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Men in Black: roadtesting Lynx’s new ‘upmarket’ scent

Since 1985, Lynx has been selling its “effect” to men, via scents and shower gels with absurd names and terrifying smells. In the 1990s, my Lynx du choix was Inca – a nutty, fruity scent, the sort of thing that smells like your bathroom after you’ve cleaned it before your parents come round.

Thirty years later, it’s still one of the UK’s leading male-grooming brands. Much of its success is down to an advertising campaign launched in the mid-1990s with the slogan “The Lynx effect”, built on the idea that anyone can pull. The protagonist was always a geeky man made irresistible to women by £2 body spray.

After an ill-fated attempt in 2012 to launch a woman’s fragrance, this month it has launched a new line – Lynx Black.

It has been developed by Ann Gottlieb, world-renowned nose and creator of Calvin Klein’s CK One, one of the most influential unisex fragrances of all time. Lynx Black’s taste notes are a combination of “watermelon ester, bergamot orange and frozen pear” that they’re hoping will come across as “refined”, “masculine” and “understated”, as opposed to, say, reminding people of Alan Partridge, who once proclaimed: “I don’t [sweat] because I use Lynx Africa!”

According to the press office, “in a world that’s louder than ever before, Lynx believes quiet confidence is the best way to get noticed and stand out from the crowd”. Which is obviously nonsense, but I sort of understand it.

In the spirit of Lynx adventure, I doused myself in the body spray and wandered down to the last day of London fashion week, where I asked industry professionals to assess my “spirit” and “confidence”.

Louise, fashion photographer

‘Reminds me of my brother.’

Spirit: “Reminds me of my brother; he would wear something like that. He works with shipping, and likes to go out with his friends to football matches.”

Confidence: “It’s quite confident.”

Isamaya, makeup artist

‘A bit lightweight … I’m confused.’

Spirit: “It’s a summer scent, more of a floral scent. But really, as a girl, that’s not what you want to smell on a guy. The thing I like about Lynx is the depth and intensity of the smell, and this is just a bit lightweight, a bit wet. I’d just go for the normal Lynx, because you know what you’re getting. With this, I’m confused.”

Confidence: “I’d run a mile.”

Mariska, set designer

‘Like an air freshener in a toilet.’

Spirit: “Like an air freshener in a toilet.”

Confidence: “None.”

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