The Nerdy Perfume Blog

Perfumed Conversions: From Axe to Ormonde Jayne

My fifteen year old brother Buzz wears Axe. Four layers of Axe, to be precise: body wash, deodorant, body spray, and hair gel. The bottles of respectable colognes that I bought him for his last birthday have languished unused on his dresser for almost a year. He just says, “Everything smells the same to me”. As an aspiring perfumer, this wounds me deeply. His disinterest in fragrance goes against everything I stand for. It’s like Steve Jobs’ sister using a PC, or Paris Hilton’s sister contributing to society.

After at least ten minutes of agonizing, I came to the conclusion that my terribly bright brother simply needed to be exposed to more challenging fragrances. So in the hopes of banishing Axe from my nostrils forever, I had him try ten of my most unusual perfume samples and recorded his responses.

Buzz’s preferences were immediately apparent. He gravitated towards green, herbaceous fragrances, with his favorites being Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman and Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay. The funniest part about this test was that Buzz rejected all of the perfumes that were even vaguely close to warm and spicy (in other words, Axe’s genre). He dismissed Hermes Ambre Narguile with, “I don’t really like this one as much. It’s a much stronger smell.” When he got to Anne Pliska, he straight-up said, “It reminds me of Axe,” swiftly followed by “I don’t really like it.”

Despite Buzz’s claims that “everything smells the same”, I was struck by the thoughtfulness of his reactions to some of the scents. Of L’Artisan Dzing!, he said, “It’s sort of like a musky but fresh scent. It’s interesting. I don’t think I would want to personally smell like it, but it smells interesting. Like, if you walked into a room full of it, you’d be like, ‘Mmmm!’”

At the end of the test, I asked Buzz which of the fragrances he would be most likely to wear. He decided on the Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay: “It’s a nice, natural scent.” I’m thoroughly pleased to have found him an Axe replacement, but I’m even happier to have been able to show him that not everything smells the same.

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32 Responses to “Perfumed Conversions: From Axe to Ormonde Jayne”

  1. lucasai

    Ah, great read! You fulfilled your duty as a perfumista and I’m pround of you as a fellow aspiring perfumer :) You did great

    Reply
    • Ari

      Thank you, lucasai! But I have to say that my brother did great, too. He was very open to learning and experiencing something new.

      Reply
  2. Desirae

    Oh, that picture is unfairly cute. And I like your brother’s choices! I ‘ve had a little bit of success getting my family interested in my perfumes – I got my Dad a bottle of Guerlain’s Vetiver and he liked it, at least. My younger sister thinks everything I wear is too “musky” though.

    Reply
    • Ari

      HOW CUTE IS HE??? (Answer: THE MOST CUTE.) How old is your younger sister, Desirae? When I was a teen, anything muskier than Escada Rockin’ Rio would have been “too musky”!

      Reply
      • cheryl

        Ari, he is most definitely the MOST cute!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the picture. Gave me a lump in my throat. As far as a scent for your brother, Guerlain Vetiver is as green as it gets! My hubby and I both wear it — my husband also loves Boucheron Homme, but IMHO it’s for a much more — um — mature male. ;)

        Reply
        • Ari

          Thank you so much, Cheryl! I always say that he got the looks and the brains in the family :) Since Guerlain Vetiver comes so highly recommended, I’ll have to hunt down a sample for Buzz!

      • Desirae

        My sister is only a couple years younger than me (she’s in her early twenties), but we have very different theories of fragrance, shall we say. I think musk probably seems dated or ‘mature’ to her. Flowerbomb is her favourite.

        Reply
  3. Dionne

    Love the photo. Love. And do let us know if Buzz moves on from the Axe love.

    I’m fortunate that Archimedes (turning 17 on Friday) has shown a lot of interest in my hobby. As he quips to his friends, “I know more about perfume than most adult women,” which is true. He left for the first day of school wafting LADDM. I can see Frodo (my 12yo) showing more interest in a couple of years, and I’m looking forward to showing him the ropes. It’s so much fun to see someone’s face light up when they smell something they really like for the first time.

    Reply
    • Ari

      Oh, man, I can’t even imagine how exciting it must be to have your child value and even share your passion! (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ARCHIMEDES!!!) I know just what you mean about the face lighting up. I think that there are a lot of people who think that perfume is something for other people, not something that could ever have any personal meaning to them. It is a true joy when they finally connect with a perfume!

      Reply
    • Ari

      Joan, I’m not sure what variety of Axe Buzz wears, but it’s definitely not chocolate-y. I fully believe that there are nicer versions of Axe- unfortunately, the one that he favors isn’t one of them! ;)

      Reply
    • malsnano86

      I don’t like Axe much, but my daughter had a band friend who wore that chocolate thing, and he really did smell nice. Body chemistry or something, because it was hideous when I smelled it on paper.

      Reply
  4. lilasiris

    Hmm, they do say that females have a better sense of smell. There seem to be thousands of little brothers wearing Axe right now! :)

    Reply
  5. Bryan Ross

    That’s a nice picture. You know, the thing that I like about being a guy who’s into fragrance is how easy it is to smell good – and inexpensive! This is why Axe irritates the hell out of me. If I wear Old Spice, Skin Bracer, English Leather, I’m wearing things that smell good, for under $20. They’re respectable, and can carry me through a day. But to buy into Axe is taking what is already the bottom shelf, and removing it, and digging a ditch under the shelving unit, placing my self-respect in there, and then covering it in cement. Why opt for what is, annually, more expensive, yet LOWER QUALITY than the aforementioned “budget scents?” These things get used up within a month or two, and then you have to repurchase. Meanwhile, they smell like aerosol chemicals.

    Reply
    • Ari

      Sooo true, Bryan! Men’s fragrances are drastically cheaper than women’s, so there’s really no excuse for men not to smell good! Also, I will be laughing over your Axe = burying self-respect metaphor all night. I haven’t heard of Skin Bracer before, is it possible to find in the US?

      Reply
      • Lindaloo

        You should be able to find Skin Bracer (aftershave) by Mennen (now owned by Colgate-Palmolive in the US) in the shaving products aisle of many drugstores and Mennen Speed Stick deodorant (a fougere style scent) so he can have the full-body Axe-style experience.

        Reply
  6. anatu13

    All those who are tired of smelling Axe thank you, Ari (my baby sister, age 18, wore Axe something or other while we visited this summer). I *love* the photo–so sweet of you both!

    Reply
    • Ari

      Do they have Axe for women now, anatu13?? Or was your sister just gender-bending? If so, I hope that she learns that there are many more exciting men’s fragrances out there!

      Reply
      • anatu13

        I’m afraid I didn’t even ask. Wouldn’t be surprised if she was gender-bending there, though. This vacation was crazy stressful–not the right time to suggest a better alternative–but I do plan to bring her into the fold in due time… I did get the feeling she didn’t identify what she was wearing as being the same sort of thing as perfume, which she basically thought was weird LOL.

        Reply
        • Barbara

          There is an Axe for women. I believe it’s called Anarchy for Her or something of that nature.

  7. laniersmith

    Brilliant and wonderful. I was in your pocket all the way. Your brother is so lucky to have you as a perfume guide. GREAT POST!!

    Reply
  8. TF

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and it’s great, but it was this post that I really saw myself in! (especially that cute picture) I am your age and have a younger brother who’s 14 and just got taller than me! (may I ask if you’re tip-toeing in that pic? :) ) I am also always sticking samples under his nose and but he mostly just tolerates it. Can you guesss what he wears?

    Reply
    • Ari

      I’m so glad that you delurked, TF! I am standing on some serious heels in that pic, and it’s been years since my brother surpassed me in height :( Let’s see, does your brother wear Acqua di Gio? (That seems like a fair guess, since it’s always Sephora’s #1 masculine seller!)

      Reply
      • TF

        Haha, no he wears AXE!!! He’s only a freshman and I can’t even get him to wear simple thinks like Acqua di Gio or Versace pour Homme :( He likes picking perfume out as gifts for other people, though.

        Reply
  9. Barbara

    Oh Ari! I need you to come do this for my son’s friends. My 16 year old wears only one layer of Axe (body wash) . I do like the scents of the ones he uses, the Dark Temptation (chocolate thingy) is quite nice. His best bud however uses Irish Spring body wash, deodorant, and God only knows what else. Went to pick him up one morning and was gagging. Nothing like Michigan heat and humidity and a car full of teenage boys all freshly smelly in the morning!

    Reply
  10. malsnano86

    Awwwwwww, you’re such a good big sis!! And I’m with everybody else, that pic is beyond cute. Squish.

    Gaze will turn 14 next month (he just got taller than his sister this summer, but she’s still got 20 pounds on him). He wears VC&A Midnight in Paris most frequently, sometimes Calvin Klein cKOne Shock for Him, and occasionally he gets out the mini of Egoiste – all woody scents with accents of tonka, leather, and/or spices. I suppose he’s got a good idea of what he likes… and they don’t smell like AXE.

    Recently when he was with me picking out shower gel, he chose Old Spice Champion, which is really nice for such a cheapie product. I have absolutely no idea of the notes, except that it reminds me to some degree of classic Old Spice (which doesn’t really smell the way it used to, back when I was wrapping up an aftershave gift pack for my dad’s Christmas present in the 70s!), and a little of Habit Rouge: woody, spicy, powdery, tonka-y, right in line with the rest of his choices.

    Taz, who’ll soon be twelve, does NOT CARE how he smells. Give him three years, and he will. I hope. ;)

    Reply

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