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New to colognes, but on a tight budget

EDIT: I meant to say "New to EDTs". Still learning the lingo.

This is probably asked constantly, but I'm new to colognes, and I need only a few suggestions. I've mentioned here and there in threads that I've recently tried three high profile fragrances, and these three were my first introduction into the world of high class scents. The three I tried were Guerlain Vetiver, Pen's English Fern, and Aqua Di Parma Colonia Assoluta.

I am in love with the vetiver, but it's too expensive for me to buy. Is there any cheap sources of colognes you guys rely on? I found a great eBay site for really cheap Pen's frags so I bought 100ml of English Fern in a spray bottle for 70$ shipped! I liked the Aqua Di Parma a bit, but it's too unisex for me, and I think the white musk in the dry down comes off as feminine.

Basically I'm looking for a cheap bottle of Guerlain Vetiver, or a close enough substitute that's much cheaper. I think 70$ per 100ml is my limit for colognes as I don't often wear them, and I imagine the Pen's will last me a great while. I'm also looking for suggestions on masculine scents. Not the kind of super bold punch you in the face "I'M A MAN" scents, but classy and masculine. I think I'll enjoy wearing the English fern in spring, and I'd like to get Guerlain Vetiver or something very similar for summer, but I'm stumped on scents for fall and winter. I have read up on Diptyque Tam Dao, and it sounds incredible, but once again too expensive for my blood. I do love Sandalwood and think it's a perfect cooler weather scent.

Also, I don't know if this helps, as obviously I wouldn't let it stop me from wearing a scent if I like what I've sampled so far, but I'm in my mid 20's. I wore Guerlain Vetiver to a friends birthday party recently, and was complimented by almost everyone, so I don't think classic scents are out of the picture, but certain scents might not be suitable for me when I go out with friends or go out on a date.

Sorry for the rambling, but I wanted to give a detailed history of my situation. Thanks in advance gents!
 
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The best vetiver I've found so far is the actual vetiver essential oil from Aqua Oleum, from the Bourbon variety found in Reunion Islands. This inexpensive oil has a very complex aroma with increadibly deep, almoust oud-like basenotes and deliciously sweet and fragrant top notes. To my nose it's way better smelling (and much more natural too) than the Guerlain Vetiver or any other that I've tried. The closest comparison in the scent profile would be Givenchy Vetyver, but the Aqua Oleum oil is more complex, more alive and lasts longer than any spray vetiver fragrance I've tried. Since there are no synthetics or other aroma-chemicals in the oil, it layers well with other fragrances and essential oils, especially citrucy ones that work best in the summer.
 
You can find Guerlain Vetiver for well under $70 online. Most "designer" scents can be found reasonably priced at a lot websites. Pens, Diptyque and Aqua de Parma are "niche" scents and those don't get discounted much if at all. I'm all for thrift, but I'd avoid eBay.

http://www.scentiments.com/Product/SkuInfo.aspx?id=96234

Scentiments, Fragrancenet and a few others are known to be reputable.

Another scent that's fantastic, first rate, "wet shaver friendly" and and very affordable is YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme. Read up on it the reviews section to see if feels right for you.
I have a lot of pricey shyt and this holds its own with any of them.
 
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I bought my bottle of Guerlain Vetiver for ~$40 from Amazon. Make sure that it's Amazon selling it, not a third party.

+1 for Rive Gauche Pour Homme.


I'd also think about dropping by your closest L'Occitane, they make some nice fragrances (I particularly like their Vetyver and 4 Voleurs); cost is $48.
 
First, be sure to try some of the sampler sets from vendors like The Perfumed Court. You don't want to be dropping $$$ on product based just on reading reviews or sniffing it on a paper stick at the store. You need to physically apply the cologne to your body and watch it develop before deciding if you like it or not.

I've had good luck buying smaller decants of the high end stuff from them too. $21 for a small atomizer of Tam Dao, that with judicious application has lasted 6 months and is still more than half full.
 
These are all excellent suggestions gents! Thank you so much. I should have clarified that I was going to be ordering decants of these, as I've learned that just smelling the cologne or reading about it does nothing as this is so YMMV.

I've read up on the other suggestions, and they all sound right up my alley so far. Any other suggestions? Is Yatagan too bold, or can it be a subtle masculine scent? Also, I guess I'm not sticking strictly to woody or vetiver scents, but I'm also open to more fougere, or even more traditional citrus musk scents.

As far as the modern designer fragrances go, I'm not a fan of any of them but Hugo Boss is decent. Are there any modern young men frags I should look out for that are worthy of sampling?

Also thanks again for the link to cheap Guerlain Vetiver! I'm super excited to receive a full 100ml spray bottle of this, as I was worried I'd not be able to afford it for a while. I just can't justify spending more than 70$ for EDT's.

The link to the eBay page I got the discounted Pen's at is here; http://stores.ebay.com/Onsale-Perfume
I also don't trust da bay, but this site has been mentioned here before with good reviews, and they have 100% reviews on their site. I'll let you know when my bottle comes in if everything is up to snuff.
 
Crabtree & Evelyn offers some good colognes for $40/100ml. Try Sienna it's masculine and subtle. West Indian Lime is also nice. There are some really good C&E deals on the bay so keep yours eyes open there as well.
 
The best vetiver I've found so far is the actual vetiver essential oil from Aqua Oleum, from the Bourbon variety found in Reunion Islands. This inexpensive oil has a very complex aroma with increadibly deep, almoust oud-like basenotes and deliciously sweet and fragrant top notes. To my nose it's way better smelling (and much more natural too) than the Guerlain Vetiver or any other that I've tried. The closest comparison in the scent profile would be Givenchy Vetyver, but the Aqua Oleum oil is more complex, more alive and lasts longer than any spray vetiver fragrance I've tried. Since there are no synthetics or other aroma-chemicals in the oil, it layers well with other fragrances and essential oils, especially citrucy ones that work best in the summer.

Thanks for this link Igor01. :thumbup1: I definitely prefer an EO to a synthetic composition. I might have to give this one a try.
 
First, be sure to try some of the sampler sets from vendors like The Perfumed Court. You don't want to be dropping $$$ on product based just on reading reviews or sniffing it on a paper stick at the store. You need to physically apply the cologne to your body and watch it develop before deciding if you like it or not.

I've had good luck buying smaller decants of the high end stuff from them too. $21 for a small atomizer of Tam Dao, that with judicious application has lasted 6 months and is still more than half full.


+1 on Perfumed Court and other reputable folks that will decant. A great way to get a small amount to test and then to make a truly informed decision when you want to buy a bottle.
 
An excellent line of colognes, AS and other toiletries is Casswell Massey. They really did sell a scent to George Washington so they have some history. They sell a "Minature Cologne Sampler for Him" at their website. It has 5 of their scents in .16 oz bottles. It's an excellent way to test a scent with your own body chemistry, which as pointed out by others is the only way to tell if you like a cologne or AS.
 
My favorite colognes at lower prices are the line up from L'Occitane. They have a vetyver that gets good reviews but I haven't tried it. I have bottles of a couple of their fragrances and haven't found anything else in their price range that smell as "natural" and wear as easy for me. If they have a store near you check them out.
 
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