Ever Wonder What Colognes Bowie, Sinatra and Bogart Wore?

A compendium of notable gents and their scents of choice

March 17, 2016 9:00 am
David Bowie outside the Carlyle Hotel, NYC
Getty Images

They say smell, above all, evokes memory. Makes impressions. It’s the signature by which prospective ladyfriends, employers and assorted well-to-doers will remember you.

So why not take some notes from the pros?

The men below are far more than just memorable. They’re icons. Icons of looking good, and — at least according to our research here — icons of smelling good.

Just remember: a good spritz will help, but it can only be as charming as the man it introduces.

Gendarme Cologne, Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds

In its heyday, fresh and citrusy Gendarme had a cult following as it was regarded as the “ideal office scent.” Also the choice of Sugar Ray Leonard.

Creed, GUERLAIN, Acqua Di Parma

Cary Grant
Green Irish Tweed, Eau De Cologne Imperiale and ADP Colonia

Green Irish Tweed, from world-renowned perfumery Creed, was originally created for Grant. It’s sporty while retaining romantic hints of violet and sandalwood. Currently a favorite of Robert Redford, along with his own private bespoke fragrance created by Creed.

GUERLAIN and The Crown Perfumery

Charlie Chaplin
Mitsouko and Crown Fougere

Released in early 1900s Hollywood, Mitsouko was every bon vivant’s go-to in its day. Now marketed as women’s fragrance, it is strong, musky and reminiscent of another time altogether.

Clint Eastwood, Dirt by Demeter and Green Irish Tweed
Demeter and Creed

Clint Eastwood
Dirt by Demeter and Green Irish Tweed

Dirt by Demeter smells like fresh dirt. Literally. Hat tip to Clint.

Creed and Floris London

David Bowie
Silver Mountain Water and Floris

Bowie was once described as “the best-smelling human I’ve ever met” by Will Butler of Arcade Fire. “You walk into a room, and you’re like, something’s different. I’m in a different dimension. It smells so good in here! And then you realize — oh, David Bowie’s here.”

Elvis Presley, Brut

Elvis Presley

While the fanciful makers at Creed list Presley amongst their roster of notable clients, the King was known best for wearing perhaps the most classic scent ever made: Brut.

Frank Sinatra Bois Du Portugal, Tribu, Zizanie, Yardley’s English Lavender Soap and Lavanda Puig
Creed, Benetton, Fragonard, Yardley Of London and Puig

Frank Sinatra
Bois Du Portugal, Tribu, Zizanie, Yardley’s English Lavender Soap and Lavanda Puig

Creed’s roster also shows Bois Du Portugal, warm and inviting, as Sinatra’s favorite scent. Later in life, though, he was partial to Lavanda Puig, which approximates the aroma of straight gasoline, at least in this writer’s humble opinion.

George Washington Caswell-Massey Number Six

George Washington
Caswell-Massey Number Six

From one of the oldest continually operating companies in the U.S., Number Six is citrusy with dabs of rosemary and anise. A bit cloying nowadays, if distinctly presidential — John Quincy Adams and Harry Truman also donned the scent.

Humphrey Bogart, Creed Tabarome Millesime

Humphrey Bogart
Creed Tabarome Millesime

Originally commissioned for a British statesman with a love for fine brandy and cigars, Tabarome was worn by Bogart and Winston Churchill.

ames Bond, Geo F Trumper's Eucris
Geo F. Trumper

James Bond
Geo F Trumper’s Eucris

Spicy and mossy, Eucris is most famously worn by Bond in Ian Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever. Sean Connery, meanwhile, prefers Habit Rouge.

John F. Kennedy. Creed Vetiver and Jockey Club
Creed and Caswell-Massey

John F. Kennedy
Creed Vetiver and Jockey Club

Created for J.F.K. in 1948, Creed’s Vetiver is crisp and sophisticated. But it’s Kennedy’s aftershave, Caswell-Massey’s Jockey Club, that earned a sole spot in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library’s store. A somewhat disputed if endearing family story, meanwhile, spins that Kennedy preferred the bright and refined Eight & Bob.

Main image via Voxsartoria

A special thanks to Aedes de Venustas, the Perfumed Court and Celebrity Fragrance Guide for their expertise. 

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