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Three new colognes, tested and reviewed by stylist Sammy Salsa

Sammy Salsa with boyfriend Tapu.

Growing up as a teen in a Samoan household with four other boys (biological brothers – and yes, the same dad lol), our parents wouldn’t let us wear body spray until we hit a certain age. Even when it was clear my hormonal sweat glands were peaking from age 13. I think in their eyes, body deodorant was almost like an “adults only” product and they associated it with puberty - and where there’s talk of puberty, there’s talk of sex. Two topics that are taboo in a Polynesian house.

Or maybe they were in denial and didn’t want us to grow up so quick. We are Samoan after all; no one ever moves out of home until their late 20s. Little did they know that body spray was the least of their worries while managing a raging teen. 

At 16, I had my first after school job working the graveyard shift at KFC. With my first paycheck I secretly invested in my first hygiene body spray – Lynx “Africa” (yes I know, a problematic name; this was the year 2000, you couldn’t cancel brands as quickly as you can today). The iconic deodorant that shaped every teen boys’ high school years made its way into my hands, thanks to my (very below) minimum pay of $40 a week from serving drunk people on a Friday night at the drive-through.

High school was the perfect breeding ground for a product like Lynx and smelly, sweaty teens. Everyone had it, and if you couldn’t afford your own $3.99 can, no problem: that shit was getting passed around quicker than a rolled-up joint at a One Love concert.

As I grew older, my sense of smell developed and became more expensive lol. I had moved on from the hygiene shelves of Pak’n’Save Mt Albert, and found myself at the men's fragrance counter of Smith & Caughey's during the uni days. I was a young adult now; it was time to invest in proper “adult products”. My first cologne of choice at the age of 19 was Issey Miyake, and 15 years later I am still a loyal fan.

To me cologne is an extended element of someone’s personal style (even personality), but sometimes personal style needs a reinvention. Maybe these three fragrances will open up my senses a little bit more and influence me into trying something different...

Tom Ford Beau De Jour, $227

I had my boyfriend Tapu trial one of the three colognes, and he naturally gravitated towards the Tom Ford bottle. Typical male; he went with what looked and sounded familiar without having to think too much about it.

His initial response to the scent was “this smells strikingly crisp”...OK, so far, so good. He then carried on saying, “It's giving me fancy public restroom vibes”. Ummm savage much? The top note is lavender, an aroma found in many home fragrance products, so maybe that’s why he thought that?

After trialling it for a week, Tapu had a change of heart. He loves the “freshness” he gets from wearing it throughout his day, and appreciates how the intensity of the first spritz tends to “mellow out after a while without losing its unique smell”. It’s a cologne he feels would be perfect for a “special occasion when you’re feeling fancy”.

My thoughts, smelling it on him? Let’s just say I look forward to our next fancy occasion. 😀

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Profondo, $165

If modern masculinity was bottled up and sold on a tropical island, it would be Profondo. There’s something about a product that references strength, seaside and freedom that I’ll gladly open my purse for. Finger snaps for that Signore Armani.

The fragrance houses the iconic marine notes that Gio is famous for, and they have followed through the ocean vibes with a frosted deep blue bottle similar to that of the deep sea. In short, it’s your typical masculine looking bottle which should do well on the shelves.

The first spray is invigorating and almost sensual. Can cologne set off a sexual vibration? Cause I feel like this one just did. It has a liberating and sexy scent that I love.

For men looking for a cologne for the party season, this is the jam. I would highly recommend not over doing it though, as this is the cologne that really only needs one spritz and you’re set.

Jo Malone London Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense, $295

Jo Malone London as a brand isn’t necessarily my go-to for fragrances - I’m more of a perfume aisle at The Chemist Warehouse kind of gay. Don’t get me wrong, I can get boujee if I have to, but most of the time I’m pretty casual as fuck.

So it was a sweet surprise to pop open the bottle and get a whiff of an aroma that really brought back some nostalgic childhood memories. Jo Malone London describes the cologne as “a mysterious vetiver, left lingering in the air”. Vetiver is a type of long grass found in places with hot climates; the grass is also used for weaving traditional mats.

Remember that childhood memory I was talking about? *Cue flash backs* It was that of my grandparent’s house where old, beautiful wooden furniture sat on traditional fine woven Samoan mats. That whole setting smelt like it had been housed up in this bottle. 

The smokey wood aroma really made me question if I had been missing out all these years with my choice of cologne!

Of the three, this was my favourite - the longevity after the first spritz left a lasting impression on myself and others, with one friend commenting “you smell different”. I guess something different can be a good thing after all.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know.


No items found.
Sammy Salsa with boyfriend Tapu.

Growing up as a teen in a Samoan household with four other boys (biological brothers – and yes, the same dad lol), our parents wouldn’t let us wear body spray until we hit a certain age. Even when it was clear my hormonal sweat glands were peaking from age 13. I think in their eyes, body deodorant was almost like an “adults only” product and they associated it with puberty - and where there’s talk of puberty, there’s talk of sex. Two topics that are taboo in a Polynesian house.

Or maybe they were in denial and didn’t want us to grow up so quick. We are Samoan after all; no one ever moves out of home until their late 20s. Little did they know that body spray was the least of their worries while managing a raging teen. 

At 16, I had my first after school job working the graveyard shift at KFC. With my first paycheck I secretly invested in my first hygiene body spray – Lynx “Africa” (yes I know, a problematic name; this was the year 2000, you couldn’t cancel brands as quickly as you can today). The iconic deodorant that shaped every teen boys’ high school years made its way into my hands, thanks to my (very below) minimum pay of $40 a week from serving drunk people on a Friday night at the drive-through.

High school was the perfect breeding ground for a product like Lynx and smelly, sweaty teens. Everyone had it, and if you couldn’t afford your own $3.99 can, no problem: that shit was getting passed around quicker than a rolled-up joint at a One Love concert.

As I grew older, my sense of smell developed and became more expensive lol. I had moved on from the hygiene shelves of Pak’n’Save Mt Albert, and found myself at the men's fragrance counter of Smith & Caughey's during the uni days. I was a young adult now; it was time to invest in proper “adult products”. My first cologne of choice at the age of 19 was Issey Miyake, and 15 years later I am still a loyal fan.

To me cologne is an extended element of someone’s personal style (even personality), but sometimes personal style needs a reinvention. Maybe these three fragrances will open up my senses a little bit more and influence me into trying something different...

Tom Ford Beau De Jour, $227

I had my boyfriend Tapu trial one of the three colognes, and he naturally gravitated towards the Tom Ford bottle. Typical male; he went with what looked and sounded familiar without having to think too much about it.

His initial response to the scent was “this smells strikingly crisp”...OK, so far, so good. He then carried on saying, “It's giving me fancy public restroom vibes”. Ummm savage much? The top note is lavender, an aroma found in many home fragrance products, so maybe that’s why he thought that?

After trialling it for a week, Tapu had a change of heart. He loves the “freshness” he gets from wearing it throughout his day, and appreciates how the intensity of the first spritz tends to “mellow out after a while without losing its unique smell”. It’s a cologne he feels would be perfect for a “special occasion when you’re feeling fancy”.

My thoughts, smelling it on him? Let’s just say I look forward to our next fancy occasion. 😀

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Profondo, $165

If modern masculinity was bottled up and sold on a tropical island, it would be Profondo. There’s something about a product that references strength, seaside and freedom that I’ll gladly open my purse for. Finger snaps for that Signore Armani.

The fragrance houses the iconic marine notes that Gio is famous for, and they have followed through the ocean vibes with a frosted deep blue bottle similar to that of the deep sea. In short, it’s your typical masculine looking bottle which should do well on the shelves.

The first spray is invigorating and almost sensual. Can cologne set off a sexual vibration? Cause I feel like this one just did. It has a liberating and sexy scent that I love.

For men looking for a cologne for the party season, this is the jam. I would highly recommend not over doing it though, as this is the cologne that really only needs one spritz and you’re set.

Jo Malone London Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense, $295

Jo Malone London as a brand isn’t necessarily my go-to for fragrances - I’m more of a perfume aisle at The Chemist Warehouse kind of gay. Don’t get me wrong, I can get boujee if I have to, but most of the time I’m pretty casual as fuck.

So it was a sweet surprise to pop open the bottle and get a whiff of an aroma that really brought back some nostalgic childhood memories. Jo Malone London describes the cologne as “a mysterious vetiver, left lingering in the air”. Vetiver is a type of long grass found in places with hot climates; the grass is also used for weaving traditional mats.

Remember that childhood memory I was talking about? *Cue flash backs* It was that of my grandparent’s house where old, beautiful wooden furniture sat on traditional fine woven Samoan mats. That whole setting smelt like it had been housed up in this bottle. 

The smokey wood aroma really made me question if I had been missing out all these years with my choice of cologne!

Of the three, this was my favourite - the longevity after the first spritz left a lasting impression on myself and others, with one friend commenting “you smell different”. I guess something different can be a good thing after all.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know.


Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Three new colognes, tested and reviewed by stylist Sammy Salsa

Sammy Salsa with boyfriend Tapu.

Growing up as a teen in a Samoan household with four other boys (biological brothers – and yes, the same dad lol), our parents wouldn’t let us wear body spray until we hit a certain age. Even when it was clear my hormonal sweat glands were peaking from age 13. I think in their eyes, body deodorant was almost like an “adults only” product and they associated it with puberty - and where there’s talk of puberty, there’s talk of sex. Two topics that are taboo in a Polynesian house.

Or maybe they were in denial and didn’t want us to grow up so quick. We are Samoan after all; no one ever moves out of home until their late 20s. Little did they know that body spray was the least of their worries while managing a raging teen. 

At 16, I had my first after school job working the graveyard shift at KFC. With my first paycheck I secretly invested in my first hygiene body spray – Lynx “Africa” (yes I know, a problematic name; this was the year 2000, you couldn’t cancel brands as quickly as you can today). The iconic deodorant that shaped every teen boys’ high school years made its way into my hands, thanks to my (very below) minimum pay of $40 a week from serving drunk people on a Friday night at the drive-through.

High school was the perfect breeding ground for a product like Lynx and smelly, sweaty teens. Everyone had it, and if you couldn’t afford your own $3.99 can, no problem: that shit was getting passed around quicker than a rolled-up joint at a One Love concert.

As I grew older, my sense of smell developed and became more expensive lol. I had moved on from the hygiene shelves of Pak’n’Save Mt Albert, and found myself at the men's fragrance counter of Smith & Caughey's during the uni days. I was a young adult now; it was time to invest in proper “adult products”. My first cologne of choice at the age of 19 was Issey Miyake, and 15 years later I am still a loyal fan.

To me cologne is an extended element of someone’s personal style (even personality), but sometimes personal style needs a reinvention. Maybe these three fragrances will open up my senses a little bit more and influence me into trying something different...

Tom Ford Beau De Jour, $227

I had my boyfriend Tapu trial one of the three colognes, and he naturally gravitated towards the Tom Ford bottle. Typical male; he went with what looked and sounded familiar without having to think too much about it.

His initial response to the scent was “this smells strikingly crisp”...OK, so far, so good. He then carried on saying, “It's giving me fancy public restroom vibes”. Ummm savage much? The top note is lavender, an aroma found in many home fragrance products, so maybe that’s why he thought that?

After trialling it for a week, Tapu had a change of heart. He loves the “freshness” he gets from wearing it throughout his day, and appreciates how the intensity of the first spritz tends to “mellow out after a while without losing its unique smell”. It’s a cologne he feels would be perfect for a “special occasion when you’re feeling fancy”.

My thoughts, smelling it on him? Let’s just say I look forward to our next fancy occasion. 😀

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Profondo, $165

If modern masculinity was bottled up and sold on a tropical island, it would be Profondo. There’s something about a product that references strength, seaside and freedom that I’ll gladly open my purse for. Finger snaps for that Signore Armani.

The fragrance houses the iconic marine notes that Gio is famous for, and they have followed through the ocean vibes with a frosted deep blue bottle similar to that of the deep sea. In short, it’s your typical masculine looking bottle which should do well on the shelves.

The first spray is invigorating and almost sensual. Can cologne set off a sexual vibration? Cause I feel like this one just did. It has a liberating and sexy scent that I love.

For men looking for a cologne for the party season, this is the jam. I would highly recommend not over doing it though, as this is the cologne that really only needs one spritz and you’re set.

Jo Malone London Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense, $295

Jo Malone London as a brand isn’t necessarily my go-to for fragrances - I’m more of a perfume aisle at The Chemist Warehouse kind of gay. Don’t get me wrong, I can get boujee if I have to, but most of the time I’m pretty casual as fuck.

So it was a sweet surprise to pop open the bottle and get a whiff of an aroma that really brought back some nostalgic childhood memories. Jo Malone London describes the cologne as “a mysterious vetiver, left lingering in the air”. Vetiver is a type of long grass found in places with hot climates; the grass is also used for weaving traditional mats.

Remember that childhood memory I was talking about? *Cue flash backs* It was that of my grandparent’s house where old, beautiful wooden furniture sat on traditional fine woven Samoan mats. That whole setting smelt like it had been housed up in this bottle. 

The smokey wood aroma really made me question if I had been missing out all these years with my choice of cologne!

Of the three, this was my favourite - the longevity after the first spritz left a lasting impression on myself and others, with one friend commenting “you smell different”. I guess something different can be a good thing after all.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know.


Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Three new colognes, tested and reviewed by stylist Sammy Salsa

Sammy Salsa with boyfriend Tapu.

Growing up as a teen in a Samoan household with four other boys (biological brothers – and yes, the same dad lol), our parents wouldn’t let us wear body spray until we hit a certain age. Even when it was clear my hormonal sweat glands were peaking from age 13. I think in their eyes, body deodorant was almost like an “adults only” product and they associated it with puberty - and where there’s talk of puberty, there’s talk of sex. Two topics that are taboo in a Polynesian house.

Or maybe they were in denial and didn’t want us to grow up so quick. We are Samoan after all; no one ever moves out of home until their late 20s. Little did they know that body spray was the least of their worries while managing a raging teen. 

At 16, I had my first after school job working the graveyard shift at KFC. With my first paycheck I secretly invested in my first hygiene body spray – Lynx “Africa” (yes I know, a problematic name; this was the year 2000, you couldn’t cancel brands as quickly as you can today). The iconic deodorant that shaped every teen boys’ high school years made its way into my hands, thanks to my (very below) minimum pay of $40 a week from serving drunk people on a Friday night at the drive-through.

High school was the perfect breeding ground for a product like Lynx and smelly, sweaty teens. Everyone had it, and if you couldn’t afford your own $3.99 can, no problem: that shit was getting passed around quicker than a rolled-up joint at a One Love concert.

As I grew older, my sense of smell developed and became more expensive lol. I had moved on from the hygiene shelves of Pak’n’Save Mt Albert, and found myself at the men's fragrance counter of Smith & Caughey's during the uni days. I was a young adult now; it was time to invest in proper “adult products”. My first cologne of choice at the age of 19 was Issey Miyake, and 15 years later I am still a loyal fan.

To me cologne is an extended element of someone’s personal style (even personality), but sometimes personal style needs a reinvention. Maybe these three fragrances will open up my senses a little bit more and influence me into trying something different...

Tom Ford Beau De Jour, $227

I had my boyfriend Tapu trial one of the three colognes, and he naturally gravitated towards the Tom Ford bottle. Typical male; he went with what looked and sounded familiar without having to think too much about it.

His initial response to the scent was “this smells strikingly crisp”...OK, so far, so good. He then carried on saying, “It's giving me fancy public restroom vibes”. Ummm savage much? The top note is lavender, an aroma found in many home fragrance products, so maybe that’s why he thought that?

After trialling it for a week, Tapu had a change of heart. He loves the “freshness” he gets from wearing it throughout his day, and appreciates how the intensity of the first spritz tends to “mellow out after a while without losing its unique smell”. It’s a cologne he feels would be perfect for a “special occasion when you’re feeling fancy”.

My thoughts, smelling it on him? Let’s just say I look forward to our next fancy occasion. 😀

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Profondo, $165

If modern masculinity was bottled up and sold on a tropical island, it would be Profondo. There’s something about a product that references strength, seaside and freedom that I’ll gladly open my purse for. Finger snaps for that Signore Armani.

The fragrance houses the iconic marine notes that Gio is famous for, and they have followed through the ocean vibes with a frosted deep blue bottle similar to that of the deep sea. In short, it’s your typical masculine looking bottle which should do well on the shelves.

The first spray is invigorating and almost sensual. Can cologne set off a sexual vibration? Cause I feel like this one just did. It has a liberating and sexy scent that I love.

For men looking for a cologne for the party season, this is the jam. I would highly recommend not over doing it though, as this is the cologne that really only needs one spritz and you’re set.

Jo Malone London Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense, $295

Jo Malone London as a brand isn’t necessarily my go-to for fragrances - I’m more of a perfume aisle at The Chemist Warehouse kind of gay. Don’t get me wrong, I can get boujee if I have to, but most of the time I’m pretty casual as fuck.

So it was a sweet surprise to pop open the bottle and get a whiff of an aroma that really brought back some nostalgic childhood memories. Jo Malone London describes the cologne as “a mysterious vetiver, left lingering in the air”. Vetiver is a type of long grass found in places with hot climates; the grass is also used for weaving traditional mats.

Remember that childhood memory I was talking about? *Cue flash backs* It was that of my grandparent’s house where old, beautiful wooden furniture sat on traditional fine woven Samoan mats. That whole setting smelt like it had been housed up in this bottle. 

The smokey wood aroma really made me question if I had been missing out all these years with my choice of cologne!

Of the three, this was my favourite - the longevity after the first spritz left a lasting impression on myself and others, with one friend commenting “you smell different”. I guess something different can be a good thing after all.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know.


Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.
Sammy Salsa with boyfriend Tapu.

Growing up as a teen in a Samoan household with four other boys (biological brothers – and yes, the same dad lol), our parents wouldn’t let us wear body spray until we hit a certain age. Even when it was clear my hormonal sweat glands were peaking from age 13. I think in their eyes, body deodorant was almost like an “adults only” product and they associated it with puberty - and where there’s talk of puberty, there’s talk of sex. Two topics that are taboo in a Polynesian house.

Or maybe they were in denial and didn’t want us to grow up so quick. We are Samoan after all; no one ever moves out of home until their late 20s. Little did they know that body spray was the least of their worries while managing a raging teen. 

At 16, I had my first after school job working the graveyard shift at KFC. With my first paycheck I secretly invested in my first hygiene body spray – Lynx “Africa” (yes I know, a problematic name; this was the year 2000, you couldn’t cancel brands as quickly as you can today). The iconic deodorant that shaped every teen boys’ high school years made its way into my hands, thanks to my (very below) minimum pay of $40 a week from serving drunk people on a Friday night at the drive-through.

High school was the perfect breeding ground for a product like Lynx and smelly, sweaty teens. Everyone had it, and if you couldn’t afford your own $3.99 can, no problem: that shit was getting passed around quicker than a rolled-up joint at a One Love concert.

As I grew older, my sense of smell developed and became more expensive lol. I had moved on from the hygiene shelves of Pak’n’Save Mt Albert, and found myself at the men's fragrance counter of Smith & Caughey's during the uni days. I was a young adult now; it was time to invest in proper “adult products”. My first cologne of choice at the age of 19 was Issey Miyake, and 15 years later I am still a loyal fan.

To me cologne is an extended element of someone’s personal style (even personality), but sometimes personal style needs a reinvention. Maybe these three fragrances will open up my senses a little bit more and influence me into trying something different...

Tom Ford Beau De Jour, $227

I had my boyfriend Tapu trial one of the three colognes, and he naturally gravitated towards the Tom Ford bottle. Typical male; he went with what looked and sounded familiar without having to think too much about it.

His initial response to the scent was “this smells strikingly crisp”...OK, so far, so good. He then carried on saying, “It's giving me fancy public restroom vibes”. Ummm savage much? The top note is lavender, an aroma found in many home fragrance products, so maybe that’s why he thought that?

After trialling it for a week, Tapu had a change of heart. He loves the “freshness” he gets from wearing it throughout his day, and appreciates how the intensity of the first spritz tends to “mellow out after a while without losing its unique smell”. It’s a cologne he feels would be perfect for a “special occasion when you’re feeling fancy”.

My thoughts, smelling it on him? Let’s just say I look forward to our next fancy occasion. 😀

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Profondo, $165

If modern masculinity was bottled up and sold on a tropical island, it would be Profondo. There’s something about a product that references strength, seaside and freedom that I’ll gladly open my purse for. Finger snaps for that Signore Armani.

The fragrance houses the iconic marine notes that Gio is famous for, and they have followed through the ocean vibes with a frosted deep blue bottle similar to that of the deep sea. In short, it’s your typical masculine looking bottle which should do well on the shelves.

The first spray is invigorating and almost sensual. Can cologne set off a sexual vibration? Cause I feel like this one just did. It has a liberating and sexy scent that I love.

For men looking for a cologne for the party season, this is the jam. I would highly recommend not over doing it though, as this is the cologne that really only needs one spritz and you’re set.

Jo Malone London Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense, $295

Jo Malone London as a brand isn’t necessarily my go-to for fragrances - I’m more of a perfume aisle at The Chemist Warehouse kind of gay. Don’t get me wrong, I can get boujee if I have to, but most of the time I’m pretty casual as fuck.

So it was a sweet surprise to pop open the bottle and get a whiff of an aroma that really brought back some nostalgic childhood memories. Jo Malone London describes the cologne as “a mysterious vetiver, left lingering in the air”. Vetiver is a type of long grass found in places with hot climates; the grass is also used for weaving traditional mats.

Remember that childhood memory I was talking about? *Cue flash backs* It was that of my grandparent’s house where old, beautiful wooden furniture sat on traditional fine woven Samoan mats. That whole setting smelt like it had been housed up in this bottle. 

The smokey wood aroma really made me question if I had been missing out all these years with my choice of cologne!

Of the three, this was my favourite - the longevity after the first spritz left a lasting impression on myself and others, with one friend commenting “you smell different”. I guess something different can be a good thing after all.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know.


Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Three new colognes, tested and reviewed by stylist Sammy Salsa

Sammy Salsa with boyfriend Tapu.

Growing up as a teen in a Samoan household with four other boys (biological brothers – and yes, the same dad lol), our parents wouldn’t let us wear body spray until we hit a certain age. Even when it was clear my hormonal sweat glands were peaking from age 13. I think in their eyes, body deodorant was almost like an “adults only” product and they associated it with puberty - and where there’s talk of puberty, there’s talk of sex. Two topics that are taboo in a Polynesian house.

Or maybe they were in denial and didn’t want us to grow up so quick. We are Samoan after all; no one ever moves out of home until their late 20s. Little did they know that body spray was the least of their worries while managing a raging teen. 

At 16, I had my first after school job working the graveyard shift at KFC. With my first paycheck I secretly invested in my first hygiene body spray – Lynx “Africa” (yes I know, a problematic name; this was the year 2000, you couldn’t cancel brands as quickly as you can today). The iconic deodorant that shaped every teen boys’ high school years made its way into my hands, thanks to my (very below) minimum pay of $40 a week from serving drunk people on a Friday night at the drive-through.

High school was the perfect breeding ground for a product like Lynx and smelly, sweaty teens. Everyone had it, and if you couldn’t afford your own $3.99 can, no problem: that shit was getting passed around quicker than a rolled-up joint at a One Love concert.

As I grew older, my sense of smell developed and became more expensive lol. I had moved on from the hygiene shelves of Pak’n’Save Mt Albert, and found myself at the men's fragrance counter of Smith & Caughey's during the uni days. I was a young adult now; it was time to invest in proper “adult products”. My first cologne of choice at the age of 19 was Issey Miyake, and 15 years later I am still a loyal fan.

To me cologne is an extended element of someone’s personal style (even personality), but sometimes personal style needs a reinvention. Maybe these three fragrances will open up my senses a little bit more and influence me into trying something different...

Tom Ford Beau De Jour, $227

I had my boyfriend Tapu trial one of the three colognes, and he naturally gravitated towards the Tom Ford bottle. Typical male; he went with what looked and sounded familiar without having to think too much about it.

His initial response to the scent was “this smells strikingly crisp”...OK, so far, so good. He then carried on saying, “It's giving me fancy public restroom vibes”. Ummm savage much? The top note is lavender, an aroma found in many home fragrance products, so maybe that’s why he thought that?

After trialling it for a week, Tapu had a change of heart. He loves the “freshness” he gets from wearing it throughout his day, and appreciates how the intensity of the first spritz tends to “mellow out after a while without losing its unique smell”. It’s a cologne he feels would be perfect for a “special occasion when you’re feeling fancy”.

My thoughts, smelling it on him? Let’s just say I look forward to our next fancy occasion. 😀

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Profondo, $165

If modern masculinity was bottled up and sold on a tropical island, it would be Profondo. There’s something about a product that references strength, seaside and freedom that I’ll gladly open my purse for. Finger snaps for that Signore Armani.

The fragrance houses the iconic marine notes that Gio is famous for, and they have followed through the ocean vibes with a frosted deep blue bottle similar to that of the deep sea. In short, it’s your typical masculine looking bottle which should do well on the shelves.

The first spray is invigorating and almost sensual. Can cologne set off a sexual vibration? Cause I feel like this one just did. It has a liberating and sexy scent that I love.

For men looking for a cologne for the party season, this is the jam. I would highly recommend not over doing it though, as this is the cologne that really only needs one spritz and you’re set.

Jo Malone London Bronze Wood & Leather Cologne Intense, $295

Jo Malone London as a brand isn’t necessarily my go-to for fragrances - I’m more of a perfume aisle at The Chemist Warehouse kind of gay. Don’t get me wrong, I can get boujee if I have to, but most of the time I’m pretty casual as fuck.

So it was a sweet surprise to pop open the bottle and get a whiff of an aroma that really brought back some nostalgic childhood memories. Jo Malone London describes the cologne as “a mysterious vetiver, left lingering in the air”. Vetiver is a type of long grass found in places with hot climates; the grass is also used for weaving traditional mats.

Remember that childhood memory I was talking about? *Cue flash backs* It was that of my grandparent’s house where old, beautiful wooden furniture sat on traditional fine woven Samoan mats. That whole setting smelt like it had been housed up in this bottle. 

The smokey wood aroma really made me question if I had been missing out all these years with my choice of cologne!

Of the three, this was my favourite - the longevity after the first spritz left a lasting impression on myself and others, with one friend commenting “you smell different”. I guess something different can be a good thing after all.

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