Ther’s nothing quite like find a fragrance you truly love wearing—and perhaps nothing as disheartening as learning that its scent wears off after an hour or two.
This usually happens with scents that have a lower perfume oil concentration—anything below an Eau de Parfum is at risk of relatively brief longevity. Fragrance nomenclature can get a bit muddled, especially since we spent so many years gendering words like “cologne” for men and “perfume” for women. But an EDP typically has a perfume-oil concentration in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent, whereas Eau de Toilettes (EDTs) have 5 percent to 10 percent, and Eau de Colognes (EDCs) have three percent to five percent. Eau Fraiches go even lower.
Even within those ranges, you can get some EDPs that wear for hours and cast a wide radius, while others fall on the lower end and dissipate quickly. That’s why many people skip the EDP altogether and jump right on up to the next rung: The parfums. You might see them listed as extraits de parfum (perfume extracts), pure parfum or perfume oil. These often jump right up into the 30 percent or 40 percent concentration range, but all are above the EDP cutoff of 20 percent. For this reason, a little goes a long way—as in, it lasts a long time, thanks to the higher concentration of perfume oils. So while their price tags may look twice as steep, that’s because, in theory, the bottle will last perhaps twice as long, since you won’t have to reapply the fragrance throughout the day.
Unfortunately, most brands don’t create these top-shelf parfums, or they create limited runs of them. But the brands that do create them have quite a loyal following for this reason: Because their customers want the best quality available. Below are some of our favorite men’s and unisex staples in this upper tier of high-concentration fragrances.
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Creed Royal Oud
Creed’s nomenclature is a little off center—not for better, not for worse. Its scents are typically classified as EDPs, although they carry a perfume concentration more akin to lower-grade extraits (that is to say, they’re a cut above EDPs, somewhere in the range of 18 percent to 25 percent). And while its fan-favorite Aventus would be an obvious pick here, we have to award Royal Oud the coveted spot. It is woody most of all: oud, cedar and sandalwood give this one its regal structure, while musk, resin, pinkberries and lemon give it heart and levity. It’s a mature scent, one that suggests wisdom and perspective in the wearer. It’s a heavy crown to wear, in the best (and longest-lasting) way possible.
Byredo Night Veils Reine de Nuit
So many male-targeted extraits focus on prowess and power, and rightfully, given that what the wearer wants is strength and longevity. But there’s often a lightness missing, too, which highlights many women’s extraits. Enter Byredo’s Night Veils Reine de Nuit. Yes, it summons musk, amber and incense, but it also centers on refreshing midnight rose, and imagines how that delicate scent unfolds after dark. In any other formulation, it might smell too sweet, but in Byredo’s care, a rose is an olfactive weapon.
Speaking of sultry after-hours roses, Deadofnight combines Damask rose with oud, balsam, amber, vanilla and musk, all with such rapture and care. This perfume house is as niche-luxury as it gets, with renowned nose Christophe Laudamiel in the lab, legendary supermodel Helena Christensen on consult and globetrotting expert sourcer Elizabeth Gaynes as founder and CEO. Wearing the fragrance feels not unlike spraying on something that was handcrafted for you by Eros and Aphrodite. Alas, the Strangelove team is merely (super)human.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Baccarat Rouge 540
The fine folks at Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris have done us a favor by offering a selection of their best EDPs in a richer, higher-grade extrait formula. At the front of the pack is Baccarat Rouge 540 in parfum form. It’s a warming blanket made of Egyptian jasmine, musk, ambergris, saffron and Moroccan bitter almond, which deserves consideration as your new signature scent—for day or night wear, though in the summer it may feel slightly too warm. But consider too that you might recall the scent on a jacket collar many months after it was first applied. When your signature is strength and lasting power, you can stand to burn hot in summer.
Krigler Lieber Gustav
Imagined as a love letter from a woman to her soulmate Gustav in 1910s Berlin, Lieber Gustav is perfect for the hard-working man in a suit. It softens his edges a bit, with fresh lavender and black tea—but not so soft that those leather and sandalwood notes don’t pronounce themselves, too. And the scent works as hard as its wearer, as anyone close to Krigler’s assortment knows all too well. Careful not to try too many of the brand’s storied scents, or you’ll soon be building an extrait de parfum collection—they’re that good, every time.
Roja Dove Enigma Pour Homme
If you want your cologne to arouse curiosity in those who encounter you, then allow us to introduce you to Enigma Pour Homme. It cloaks you in mystery with its spicy and sultry notes—cognac, pepper, ginger, vanilla and tobacco. This one lasts all day—or all night, when it is best worn—though it warms in winter, too. Roja’s reputation for ingredient sourcing is unmatched in the perfume world, and it shows in Enigma best of all.
Amouage Interlude 53
That ‘53’ in this scent’s name stands for the jaw-dropping 53 percent perfume concentration. It is Amouage’s extrait take on their beloved Interlude EDP. This one’s notes tell an alluring, dominant story: leather, smoke, resin, amber, oud, patchouli, frankincense… and it won’t fade from anyone’s memory after they encounter you, much like it won’t soon fade from your own skin. Proceed with caution.
A refreshing roster of notes makes Hacivat a daytime standout amongst this night-crawling extrait crowd. Pineapple, grapefruit, bergamot and moss give it sweet, crisp and earthy, green notes, while cedar and patchouli round out its woody cyphre-ness. We’d recommend it to the startup executive who wants to make an uplifting (albeit strong) impression. Nishane’s best extrait announces you as approachable and enduring—rather than trying to cast a love spell like so many other pure parfums.