We all know the clichéd Instagramable images of fields and fields of the flowering stuff, but pretty pics aside, did you know lavender (scientific name Lavandula) is part of the mint family? And that it’s an integral component of fougère fragrances?
This post may have affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission on purchases through the links (at no extra cost to you). This does not change our opinion but does help support the site. Thank you!
|TOP PICKS AT A GLANCE|
||VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
||VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
||VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
With its qualities ranging from clean, fresh, and aromatic to spicy, licorice-ish, floral, and herbaceous, lavender is a mainstay of masculine fragrances, but is becoming increasingly popular in feminine ones (we’ve included Chanel Jersey and Yves Saint Laurent Libre in this round-up because we’re not going to be limited by such marketing classifications, are we?)
Widely used in aromatherapy for its comforting and calming properties, many lavender fragrances have the same effect too.
Originally from the Mediterranean countries of Western Europe and synonymous with Provence, Bulgaria now dominates lavender oil production, although those in the know insist nothing compares with the French stuff.
According to perfumer Sylvaine Delacourte, “In perfumery, lavender can be used in the form of essence obtained by steam distillation, or in the form of absolute obtained by extraction with volatile solvents.”
Classic, contemporary, designer, niche… we present the best options, whether you’re looking for lavender in the leading or supporting role.
Where known, the name of the perfumer is included in brackets after the name of the fragrance.
Our Shortlist for The Best Lavender Colognes
Acqua Di Parma Colonia Eau de Cologne
More than a century after its launch in 1916, Colonia is still one of the most sophisticated fragrances on the market. A lot of that has to do with the way this cologne conjures up all sorts of images of the good life, Italian style.
It begins with a deliciously sharp-ish flourish of Sicilian citrus notes (lemon, orange, bergamot). A distinctive opening that’s impossible to resist.
The heart goes into more herbal territory with verbena and rosemary notes, while Bulgarian rose enhances the overall freshness. Clean and aromatic, the lavender is perfectly blended and accentuates the classic profile of this scent.
These eventually give way to a base of subtle, yet uplifting vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli notes. An essential part of any fragrance wardrobe.
Caron Pour Un Homme de Caron EDT (Ernest Daltroff)
Founded in 1904 by Ernest Daltroff, Caron is one of the iconic houses of French perfumery with several classics still in production. It doesn’t get more classic and lavender-licious than Un Homme de Caron, which was originally launched in 1934.
It makes the most of its key ingredient in a very natural, clean and fresh way in the form of lavandin essence and lavender absolute, both from France.
Lavender is known for its soothing properties and that’s exactly how you will feel when you wear this gem.
The lavender is superbly contrasted with vanilla, always staying on the right side of sweetness.
Turkish rose essence and an amber accord, with musk and opoponax at the fore, complete the sensual package.
Floris No 89 EDT
Legend has it that Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, was a huge fan of Floris 89 and so this 1951 release from the British heritage brand has become the signature scent of 007.
It opens in fresh mode with notes of lavender, bergamot, neroli and orange (nutmeg gives it a hint of earthy spiciness) followed by a beautiful floral pairing of rose and geranium.
The drydown is all woody, with oakmoss, sandalwood and cedar notes, and musk in support.
Yes, it fades quite quickly. But that’s a minor quibble in the scheme of things when a scent is this classy and guaranteed to make you feel like a proper English gentleman.
Creed Bois du Portugal EDP (Olivier Creed)
As much as we love the big releases from the Paris-based niche brand – Aventus, Viking, Green Irish Tweed et al – it’s the lesser-known ones such as Creed Bois du Portugal we cherish the most.
Taking its inspiration from the Portuguese part of the Iberian Peninsula, with its dense forests, this 1987 launch opens with the crisp citrus tones of bergamot.
Perfumer Olivier Creed makes the most of the clean, spicy characteristics of lavender to create an elegant aromatic ambience.
The drydown emphasises the forest inspiration of this EDP (“bois” = wood in French), with rich notes of cedar, sandalwood and vetiver on display.
Boucheron Pour Homme EDT (Francis Deleamont, Jean-Pierre Bethouart & Raymond Chaillan)
Launched in 1991, Boucheron Pour Homme was the first men’s fragrance from the French luxury jewellery brand.
It has lost none of its elegance and is highly recommended if you want a touch of lavender instead of the proverbial full monty.
It opens with the wondrous freshness of lemon, lemon verbena, bergamot and orange notes. Hints of lavender and basil add to the aromatic appeal.
The heart features a light sprinkle of floral notes, including rose and lily-of-the-valley.
The drydown is woody in character, with notes of vetiver, sandalwood and musk concluding a composition that works its classic charms from start to finish.
Cartier Pasha de Cartier EDT (Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud)
This 1992 take on the fougère, with its gentlemanly barbershop vibe, is a standout in the genre.
Aromatic lavender features aplenty in the intro. Notes of mint, caraway, anise and mandarin orange create a fresh spicy mood with green nuances.
There’s more spiciness in the form of coriander, while Brazilian rosewood brings depth.
Continuing the fougère theme, the drydown sees earthy notes of oakmoss and patchouli balanced by creamy sandalwood.
FYI: The equally good flankers – Édition Noire, Édition Noire Sport, Parfum – don’t feature lavender so get your fix with the original.
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male EDT (Francis Kurkdjian)
When a fragrance becomes a runaway best-seller, it’s easy to forget what made it special in the first place.
If 1980s male fragrances were defined by their potent, uncompromising masculinity, this 1995 debut heralded a blurring of the lines between the genders and a move to sweeter fragrances for men.
Its creator, Francis Kurkdjian, said in an interview on Everfumed: “It changed the way men use perfume and it brought something different to the perfume industry.” We couldn’t agree more.
Inspired by the designer’s penchant for the sailor, it opens with the distinctive fresh spiciness of mint. Notes of cardamom and bergamot enhance the mood.
The clean aromatics of lavender, with hints of powdery cinnamon in the background, meets the warm sweetness of vanilla in the drydown.
Traditional and modern at the same time, it’s aged better than many of its contemporaries from the 1990s. If ever a bottle was designed to be displayed, it’s this one from Jean Paul Gaultier.
DS & Durga Burning Barbershop EDP (David Seth Moltz)
We don’t always pay attention to the stories behind fragrances, as they can be indulgent and irrelevant. We’re making an exception for this 2010 release from the NYC-based niche house, as we can definitely smell the connection between the juice and the inspiration.
According to the brand’s founders, self-taught perfumer David Seth Moltz and creative director Kavi Moltz: “A fire broke out in the Curling Bros Barbershop in Westlake, N.Y., in 1891.
All the shaving tonics with their spearmint, lime, vanilla and lavender burned. A charred bottle was found half-full. It smelled like this.”
As expected, a burnt quality permeates this EDP. It’s not all pervasive, though, as the other key notes – spearmint, lime, lavender absolute, vanilla and hay – are given space to make their contributions too.
It all makes for a very convincing and delightful evocation of what could have remained from a barbershop fire from another time.
Gucci Guilty Pour Homme EDT (Jacques Huclier)
Not as popular as when it was originally launched, this 2011 release is still worth a re-visit just for the strong combo of lavender and lemon in its opening.
That attractive freshness is carried through to the orange blossom heart note, with its subtle sweetness.
It settles very nicely on a woody base of cedar and patchouli.
A reliable and uncomplicated everyday choice, it’s more office friendly than come-to-bed sexy.
The EDP (2020) and parfum (2022) versions, featuring toned-down renditions of lavender, are also worth checking out.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Masculin Pluriel EDT (Francis Kurkdjian)
Showcasing the perfumer’s love for the fougère fragrance family, this 2014 release from the Paris-based niche brand opens with lavender absolute – the Provençal variety renowned for its smooth, slightly sweet, herbal properties.
It’s given sensual depth with a leather accord and woody notes of Virginian cedar, Haitian vetiver and Indonesian patchouli. Kurkdjian maximises the latter in a smoky and musky style.
Elegance, timelessness, seductiveness… this modern classic has it all.
Penhaligon’s Endymion Concentré EDP
Penhaligon’s Endymion Cologne is a lavender exemplar. But the Concentré version gets our vote, as it offers greater depth and longevity.
It opens with freshly elegant notes of lavender and bergamot, which give it a captivating herbal-citrus character at first.
This 2016 release then takes a floral direction with the addition of a geranium note, which builds on the initial freshness.
A waft of coffee brings an intriguing twist and contrast to the proceedings. A soft suede mood permeates the EDP and reinforces its timeless appeal with musky powderiness.
Chanel Boy EDP (Olivier Polge)
One of Olivier Polge’s first creations for Chanel as their in-house perfumer, this 2016 release showed he was the natural successor to his father, Jacques Polge. Period.
A 2016 addition to the Les Exclusifs de Chanel private range, it’s inspired by one of the great loves of Coco, Arthur “Boy” Capel who also financed her fashion business in its earlier years.
Lavender, cool and chic, gets fresh assistance from hints of grapefruit and lemon notes.
The green and rosy nuances of geranium complement the aromatic aspects of the lavender, and eugenol gives it a softly spicy clove-like touch.
Powdery white musk and grassy coumarin finish the fragrance with the brand’s customary finesse.
Chanel Jersey EDP (Jacques Polge)
The French luxury brand gets two entries in this line-up, because both are excellent examples which show how differently lavender can be treated.
Just as the fashion icon pioneered women wearing Breton sailor sweaters made of jersey in the 1920s, so this 2011 release from the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection exhibits the masculine-feminine dynamic of fresh lavender and creamy bourbon vanilla in a softly sensual style.
Notes of violet and jasmine give it a floral dimension, while coumarin, with its vanilla grassiness, mingles with powdery musk in the drydown.
Frédéric Malle Music for a While EDP (Carlos Benaïm)
This charmingly named 2018 release from the Paris-based niche brand is one of our most complimented scents in a long time.
The opening is briefly citrus fresh, with notes of lemon, mandarin and bergamot.
The large helping of lavender is sensual stuff, but what’s really surprising is the way it’s paired with the juicy tropical fruitiness of pineapple.
The drydown is in amber territory, with patchouli and vanilla bringing warm spiciness to the mix.
It’s sweet from top to bottom, yet master perfumer Carlos Benaïm somehow keeps it admirably light and airy.
Yves Saint Laurent Libre EDP (Anne Flipo & Carlos Benaïm)
Kudos to the creators for this designer fragrance with a twist that doesn’t smell like everything else on the market. We love its play on the masculine and the feminine.
It opens with the distinctive character of diva lavender, a special variety grown in Provence.
It’s warm, slightly sweet and unmistakably floral, instead of the clean and cool customer many of us may be used to. It’s strengthened with the addition of lavandin heart. There’s a bit of fresh citrusy action too, courtesy of notes of mandarin orange and neroli.
The fresh aspect is further developed when the orange blossom, rich and sensual, comes through, with support from jasmine sambac.
The drydown is dominated by deep vanilla from Madagascar. It works particularly well with the musk and amber accord.
Tom Ford Lavender Extrême EDP (Olivier Gillotin)
Want a big and bold lavender fragrance? Then introduce yourself to this 2019 release from Tom Ford.
There’s a good chance you won’t notice the opening notes of lemon and violet leaf, as this EDP lays on the lavender with speed.
It’s fresh, clean and aromatic, as expected, but also coolly metallic. It then gets sweeter and warmer as cinnamon is added to the mix.
The spice sets the tone for the drydown featuring an abundance of vanilla and tonka beans. The result: Smooth, creamy and musky stuff.
Pin On Pinterest
Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.