Just about four years ago we published a post on 15 Manly Smells. The article received a ton of comments from folks who wanted to add their own favorite manly smells to the list, and the other day I found myself lost in enjoyment reading over them all again. So many of the additions were so great and evocative and so worthy of mention, and as the first post was one of my all-time favorites, I couldn’t resist compiling another edition. Enjoy and add your still unmentioned favorites to the comments!
“My favorite scent, not just manly scent, but scent-period: the smell of coffee percolating in one of those enamel coffee pots on a campfire on a cool autumn morning, right next to the river. Inhale the good, exhale the bad. Heal.” -PiperJon
“How about Cowboy Coffee?! Not that BS latte smell of hot milk, but the deep, powerful smell of cowboy coffee made by dumping grounds right into the pot, in deer camp, at 5 am, over a campfire.” -Wilson
Gasoline, Motor Oil, Grease, and Garage
“Every time I’m at a gas station, I can smell my father with his hands covered in engine oil and gasoline from splashing the red canister contents onto the funnel. Those red rags smell more like a man than most men do.” -James
“Gasoline and motor oil, like when you’re pulling a carburetor off a ’68 Plymouth Satellite with a 318cc V-8… mmmm…. and that smell of hydraulic fluid when you bleed the brakes, that’s a great smell.” -PiperJohn
“I drive an old Triumph Bonneville motorbike and I have to ‘tickle’ the carbs before starting it until a little gas comes out. The smell of it on my finger or leather gloves always makes me nostalgic for my dad’s bike on the carport…” -Matt
“My dad would smell like that after working on the family cars, my older brothers would smell like that after working on their cars, and my husband smells like that every day, as he is a mechanic. Too much is too much, but just the right amount of grease on his tan forearms, smelling manly…WOW. That is one hell of a manly smell.” -Alison
“The mixture of gasoline, WD-40, brake parts cleaner, grease, varsol, welding smoke, tires, and perhaps roll-your-own cigarettes in there somewhere.” -Josh K.
Freshly Churned Dirt
“For me… it’s the smell of freshly turned dirt – that earthy, loamy smell reminds me of the large garden we had in the backyard when I was a youngster. We emigrated from Hong Kong when I was a kid, and my father dreamed of having a farm or acreage in Canada. We never did get that farm, but the privilege of working on his *own* land meant spring and fall, my kid brother and I were outside mucking around in the garden with him as he toiled away. To this day, when I turn the dirt in my own garden, the smell of turned soil reminds me of ‘real’ work and what life is all about, not the antiseptic feel of my office, pushing electrons and paper around in an endless circle.” -Ozone
“I can think of two that make me just want to start combing my chest hair. The smell of an old airplane cockpit. I worked B-52s, and the smell of 40 years of sweat, burnt food, tension, and hard work just can’t be beat. I’m sure it’s one of those acquired smells, once you get it, you got it.” -Josh
(For the second thing that makes Josh comb his chest hair, see “old car” below.)
It’s one of the best forgotten drugstore colognes and aftershaves and a smell many commenters felt was truly virile. Said Joe, “Whenever I put some on after shaving, I feel manly and confident!”
Aqua Velva has become a go-to aftershave for me recently. Love how it smells and feels.
“I remember when I played in Little League there was no smell like putting your glove on your face: leather, dirt, grass, sweat. Baseball is full of great manly smells.” -Sam
The Interior of an Old Car
“Nothing beats getting into an old car (that hasn’t been completely restored from the ground up) and taking a big ol’ whiff and just smelling the years.” -Josh
“Anything to do with horses…dried manure, saddle leather, wet saddle blankets, even the smell of hay and sweet feed.” -Kerry
“I can’t believe no one mentioned the smell of a change room after a game of rugby. Sweat, grass, blood, and Deep Heat and after the showers, various types of stinkpretty. Just the smell of a change room almost has the power to impregnate any females passing by.” -Ben