Remember the days of Axe body spray wafting out of high school lockers? The pungent nature of Old Spice after a middle school basketball game? The adult equivalents, like Bleu de Chanel and Davidoff Cool Water, are just as nasally offensive. To stand out, ditch the duty free brand names and opt for a handcrafted version. Go boutique, my man. With a scent created in an artist’s studio by a small business founder, you'll stave off the lovers of eau de toilet and people will thank you.
Buyouts of hip fragrance houses by larger manufacturers that churn out department store scents are on the rise. Though brands like Byredo and Le Labo—which we love, to be clear—are touted as indie, they're manufactured by private equity company Manzanita and the beauty giant Estée Lauder Company, respectively. In order to find individuality, turn to independent perfumers.
Some small businesses are doing everything right: Hand-pouring scents in artisan studios, crafting fragrances with unique ingredients and drawing on personal experiences are only some of the benefits of shopping small for cologne. We scoured the landscape to discover these four self-supporting brands and smell-tested their lineups to discover the most alluring scents.
Skip the airport duty free. These selections exemplify the reasons to leave your Axe and Old Spice to the middle schoolers.