There’s no denying that Korean media has now become part of the mainstream consciousness. The world is fascinated with all things from the Land of the Morning Calm, with K-pop groups like BTS and Blackpink dominating the airwaves, Squid Game winning Outstanding Drama Series in the 2022 Emmy Awards, and Parasite receiving the Best Picture and Best Director awards at the 92nd Academy Awards.
Are you a Hallyu fan who’s always wondered what your favorite heartthrobs smell like? Read on to find out.
I.M (Monsta X): Portrait of a Lady - Frederic Malle
Having reached the #5 spot on the Billboard 200 with their 2020 all-English studio album All About Luv, Monsta X is no stranger to American audiences. The boy group has also extensively toured in the United States and have worked with French Montana, Pitbull, will.i.am, and Steve Aoki.
I.M is the stage name of Im Changkyun, one of the group’s rappers. Known for his distinctive low tone and fluency in English, I.M is also a songwriter, having produced several tracks for Monsta X as well as all of the songs on his solo debut EP, Duality. He is also a fragrance enthusiast who owns an extensive collection of scents. One of his favorites is the Portrait of a Lady perfume from Frederic Malle.
For fans, it’s not at all hard to see why he chose it. I.M’s favorite flower is the rose, and the Portrait of a Lady perfume features the bloom heavily, right off the top. The dark rose note is surrounded by a mysterious blend of spices that mirror the rapper’s aura and reflect his commanding stage presence: clove, sandalwood, and frankincense. Blackcurrant, raspberry, and patchouli add freshness to create a modern yet mystical fragrance.
Cha Eunwoo (Astro): Soleil Blanc - Tom Ford
In Korea, they have a saying: “Your favorite is your favorite, but Cha Eunwoo is Cha Eunwoo”. He is one of the vocalists for boy group Astro, but is more known for his work as an actor–and his exceptionally good looks. A breakout role in the romantic comedy series Gangnam Beauty gained him fans in the multitudes; since then, Cha has firmly established himself as a leading man, starring opposite Shin Sekyung in Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung and then Moon Gayoung in the television adaptation of the hit webtoon, True Beauty.
Like I.M, Cha collects perfumes and has a penchant for fragrances from niche houses. During an interview with Vogue Korea, he shared his fondness for fresh, fruity scents like Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc. Frequently described as a sunny day out on the beach in a bottle, it is a coconut and white floral-forward fragrance that blends the tropical fruit with jasmine and ylang-ylang for an instantly transportative experience. Notes of cardamom, amber, and tonka bean are also present, making it just that much creamier and more luxurious.
Hyun Bin: Millesime Imperial - Creed
Actor Hyun Bin has been a household name long before he starred in the 2019 hit romantic comedy series, Crash Landing on You. His impressive filmography includes classics such as A Millionaire’s First Love, My Name is Kim Sam-Soon, and Secret Garden.
His signature scent is Millésime Impérial by Creed, and it suits him perfectly. It’s one of Creed’s most opulent blends, combining the scent of juicy citrus fruits with sea salt and sea notes to instantly bring the lush gardens of an oceanside palace to mind. Musk and woody notes add a distinctly sexy touch to the fragrance. It’s not hard to imagine that, wearing this, Hyun smells like a sun-drenched summer day in the best way.
Jin (BTS): Philosykos - Diptyque
BTS’ Jin needs no introduction. The mega-group’s self-proclaimed “worldwide handsome” is, well, that. Born Kim Seokjin, he is one of BTS’ vocalists, a songwriter, and a recipient of the Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit for his and his group’s contributions to Korean culture. Jin, with BTS, has toured the world, spoken at the UN, and performed at the Grammys and the American Music Awards, among numerous other achievements.
In a news article from Naver, it was revealed that Jin frequently wore Philosykos, from Diptyque. It heavily features figs, making use of fig leaf, the fruit, and the tree to form its most distinct notes–a natural choice for a man who loves nature. Green notes, woody notes, cedar and coconut reflect Jin’s fondness for the outdoors and make for a distinctly fresh, utterly wearable scent.
Suga (BTS): Artisan - John Varvatos
Like Jin, Suga doesn’t require much of an introduction. Also known professionally as Agust D, Min Yoongi fulfills his rapping obligations to BTS while being a prolific songwriter and record producer. He has written and produced tracks for his own group, his own mixtapes, and for other artists such as Suran, Epik High, IU, and Psy. He has also produced two versions of “Over the Horizon” for Korean tech giant Samsung, which were used as the musical theme for their Galaxy Unpacked events in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Eagle-eyed fans spotted a bottle of John Varvatos’ Artisan during one of Suga’s live streaming sessions, along with Boy Chanel, Invictus from Paco Rabanne, and Spice Bomb from Viktor & Rolf. It’s safe to say, then, that the talented multi-hyphenate loves his perfumes.
Artisan particularly suits him, and not just in name alone. Citrusy and spicy, the scent opens with Sicilian clementine and Mexican tangerine blended with Spanish marjoram and aromatic thyme. Artisan also employs three variants of ginger, Indian murraya, amber, and musk to amplify the exoticism of the fragrance. The result is a perfume that is truly perfect for a cultured, wildly creative soul.
Want to smell like one of these Korean heartthrobs? All of the perfumes listed here, as well as many others, are available on Scent Split! Scent Split hand-decants genuine perfumes into convenient sample sizes so that you can try them out for yourself today.