GROOM: Phlur Fragrances & the Quintessential Gift

Shopping for fragrances can be a baffling process. First off, there’s the beauty counter. Where to start? Well, there’s the section for men’s colognes — usually located toward the back and hidden —  and then there’s the women’s section, where an army of bottles and vials stand sentry in all their elegant, stylish glory. If you can get past the packaging and the distractions and the woman at the counter, you can start to smell and taste and try. With scent, I know myself to prefer complex smells, and I tend to gravitate towards scents that are warming in nature and unisex in their makeup. The last pejorative is that a fragrance I choose be ethical and conscious in how they go about concocting their secret sauce, and transparent in their process. 


Therefore, the beauty counter is not always the best place for me to find my favorite fragrance. The process can be confusing — base notes? dry down? I don’t want any of that, I just need to know if I want this thing wafting off of my body. Additionally, most commercial fragrances can be overly simplistic in their scent profiles — especially when it comes to women. By using a broad stroke when designing fragrances for females, the result can be an overtly feminine fragrance that lacks the sexiness of complex, deeper scents. Finally, if you’re hoping to find transparency when it comes to ingredients and the manufacturing process at the luxury beauty level, you can think again. When you don’t know where your stuff was made or what it’s made out of, how can one truly choose well and successfully? 

This is why Phlur’s business model is truly revolutionary — they manage to turn what we know about making, marketing, and selling fragrance on it’s head. Here’s a fragrance brand that wants the process of finding a signature scent to be not just easy — but kind of fun. Here’s a fragrance company with a a truly progressive view towards scents. Rather than labeling something as ‘feminine’ or ‘seulement pour hommes’ they envision a world in which tastes, natural pheromones, and personality will make the same fragrance on either man or a woman smell decidedly sexy and wholly appropriate. Finally, they are a fragrance company that, in their process of making you smell better, are also working to make the world a little greener and more equitable in the process.  

The new line was started by Eric Korman; former president of global e-commerce for Ralph Lauren. After cutting his teeth in the luxury world, Korman wanted to disrupt the fragrance industry by creating a small and bespoke line of unisex scents that — you guessed it — could only be purchased online, and would be sold in a way that would take the pressure of selecting scent. 

Small and niche as they may be, Phlur is not joking around when it comes to concocting scents for noses that are in the know. The six scents Phlur currently offers were developed in collaboration with internationally-renowned perfumers David Apel and Nathalie Bernareau of Symrise, and industry wunderkid Ralf Schweiger. 

By allowing guests to purchase two small sample vials of fragrance for the low cost of $10 (that’s a ticket to ‘Office Christmas Party Party’ you guys!) Phlur is taking the BS out of the beauty industry by allowing consumers to road-test scents in real life until ready to purchase. Once one has decided on a fragrance, the $10 spent on sample vials be redeemed, and you essentially get your first bottle at a sizable initial discount. 

For myself, I chose Moab, which was described on the website as “a translation of the feelings inspired by the desert’s sun, wind, and openness.” I was sold the moment I discovered that the nose responsible for this fragrance was the perfumer behind my all-time favorite scent — Hermés Eau de Merveilles,’ Ralf Schweiger. I love how Phlur’s Moab rests on the body — it feels oily, almost virile. There’s a strength, heft, and weight to it. The character is warm and earthy, with notes of clove, pepper, and tonka bean to give it a spicy sexiness. It has a consistent wear, and once spritzed, shows considerable longevity. As it wears off, Moab seems to melt into the skin the same way a body oil would, a quality I appreciate. The scent is softly spicy, with a lived-in, casual, and shifting quality. 

 For my tester fragrances — I chose Greylocke and Hepcat, both of which I was equally pleased with. So much so that I may just need to purchase another full-size bottle. Hepcat, with it’s playful, bright, and rich profile felt like the perfect fragrance for a night out. It’s much too complex and sophisticated to be called ‘flirty’ but that’s what it is to me. With notes of saffron, black vetiver, tobacco, and oud, it’s decidedly sexy, warm, and deep. Greylocke is a great choice for those who like crisp, green, and clean scents — it’s classic, like the Kennedy’s playing bocce on the Whitehouse lawn kind of classic, and offers a sophisticated take on well-scrubbed American beauty. 

I am a new fan of Phlur, to be sure. They work with stellar fragrance houses like Symrise and Mane and work with amazing, accomplished perfumers. Additionally, their standards are top-notch. All Phlur fragrances are cruelty-free, allergen-free, and come with absolutely no parabens (ew), phthalates (super ew), or unnecessary stabilizers and animal products. This is a huge win in the fragrance world, as sometimes even the most expensive designer fragrances can still be filled with stabilizers, fillers, or phthalates. Additionally, Phlur’s extraction and harvesting methods focus on sustainable practices that don’t harm the environment. 

For example, take the vanilla bean. A key natural extract found in many fragrances around the world, it’s a note that can give scents that cozy and warm feeling we love so much — especially around this time of the year. In Madagascar, farmers can sustain entire communities around growing this key cash crop. However, due to the limited growing season for Madagascan vanilla and the volatility of weather patterns in the region, if the crop isn’t good one year, families — and entire communities — can become destitute. Symrise, one of the largest and most renowned fragrance houses in the world, decided to introduce vetiver to this community of farmers to diversify the region’s revenue stream, fortify the local soil, and enourage sustained economic growth. This new vetiver from Madagascar smells delicious, and currently the only fine fragrance in the world to incorporate this ecologically responsible ingredient is Phlur’s Hepcat. Pretty cool, right? (To learn more about Phlur’s dedication to the environment and other conscious stewardship, read here.) 

If any of this sounds like the perfect gift for the stylish and ethically-driven guy or girl in your life, I encourage you to enter my giveaway, which is live through the end of the day on my Instagram account! All you have to do is comment on my post and also follow PHLUR on Instagram. I’ll be choosing a winner by 5pm CST and the winner will be announced on my Instagram feed with a post on Saturday. The lucky winner of the giveaway will walk away with Phlur's Quintessential Gift, which consists of one full-size bottle of perfume and two sample vials. And since I won't know and won't judge, this prize will be one you can either give as a gift or keep for yourself. Best of luck and happy gifting!