Since it has been established in the advertising world that if you can identify a niche, you can target it, it was probably inevitable that we would one day see the rise of bluegrass men’s cologne.
Bluegrass women’s fragrances had already been introduced last year with the noted success of Bleu Diva, and Je Pick 5! (the latter was an immediate hit, due to its mysterious and captivating blend of the scents of grapefruit, cherry blossom, and the musty interior of a vintage banjo case).
The cologne industry has made a fortune creating and selling an image in our minds and tying it to certain scents, even if we wouldn’t have naturally connected the two without some marketing assistance. For example, Versace describes their men’s cologne The Dreamer this way:
“If you spend your days immersed in dreams about the future, Dreamer by Versace is the perfect fragrance for your romantic soul.” It goes on to say that it “. . . leaves a warm and woody aroma in your wake, designed to turn heads. Relish in the sweet open of mandarin notes, combined with floral and fresh lavender. A rugged heart of tobacco blends with the rich scent of tonka bean for a finish that is mysterious and captivating.”
If I hadn’t been led to believe that this is what romantic dreamers smell like, I probably would have thought these scents were sending a mixed aromatic message, possibly suited to someone who is unsure of his direction in life (when you think about it, men like that need their own scent, too).
Meanwhile, Hugo Boss’ Boss #6 boasts that “this elegant scent is ideal for men who have an unapologetic zest for life.” This is achieved by blending apple and citrus, combined with warm cinnamon and pelargonium, anchored by hints of cedar.” Left to draw my own conclusions, this would just seem like a man who has an unapologetic zest for breakfast, and who may sometimes choose to eat it outdoors. This is probably where I should admit that I have no idea what pelargonium is.
Many of these cologne descriptions talk about “tops notes” or an “open,” with “heart notes” at the center, followed by “base notes” or the “finish.” Beer is described this way now, too, and I don’t think the world is a better place for it, but you might equate this sequence of scent sensations with the kick-off of a song, its verse and chorus, followed by its last ringing chord.
It may have been with that analogy in mind that many of these same designers have now introduced several colognes and related products geared towards men in the bluegrass music industry. Expect them to have booths with free samples at the IBMA World of Bluegrass this September, but for now I’ve been given a sneak peak into the advertising copy for some of them:
Yodel – You’re the lead singer in everything you do, and you’re ready to go high or go low, as the situation requires. Yodel is the scent that says you’ve got range, with an alluring blend of citrus and grassy top notes, a heart of earthy sage, alfalfa, and steroid nasal spray, finishing with a base of honey/lemon throat lozenges. Kick off the song of life; you’re ready for verse one.
Truss Rod – It isn’t just how you play the banjo, you can also talk the talk, whether it’s discussing flanges or tone rings, and you can confidently dissemble a pre-war flathead so fast, heads will turn. Steel and woody scents open up this invigorating fragrance, followed by notes of juniper and goat hide which all combine to say you’re got a solid forward roll.
Commission – You love being the skilled negotiator, the middle man between the high-maintenance artist and the penny-pinching promoter, and it shows. Commission is a confident blend of reassuring lavender and oak aromas, with harder edged hints of bourbon, tobacco, and well-worn ten dollar bills for the base. Oh yes, that call is coming in, and they’re going to meet your price!
Down Up Down – This is a scent for a man who has the confidence and consistency to relish repetitive motion, whether making magic happen on a guitar or mandolin, or just knowing where in life the firm downstroke is needed. With high notes of phosphor bronze, and spruce, sustainably sourced tortoiseshell for the heart notes, and classically masculine rosewood and mahogany base notes, Down Up Down is a fragrance that says your wrist is loose and tendinitis-free, and you’re ready for that well-placed rest-stroke.
Man Bun – You’re barefoot, you’re on stage, and you’re going to be playing this song for a very very long time. This is the scent that tells the world that you go your own way in exactly the same way your friends and band members are going their own way, too. Opening top notes of beard oil give way to hemp, patchouli, and avocado. Dude, you smell good.
Bus – You’re the road warrior, and you’re winning. You roll down the highways of life, a free spirit with an appetite for large vehicles and a small bunk. Bus is an intoxicating coffee and diesel fuel-based scent with hints of vodka, pork rinds, and a subtle brake fluid finish. It’s a fragrance that says you’d love to spend the night but you can’t sleep anywhere that isn’t heavily air conditioned and moving at 75 mph. Go boldly on, warrior. The next Flying J awaits!
Big Mon – A cologne for a man not afraid to be a leader, traditionalist, and innovator all at once. Inspired by the spirit of the Father of Bluegrass, Big Mon is definitely “a part of something”: it’s a self-assured, regal scent, which will set you apart and make a lasting impression, with lonesome high notes of damp fertile soil, a heart of freshly mowed Kentucky blue grass, leaving a soft trail of spruce, maple, and just a hint of draft horse sweat in the base. Spray it on and let the world follow your lead.