Style At Large
Menswear veteran and Valet's Editor at Large, Michael Macko, presents an insider's take on what's new and noteworthy in the world of style.
The Formula
Top Notes
Rum, dried fruit
Middle Notes
Nutmeg, Cedar wood and Patchouli
Base Notes
Vanilla, Musk

Find your own signature scent »

The Investment Scent

A confession: People talk about the way I smell. A lot. I get stopped on the street and in restaurants. But it's a good thing. Once, a Virgin Air flight attendant got on the loud speaker and announced that "someone just got on and smelled really good" and that she was "going to find them" before approaching my seat and inquiring about my cologne.

I get asked a lot of fashion questions and one of the most popular is "What are the most important items for a guy to invest in?" The obvious are tailored clothing and shoes, but after thinking about this article, a good fragrance is right up there.

Two years ago I met perfumer Kilian Hennessy, the heir of the Hennessy cognac family, and he gifted me with his latest fragrance, Straight to Heaven. Now editors regularly receive new colognes to try, but they often end up on a giveaway table in the office. But his gift was different. If you'll allow me a bit of hyperbole, it was life changing.

Making fragrances isn't an easy process. It's as much science as it is art. According to Kilian, Straight to Heaven is inspired by rum. Leave it to a jet-setting cognac scion to best capture the exotic richness of a spirit concocted in the Carribean. It's a masculine scent composed of musk, patchouli and cedar, but when it dries down the vanilla and rum make Kilian's island inspirations perfectly clear.

Because he uses the rarest and most expensive essential oils, a bottle doesn't come cheap. But what really good things ever do? The crystal bottle which comes in a locking black lacquer box will set you back about the price of a good pair of shoes, but then you just have to buy the refills (of which I've bought many). Or you can start off with the travel refills, which will cost you $70 for four quarter-ounce bottles.

$225, at Bergdorf Goodman, refills from $70


Hennessy became interested in fragrance while studying at the Sorbonne, where he did his senior thesis on the semantics of smells.








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