From the late Eighties to mid-Nineties, a new trend hit the men’s fragrance market. It was the birth of a new generation of scents that emphasized a prominent fresh watery, aquatic note – accented by touches of citrus, woods, spices and florals.
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Azzaro Chrome for Men was at the forefront of that trend and to this day, it remains a top seller for the brand.
This Chrome cologne review will explore what makes this fragrance such an enduring scent – one that has inspired over a dozen flankers – and whether it still deserves a spot in your fragrance collection.
Snapshot of Azzaro Chrome for Men EDT
|Fresh and clean vibe that generates compliments||Can come off as a basic shower gel scent|
|Powerful projection on initial sprays||May be overpowering when oversprayed|
|Incredibly affordable and available everywhere||Familiar scent and may be considered dated by some|
|Unique fresh aspects are crisp and invigorating||Metallic notes can come off as synthetic|
|Suitable for guys at any age||Popularity of the scent can come off as too conventional|
- Fragrance Type: Citrus Aquatic Woody
- Scent Potency / Appropriate For: Medium Plus potency / casual, office, daytime, warm weather, late spring and summer, beach, vacation, sports and outdoor activities
- Sillage: Good – projects well for first 1 to 2 hours
- Longevity: Lasts 3 – 6 hours
- Price: $
The official Azzaro website provides a limited official list of scent notes, listing only “fresh citrus and white musk notes combined with aquatic and green touches and a warm woody-tea accord.”
This is a perfect description, because Chrome is not about blending naturally derived fragrance oil scents.
It was conceived as a refined aquatic that was created to evoke freshness and the blue Mediterranean sky. The blending of musk and aquatic notes with a woody-tea accord creates the experience of cold metal – hence the name Chrome. There is a metallic sharpness here that pierces the senses.
The initial blast of bergamot citrus is unmistakable, but then as the aquatic notes unfold, the individual character of the scent notes combine to create a cool metallic musk accord.
There is a transparency in the scent that expands into the dry down, where a woody green tea continues to evoke the metallic vigor of Chrome Azzaro.
On initial spray, Chrome cologne for men has incredible projection and sillage. The opening scent notes are powerful and project more than a few feet away.
This is in part due to the kind of scent that it is – effusive and bright and also because it is an Eau de Toilette. The higher alcohol content of an EDT tends to evaporate quickly and a vibrant projection follows along with it.
That higher alcohol content will also cause Azzaro Chrome to settle down within a few hours. I often extended that strong initial projection with an extra spray or two during the day, but the eventual drydown is clean and uncomplicated.
Chrome comes alive in the heat and humidity. Overall Azzaro Chrome lasts 3 to 6 hours, depending on the season and the temperature.
Who Makes It?
Loris Azzaro was born in 1933 and although his parents were Italian, Loris was born in Tunisia and spent most of his early life soaking up the sun, sea and sky of that Mediterranean climate. Loris met his wife Michelle in 1957 and she became his inspiration.
He created personalized jewelry and beaded bags for her, which led him to Paris where he expanded his designs to other fashion accessories, eventually creating elegant gowns which soon gained the world’s attention.
Azzaro launched their first women’s perfume in 1975, but it was their first men’s cologne, Azzaro Pour Homme which established Azzaro Parfums as the bonafide standard for manly scents.
This Azzaro Chrome for Men review focuses on the original EDT which was created by Gerard Haury. Little is known about him, largely because there are no other fragrance creations directly tied to his name.
Nevertheless, his concept was the foundation of the Chrome Collection, leading to the introduction of over 15 additional variations within the Chrome line. It quickly became one of the most popular scents for Azzaro Parfums and is still the top seller within the Chrome collection.
In 2019, L’Oreal purchased the Clarins Group which included both the Mugler and Azzaro fragrance brands and since that time, Chrome has continued to expand the collection with additional fragrance concentrations, including Chrome Extreme, Chrome Eau de Parfum and the 2023 Azzaro Chrome Parfum.
Each of these creations expand on Azzaro Chrome’s signature freshness, with additional layers of intensity and character.
Who Would Like It?
There is a timeless versatility built within the concept of the Chrome Azzaro lineup. Since being released in 1996, Chrome has immersed the brand in the idea of the “unwavering bond between a father and son” and that path has endured as the lineup continues to expand.
The idea that Chrome Cologne can connect multiple generations may be an advertising executive’s dream come true, but is it realistic?
That depends. There’s no doubt that Azzaro Chrome for men is conventional enough to appeal to men of any age. It’s clean and fresh, giving off a bracing aquatic brilliance as it projects.
Scent memories are some of the most vivid recall mechanisms, so if a parent or uncle had Chrome as their signature scent, then I may enjoy it as a reminder of them, but I may not want it to become my signature scent.
That wasn’t the case for me. No one in my family wore Chrome, but as a Gen-X’er I do remember experiencing Chrome when meeting up in the food-court after highschool, so it can have a bit of a retro ‘90’s vibe.
Still – there is a universal appeal to Azzaro Chrome and that may be due to the fact that it is clean, brisk and invigorating. It will appeal to any guy who just wants to smell good, feel refreshed and get compliments. It is likely one of the most straightforward scents that can be had at a bargain price.
When and Where to Wear It
Azzaro Chrome is a citrus aquatic with aromatic woody notes, so it naturally comes alive in the heat. The Mediterranean influence of Chrome is clear, so it’s a natural for casual outdoor activities in the late spring and summer.
Although Azzaro Chrome for Men feels like a daytime fragrance, it can work at night, especially on a warm breezy summer evening. I also wouldn’t hesitate wearing this in an office or business setting. It is just so brisk and clean that it really echoes a gleaming shower-gel freshness.
While I suppose it could work on a first date scenario – maybe that initial dating app meeting for coffee to check each other out, I would probably go with something more complex and seductive for a more serious date night cologne.
In general, this is a safe fragrance. It can be worn in a multitude of situations. I could even see it working perfectly for a family gathering or picnic where feeling good and fitting-in is the objective.
Packaging and Presentation
Like the cologne itself, the packaging of Chrome for Men is clean, sleek and uniform. It comes in a thin sliver square box with a sharp, well defined raised Chrome Azzaro logo and a minimalist sensibility. In the center, the Chrome icon appears as a smaller blue square with four parallel lines that create a uniform pattern of detached alignment.
The bottle is a superb representation of the scent. It’s a sleek clear glass with the Chrome Azzaro logo stamped into the glass.
The light aquatic blue tone of the juice evokes the shallow mediterranean seashore and the shape of the bottle enhances that image. There is a subtle transition from thin to thick to thin again that emulates a light lapping wave caressing the sand.
The bright silver cap snaps into place and also contains the parallel line cross-pattern Chrome icon that is found on the front of the box. The atomizer pumps out a breezy mist which provides great coverage with just two or three sprays.
Everytime I wear Azzaro Chrome for Men, I’m transported back to a sense of austere coolness. I’m reminded of David Bowie as The Thin White Duke. Sleek, sharp and focused, with a steely gaze. It’s brilliant and bracing, but it’s also ambiguous enough to just be there as a metallic scent shield.
The sharp citrus top-notes flow into an austere metallic cleanliness. There are some light floral notes that may float in with high-heat, but for the most part this is a clean, basic, citrus aromatic with an aquatic woody base. It doesn’t really evolve or change on the drydown. It is firm and stable throughout.
Chrome is something that assures me that I’ll smell good, but won’t leave a commanding scent impression. It offers nothing more than the promise of a pleasing sillage that is clean and crisp. This is a workhorse fragrance that I use when I just want to feel fresh and clean and project the image of someone who is put together and totally dependable.
Although Azzaro Chrome for Men kicked off the collection, there are a few flankers in the line that I gravitate to frequently because they emphasize different aspects of Chrome that I really enjoy.
Chrome Aqua is a brilliant and complex take on the Chrome DNA that elevates the scent to new heights. Airy notes of violet leaf and cyprus add a cooling element to Chrome that works well in all seasons.
Another great one is Chrome Extreme – an Eau de Parfum concentration that is deeper and adds refreshing notes of juniper berries and pine which amps up the freshness and projection of the scent.
Similar Fragrances / Alternatives
I grew up near the seashore and spent many afternoons boating with my dad. I still love the brisk freshness that comes along with an aromatic sea-breeze. That’s probably why I have always loved the citrus aquatic fragrance style that was introduced in the late nineties.
One of the leaders of that trend was Azzaro Chrome, but many of its competitors are still top selling choices to this day. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Tommy for Men by Tommy Hilfiger is another wildly popular citrus aromatic scent that evokes a fresh and clean aquatic vibe. It’s a super fresh and soapy clean scent that works well for guys at any age. It’s a little brighter and a tad more urbane than Chrome, so it might work well in more formal situations.
- Nautica Voyage by Nautica is an amazing value for the price. If you like the watery aspects of Chrome and prefer a cologne that dives a bit deeper into the oceanic pool, then definitely check out Voyage. Created by the great perfumer Maurice Roucel, Voyage is incredibly well constructed with notes of green apple, water lotus, mimosa and a unique sailcloth accord.
- Bentley For Men Silverlake by Bentley is a newer arrival to the watery citrus aromatic fragrance style. Introduced in 2020, Silverlake transports you to a higher elevation. Inspired by the crisp alpine air of a mountain lake, Silverlake is a super cool and slightly spicy aquatic with elegant notes of minty lemon and a ghostly elegant violet leaf.
- Boucheron Pour Homme by Boucheron is a slight departure from the other colognes in this style. It’s a bit warmer and more elegant. Boucheron is a classy citrus aromatic that lacks the aquatic element of the others. It’s what I wear when I’m looking for a cologne that’s a bit more refined and portrays a gentlemanly sophistication. Well crafted and exceedingly professional, it’s a must have for any well-dressed man.
Azzaro Chrome has been at the forefront of the Citrus Aquatic fragrance style for over 25 years. Its success has inspired Azzaro Parfums to expand on the Chrome line with an ever-growing list of flankers.
Some of them have taken Chrome into a slightly different direction, but overall Chrome for Men remains as a dependable, clean and refreshing aquatic whose appeal can span multiple generations.
The Azzaro Chrome Cologne for Men price is usually very affordable and that fact contributes to its wide ranging appeal. Chrome for Men EDT is a foundational fragrance in the Azzaro Chrome line, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
It may not be the most groundbreaking cologne in my collection, but when I don’t want to overthink my cologne choice and just want a functional scent that will be fresh, clean and sharp, then Azzaro Chrome is a solid option.
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Ron Pitt is a winemaker who developed a passion for fragrance while studying the olfactory relationship between smell and taste. After producing and marketing wines that focus on complex aromatics along with flavor, Ron altered his attention from the tasting room to the perfume lab. In addition to his passion for both wine and fragrance, Ron and his wife have been rescuing beagles for over 20 years.