For when you’re feeling aspirational and want to smell super-expensive…
Clive Christian No.1 For Men
With a name that suits the gold medal position, this 2001 release by the luxury British perfumery goes for more than three grand — which has as much to do with the crystal flacon featuring an 18-carat gold inset encrusted with a cut diamond as it does with the contents of the bottle. Rare ingredients produce a complex scent starting with a vanilla and sandalwood base, followed by lingering herbal, spice, and fruity notes.
Creed Pure White Cologne
The lineage of the Creed Dynasty stretches back to the early 1700s and this $500-plus scent channels that heritage, evoking “men’s styles in Victorian England; clean grooming and tailored clothes — like a jacket stitched to superb proportions”, according to Creed’s description. “Often compared to a burst of English mist” thanks to the dry citrus top notes of lemon and grapefruit, with clean base notes of white musk and rice powder.
Poivre by Caron
Fragrance aficionados bicker about whether this unisex scent better suits men or women, but they all agree about it’s four-figure price tag. Age underpins its rarity, created in 1954 by the avant-garde French parfumerie with a blend of pepper, cloves, and other spicy notes — while a bottle made of Baccarat crystal and white gold doesn’t hurt its value, either.
Ambre Topkapi by MDCI Parfums
Famous perfumer Pierre Bourdon has collaborated with the biggest olfactory names in the business — Yves Saint Laurent, Davidoff, Dior to name a handful — and he put his nose to work for MCDI with this luxurious, expensive scent featuring bold, spicy top notes of cinnamon and fruits, floral middle notes of violet and lily of the valley, and woody base notes of sandalwood, oak, and leather. Not to mention that kitsch Roman bust capping the bottle!
Tom Ford Tobacco Oud
Everything about this fragrance oozes masculinity, from the combination of aromatic tobacco and oud wood resin to the robust charcoal flacon it comes in. Tom Ford’s website describes the sultry scent using three words — “regal, rich, addictive” — and it’s worth every scent, especially as one of the more affordable purchases on this list (a 50ml bottle retails for around $350).