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.
It doesn’t launch until September but since I’m getting old (and may well have forgotten I had a sneak preview of it by then) I thought I might as well give you the heads up on the brand new Aesop fragrance, Marrakech Intense, right now. Created by French perfumer Barnabé Fillion – a man who’s collaborated with the likes of Le Labo and who was the nose behind Paul Smith’s rather underrated Portrait For Men fragrance, it’s a rather clever “reinterpretation” of Aesop’s existing Marrakech fragrance.
Fillion (pictured) was brought in to give it a bit more oomph, reassembling it in the same way a musical track might be remixed in order to breathe new life into it and give it new meaning. Thus, Marrakech Intense is muskier and sexier than its predecessor and Fillion has fiddled with the top and middle of the fragrance, too, adding neroli, bergamot, rose and jasmine.
The distinctive clove, cardamon and sandalwood of the original is still there, but the Frenchman has added complexity and depth to Marrakech – making it much more nuanced – and in doing so he’s taken it from being a quirky apothecary scent and pushed it in the direction of a boutique fragrance with bags of character. Impressive.
Aesop Marrakech Intense will be available from September as a 50ml eau de toilette and a 10ml parfum roll-on.
Now let me get this out of the way first: I love Czech & Speake. When I was a teenager back in the Eighties, I eyed their products (and especially their No.88 fragrance) with a desire that bordered on unrestrained lust. I still adore No.88 and can heartily recommend it if you like woody, floral, barbershoppy fragrances that pack a punch and have serious longevity on the skin.
But anyway, enough about that fragrance and on to their latest one, Spanish Cedar. Warm, woody, fruity, spicy and smoky it’s a great evening fragrance but, in truth, not nearly as distinctive as some other C&S fragrances and certainly nowhere near as interesting as No.88. To me the cedar is slightly lost amongst the sweetness of the plum and blackberry notes and its longevity could be better but if you like your scents warm and spicy it’s certainly worth investigating.
Now that the weather’s beginning to improve you might well be starting to think about what grooming products to take on your holidays. If, like me, you live in a metropolis, you might also be wondering how on earth you’re going to keep cool on a day-to-day basis. Well, the answer comes in the shape of this great little moisture spray from thisworks.
A less messy way to add moisture to dehydrated skin it’s a wonderful thing to have in travel bags, suitcases or on your desk for those hot-as-hell moments. Light as anything, non-sticky and easily absorbed it’s formulated with organic aloe vera water, sea minerals and plant oils and is easy to use: you just spray onto your skin and leave. It’s like a cooling water spritz but moisturising as well as refreshing and is probably my favourite skincare product so far this year.
Men might have come a long way in terms of looking after their faces but in many respects their bodies are the Amazon forest of male grooming: a largely unexplored territory and one in desperate need of preservation. So it’s a real joy to see one of my favourite British skincare brands, Bulldog, launch their Original Body Lotion for men.
Formulated with skin-saving aloe vera, cocoa butter and avocado oil and lightly fragranced with a blend of eight essential oils it hydrates skin a treat, smells great (but not in a way that will clash with any fragrance you’re wearing) and is quickly absorbed so it does’t stick your clothes. Importantly for men, it’s also lightweight enough not to get stuck in any body hair you may have. With an affordable pricepoint of £4.49 you don’t need to be skimpy with it either.
I’m a huge fan of Bulldog, not just because it flies the flag for British skincare, but because of its ethics (all its products are loaded with natural ingredients, free of chemical nasties like sodium laureth sulphate and none are tested on animals.) More than that, though, they’re fantastic value for money and actually work. I absolutely love this new addition to the range and reckon you will too.
Available from Sainsbury’s from May. For more information go to meetthebulldog.com
I honestly don’t know what happens when celebrities dabble in fragrances. It’s as if their sense of reason, good taste and self-respect leaves the building faster than they leave it after a gig or PA. I sometimes suspect they only actually get a whiff of what’s done in their name for a split second between more important things like negotiating a deal to play a private gig in Qatar and opening a bag of fashion freebies.
Having said that, when I first heard that Jay Z was to release a men’s fragrance I was actually rather excited. After all, Mr Carter strikes me as a guy of considerable taste, sophistication and integrity.
So quite why he should put his name to Gold Jay Z I have no idea. It’s not that this ‘white fougère’ is horrible per se (though it does rather catch in the back of the throat) it’s that it’s so safe, pedestrian and well…generally meh.
Generic, with a sweet, slightly powdery edge, it has that nose-tingling acrid quality prevalent in so many contemporary men’s fragrances and, to my hooter anyway, smells like a curious mix of fairy cakes and stale tobacco. In its defence it’s an extremely commercial scent by the standards of the day and I quite like the cap.
All in all, I’d put it on a par with the Bond 007 fragrance in terms of sophistication, though if you’re familiar with this blog you’ll know that this is damning, not so much with faint praise, but with no praise at all. But then, what do I know? That Bond fragrance flew out of the shops faster than sh*t off a shovel.
Top Yellow ginger, white cardamon, grapefruit, blueberry
Middle Violet leaf, cypress, lavender, vetiver, pink pepper
Base Golden amber, patchouli, teak, bourbon vanilla
Gold Jay Z debuts in Superdrug on 12 February priced £25 for 30ml eau de toilette spray.
Although the scent’s the thing when it comes to fragrance you’d be crazy not to acknowledge the importance of a really good looking bottle when it comes to creating an impact, both in the press and on consumers’ bathroom shelves. And Valentino’s forthcoming men’s fragrance Valentino Uomo is surely about as good looking as they come.
Taking its cues from a luxurious crystal decanter it has an amazing ‘studded’ texture, is as beautiful to look at as it is to hold, and is one of my favourite flacons in a long time. The fragrance itself – a sweet, warm and creamy number with a hint of coffee – isn’t bad either. It launches in February so make a note in your diary.
Christmas is coming and if you’re looking for a great gift set for your dad, brother, son or yourself Elemis might have the answer. New for 2013 is The Adventurer set. Featuring two of my favourite Elemis products (the Deep Cleanse Facial Wash and their Aching Muscle Super Soak) along with their excellent Daily Moisture Boost it’s a fab gift for Christmas and also serves as a great introduction to the brand. Comes with a fancy ribbon attached, too, so you don’t even need to wrap it!
The Adventurer set by Elemis is available from nivenandjoshua.com
British perfumery is going from strength to strength at the moment, not least because of the ability of brands like Shay & Blue to create interesting, elegant and refined fragrances. I was a fan of their delicious Blood Oranges the minute I got a whiff of it and am told it’s now become a firm favourite with male customers.
Their latest offering, Oud Alif, is at the other end of the olfactory spectrum but is no less impressive. Alif, in case you don’t know, is Arabic for ‘Alpha’ so it’s an oud that has a lot to live up to but it doesn’t disappoint. It’s deliciously warm and smoky but creamy, chocolatey and leathery at the same time and there’s a dash of earthy patchouli in there too just to round things off. All in all the perfect fragrance for Autumn/Winter.
Available from Shay & Blue from the beginning of November priced £85 for 100ml Fragrance Concentrée
I still remember the tingle of excitement when I first saw Acqua di Parma’s Collezione Barbiere range a few years back. Lightly scented with their legendary Colonia fragrance it was just so luxurious, elegant and desirable. The only problem with it was that if you didn’t like the scent you were kind of stuffed. What if, for example, you liked the range but wore Acqua di Parma’s Blue Mediterraneo or the wonderful Colonia Intensa Oud fragrance?
Clearly the company must have been aware of this slight drawback because they’ve wisely reformulated the range with a barely-there scent that makes perfect sense commercially, allowing it to be used as a stand-alone grooming range regardless of the fragrance you wear.
Stars of the line up include the luxuriously thick and creamy Shaving Cream, the new Shaving Oil – which is fantastically light and non-greasy – and the the Scrub Purificante Viso (I just love typing that – it sounds so good in Italian) which is especially worth having as it’s not too abrasive. What’s more, a brand new Eye Treatment and Face Cream have been added to round out the range and to elevate it from ancillary shaving range to a full-blown collection of skincare essentials. Definitely one of the new season’s must-buys.
Collezione Barbiere is available from Selfridges and your usual Acqua di Parma stockists from 1st October.