In the good old days, the guy in the Brooks Brothers suit who found himself in Manhattan at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue with an hour to kill might have sought solace with a Dewar’s on the rocks at the Plaza’s Oak Room. Fast forward: These days, the “dude” in the Brooks Brothers suit, albeit Black Fleece by Thom Browne, is just as likely to opt for a quick stop at Bergdorf Goodman Men’s for a spritz of Tom Ford—say his Neroli Portofino or a splash of Tuscan Leather. For some of us, the Tom Ford counter is a mecca of sorts. We all know by now that fragrance for men is a big business—Bergdorf alone carries nearly two dozen private blends and ten signature scents just from Ford—but too many men simply don’t get it: Fragrance is meant as an accent, not as a room freshener. Should it be the strong florals of Jasmin Rouge or the spicy notes of Santal Blush? I remember once asking Ford himself for his own personal favorite. “It all depends,” he began poetically. “If I feel in a sort of Seventies mood, it’s Italian Cypress.” He never told me exactly why or how, but as they say, if you have to ask, you just don’t get it.
Related: 8 Noses Redefine Men's Cologne »