Considering Gender In Perfumery

Posted by Roja Parfums on



When it comes to gendering a perfume, the ingredients don’t fundamentally change. In reality, a Rose on a woman’s skin will smell feminine, whereas a Rose on a man’s skin will smell masculine. It is the way the Rose is worked which dictates whether the accord becomes obviously “masculine” or “feminine”.

However, the notes themselves are not prescriptive. Flowers will almost always be present in a masculine accord for the nuances or effects they lend. A Rose can be geared toward a male demographic by burying it into a green and earthy bed. For a female demographic, it’s more likely to be nestled within a more prominent bouquet, likely with the sweetness of Vanilla and Fruits. 

The question really is: “does it matter?”. At the end of the day, the magic of perfume is that there really are no rules. "We each have a distinct “Olfactory Fingerprint” which forms throughout the course of our lifetime, based on our individual experiences with different smells, at different times and places” - Roja Dove.

In the spirit of fragrance being a wonderfully disruptive art, we wanted to offer a fresh look at some of our classic creations.

Enigma Pour Homme

Sitting within the men’s collection, this isn’t a masculine interpretation of the female Enigma but its own entire creation.

In stores, it is no rarity to find those who identify as female being drawn to the eye-catching amber bottle. It is even rarer to not see them sniff it and become completely addicted.   

An incredible juggling act is at play in it: The dryness of Woods and Tobacco are smoothed by the sweetness of Heliotrope, Vanilla and Benzoin, as a hedonistic burst of Cognac transforms the whole thing into a smoky, boozy cherry cola sensation.

It’s perfect for those who don’t identify with overtly-feminine fragrances. Appearing both “masculine” and “feminine” at the same time, it caters to those who seek something genderless but find many “unisex” offerings are insipid or simple.

This really is the magic of Enigma – it is so unique, it’s liquid lightning in a bottle.

Enigma Pour Homme


Sweetie Aoud

Back in 2015 Roja had the idea to create an Aoud with a distinctly Gourmand twist. The palette can often be associated with saccharine mass-market creations but in true Roja fashion, he set out to craft a Gourmand that was mouth-watering whilst remaining completely luxurious. 

For the effect, he created a unique Patisserie Accord, which he expertly blended onto a bed of Aoud, Frankincense and Woods. The resulting scent is that of freshly-cooked pastries underscored by a smoky haze and a woody warmth to give it depth and lasting power.

What really surprised Roja when we launched it was how a fragrance initially made with a young, glamorous Arabic woman in mind suddenly became like kryptonite to men.

Sweetie Aoud remains an icon to this day. It is a shining example of how a truly delicious scent can be made sophisticated and genderless. This isn’t sweetness that makes one think of the sickly celebrity scents of the 90s but one that wraps the wearer up in a cocoon of indulgence.

Sweetie Aoud 

Enigma Aoud

A re-imagining of our infamous Enigma Pour Femme, Enigma Aoud updates the formula with an exotic twist. A fresher opening is made deeper in the base, where a central note of Aoud Wood has been introduced alongside the creamy bed of Sandalwood.

Due to it being an interpretation of a Pour Femme creation, it was initially categorised in the same way. But it became clear that men were not purchasing it from the website, whilst in stores, it was selling equally among both genders.

As Enigma Aoud becomes fresher, less floral, and dryer due to the Aoud and Sandalwood base, it immediately becomes more “unisex” as a result.

A fresh, fruity and woody scent with an exotic undertone, Enigma Aoud is perfect for those who love the smooth and enveloping sensations of a fruity Aoud-based scent.

Enigma Aoud

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