Feeling Man (Jil Sander)

Finding eight small bottles of a reputedly discontinued fragrance is a strange feeling. I stopped and stared at the perfume counter, my rods and cones taking in the blotch of red and black uncomprehendingly, the voice of Mr. Logic futilely pronouncing, "This can not be." Yet it was. I immediately recalled feeling similarly shocked to find an adequate selection of Balenciaga Pour Homme bottles elsewhere, and wondered if, as with that fragrance, Jil Sander had only discontinued big bottles of their most underrated masculine, leaving small batches for these collectible minis. My bottle is actually large enough that I wonder if it's even classified as a "mini" in fragrance jargon - no quantity measure is printed on the front of the box, and it's large enough that I'll have it for a few years, although it's definitely smaller than an ounce. In any case, it's still readily available on Amazon in mini sizes for reasonable prices.

You can say what you want about masculine perfumery, but please, whatever you do, don't say it's inferior to feminine perfumery. Feeling Man is an exposition on all that's right with the gender line, a sweet, fresh, woody, and above all else, sexy little piece of modern orientalism at its finest. Released in 1989, it's also the missing link in the evolutionary trifecta of bestselling modern cinnamon-sandalwood orientals: Joop! Homme, Individuel, and Original Santal. Feeling Man opens with a rush of stewed fruits, wild berries, and resinous piney notes, then segues into a transparently rich tobacco accord, and swiftly shifts again into a lightly-spiced sandalwood base. Unlike its cousins, Feeling Man has a bit of an outdoorsy vibe, with sparkling juniper, fir, and geranium adding a briskness to the woods. Quality of ingredients is also obviously superior to all but the Creed, as Feeling smells fairly natural.

I did a side-by-side comparison with Individuel, and am pleased to report that both fragrances hold up well together, with neither eclipsing the other. Between them I still prefer Individuel by a slight margin, because I think it's a little lighter and more versatile. But if I'm looking to reference a richer analog, I'll wear Feeling Man with pleasure. I've always liked Australian sandalwood, and Jil Sander's is crisp, clean, and very smooth, reminding me of Caswell-Massey's sandalwood bar soap. Feeling Man does suffer slightly from having a bit of a "fuzzy" one-note wood effect in its base, but I blame that on age, as I'm sure it smelled more dynamic when it was new. Like Original Santal and Joop! Homme, this fragrance is unisex and can easily be worn by women to great effect, but I'd caution against the same approach with Individuel - it can also be unisex, but contains what is arguably a more masculine lavender note. Feeling Man is an excellent scent, so get a bottle while you still can.


  1. Ohh, I remember this one. Bought a bottle of it back in the day. Would love to take a whiff of it again. Lovely stuff. If eBay prices weren't so high I would buy it again. When Jil Sander announced the The Essentials collection, four of their classic fragrances, I hoped it would include Feeling Man. Alas no such luck. Perhaps in the near future?

    1. It is lovely stuff, Bert. Have you checked out Amazon? Seems they have a few small bottles available on there. Sorry to hear the Essentials did not yield this one. I'm actually a little surprised they haven't re-released it in regular sizes after the success of Individuel and Original Santal. There's a fairly high demand for these fresh-woody orientals.


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