Men’s Fragrances Guide – An introduction

Choosing the right scent and using it correctly can be a game changer. We’ve created a men’s fragrance guide, cheat sheet, or men’s aftershave 101. You’ll gain insight into fragrance concentrations, different fragrance notes, where to apply and a primer on the fragrance wheel.

By knowing this information you will have a better knowledge of the quality of different men’s fragrances. You’ll also know more about what to expect as popular men’s fragrances develop over time on your skin. Finally, you’ll know more about how scents relate to each other and you’ll be able to use this information to navigate the world of men’s fragrances.

If you want to jump straight to the infographic, click here.


In the world of men’s fragrances, concentrations are incredibly important. An aftershave’s concentration is a good indication of its longevity and silage (how far the scent will travel and how strongly it will smell). A decent silage is the difference between your new scent making an impact or disappearing in a breeze. When it comes to men’s fragrances, different concentration levels are referred to using specific terms.This allows people to know what percentage of a fragrance is made up of aromatic compounds.

Eau de Toilettes sit in the 5-15% range, whereas an Eau de Parfum is generally in the 15-20% range. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why Eau de Parfums generally have better silage and last longer. With an increase in concentration there is often an increase in price, but going for a cheaper scent is often a false economy. Buying a high quality men’s aftershave will mean you have to apply less per application and reapply less frequently. A quality Eau de Parfum will last you throughout the working day with a single application, developing and evolving as the day goes on.

Notes and Life-cycles

All fragrances are composed of different notes. Each note is an expression of different aromatic compounds. Each aromatic compound has a different lifespan. What this means is that over time the different notes within all popular men’s fragrances will slowly fade, allowing others to come to the forefront.

The notes of a fragrance are categorised as top notes, middle notes and base notes, each group having different longevity. Top notes have the shortest lifespan and base notes, the longest. This means that when you first apply a new aftershave, you may have be hit with bright, punchy citrus, but this will quickly fade to reveal spicy middle notes or woody base notes.

Base notes can last for over six hours in a high quality fragrance. Because of this, when trying a new fragrance, give it time to develop before you make a purchase.

Application Areas

The application of men’s fragrances is very much a case of personal preference. Conventional wisdom suggests that you should target ‘pulse points’ when applying your scent. ‘Pulse points’ are areas where blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin. The blood flowing through these vessels heats the aftershave, helping it to diffuse and improving projection. Common ‘pulse points’ include the wrists, the neck and behind the ears.

Dependent on what plans you have after you apply your fragrance, you may want to tailor the locations you choose. Some people prefer to spray their chest when attending a date, due to proximity, whereas they may choose to apply fragrance shoulders if the plan on visiting a crowded night club. Cater to your intended audience and your scent will have a greater impact.

Its important to remember that you should never over apply. Your seductive, nuanced scent will suddenly have the subtlety of a Youtube celebrity. Always remember that a man’s fragrance should be discovered and not announced.

The Fragrance Wheel

The fragrance wheel is a stroke of genius. We love it. It was created in 1992 by perfumery taxonomist Michael Edwards, who also developed a book called Fragrances of the World. The concept of the fragrance wheel is group similar fragrances into olfactory families. The book, Fragrances of the World is a catalogue of scents on the market, with their associated families listed. Grouping scents in this way allows retailers (and now also you) to focus on the families that you like and find your ideal scent more easily.

For example, lets say that you try Tom Ford Oud Wood and think that it’s amazing, but not quite what you’re after. Oud Wood falls under the family Woody Oriental, so try other scents within the Woody Oriental family, as you already know that this is the kind of scent you are looking for.

If you find the families you like and use the fragrance wheel, it’ll be a lot easier to find the perfect men’s fragrance for you. If you want to know the family of a men’s aftershave, without buying a copy of Fragrances of the World, we recommend using a site like Its an online fragrance encyclopedia, listing the olfactory families, as well as notes, for 1000s of scents. You’ll also find a decent amount of user reviews there to help you decide which scents to try.

Men’s Fragrance Guide Infographic

This men’s fragrance guide infographic has been designed to give you the basic knowledge you’ll need to go out into the world of men’s fragrances and find the perfect scent for you. It can be used as a cheat sheet for men’s fragrances. View it any time you need to top up your fragrance knowledge.

The Midas Club Fragrances Infographic, a beginner's guide to men's fragrances and aftershaves.
This fragrances infographic will give you a basic understanding of aftershaves and men’s fragrances

Now that you’re primed and ready, click here to view our guide to finding your signature scent.