Boy Smells Is Launching Five New Personal Fragrances — Interview, Review

The range includes five cologne de parfums (with more to come in the future), which Herman says were formulated (and clearly, named) with the brand’s overarching principle of gender neutrality when it comes to scent. Just call them “genderful,” as the bottles read. 

“When we were considering starting Boy Smells, I was starting to wear a lot of fragrances that had more floral or feminine notes to them,” Herman explains, noting that fragrance helped him to deeply tap into both his masculine and feminine sides. “Being able to wear personal fragrance that combines the masculine and feminine notes, that was such an a-ha moment for me in my life.” 

True to form, each of the five fragrances have floral notes, but not all of them scream floral. Finding that balance between the sweetness of florals and something a little spicier or muskier was in front of mind when the pair created these scents. “Everything has something that is traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine in there, and blended together to try to just give more of that broad-spectrum idea.”

Though I would say at least one of the fragrances skews traditionally “feminine,” likely due to its fig leaf notes, the remaining four definitely live up to the vision. On tap is Tantrum, a fresh but spicy scent that combines green and black peppercorn with vetiver and bergamot. This one might be the most crowd-pleasingly gender-neutral of the scents, which I imagine would quickly run out if you’re living in a shared space. 

Violet Ends has a strong violet aroma, but incense, black tea, and tobacco leaf give it a richness that tempers its floweriness. Since you can’t smell it through your computer screen, imagine a fragrance a person who has a very nice library full of leather-bound books might wear — it’s very that. Suede Pony has an earthiness to it with its combination of saffron, pineapple, cardamom, suede, and patchouli fraction. 

Rose Load has the sweetness of Turkish rose absolute and raspberry blossom tied together with sultry oud and sandalwood. “It’s rose, which is very feminine, but we have these beautiful dark woods in there,” Herman says. “We have the pink peppercorn. We have the raspberry blossom. I see that as the complexities of someone’s identity today. Sometimes, we have to dig in and be a little bit more aggressive and hard, like the woods are, but we all have these very supple and sensitive sides, and times that we need to go more introspective.” 

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