Solid fragrances for men are an emerging market. I honestly don’t remember seeing any solids designed for/marketed to men before 2015 or so. Granted, I wasn’t looking for them, either, as I am female and they weren’t on my or my husband’s radar until 2017 or so, when we encountered the Fulton & Roark solids at Perfumology, in its old kiosk location at King of Prussia Mall. (In the fragrance and beauty world, three+ years is like a lifetime–so long ago that both Fulton & Roark and Perfumology have long since moved on, LOL!)
When I was considering the launch of this blog, I wasn’t sure if I would cover men’s solid fragrances. There are more of them than ever but it’s still a tiny niche of the men’s fragrance/wet shave market. Most niche retailers don’t carry men’s solids (and many don’t carry women’s, either). I don’t see a lot of discussion of men’s solids on sites like Basenotes and Fragrantica, though the blogs devoted to men’s grooming give them a little more attention. With my husband’s help, I decided these could be items of interest for this blog. Since these are likely to be fragrances I won’t wear, I’m letting him choose which scent(s) to purchase and which of those might also be worth a blog entry. To date, he has chosen just three solids to purchase, one of which we’ll talk about today.
Duke Cannon Supply Co. is one of the brands that came up frequently on the aforementioned men’s grooming blogs and on the first page of a Google shopping search. They offer a full range of products for hair, skin, shave and body, including both solid and liquid colognes. I scouted them on Instagram and when they announced a Labor Day BOGO sale, my husband used the Duke Cannon Signature Scent Selector on their official website to narrow down his choices. (Very helpful, since they don’t offer samples of their solids and you could end up with a large quantity of a fragrance you don’t like.) They recommended musk fragrances for him, so he purchased Light Musk + Neroli as his first choice. He browsed the notes and descriptions of the other scents and chose Land for the other half of the BOGO deal. Both are enjoyable but the Light Musk + Neroli is easily our favorite of the two and is his top choice of the three solids he owns at this time.
Duke Cannon Supply Co. Light Musk + Neroli Solid Cologne Review
Size: 1.5 oz. These are the largest solids we own and they’re the size of a regular tin of Altoids Mints. See the comparison to other solid tins we own in the photo below. It’s a lot of bang for the buck.
Packaging: hinge-top tin case (like the aforementioned Altoids Mints) with printed labels on top and bottom. (Duke Cannon scents from the regular collection have an actual printed tin, but Light Musk + Neroli is a “special issue” and limited edition.) The case is reusable/zero waste–I could see manly and outdoorsy things like fish hooks and small fishing lures, matches, nails and screws, etc., being stored in these.
Base: sunflower oil, beeswax, coconut oil, mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract, calendula extract. The beeswax, coconut oil, rosemary extract and calendula extract are noted as certified organic. All Duke Cannon fragrances are free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates.
Vegan-friendly: No, due to the beeswax, but Duke Cannon makes alcohol-based colognes and other products that are suitable for vegans.
Color and Texture: light cream-colored waxy solid, thick but softens with the touch of a fingertip and is easily spreadable. An important item to note here, too, is that the size of the tin easily accommodates a good scooping with two or three man-sized fingers.
Natural perfume or mixed media: Only the generic “fragrance” is listed in the ingredients. This one is presumably mixed media or possibly synthetics only.
Fragrance description and notes: The description from the official website: “Inspired by the best scents on land and sea, the fragrance starts with a lively blend of crisp greens, neroli, and citrus notes, then transitions to an alluring base of sandalwood, amber, and light musk. Smells like taking a dip in a clear, mountain stream on a sunny day, not a visit to a shopping mall kiosk. An inviting scent that is perfect for a night on the town at a restaurant with cloth napkins.”
Longevity: Good for a solid, at 4-5 hours, but if you haven’t used solids before, you may not be accustomed to their performance. This is something my husband is still getting used to. On the other hand, that first intense hit of fragrance when we apply it is the rush that keeps many of us fragrance-lovers coming back, so you get to experience that two or three times a day with a solid.
Sillage: Very strong for 30 minutes or so, then comfortably within-arm’s-length after, fading to a skin scent towards the end.
The experience: When talking with my husband about the possible appeal of solid colognes to him and other men, he identified a few talking points: they’re affordable; they’re portable, slipping easily into gym bag, briefcase, etc.; they’re versatile due to their more subtle scent throw–you won’t overwhelm your co-workers or be the obvious “cologne guy” in your group of friends.
If you’ve been trying to wean your frugal guy off an out-of-date drugstore cheapie or designer dupe, there are many solids available at a comparable price point. If your dude clings to the old-school notion of masculinity that dictates manly men should only smell like soap, a solid fragrance could help ease him into the 21st-century fragrance world (and the Duke Cannon products in particular have manliness to spare). Solids are also great if your guy (or you) are sensitive to strong fragrances. Even the strongest solids aren’t nearly as “loud” as their liquid counterparts, and they don’t stay at their maximum volume very long.
My husband doesn’t fall into any of the above categories, but it took a few experiences with different solids to bring him on board. Now he’s a believer, but proceeding slowly, which is fine. If I wasn’t blogging, I’d be moving at that same pace. Solid fragrancing is a more intimate experience that both requires and rewards a little more time and attention.
But Light Musk + Neroli was the first of his solids to really “wow” him. We could smell it through the package when it arrived in the mail, and it was the first one he swiped. It’s a clean, airy musk scent that was perfect for late summer and is playing nicely in the warm early days of our Philadelphia fall. I suggested a description of “shampoo musk” and he agrees. It’s slightly citrus, slightly floral-woody, but mostly about that clean musk in the base. It’s a good fragrance for daytime, but he’s also worn it out for drinks and dining outdoors in the evening. He hasn’t had a chance to wear the fragrance in cooler weather yet but we’ll see how it does. (The other cologne he purchased, Land, is very spicy-woody and we know that one will be great for cooler weather.)
In my recent post on where and how to apply solid fragrances, I mention that the beard is a great place to apply if you want to extend the scent’s longevity and be able to smell it yourself. Light Musk + Neroli is the first fragrance my husband swiped into his beard, and gentlemen, if you’ve got a quarantine beard going, I highly recommend this particular scent for that purpose. It smells very sexy and makes me want to nuzzle his neck…
Where to buy: Easily found and widely available in the U.S. The best selection is on the Duke Cannon Supply Co. official website, where they often have deals, bundles, gift sets, etc. and also offer a “find a local store” search in case you want to sniff products in person. Also found on Amazon, Ebay, Ulta (online only) and Target (also appears to be online only, at least in my region).
Additional notes: A couple cool things about the brand: Duke Cannon Supply Co. donates 5% of their net profits to causes that benefit veterans and active duty military. They also offer a discount to active military and first responders.
All photos and original print artwork by me.