Good news for fans of Chanel’s best selling Bleu de Chanel fragrance: at the end of this month you’ll also be able to buy an eau de parfum version (in both 50ml and 100ml sizes) as well as this rather fabulous palm-sized soap. The latter is a limited edition release, though, so don’t let it, er, slip through your fingers.
I would very much like to tell you that Clive Christian‘s superb new fragrance ‘L’ was created just for me (it does bear my initial after all) and in my deluded mind it absolutely was. Alas, it turns out that the ‘L’ in question stands not for Lee but for Love.
Part of the ‘L’ private collection (there’s a female fragrance too) ‘L’ For Men is a sweet, sensual and – above all else – a ferociously woody scent. It features a fairly heady combination of grapefruit, vetiver and rose with a touch of smoky oud wood and a slightly pornographic musky base but the overriding smell is one of intensely woody pencil shavings (courtesy of atlas cedar). It’s sexy without being licentious, complex without being pretentious and, for men who like their fragrances to have stamina, has the kind of tenacity on the skin that means it can easily survive a hot bath or shower. Impressive stuff.
Available exclusively from Harrods from August
Think of Acqua di Parma and you tend to think of light, fresh Mediterranean fragrances bursting with energy and packed with more citrus fruits than your average bottle of orange squash. And you’d be right of course. But in the last few years the company have also been exploring a much darker and more sensual side. Their new fragrance Colonia Leather is a perfect example of this and is as warm and sexy as the original Colonia fragrance is light and summery.
The leather accord is true and authentic smelling and there’s a touch of smoky oud in there too but not enough to overpower the fragrance and you detect it most three or four hours after applying. Other notes include orange, lemon, raspberry thyme and rose but as you might expect it’s the leather that dominates here.
The acid test of any fragrance, of course, is whether other people rate it when they smell it on you. So as a test I wore Colonia Leather the other night and a friend I was meeting instantly commented: “Wow! What are you wearing? You smell amazing!” Somehow, I think I’ll be wearing this sexy little number again.
Last night I had the privilege of attending the annual Fragrance Foundation Awards, widely regarded to be the Oscars of the fragrance world. In terms of men’s fragrance the night definitely belonged to Paco Rabanne’s Invictus which scooped, not one, but two awards – for Best New Men’s Fragrance and also the Men’s Health Reader’s Choice Award.
In fact, the corks must be popping all over the place at Paco HQ this morning since they picked up a third gong for 1 Million Intense which won the People’s Choice For Men Award. Without doubt Paco is the brand to catch at the moment when it comes to men’s fragrance. Other companies jealously eye up the success of their fragrances in the way a cat eyes up a mouse and the coherence of the Invictus marketing campaign was stunning, with everything from the eye-catching bottle, witty adverts, choice of face and Invictus Award initiative all coming together like one giant, unstoppable commercial glacier, pushing aside everything else in its path. Impressive.
It’s rare that a men’s fragrance can actually be described as being ‘cute’ but I’m really not sure how else to describe this new 25ml version of the classic Comme des Garçons 2Man fragrance which, as you can see, comes in a ‘pebble’ bottle smaller than your average smartphone. Part of Comme’s “Pocket Collection” – which also features dinky versions of Comme des Garçons2, Amazing Green and Wonderwood – it’s perfect for gym bags, travel and for office drawers. Men tend to be pretty complacent when it comes to topping up their eau de toilette during the day but with these beauties there’s absolutely no excuse for a flagging fragrance. And like I said they’re as a cute as a button. Or a pebble, as the case may be.
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Just to prove that I don’t hate all of today’s mass market mens fragrances, here’s a brand new one I don’t mind at all. Giorgio Armani‘s new Eau d’Arômes is a summery concoction of citrus notes of mandarin and bergamot and spicy ones of ginger, cardamon and chilli pepper, rounded out with vetiver, patchouli and an ambergris accord. There’s a slightly bitter edge to it and a distinctly soapy one, too, but it’s a good fragrance for summer if you want something that’s fresh enough for day but sexy enough for evening too. Not necessarily groundbreaking but certainly very wearable.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I’m always having little moans about the state of the fragrance industry but yesterday Telegraph Men published a slightly bigger one. Given the feedback I’ve had and the fact it ended up as their most shared story of the day it appears to have stuck a cord with people. In truth, there was so much more to say on what’s a complex subject (for one thing, the consumer, seemingly obsessed by newness, is party to blame for the blandness of many men’s fragrances today) but space simply didn’t allow. Anyway, if you want to read the piece just click on the image below. And let me know if you agree or disagree!
Hugo Boss are always clever at promoting their fragrances with famous faces and this year they’ve signed up 10 world-class football players to front their ‘Success Beyond The Game’ campaign for summer 2014. As you can see England goalkeeper Joe Hart is one of them – seen here fronting the new Hugo Boss Boss Unlimited fragrance (one well worth checking out if you’re looking for a new smelly for summer). Nice choice.
I was lucky enough to attend a special Fragrance Symposium at The Barbican centre recently in which perfumer Francis Kurkdjian – the man behind Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male – and the famous fashion designer himself discussed all things fragrance. An interesting discussion it revealed that the enfant terrible has lost none of this cheeky charm and give a fascinating insight into the creation of his fragrances. Below is a video of the event, so if you get a spare few minutes have a watch. Oh, and make sure you check out the wonderful exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, of which the symposium was a part.
Taking an olfactory tour of Acqua di Parma’s Blu Mediterraneo fragrances recently re-inforced for me the notion that fragrance is often the ultimate travel agent – whisking you off to far flung places with the merest hint of sage or whiff of tangerine. The Blu Mediterraneo range now takes in everywhere from Calabria and Capri to Amalfi and Sicily and the latest addition to the range, Ginepro di Sardegna aims, as the name suggests, to capture the essence of the beautiful island of Sardinia.
With that in mind, it puts at its core a sparkling gin-like juniper note (the juniper bush flourishes on the island), then adds sage, pepper, pimento, bergamot and cedarwood. The result is a fragrance that’s spicier, warmer and altogether more ‘eveningwear’ than some of the other fragrances in the range and also one that’s a touch more mainstream and commercial. Well worth a sniff, particularly with summer on the horizon.
Available now from Harrods.