Why Dolce & Gabbana’s Velvet Collection candles light my fire

DGFF_Velvet Candle_WOOD_high resWith Christmas just around the corner a lot of men I know (and a fair few women) are already in a slight panic about what to buy their loved ones, so here’s a tip from me: how about a candle from the Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Collection? Scented candles are always a good bet for women (my mum loves them) but an increasing number of men are appreciating what they can bring to the home too. Luxury-with-a-wick, this particular collection features a range of scented candles based around the high-end Dolce & Gabbana  Velvet Collection fragrances. Hence, there’s Velvet Wood, which is warm and resinous, and Velvet Desire – a heady floral number my mum would adore. What impresses most about these particular candles, though, is their attention to detail. Not only is the outer packaging excellent, the jars look fantastic (each also one comes in a silk drawstring bag) and – best of all – there’s a snuffer lid too. Definitely worth putting on your Christmas list.

Available exclusively from Harrods, priced £60

Why Ferrari’s Vetiver Essence is definitely worth a spin

FERRARI VETIVERIt’s a curious fact that in the last few years some of my favourite commercial fragrances have come, not from well-known fragrance or fashion houses, but from (of all things) car manufacturers. I’m a big fan, for instance, of the Bentley fragrances – especially Intense and Absolute – and am constantly impressed by how good the Ferrari fragrances are.  Their latest offering, Vetiver Essence, doesn’t launch until October but make a mental note of it now.

I’m a huge fan of vetiver fragrances (Roja Parfums’ Vetiver Extrait and Creed’s Original Vetiver being two of my favourites) but this vetiver is quite different, throwing in tonka bean, cardamon and coffee beans to give things a warm, edible edge and featuring hazelwood – something I’ve not come across before.

Anyway, the result is a fragrance that’s not remotely dominated by its key note like some vetivers and one that’s warm, sensual and devoid of any spiky edges. If I have one criticism it’s that it could do better on the longevity front but otherwise it’s an absolutely perfect fragrance for autumn.

Vetiver Essence is available exclusively from Harrods, from October, priced £79 for 100ml eau de parfum. 


Clive Christian to launch new ‘L’ For Men fragrance

L Perfume 50ml A4_Black Glow Ref HL-1

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

Bentley to launch Bentley For Men Azure

Bentley Azure 1The first two fragrances from luxury British car manufacturer Bentley, released in 2013, were some of my favourite fragrances of last year (for proof of that see this) but whilst those fragrances were warm and heady, this new release, called Azure, is fresh and sparkling. Combining Mediterranean herbs with violet leaves (the new must-have note in men’s fragrances) and a touch of tea it’s deliciously light and crisp making it the perfect fragrance for summer holidays or for work, when you don’t want to smell like a try-hard lothario. The bottle alone, with its beautiful curves and diamond cut lid is a thing of absolute beauty.

Available from Harrods in March and nationwide from April.

Karl Lagerfeld launches new men’s fragrance. But don’t tell anyone!

Karl_Fragrance_Emoticons_SprayGiven that we live in a digital age, where information can traverse the globe in seconds and one in a world where hyperbole is very much the midwife of success, it’s rather quaint that embargoes still exist in the fragrance world. The French especially seem to love them. I’m not sure why and doubt that even they do but much to the annoyance of the press they do exist and such is the power of big brands (not to mention the threat of the dreaded blacklist) that it’s a brave journalist indeed who intentionally ignores them. And, as much as I love to stick two fingers up to authority, I respect the work PRs do way too much to wilfully trample over their hard work.

So what can I tell you about Karl Lagerfeld‘s new fragrance launch, coming this spring? Well, for one thing, it’s a fragrance launch from Karl Lagerfeld that’s coming this spring. I’ve seen it, I’ve worn it and it’s not at all what I expected. Pushing the boundaries of the of the embargo I can also tell you it’s light and fresh. But that’s all I’m telling you because everything else is under wraps until 12th March – except, curiously, the fragrance itself which is available exclusively from Harrods from, er, the 9th March.

DSquared Potion Royal Black: the old black magic is back

potion royal blackMy love affair with DSquared’s POTION is a bit like love affairs in general; I have fallen in love with it, out of love with it and now – I’m pleased to report – I am, at the very least, considering having another fling with it.

I adored the original POTION which launched back in 2011 (as you can see here) but POTION Blue Cadet, its follow up, left me massively underwhelmed  (as you can see here). The latest flanker, POTION Royal Black, however, puts things back on track somewhat.

Warm, woody and spicy, with a touch of oud and tobacco, it’s deliciously intense and punchy, with echoes of Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather. I’m sure some people will find its initial intensity a bit much and summer seems an odd time for its launch (it very much feels like an Autumnal fragrance to me) but if you’re in the mood for something deep, smoky and sexy it’s well worth a go. My only criticism is to do with its staying power which could be better and which is why it’s a fling for me rather than a full blown affair.


Top: bergamot, incense, pimento

Middle: rose, cedar wood, Balcanic tobacco absolute, oud

Base: leather accord, cahsmere wood, gaiac wood, musk

DSquared’s POTION Royal Black is available from 15th July from Harrods priced £67 for 100ml eau de parfum.