Is there a difference between perfumes for men and women, is perfume gender specific? A frequently asked question but where does gender in perfumes come from?

In Western Europe, perfumes for men and women are part cultural phenomenon, a reflection of the times we live in and part stereotype, as blue is associated with boys and pink with girls.
Now, we go as far as to pose that perfume is an art form and you don't have musical compositions, or high-end food for women and men either. In this blog we'll explain our thoughts on gender in perfumes a bit more and we hope that you'll end up wearing what you like instead of what you think you should wear.


The use of perfume has been around for thousands of years and fragrances have not been classified as 'masculine' or 'feminine' in a very long period of that time. That changed at the end of the 19th century when synthetic ingredients made their appearance, and but the market also changed as marketing emerged.

Partially this was to do because men and women had a more defined role until the 19th century. And the arrival of synthetic ingredients also made it possible to create light floral and soft fantasy scents, qualities that are more often attributed to women, for example.

The 20th century, the roaring twenties, was a time that brought much more freedom for women. They literally broke free from their corsets, started wearing trousers, smoking and wearing modern, daring perfumes such as Tabac Blond (1919), a fragrance with leather and tobacco accords, and Chanel No5 (1921). These perfumes were very different from the scents of that time.

Culturally and individually determined

The perception of smell is not only very personal, but also culturally determined. What is that cultural aspect? What we consider a feminine scent in Western Europe can give a completely different experience in another country. An example from the Middle East, where men like rose scents and women often wear heavy woody scents with oudh. This is quite different from how we experience it in the Western world.

Another important aspect is 'smell association', our reactions to smell are tied to our memories. If your mother wore a floral perfume, you are more likely to associate flowers with women. Just as you will also experience scents that you have smelled on your father or grandfather as masculine.

What about the personal aspect? Because a perfume on the skin can develop differently from person to person, hormones (and they are different in men and women) can also play a role in how the scent smells; a specific perfume will never smell quite the same on him as it does on her.

Independent perfumers, total freedom

In the 'niche perfumery' independent (master) perfumers are not tied to large-scale marketing campaigns. Their perfumes are seen more as an art form and are therefore freer from labels such as 'masculine' or 'feminine'. After all, there are no exhibitions or concerts just for women or men. 

Our vision about gender in perfumes

We believe you should wear what you like and smell good on you, regardless of a 'for him' or 'for her' label. It's up to you, there are no rules except, have fun and dare to experiment!

If you prefer to have more grip and would like to emphasize your femininity or masculinity, we have a few tools. 

- Find your fragrances in the collections; For her or For him (you'll find the bestsellers for him below this blog).
- We have divided our collection into groups, which you will find in our perfumes by theme.

In short, try it out, take your time to enjoy a fragrant work of art, wear it on your skin several times and enjoy those perfumes that you feel comfortable with. In our boutique we love helping you find those fragrances that are best for you.

See you soon at Perfume Lounge!