When Gianni Versace rose to prominence in the 1980s his sensual, brash style was known for skirting the edge of vulgarity. He became as much of a celebrity as the luminaries he dressed, befriending Elton John, Diana the Princess of Wales, Madonna, and Tupac Shakur. Sadly he died in 1997, murdered by an obsessive killer who robbed us all of a true fashion superstar. His operatic life reflected his aesthetic, and that passionate, expressive style lives on in the fragrances bearing his name. These scents are not for the shy and retiring. Like Versace’s bold classic art-inspired prints, they are designed to make a statement.
A quick note: There are two Eau de parfums for men in the Versace family. Normally EDP contains between 15 to 20 percent of pure fragrance essence — the rest is alcohol. Best colognes are less intense and come in at around 2 to 4 percent. EDP does last longer than cologne, but you’ll pay more for it.
Dylan Blue is described as “encapsulating the sensual scents of the Mediterranean.” Besides citrusy bergamot (think Earl Grey tea) and grapefruit, it also includes ambrox, a synthetic substitute for ambergris (Don’t ask! It comes from the intestines of sperm whales, but for its icky origins, it produces an earthy fragrance.) with a warm musky, woody, almost mineral fragrance. Accented with black pepper, papyrus wood, and incense, as well as mineral musk, tonka beans (for a deep vanilla effect) and saffron. The cologne is stored in an elegant, jewel-like bottle in a dark marine blue, featuring gold tone accents, and the Versace house’s signature Medusa icon. Dylan Blue is perfect for wearing as your everyday fragrance; fresh and light, but not without a touch of sex.
Another light, refreshing cologne, like a splash of fresh water as the name implies, Eau Fraîche is citrusy, warm, and spicy. The fragrance opens with the freshness of star fruit and lemon, warmed with rosewood. Cedar leaves, tarragon, and clary sage provide an herby, woodsy backdrop. Sycamore, musk, and amber provide the sensual base (this is, after all, a Versace cologne). It’s sexy, but still safe for the office: Take another spritz before hitting the bar with friends, or heading to the neighbor’s pool party.
Named for the Greek god of love, Eros is the guy we can blame for love at first sight, not being able to get a cogent word out our mouths when the object of our affection is near, and for browser histories we’d rather our significant others not find. Versace repossesses Eros’s power of attraction for this masculine fragrance that entices with a cocktail of fresh mint, lemon zest, and green apple but seals the deal with enticing tonka and vanilla, rich amber, and intense geranium. Cedar, vetyver (think freshly mowed grass) and moss provide a green base. The bottle, with its Medusa head, Greek key motif, and aqua color, may be the ultimate expression of Versace style. It’s a perfect cologne for date night: direct, but not intimidating. Also available in the more intense eau de parfum, should you wish to pierce your target’s heart more intensely.
Like all Greek myths, with a solid sequel to make things even more intense (Aeschylus, anyone?), Eros Flame builds on the Eros base, with a focus on sharper citrus notes like tangerine, orange, and wild rosemary. Mid notes include rose, cedar, and pepperwood; drying down to rose, cedar, and patchouli, tonka beans, and vanilla. It’s a warmer fragrance than Eros, hence the same bottle excited in a Chianti red. Wear this one when the signal is to cut to the chase, skipping the dinner and flowers.
Oud Noir is another of the two Versace eau de parfums for men. Oud, which is a resin produced by aquillara trees when they are attacked by a fungus, has been a huge hit among perfumers in the last decade or so. Here its woody fragrance provides an expensive smelling balance to bitter orange, neroli (the bitter orange tree’s blossom), and black pepper, as well as cardamom, saffron, olibanum (frankincense). All together, it smells very seductive and warm; perfect for a date on a hot summer night.
Atelier Versace is a more luxurious level of fragrance within the Versace family, “encompassing a studious approach to exceptional quality components, innovative techniques, and hand-craftsmanship. The Eau de Parfums are also celebrated as unisex fragrances, created to blend with your personal chemistry. Figue Blanche evokes an Italian fruit plate, replete with fresh figs and Italian mandarin oranges, set off with zesty bergamot and neroli. Jasmine and rose petals add an unexpected floral touch for a man’s fragrance. The elegant presentation is finished with a hand-made black glass bottle that is evocative of a modern architectural column.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of inhaling fresh jasmine, its fresh, exotic fragrance can be heady, and it captures the freshness of the great outdoors. For Jasmin Au Soleil, the Atelier Versace team picks its blossoms in India at sunrise to bring the freshest experience possible to the eau de parfum. The complex profile includes notes of balsamic vinegar, beeswax, hone, hay, and tobacco. Fresh lemon and cedarwood notes finish the light, fresh scent. This time the columnar bottle is clear, showing off the pale, golden liquid.
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