Aesop’s new gift sets are truly stellar

AESOP GIFT KITS 2015-2016 PERSUES WITH OPEN TIN CI’m not sure whether it’s a sign of my exceptionally good taste or that I simply don’t get out enough, but few things excite me quite as much as news of a new Aesop gift kit. Delightful to behold, they’re always beautifully thought out and presented and the offerings in the run up to this Christmas are no different. Themed around six constellations, each of the Gift Kits features a selection of Aesop essentials.

aesop cabinetPerseus, for example, features their Fabulous Face Cleanser, Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion and one of my all time favourite Aesop products – the Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser. But it’s not just the products that I love about these gift sets; the tins they come in are superb too, mainly because they’re genuinely useful. I have several in my bathroom cabinet, stuffed full of pills, potions and assorted grooming essentials. You know how cats love cardboard boxes? Well, I love Aesop tins. The contents are bloody good, too, mind.

The Perseus Gift Kit is available from November from priced £60. 

Penhaligon’s open Canary Wharf store – with a barbers!

Penhaligons canaryPENHALIGONS STOREDespite being founded in 1870 British perfumer Penhaligon’s are a brand that’s always on the move  – literally, as the opening of their New York store proves and creatively, as evidenced by their recent partnership with BA –  but their latest project sees them returning to their roots to certain extent. Not only does their dazzling new store in London’s Canary Wharf look the biz (thanks to architects Al-Jawad Pike) it also features Penhaligon’s first in-house barbers since their very first Jermyn Street store opened all those years ago. Result? A quick lunchtime visit and you’ll look just as good as you smell. Recommended.

The shaving brush that’s nice to badgers

PRO BLACK (on own)You might not have realised it but today is National Badger Day. What has this to do with male grooming? Well, plenty actually, because for over 250 years the finest shaving brushes have been made of badger hair. I’ve used them myself in the past and always used to recommend them. But as an animal lover (and especially of badgers) I’ve always felt slightly uneasy about them and in the last year or so have stopped recommending them altogether in favour of synthetic brushes. Why? Well, most of the badger hair for brushes comes from China where, let’s be honest, animal rights are pretty much non-existent.

When I contacted Peta (People For The Ethical Teatment of Animals) about the provenance of badger hair last year they were a little vague about the specifics of  how animals are treated (I’m not sure many people had questioned them about it before to be honest) but they did point out that badgers are most commonly killed by bludgeoning or gassing and that the skin is then peeled from the body. Having seen some truly nightmare-inducing videos of dogs being skinned alive in China I’m naturally rather suspicious about how badger hair might be sourced for brushes. If you are, too, then I strongly suggest you think about a synthetic alternative like men-ü‘s new Pro Black brush instead.

With smooth, nonabsorbent bristles it’s great for whipping up a lather, lifts hairs brilliantly and dries much faster than a badger hair brush. It’s considerably cheaper than an average badger hair brush too. Traditionalists probably wouldn’t be seen dead with a synthetic brush, of course, but then there are lots of people  who wouldn’t be seen with a dead badger in their hands either.

The men-ü PRO Black shaving brush is available from priced £19.95 

For more information about badgers and the ethical aspect of badger hair brushes click here.

Gillette aim for some of Spectre’s sheen

Gillette_SPECTRE_Giftset_RRRP £18.99I can’t decide whether it’s a testament to their power and reach, culturally, or a reflection on the inescapable joined-up nature of modern consumerism, but Bond films are now as synonymous with the partnerships they foster as the stunts and Bond Girls they feature.

The latest brand to announced an association with the franchise is Gillette who have linked up with Spectre, the eagerly anticipated 24th installment in the 007 saga, to produce Bond themed gift sets. There’ll also be a some TV spots and Bond costume designer Jany Temime will we providing some style tips from the Gillette Twitter account on Oct 10th. It’s all about having a little of that lustrous Spectre sheen rub off on the brand, of course, but since P&G, who own Gillette, are also behind the James Bond 007 fragrance brand, it’s a more predictable fit than you might think.

Tom Ford to launch ultimate Oud Wood set

TOM FORD OUD WOOD MACCASSAR SETIf, like me, you’re a huge fan of Tom Ford’s ridiculously sexy Oud Wood fragrance you’ll probably salivating just looking at the pic of their forthcoming Oud Wood collection. And I wouldn’t blame you. Bringing together all the products in the range, except the scented beard oil (which kind of belongs to his grooming range anyway), it’s presented in a beautiful Makassar box. Looking at it, I really can’t think of a more luxurious addition to a gentleman’s bedroom dresser. You may need to give that piggy bank of yours a bit of a shake though…

The Tom Ford Oud Wood Collection Set will be available from Harrods Salon de Parfum from 5th October priced £850

Murdock to open in London’s Soho

MURDOCKThe latest salvo in the glass-fronted hipsterisation of London’s once characterful Soho is coming this autumn in the shape of a new flagship sore from grooming brand Murdock. Opening in Brewer Street, the new store will be the largest of the company’s seven emporiums in the city.

Great news for guys looking for a beard trim, haircut or for an opportunity to stock up on some grooming gear this may be but as someone who has lived in London for over a quarter of a century and who’s witnessed the wholesale evisceration of Soho in the last few years I can’t help but feel a little ambivalent about the news.

“Brewer Street has a fantastic place in the history of London,” says Murdock’s CEO  Brendan Murdock of the new opening. “Home once to breweries, gin palaces and even a hunting ground, it has always been a men’s haunt.” Now, I know I work in the grooming industry – and I like the Murdock brand a lot – but I can’t help but think that in referencing Soho’s rich and notorious past he’s drawn attention to all that’s wrong with the area now. Mind you, I suppose we should at least be grateful for the fact that it’s not another flat white coffee shop or Byron Burger…

For more information on the changes taking place in Soho click here.