Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Launched in 1999, from the fashion house of Oscar de la Renta, Oscar for Men is classified by as a “woody-spicy” scent, but I think it more closely resembles a fougère or chypre. It opens with top notes of grapefruit, thyme, nutmeg and pepper, as invigoratingly tonic as a rush of mountain breeze—the kind of breeze that ruffles the ferns and firs which, in addition to geranium and spicy carnation, make up the forested heart of this fragrance. According to osMoz, Oscar’s base notes include patchouli, cedar, moss and leather, but at other sites I have also seen olibanum (frankincense) listed—and I would have to say that what I smell mostly, as the fragrance dries down, is a light haze of incense, moss and woods, with very little in the way of leather. 

Oscar for Men is a lean-bodied scent that manages to marry high-spirited sportiness with a mien of nonchalant elegance. It has a distinctive air of exhilaration, and yet it doesn’t shout: the sillage of this scent stays relatively close to the skin. In some ways, it’s easier to describe this fragrance by talking about what it is not. It’s not a scent that will make you swoon with its dazzling brilliance or originality, and it’s not a scent that has its sexy mitts on the bedroom door; but, by the same token, it’s not going to kick you out of the living room and forget all about you when Monday night football comes on. In fact, I’m not sure Oscar knows about Monday night football (shhh!)—but it is quietly, confidently masculine and outdoorsy and flirty. Wearing it, you might easily be convinced that a handsome man on skis is calling to you from a bend in the slope, saying “Race you to the bottom!” 

(But don’t try to  take his picture. You’ll only end up with a photo of woods and snow; trust me on that.)

​A Snow Date with Oscar

Today the winter sky is dull, but on Thursday and Friday we had two of the most beautiful, blue-sky days imaginable. With temperatures that seemed downright balmy (though, in actuality, they were only ten degrees above freezing), sunlight bouncing in every crazy direction off the snow, and birds gossiping as only birds can do, I decided to toss all cares to the wind. Packing my camera and batteries into the deep pockets of my winter parka, I took to the fields. Along my way that first morning, I passed a woman in the park walking a big yellow Lab while trying to push a baby carriage across a path of tramped-down snow (I wanted to take a picture, but felt it would be rude). A bit further on I sighted a red-tailed hawk napping, with carrion underfoot, in the low branches of a tree (a scene I did manage to capture in two excitedly blurry photos). And then I was climbing the hills above the park, out in the middle of my shiny, happy nowhere, when suddenly the craving hit me: I wanted Oscar. 

Athletic and outdoor-sexy, smelling exhilaratingly of alpine air and woodland greenery, Oscar, if described in the pages of a novel, might conjure up the image of a ski instructor, or some other dashing sort. Which is, in fact, an apt image and the very one that came to mind when I headed out again, the next day, on the same route. With a hit of Oscar on my neck and wrists, I felt like I was channeling Claudine Longet, in the carefree days before her romance with Olympic skier Spider Sabich turned sour. (In other words, before her gun “accidentally” bit a hole in his back and killed him—remember that?)  With the wind blowing my hair around and the scent of Oscar ricocheting off my skin, I felt as if I was swishing my way down the slopes of Aspen, riding on the tailwind of a cool and elegant daredevil of a man.

January 24, 2009:

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I acquired my bottle of Oscar for Men eau de toilette from a department store many years ago, as a gift for my husband. He never wore it, but I have somehow managed to use up one-third of the large, 100-ml bottle on my own. Today it can be purchased from a number of online perfumes discounters for cheap, cheap, cheap. Prices vary, but are usually in the  $20 dollar range.

Images, top and bottom, are my own, taken yesterday.  Bottle image is from