Ink x Cologne – Fragrances Influenced by the Scent of Ink


First off, this is the first article-style post I’m posting. I know everything I do so far has been a review or an announcement, but I came across a thread on a fragrance forum asking for recommendations on a cologne with a paper/ink accord. This thread inspired me to write this article, and it made it extremely easy because I already had the two fragrances in my collection that kept coming up the most. Not far behind fountain pens, is my interest in colognes. I have a pretty modest collection, but each of my bottles are just as carefully chosen as my inks. It also helps that my mother is a fragrance fanatic and is always on the lookout for me. She’s commented on my ink bottle collection several times and how they look to be as carefully packaged as fine fragrances.

This feature focuses on two of my favorite colognes, 2 Man by CdG and Encre Noire by Lalique. The 2 Man actually lists Japanese sumi ink as one of it’s base notes, while Encre Noire (translates to “Black Ink”) is meant to evoke the dark, heavy, inkiness of black ink. Both fragrances do a great job at accomplishing what they are meant to. Below you’ll find a brief review of each fragrance and an explanation on how it relates to the ink that it’s drawn inspiration from.


First up is Japanese designer, Comme de Garcons’ 2 Man. This is an extremely popular scent overseas, and is beginning to gain popularity here in the states. It’s a light, smoky wood-based fragrance that has decent lasting power. At first, I was a bit disappointed with the strength of this cologne, but it’s not meant to be a heavy fragrance. It is one of the few woody scents that I can wear during the summer months without feeling like I’m standing directly over a campfire in the heat of the day. The hotter it gets, the more I stray from the heavier, woodier scents so it’s nice to have one that I can get away with wearing year-round. The notes in this wonderful scent, as listed by, are: incense, white smoke, saffron flowers, nutmeg, vetiver roots, mahogany, leather and of course, Japanese sumi (ink). The dry down on this cologne is quite nice, without being heavy or lingering. It’s one of those fragrances where you do not constantly smell on yourself throughout the day, but when you get a whiff of it, it’s super nice. I’ve gone through about 3/4 of the bottle so far, and I am definitely going to keep this in stock in my personal collection. This version of CdG 2 is specifically geared towards men, however, there is “Comme des Garcons – 2” which is a bit more on the feminine side. They also make a candle of this scent if that’s more of your thing. I have this as well, and it’s a great addition to my desk. I keep it on my desk at all times, and it doesn’t have to be lit to enjoy the scent.

Now for the fun part…this cologne really does smell like Japanese ink. For those of you familiar with the scent of Sailor’s Kiwa Guro Nano Black, the scent can be picked up almost immediately when smelling them side by side. I always enjoyed the scent of the Kiwa Guro, and when it occurred to me to smell these two together, it just made the experience that much better. The scent of the Kiwa Guro can be a bit overwhelming, but 2 Man takes influence from the inky scent without being overpowering. While it’s predominantly a woody incense fragrance, if you know what the ink smells like, you can definitely pick it up. I’m finding it hard to explain, but if you get the chance to compare the two it really stands out. Samples of 2 Man can be purchased from Lucky Scent for those interested in trying it out! I also recommend having some Kiwa Guro on hand to compare them side by side!


The second inky scent in my collection is Encre Noire, by French designer Lalique. While this does not smell as much like actual ink as the CdG does, it’s meant to evoke the darkness in a black ink. I pictured it above with J. Herbin’s Perle Noire, because I feel like what better way to show the fragrance off than with a fellow French company’s black ink. Unlike the CdG, this fragrance is way too heavy to be a year-round scent. I usually wait until the weather starts cooling down in the fall and retire it when it starts warming up. While the Encre Noire doesn’t smell like ink, it’s a dark, woody, earthy scent that certainly evokes the feel of black ink. Even the bottle, which is black glass with only a hint of transparency reminds me of J. Herbin’s 1670 ink bottles. The cap is a dark brown wood, hinting at what the scent inside is like. This cologne has glowing reviews across the internet and I purchased it without sampling. It can be found for around $30, and is definitely worth it. Fragrantica lists the notes as follows: Top note is cypress; middle note is vetiver; base notes are musk and cashmere wood. It’s heavy on the dirty, earthy vetiver which I happen to be a big fan of. It’s also worth noting that this scent is considered unisex (but it’s quite masculine )and also comes in a candle in case the above mentioned notes sound nice to you, but not something you would like to smell like.

This fragrance definitely reminds me of a black ink. It’s a dark, and at times heavy scent. The bottle is similar to J. Herbin’s 1670 line’s square bottles, which is another similarity between the cologne and the ink in which it draws inspiration from. While there’s no recognizable scent of ink, in this case it’s the thought that counts. Afterall, it is named “Black Ink”. Other than the fragrance being a dark, woody and earthy scent, the shape and color of the bottle, and the name there isn’t much else that ties this scent into the fountain pen world. Encre Noire can be sampled over at The Perfumed Court for those interested!

Disclaimer: Everything in the above article was purchased by me. I’m only recommending/linking the above retailers because I have ordered from both several times before, and had nothing but great experiences.

9 thoughts on “Ink x Cologne – Fragrances Influenced by the Scent of Ink

  1. What an interesting post! I had no idea of such things. And I like things that smell nice as much as I like pens, so … I might just have to try one of these. (I know, they’re manly, yes, but I like ’em too!)

    The only downside would be mixing up your bottles and spritzing or splashing yourself with ink. 😉

    1. I mean, woody scents can certainly be feminine too. It’s crazy how much everything from personal preference down to body chemistry can change the way things smell on a person. If you only planned on trying one, I would recommend the CdG, in the women’s variation. The Encre Noire is INTENSE, haha.

      1. Absolutely. I find that women’s fragrances that I just love the smell of when they’re in the bottle change when they’re on me — not in a bad way, just different from what I expect. I do not find this as often with men’s fragrances, so I have a few less “intense” ones like Canoe and Thierry Mugler. I’m always willing to try a new scent. 🙂

  2. What a fascinating post! I ALWAYS smell my fountain pen inks, I absolutely love the smell of almost all of them (I do have one weird smelling Rohrer & Klingner). Wish I could smell these in a local store!

      1. Hi,

        I’m from Chennai, India… I need ink smell fragrance. Can you help on this.

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