Skip to main content

Jil Sander Man – What I want to smell….anytime - June 1, 2015



It had been a particularly fractious meeting and my head was pounding. I pushed the elevator button and while I waited for it to arrive, I rummaged around in my purse for some aspirin.

I found one lonely, loose tablet at the bottom. Worn edges and covered in lint, it still gave me hope. When the elevator arrived I was relieved to see it was empty. I stepped and pressed ‘L’.

There I was standing alone in a moving elevator trying to figure out how to take an aspirin without water - maybe if I just held it to my forehead – when the car slowed and then stopped. The doors slid open and the handsomest smell stepped in.

He must have been in his early-forties, well-groomed in an expensive-looking suit, shoes and leather laptop bag. He looked European and he smelled good. Really, really good. The kind of good that dissolves tension. I began to relax. My mind uncoiled and my claws retracted. By the time we reached ‘L’ I had to ask him what cologne he was wearing. In lightly accented English he told me it was Jil Sander Man.

“I get asked that question so often, I should wear a sign” he said, smiling warmly and sweeping a hand in front of me so I could exit the elevator before him. It was a lovely exchange that turned my day around and gave me a new scent to track down.

Created by Thierry Wasser and Annick Menardo and launched in 2007, Jil Sander Man comes from German fashion house Jil Sander. Heidemarie Jiline "Jil" Sander was born in Germany in 1943 and studied textile design in Germany and the U.S. before opening her first boutique in Hamburg in 1967. Her minimalist aesthetic soon had a cult following and in 1978 she founded her eponymous fashion house.

In 1999, Prada bought a majority share of her company with Sander staying on in various Creative Designer/ Director capacities until 2004. Currently, Sander is creative director of the menswear and womenswear collections for Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer Uniqlo.

Thierry Wasser (Quand Vient La Pluie) and Annick Menardo (Bulgari Black) – now there’s a perfume lover’s tag team dream and they don’t disappoint with Jil Sander Man.

 It opens with a swoosh of citrusy, bitter bergamot. As the bitterness fades, bergamot’s fruity and aromatic facets come forward, and are picked by lavender and powdery violet. It’s elegant, floral and sweet but definitely on the masculine side. As it blooms, sage, one of my favourite notes in perfumery, warms it with a gentle peppery, spiciness before it gets dry, woody and smoky from vetiver. At the base, the woodiness is deepened by cedarwood, while bitter, resinous myrrh makes it darker, pushed on by bitter, herbal, artemesia. On me, there is a thread of camphour that plays on the edge of the darkness. It starts with the sage, is echoed by the cedar and arrives with the balsamic aspect of the myrrh. A note of Russian leather is quiet and mellow. It softens any harsh pungency so that the drydown is resinous, woody and aromatic while being elegant and polished

Jil Sander Man has a vintage feel at the start but evolves into distinctive, and unique modern fragrance that stays close to the skin, quietly exuding a handsome, confident, manliness for hours. It can be worn anytime.

In fact, I’ve replaced the aspirin in my purse with a ml. decant of Jil Sander Man, just so I can smell something really, really good anytime.

Jil Sander Man is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.