Bleu de Chanel range expands with addition of two new shave products

Bleu de Chanel Shaving Cream 100 mlFebruary 5th sees the launch of two brand new, limited edition shave products from BLEU DE CHANEL: a low-foaming, transparent Shaving Cream (above) and a soothing and moisturising Hydrating After Shave Gel. Both lightly scented with the wildly successful Bleu de Chanel fragrance, they’re the perfect way to bolster the effect of the fragrance itself and the transparent nature of the gel means it’s great for guys with facial hair to navigate too. If you’re a Bleu boy then these new products are definitely worth adding to your fragrance armoury.

Available nationwide priced £38 each. 

New Neroli from Tom Ford

TOM FORD PORTOFINO ACQUAPizza you can have too much off. Vodka you can have too much of. But Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino? Well, that you can never have too much of. Which is just as well, since this spring sees two new variants of the cult fragrance hit shelves nationwide. Neroli Portofino Acqua, as the name and frosted glass bottle suggest, is even fresher than the original with a beautiful, light wateriness and echoes of crisp trad colognes rather than the bitterness of some crudely constructed ‘Acqua’ fragrances. The characteristic citrus notes seem to sparkle even more in this version making it the perfect fragrance for long, hot summer days and its unobtrusive, ephemeral  nature makes it ideal for work too.

Neroli Portofino Forte, on the other hand, is warmer, more sensual and less spiky than the original fragrance with the perky citrus edges rounded out thanks to a combo of musks, woods and a hint of leather, adding a bold sensuality that has hitherto been lacking from the original. Which of these you go for largely depends on your budget (Forte, an eau de parfum, is more than twice the price of Acqua) and I personally prefer the latter, but whichever you choose, trust me, you’re onto a real winner.

Tom Ford Portofino Forte will be available from Feb 14th from Harrods Salon de Parfum and nationwide six weeks later priced £195 for 50ml EDP. Neroli Portofino Acqua is available from John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser from 6th March, priced £95 for 50ml EDT.

Help For Heroes XTREME The Fragrance: a good scent for a good cause

help for heroesWith fragrance one of the top gift ideas at this time of year it’s often all to easy to reach for a big brand name or the latest concoction from a huge fashion house. Which is all very well if you’re ok with lining the pockets of Chanel, Dior or Hugo Boss but if you want to do some good with your gift giving then maybe you should think about XTREME The Fragrance by Help For Heroes – the charity which offers support to servicemen and women injured in the line of duty.

A creamy, spicy and gourmandy fragrance, with lemon, black pepper, basil, amber and vanilla, it easily holds its own against this year’s biggest designer launches and a minimum of £3 from every sale goes direct to the charity. Five ex-servicemen worked alongside perfumer and lecturer Marianne Martin to come up with the fragrance and their stories are truly inspirational (you can read about the guys  involved here). So if you’re looking for a fragrance that helps people, as well as your chances, you might want to put XTREME on your wish list.

Help For Heroes XTREME The Fragrance is available from Debenhams and www.helpforheroesfragrance.com priced £30.

Perfume: A Century of Scents

LIZZIE OSTROMI love books. It’s why I ended up doing an English Literature degree way back in the Stone Age. Problem is, I don’t get nearly as much time as I’d like to actually read them – which explains this embarrassingly tardy review of Lizzie Ostrom’s new book, Perfume: A Century of Scents.  Lizzie, aka Odette Toilette, is one of the perfume industry’s top notes, fizzing with a passion for (and a knowledge of) perfume that’s made her an established voice in the fragrance firmament. Her true talent, however, is in bringing the subject of fragrance alive with character, interesting stories and a writing style that’s knowledgable but fun and accessible too.

The book itself – clearly a labour of love – is a pacy, hugely readable walk through all the key fragrances of the last hundred years or so, starting in 1900 and ending at the end of the Nineties, with a final chapter looking at where fragrance is now and where it might be heading. The bulk of it is about female fragrances (what are traditionally classed as female fragrances, anyway, since perfume is pretty much gender fluid) but there’s plenty of discussion about men’s fragrances  too – from classics like Old Spice and Eau Sauvage to Guerlain’s Vetiver and Joop! Homme.

Unlike the bulk of books written about perfume  – and I’ve read a lot  – it’s delightfully unstuffy and unpretentious (she describes Tabac, one of my personal favourites,  as being “the string vest of aftershaves” for example), making it as good a read for people with just a passing interest in fragrance as it is for perfumistas or  those who write about fragrance for a living. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read and a fantastic gift for Christmas too. Recommended.

Perfume A Century of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom is available now from odettetoilette.com

New Burberry fragrance coming in April

Burberry Fragrance - Mr. BurberryApril 2016 will see the launch of a brand new Burberry fragrance, Mr Burberry, inspired, apparently, by the iconic Burberry heritage trench coat. Described as a woody/herbal fragrance it features notes of grapefruit, tarragon, cardamom, cedar, nutmeg, birch leaf, vetiver, sandalwood and guaiac wood and the campaign will feature Brit actor Josh Whitehouse, directed by Turner Prize winning director Steve McQueen. To add to the list of big guns involved (Burberry never do anything by halves) the fragrance itself has been created by acclaimed nose Francis Kurkdjian. I must say, I love the simplicity of the bottle and the Mr Porter-esque name (check out the italicised font) and can’t wait to smell the fragrance itself.

How to be well “Gruhmed”

GRUHMEAs a consumer it’s often all too easy to go for the most obvious choice when it comes to fragrance, especially when the big fashion houses and cosmetic companies throw so much money at celebrity endorsement and in-your-face advertising. However, sometimes it’s worth looking a bit further afield for an interesting eau de toilette. This one, by British brand Gruhume being a good example.

Delightfully fresh, crisp and spicy –  with lemon, bergamot, lavender, juniper berry, black peppercorns, patchouli and petitgrain – it’s as good as any of the fragrances you’ll find in your local department store and considerably better than many of them. Plus, in buying a bottle you’re supporting British entrepreneurialism at its very best. Worth investigating.

Gruhme For Him No 14 is a available from gruhme.co.uk priced £45 for 100ml eau de toilette.

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 aesop.com priced £60.