Bentley, Ferrari and Jaguar’s 2015 men’s fragrances test driven

For premium car manufacturers, building a brand image is as important as building stunning vehicles. Buyers of high-end cars aren’t just buying posh motors, they’re buying into an image and telling the world “this brand reflects who I am”.

To reinforce this sense of belonging, the most savvy posh car companies attempt to master the tricky art of branded products, such as clothing, luggage, toys and even eau de toilette and eau de parfum scents.

Bentley is the latest car maker to develop a fragrance – Infinite Intense – which is aimed at ‘active, fashion-conscious men who are in search of modern extravagance and things with a distinctive style and excellent quality’. To put their claims to the test we got our mitts on the two leading car fragrances it’ll need to beat – Ferrari’s Vetiver Essence and Jaguar’s Classic Black.

We asked 20 people what they thought of all three in a ‘blind’ smell test. We surveyed a mixture of men and women from a broad range of ages and, once they’d picked their favourite, we told them which brand it was and asked them how it the brand’s image made them feel about the fragrance.

Which scent was the overall favourite?

Jaguar – 60 per cent
Bentley – 25 per cent
Ferrari – 15 per cent

Jaguar brought home the overall spoils with more than half of people surveyed saying they preferred it to the competitors. Some respondents said they felt it was more subtle than the other fragrances which helped it to the overall win.

Gender preference winner

Women – Jaguar (50 per cent of women favoured this fragrance)
Men – Jaguar (64 per cent of men were taken by the Jag smell)

When split by gender it seems both sexes still prefer the Jaguar fragrance. Statistically, ladies didn’t have as strong a preference for the Jaguar fragrance as men did – although both groups definitely seem to prefer it.

Age preference winner

27 and under – Jaguar (64 per cent)
28 and over – Jaguar (56 per cent)

Split by age, both groups still prefer Jaguar. You can see that, for the older age group, a smaller proportion preferred the Jaguar compared to a relatively high 64 per cent preference among under-28s. The remainder were equally split among the runners up.

wowscore totals

We asked each person to rate the three fragrances out of 10. We’ve boiled it down to give an average score out of 10 for each smell – just like we do with wowscores for cars.

Bentley – 5.7
Ferrari – 5.3
Jaguar – 6.5

Although it seems Jaguar has romped away with this test, an analysis of respondents’ scores shows the gap is narrower than it might seem. All fragrances couldn’t match their respective brand’s overall wowscore (Bentley8.6, Ferrari9.3, Jaguar8.6) so it seems our smell testers are much harder to please than expert motoring journalists.

Now you’ve got the overall picture of these scents, let’s look at each one individually.

Bentley Infinite Intense eau de parfum – £69.50 for 100ml

As with many subjective stimuli, smell isn’t an exact science – our test group variously described the Bentley as ‘spicy’, ‘fruity’ and slightly ‘musky’. Some respondents noted that it put them in mind of ‘older’ smells like leather and wood – scents familiar to anyone who owns a Bentley.

Respondents observed that the kind of customer they saw buying and wearing the scent would be older, wealthier men with an implied sense of success. Many respondents felt the Bentley’s bottle looked the nicest, although others called the badge ‘tacky’.

Ferrari Vetiver Essence eau de parfum – £79.00 for 100ml (exclusive to Harrods)

Our least popular fragrance still won some kudos from our testers. Those who liked it noted that it had a ‘clean’ smell that exuded the luxurious nature of Ferrari’s brand image. One respondent noted it reminded her of Calvin Klein One which, in her eyes, could only be a good thing.

All respondents felt the fragrance matched what they thought a Ferrari fragrance should smell like. The majority of those surveyed loved the bottle and some said they felt its lid had the nicest action and heft of all three on test – no doubt helped by the leather lining. The bottle colour (Ferrari’s metallic Grigio Silverstone) also won some fans – its metallic sparkle helps hide fingerprints better than Jaguar’s gloss black bottle too.

Jaguar Classic Black eau de toilette – £47.97 for 100ml

Jaguar’s Classic Black was the most popular scent for the majority of respondents. Most simply stated that the fragrance was their favourite – respondents identified smells ranging from ‘herbs’, to ‘citrus’. Some surveyed said they smelled soap, so you could probably get away without a morning shower if you have a bottle of this musk to hand…

Conversely, while many liked the Jaguar’s smell, fewer were as convinced by the bottle. Some were concerned by its tendency to attract fingerprints and others felt, in this crowd, it looked a little ordinary. Those who liked the design preferred its minimalist style.

Smell you later!

If you’re stuck for gift ideas for the motoring enthusiast in your life, why not peruse our all-season Petrolhead Christmas Gift guide to see if we’ve thought of anything you’ve missed? Then head over to our car configurator page to see how much you could save on your next new car – and try to bottle that new-car smell while you’re at it.

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