The vibe: Mining the Paco Rabanne 1 Million vein, this sweet, aromatic woody fragrance with its novelty casino chip bottle is clearly aimed at young, single lads looking for a punchy, accessible, not-too-scary, night-out fragrance. And in that respect it ticks all the boxes.
Key notes: Iris, blackwood and juniper to give it a “gin fizz” accord.
Verdict: it’s not going to stun anyone with its originality but has huge mass-market appeal. Expect to see it in The Perfume Shop’s best seller list.
The Vibe: Fresh, sweet, woody oriental fragrance with a slightly bombastic Eighties feel (and name).
Key notes: Mint, Green Apple, Tonka bean, Ambroxan, Geranium flowers, Vanilla, Vetyver, Cedarwood and an oak moss accord.
Verdict: with Eros as the name it’s positively tumescent with potential but alas, the juice is surprisingly pedestrian and though appears sexy initially (in a sweet, Thierry Mugler kinda way) it matures into something my nan might have worn. Fab bottle though…
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Beau Male
The vibe: Fresh, herbaceous and uber-commercial new Gaultier fragrance created taking a few cues from the original Le Male fragrance and housed in a reworked version of the familiar torso flacon. After the commercial disappointment of Kokorico it seems they’re taking no chances this time.
Key notes: mint, absinthe, lavender, orange blossom, sage, musk
Verdict: Refreshingly different from Le Male (a fragrance too heady for me) the hint of absinthe is lovely, as is icy freshness of the mint and slight soapiness of the sage. The signature Le Male lavender and orange blossom are still there at the fragrance’s core but thankfully the vanilla is barely noticeable in this incarnation. Wearable and not nearly as polarising as Le Male, which is both its biggest asset and biggest drawback.
As much as I love vetiver fragrances I’m very funny about them too. I find the dry down of a lot of them (including Guerlian’s Vetiver) a bit sickly. In fact, the only one I truly love is Creed’s Original Vetiver but that uses the leaves rather than the root of the plant so it comes across as fresher and greener than most vetivers.
And so it was with some trepidation that I removed the lid of Angela Flanders Vetivert from her Artillery range for men and gave it a spray. Slightly leathery but not heady or overly-earthy it’s tempered by lavender and bergamot which give is a light, fresh, barbershop soapiness. Sure, it doesn’t have the punchiness or longevity of the Creed fragrance but I’ve been wearing it all week and have had nothing but compliments, so if you’re looking for a new fragrance for winter give it a go.
Angela Flanders Artillery No 4 Vetivert costs £50 for 50ml eau de toieltte. For more info go to www.angelaflanders-perfumer.com
Turns out it’s “world-famous Australian actor” and star of The Mentalist Simon Baker. Not a fan of the show (like the bulk of the UK population I rarely watch Channel 5) I had must confess I had absolutely no idea who he was. I mean, A-listers like Jude Law I know. Brad I know, even if he’s the face of a women’s perfume. And I did sort of recognise that guy from The Green Lantern who endorsed one of the Hugo Boss fragrances a while back. But Baker? No instant recognition there for me I’m afraid. He impressed Parfums Givenchy though who say they were won over by Baker’s ‘personality and charisma’. Not to mention his proportionate fee demand one suspects.
Fans of Prada fragrances (and I count myself as one of them) are in for treat with the forthcoming launch of Luna Rossa - a fresh but sensual fragrance built around two of my favourite notes, lavender and clary sage. As a taster, here’s a glimpse of the TV ad, directed by by Swedish music video director Adam Berg who’s worked with the likes of Groove Armada, Graham Coxon and Death in Vegas.
The name Luna Rossa, in case you’re wondering, comes from the name of America’s Cup the sailing boat and team that came about thanks to Patrizio Bertelli, CEO of Prada, and acclaimed yacht designer German Frers.
The fragrance itself launches on October 1st and I’ll feature a full review of it here shortly. In the meantime, gather your sea legs and enjoy the vid.
It’s a very mean and moody Tom Ford that graces the imagery for his latest signature fragrance for men, Tom Ford Noir. In fact, there’s almost something of the night about him, to borrow a famous phrase from former Tory MP Anne Widdecombe (I bet that’s the first time the two names have ever been linked and hopefully it will be the last).
The fact that the man himself describes Noir as his most personal fragrance yet is revealing, especially as he goes on to describe it as “enigmatic, complex and surprising” and a fragrance that “pulls you closer in an almost addicting way”.
Anyway, the first thing that hits you (and hard) is the powdery violet top note. I happen to be a huge fan of violet (it’s a key component of Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel, my all-time favourite fragrance) but it might come as a shock to some men (there’s the ‘surprise’ element then).
Give it a few moments, though, and it develops into something altogether darker, warmer and sexier. If I were to rank it alongside the existing Tom Ford signature fragrances I’d put it ahead of Grey Vetiver but possibly a fraction behind Extreme but given the quality of both those fragrances that’s still considerable praise indeed. If I have once cirticism it’s that Noir doesn’t last quite as long as I’d like but, in the grand scheme of things that’s a minor quibble. Certainly, Ford has yet to come up with a duff fragrance, something few of his contemporaries can claim.
Top notes: Italian bergamot, verbena, caraway, baie rose, violet flower
Heart notes: black pepper, nutmeg, Tuscan Iris resisn, Egyptian Geranium, Bulgarian Rose, Clary Sage
Base notes: Opoponax, amber, Indonesian patchouli, vetiver, civet, vanilla
Tom Ford Noir will be available in October, priced £60 for 50ml EDP
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There are several ways to create a big splash when you launch a new fragrance but for the unveiling of Allure Home Sport Extreme, Chanel has taken the literal approach by securing the talents of big wave surfer, photographer and model Danny Fuller.
The advertising films pull out all the stops too with Oscar winner Katherine Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Point Break, K-19:The Widowmaker) directing. Here’s one of them…
And the fragrance itself? Well, that builds on Allure Homme Sport’s phenomenal success as the sport fragrance for men by giving it a little more punch and a slightly more exhilarating edge thanks to mint, mandarin and clary sage. It’s not quite as spicy as Homme Sport but makes up for this by being all the more sexy as it dries down.
Available from 19th March priced £48 for 50ml Eau de Toilette Concentrée. For stockists call 020 7493 3836.
And just in case there are any unsatisfied surfing fans out there, here’s one final pic of Mr Fuller!
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Oh I know what you’re thinking – anther day, another Beckham post. Look, can I help it the man’s as ubiquitous as chlamydia? This time, it’s not his pants or quiff I’m discussing, though, but his latest fragrance, Instinct Sport.
It’s fair to say I’ve not been much of a fan of the Beckham fragrances in the past so it’s with some surprise that I find myself actually quite liking this one. Launching in time for the lucrative summer fragrance market (and just in time for the Olympic 2012 sporting frenzy) it’s clearly designed as something to throw into your gym bag, spritz yourself with after a five-a-side or take on your hols.
It opens with a fantastically jolly, juicy and fruity set of notes, including mandarin, ginger ale and apple and though these soon give way to a more pedestrian, slightly unsophisticated dry down, featuring patchouli and sandalwood, the scent as a whole is wearable, inoffensive and perfectly pitched as an affordable introduction to men’s fragrance. Ad’s all a bit ‘tan ‘n’ tatts’ though isn’t it?
Available now from Selfridges.
Fan of Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic Le Male fragrance? Collect the bottles? Then here’s a glimpse of this year’s summer variant, with its jungle theme torso. As usual the fragrance itself has been tweaked for summer by making it a little lighter, fresher and generally more sparkly. Cute innit?
Le Male Stimulating Summer Fragrance will be available from 2nd April priced £38.50 for 100 eau de toilette.
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In the last few years the Holy Grail in terms of men’s fragrance has been to come up with something as successful as Paco Rabanne’s surprise hit 1 Million. I say surprise because, in reality, the fragrance itself is a bit ‘meh’ – its natural home being a Wolverhampton nightclub on a rainy Saturday night. But the bling bling bottle is genius which kind of makes it the ‘all-fur-coat-and-no-knickers’ of the fragrance world. Or ‘all-leather-jeans-and-no-Y-fronts’ if you prefer. But still it sells – by the bucket load.
In a crowded, increasingly competitive, market bottle design really matters (witness Marc Jacobs’ novel Bang flacon) so it’s no surprise that a stand-out bottle was top of mind when creating Viktor & Rolf’s new fragrance for men, Spicebomb.
Designed to resemble a hand grenade (it even has its own pin) it’s certainly eye-catching, though I’d have liked to have seen it a little heavier myself, since a weighty bottle always says quality to me.
And, so, what about the fragrance itself? Well, it’s quite different to the design duo’s first men’s fragrance, Antidote. The brief here was clearly to create something sexy, wearable and very ‘now’ and in this respect it succeeds admirably.
Spicebomb hits you like…well, a bomb really, with one big olfactory wallop. There’s chilli, saffron and pink pepper along with fresh bergamot and grapefruit notes and leather, tobacco and vetiver ones. It’s a more conventional blend than the press bumpf would have you believe and to me it has a headiness akin to fragrances like Mugler’s A*Men and a faint gourmand quality (the cinnamon maybe?).
It doesn’t feel quite as sophisticated, daring or as complex as Antidote, nor as quirky, but because of this it should be able to reach way beyond the former’s narrow customer base. Who knows? It may even go off like a….No, I’ll resist that one.
Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb is available exclusively from Harrods now and nationwide from 7th March priced £45 for 50ml eau de toilette.