed Aventus has a much more masculine scent. Paco Rabanne One Million has more of a youthful vibe to it. It is still a masculine scent, but it is clear that Creed Aventus is the more masculine fragrance.

What exactly makes a fragrance more masculine than another fragrance can really be anything. In the end, the scent of a fragrance can be very subjective. What might smell masculine to me could smell less masculine to someone else.

Some Examples Of Masculine Fragrances

Creed Aventus

Creed Aventus is one of the best-known fragrances on the market, thanks to the amazing, masculine scent. Often times, when people think about a masculine fragrance, this is the first one to come to mind. It does everything right. It gives you a fantastic, woody, musky scent, which is connected to a masculine scent.

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme

I already mentioned Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme above. I used it as an example of a very masculine fragrance with a sweet scent. This is one of those fragrances that doesn’t care about the guidelines. Instead, you get an incredible fragrance with a sweet, spicy, and most of all, confident smelling scent.

Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De l’Homme

Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De l’Homme is another fragrance that doesn’t really care about the guidelines. This fragrance has a very strong floral scent, more particular, lavender. This fragrance just shows that any note can make up for a masculine, fantastic scent.

Notes Often Found In Masculine Fragrances

Above I mentioned how the masculine fragrances are inspired by ‘masculine’ things, like lumberjacks, leather, pipe tobacco, and whiskey. These, of course, aren’t the only masculine notes used in fragrances, but there are a few that are quite common.


Leather is a note that is often used in masculine fragrances. There are many fantastic leather fragrances, and most of them are actually for men. The scent of leather just has this bad boy type of vibe around it, which is quite masculine. If you want to know the best leather fragrances for men, you can read this article I wrote over here: ‘14 Best Leather Fragrances For Men‘.


Woods are also found quite often in masculine fragrances. Many fragrances use a woody note as one of the base notes. Woody notes have this really nice, masculine feel to them. Creed Aventus, for example, has a very nice, woody scent to it, coming from a birch note. But many other fragrances also have woody notes in there, like sandalwood or cedarwood.


The last note that can be found in many masculine fragrances is tobacco. The scent of tobacco has this gentlemen-like feel to it, which gives a fragrance a nice, masculine touch. However, tobacco is also a very good note for the more darker, richer feminine fragrances.

What About Unisex Fragrances

Like I discussed above, a fragrance can be classed as either feminine, masculine, or unisex. Unisex fragrances are meant to be worn by both men and women. These unisex fragrances usually have a very safe scent that when you smell it, you can see both a man and a woman wear this fragrance without any problem.

However, not all unisex fragrances are a clear middle ground between feminine and masculine. Some fragrances are classed as unisex, but when you smell it, you just know it leans much more towards the feminine or masculine side.

A great example of this is two fragrances from the Tom Ford Private Blend Collection. All fragrances from the Tom Ford Private Blend Collection are classed as unisex fragrances. However, when you smell some of the fragrances from this collection, you just know it is not unisex.

For example, Tom Ford Tuscan Leather is clearly more of a masculine fragrance than a unisex fragrance. The scent itself is fantastic, but the rich, leathery scent just leans much more towards the masculine side.

On the other hand, Tom Ford Noir De Noir leans much more towards the feminine side. In the end, though, they’re still unisex fragrances, so if you like the fragrance, you should just go with it. Honestly, that goes for all fragrances.

Why You Shouldn’t Care Too Much About How A Fragrance Is Classed

Fragrances are all classed in a gender group. However, the main reason you wear a fragrance is that you want to smell great. And if you think that a unisex fragrance smells fantastic on you, you really shouldn’t have anything stop you from wearing it.

These classifications are nothing more than labels. You really should just wear the fragrances you like, regardless if they’re masculine, feminine, or unisex. Go with what makes you happy and wear it proudly!

Jasper Pieterse

Hi, my name is Jasper and I've been a long time fragrance fan. Ever since 2014, I started to get a huge interest in fragrances and I've had my nose on countless of different fragrances. I'm excited to share my experiences!

Recent Posts