scents to salute 80 years of polos

scents to salute 80 years of polos

By Ashley Kowalewski

It’s hard to imagine a world without the polo—especially on the tennis front. But 80 years ago this spring, the iconic alligator-adorned Lacoste polo made its debut, the brainchild of tennis pro René Lacoste. Disappointed with the selection of tennis garments available, Monsieur Lacoste decided to fashion something himself—a design that would appeal to the top tennis pros of the time.

Decades later, Lacoste’s sartorial invention has become a staple in many a wardrobe, both on and off the courts. Although the shirt was introduced in 1933, the creative process began in 1927. Everything from the cut, the fabric and colour was mulled over and carefully selected by the famed sportsman and it wasn’t until the twelfth prototype that the polo that we’ve come to know and love was introduced: hence its official name, the L.12.12.

The shirt has also inspired an entire collection of fragrances: Five in total under the L.12.12 umbrella. Each spritz represents a differently hued polo and a different quality of the brand.


Bleu, launched in 2011, is an aquatic aromatic scent. Think of it as embodying an athlete’s love of the great outdoors. Grapefruit, watery fruits and crushed leaves offer fresh and zesty top notes; clary sage, orange flower and an ozonic accord contribute to the clean, tailored aspect of the fragrance; and vetiver, suede, cedarwood and georgywood bring body and depth to the spritz.

Vert is an ode to casual freshness with citrusy green notes of Italian bergamot, verbena, grapefruit, iced melon and ozone on top; blue lavendar, thyme cardamom, birch leaf, violet leaf, fig and iris in the heart; and bamboo wood, sandalwood, cypress, teak, white cedar, gauiac wood and amber gris defining the base.

Blanc is as crisp as a clean white shirt—not unlike the ones you’ve been seeing at Wimbledon these past few days—but with a warmth you get once the sun beams on those famed grass courts. Top notes of grapefruit, cardamom, rosemary and cedar leaf open the fragrance; tuberose absolute, olibanum resinoid and ylang ylang make up the fragrance’s floral heart; and vetiver, suede, cedarwood and georgywood warm up the spritz’s woody base.

Rouge, which debuted in 2012, celebrated the one-year anniversary of Bleu, Vert and Blanc. Spicy and peppery, Rouge was meant to embody the passion that the colour inspires (and perhaps the passion of someone like a Williams sister too), in fragrance form. Ginger, cardamom and black pepper open the fragrance; roobois and green mango create an unexpected juicy heart; and acacia wood and benzoin sweeten the toilette as it dries down.

Noir, the latest in the collection which just launched last month, is a calm, cool and collected fragrance that’s warm and woody but refreshing too. (Think calm, cool and collected Roger Federer.) Juicy top notes of watermelon, pineapple and red berries; an aromatic heart of lavender, basil and verbena; and a warm base of dark chocolate, patchouli, cashmeran and coumarin meld together for a sexy masculine juice that is worthy of commemorating the 80 years of tailored tops.

Shop the various Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 scents: EDT, $78 (100 ml) each,

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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.