The Scent of a Decade: Popular Colognes of the 1980s

What Cologne was Popular in the 80S
Written by Lucas M. Hall

The 1980s, often depicted as a time of flamboyant fashion, iconic music, and cultural revolutions, was also a notable decade in the world of fragrances. As with any other facet of ’80s culture, the colognes of this period were bold, distinctive, and unapologetic. They captured the essence of an era characterized by both excess and introspection. Let’s dive into the iconic scents that defined the ’80s for many men.

  1. Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche (1982): One of the most iconic and unmistakable scents of the 1980s, Drakkar Noir blended spicy berries with citrus notes, tempered with leather and sandalwood. It epitomized the bold confidence of the decade, making it a staple for many men’s grooming routines.

  2. Polo by Ralph Lauren (1978): Although it was introduced in the late ’70s, Polo’s dominance carried well into the ’80s. Its rich, woody scent, combined with hints of tobacco and leather, resonated with the rugged individualism that many sought to express.

  3. Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein (1986): With a name like “Obsession”, it’s no wonder this cologne was a hit. Its spicy, oriental, and woody blend was a testament to the era’s love for deep and intense fragrances. The advertising campaigns for Obsession, provocative and boundary-pushing, mirrored the fragrance’s bold character.

  4. Fahrenheit by Christian Dior (1988): A latecomer in the decade, Fahrenheit made a significant mark with its unique blend of floral, woody, and musky notes. Its distinct scent, reminiscent of petroleum and leather, was both loved and divisive, making it a memorable fragrance of the times.

  5. Cool Water by Davidoff (1988): Offering a fresh respite from the intense scents popular in the ’80s, Cool Water was an instant hit. Its crisp, aquatic notes were a precursor to the fresh and airy scents that would become popular in the ’90s.

  6. Aramis by Aramis (1966): You know, while Aramis was introduced in the ’60s, its popularity soared in the ’80s, thanks in part to its timeless blend of leather, bergamot, and sandalwood. It’s a testament to the fragrance’s classic appeal that it became a favorite in a decade known for its penchant for the new and the novel.

Beyond the scents themselves, what’s fascinating is the cultural context in which these colognes thrived. The ’80s were a time of societal and technological shifts. As men grappled with changing notions of masculinity and identity, fragrances became an essential tool for self-expression. Whether it was the assertive confidence of Drakkar Noir or the sensual allure of Obsession, colognes of the ’80s captured the zeitgeist of a generation navigating its way through a rapidly changing world.

In conclusion, the 1980s weren’t just about power suits, synthesizers, and big hair. The decade also left an indelible mark on the world of fragrances. The colognes of the era, rich, bold, and often polarizing, are a scented snapshot of a time that, for many, remains unforgettable.

About the author

Lucas M. Hall

Lucas describes himself as a “certified fragrance expert”, having worked with some of the world’s top perfumeries as a perfume consultant. His love for fragrances has allowed him to help companies create scents that continue to sell out to this day. When he isn’t choosing notes, he helps clients find the perfect fragrance that complements their style and personality. Many high-profile clients have found their signature scent through his advice. During his downtime, Lucas likes to fill his home with the mouth-watering smell of s’mores, scones, and other delectable desserts.

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