Unorthodox Stuff A Teen Guy Can Rock

"Smells like University of Illinois!"

Faithful reader "Bibi" recently asked me to list scents that a teen can afford to buy and wear, and still smell awesome. Teens generally have more disposable income than middle-class adults, because, you know, they usually don't have rent to pay, or mortgages, or car notes, or anything other than clothes, food, and zit cream to pay for. I wore Chanel fragrances as a teen, but then again, I worked. I shouldn't paint teens with a broad brush - there's still a socioeconomic range they fall into. Therefore, this quick list is divvied into three parts, the "super cheapos," the "mid-shelves," and the "top notches." The first category is stuff for ten bucks or less. The second are scents that might set you back twenty or twenty-five dollars, and the last is attainable in a price range of sixty to a hundred dollars.

So let's get into it! The "super cheapos" are tricky. Everyone knows about Old Spice, Brut, Skin Bracer, 4711, and Aqua Velva. But what about the Pinaud Line? Worthy bets for a teenage guy include:
Clubman Aftershave Lotion
Lime Sec
Citrus Musk
Virgin Island Bay Rum
Now, don't get me wrong, these scents aren't show-stoppers by any means. Of the four, I'd say Clubman is the best for a teen guy, simply because it captures a "feel" with 100% laser accuracy. That "feel" is the "just out of a barber chair clean" feeling, right after a close cut and a badger brushing of talc. It's an old American smell, something totally masculine, but far from stuffy. Used sparingly, Clubman smells better than Brut and Skin Bracer, and the nice thing is, most people have never heard of it. It costs about seven dollars at Walgreens for an eight ounce bottle. You wear it right, and you'll smell like you're wearing a toned down Rive Gauche Pour Homme, which is currently ten or eleven times as expensive.

Other super cheapies include Tabac by Maurer & Wirtz, a lovely European blend of aldehydic citrus notes and powdery herbs. This one might trend a bit "mature," but again, application is everything. Go easy on the atomizer and you'll have a unique powdery smell that is miles away from what teenage girls are used to smelling on their guy friends. Last but not least, check out Silver by Al Rehab. I've been wearing Silver this year, both the roll-on oil (about $5 off Amazon), and the spray (about $9), and it remains the best clone of Creed Silver Mountain Water out there. It even has "batch variations," because the older roll-on that I purchased two years ago smells more citric and metallic, while the one I bought last summer is sweeter, with heavier berries. Maybe they're just keeping tabs on how Creed's batches stack up? In any case, the wonderful thing about Silver (and SMW) is that nothing really compares to this sort of fragrance. It's completely original, unique, an isolated incident in the world of scent. Mixing sour metallic citrus with sweet fruity musks might sound banal, but it's not.

On to the "mid shelves." This part of the list is my favorite, because the quality and impact of these scents is tremendous for their price range. They aren't new scents, they're old classics that need reviving. Their strength, their "freshness," their tenacity, and their scent profiles are masculine, bold, unforgettable. These include:
Animale Animale
Preferred Stock
Pino Silvestre
Krizia Uomo
New West
Cool Water
These scents are definitely the height of yesterday's fashion, but they're timeless. Animale Animale is a glorious fern loaded up with fruits, resins, and musks, with a good synthetic sandalwood base that is sweet but solid, and guaranteed to impress. Preferred Stock, currently Coty's most expensive non-prestige masculine, is the original Red for Men, a warm, minty-woody fougeriental from the early nineties that smells sleeker and darker now than it did then. Pino Silvestre is simply honeyed pine needles with a blast of lemon juice to clean your palate. Italianate and classic, the scent of brisk pine isn't something many young guys sport anymore. Maybe Pine-Sol ruined it for people, but thankfully Pino Silvestre smells miles away from cleaning detergent. Krizia Uomo is simply an excellent lavender/citrus/pine/cedar accord, rendered with shockingly high quality ingredients. It's very cheap, under twenty dollars, and a tremendous bargain. New West and Cool Water round out the list, two late eighties Calone and dihydromyrcenol compositions that smell great.

Cool Water in particular is an excellent, inexpensive EDT that gets overlooked because you can find it everywhere. Surprisingly, this scent still smells incredible. It's classy, it's fresh, it's complex enough to make you think about it as it dries down, and it has the potential to smell ten times more expensive than it is. I've put it at the bottom of the list, but think of it as saving the best for last - this one is perhaps the most worthy of being a signature scent.

And now, the "top notches." This category is trickier than the "super cheapos" category, because it caters more to teens with full-time jobs. They're out there. They graduated high school and never went to college, and are therefore making more money than their college-going peers. Figures, right? These guys work hard, save, and have responsibilities. They can afford to spend a few extra bucks. That's why I recommend any Creed scent from Fragrancenet, after coupons. You can get amazing deals on Creeds there. In fact, if you catch them having a sale, plus get a member's discount, and the standard site-entry coupon, you can snag a 2.5 oz bottle of Creed for under a hundred dollars, especially tester bottles. But which Creeds are worthy?
Green Irish Tweed
Millesime Imperial
Original Vetiver
Original Santal
Royal Water
Silver Mountain Water
These are, in my opinion, the best bets for a teenage guy approaching his twenties, with emphasis on Original Vetiver and Silver Mountain Water. The nineties brought "fresh" scents to new levels, and so SMW is now considered a nineties masterpiece of youthful freshness. Original Vetiver, which was released in 2004, is quite simply the most stunning green scent ever made, and GIT marks its territory as the original Cool Water (basically Cool Water in perfume form). Original Santal is a well made oriental, very warm and clean, while Royal Water cools on contact, a bright citrus/juniper ensemble with excellent lasting power. EROLFA is a high-end aquatic, a little salty and woody, with a pleasant floral/herbal element.

If you're into buying on eBay and EROLFA is your type of scent, you might want to check out Mario Valentino's Ocean Rain, which is cheaper and just as good, if not better. Edmond Roudnitska's final perfume composition has a very similar briny/sandy aroma, but it's a bit darker and more floral than the Creed. Ultimately it winds up smelling like rain-cooled beach sand with a light fruity-floral sweetness lingering in the background, a wonderful experience.

If you want to avoid online transactions, go to the mall and check out Chanel. They're even a bit cheaper than Fragrancenet deals, and they're never a bad option. Bleu de Chanel EDP is very, very good. The EDT is perhaps closer to a standard "guy deodorant" scent, but a few cuts above Axe and "Bod" sprays. They're all under $125. You can't go wrong. Buy a bottle once every nine months or so, and it won't kill your presumably workable budget.

And there you have it. Teenagers should smell awesome. They're going to be wafting their way right into our futures.


  1. My sons believe that 'more is better' & apply scent with wild abandon.
    Despite mom giving them a brief but thorough lecture on the art of applying scent, they dump the damned bottle over their head. (Their father does the same thing.) Perhaps it's because they have lived most of their life in India where the theory of odorization is to drown out one stench with a bigger stench (which would probably have Americans retching or keeling over in anaphylactic shock).
    No way in HELL am I buying my teenaged Romeos Creed or anything approaching that price point. Private school in Switzerland is setting us back enough (the Swiss franc is nobody's friends nowadays- not even the Swiss).
    $20 a bottle is all I'm willing to spend & that bottle better last a month.
    I'll check out the Pinaud line & the Al Rehab. I don't trust my sons with any sort of roll on so spray it must be.
    Seriously, you must try Yardley's Citrus & Wood it really is a good dupe for Terre D' Hermes pour Homme. Yardley makes some really good quality fougeres for Europe & the Middle East, I bought a suitcase full the last time we went to Dubai - but I've never seen them in the US. Yardley's boringly named Gentleman, Navy, Arthur, Adventure, Chrome, Equity, & Legend are particularly nice & are derivatives of more expensive & popular men's scents.
    Usher for Men is another good cheapie.
    Dana's Navy is another oldie but goodie.
    I've heard good things about Thallium too.
    Every time we go through Delhi's IGIA there are huge pyramids of Cool Water near the check out at the duty free shops. But it's kind of expensive at around $50 for 4 oz of the Edt. Same price at the UAE duty free shops also. But I look on US Amazon & it's under $30? Not sure what's going on there.

  2. Whats up with not publishing comments? Or did I not sign in correctly?

    1. Hi Heperd, this is the first and only comment I've gotten from you recently. Maybe there was a sign-in error. Please repost and try again, I'll gladly publish it. Sorry if it's a blogger error (wouldn't be the first time) I still may not see it on my dashboard. Hard to say sometimes.


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