Want to fragrance your pad? Then go hell for leather

Leather Candle_5060270293583If you’re a man, finding a scented candle that doesn’t make your pad smell like a boudoir can be a real challenge so here’s one that makes your search a cinch. Roja Dove’s Roja Parfums Leather Bougie is rich, warm and – as the name suggests – delightfully leathery. It’s also big on one of my favourite fragrance notes, birch tar – an ingredient that has a natural affinity with leather since it’s often used to make it waterproof. How does it smell? Well, imagine slipping into stiff new riding boots, straddling an unforgiving leather saddle and galloping off through a Scottish forest at full pelt and you’re kind of halfway to appreciating its rich, manly fabulousness*.

Available from Harrods

*Think of me what you will but I really enjoyed writing that last sentence. 

Burn baby, burn!

BURNING_01_028071c5-706d-4c37-b0f4-0be952651d18_2048x2048Man that I am I just love burning stuff (as a I child my mother would often sniff me when I came home from a day playing outside and ask me, “Lee, have you been burning things again?”). So it comes as no surprise that I love burning incense. I absolutely love Fornasetti Profumi Incensi with its signature Otto fragrance created by perfumer Oliver Polge for example.

My latest discovery is a collection of fantastically fragrant Incense Pyres from American company Blackbird. Presented in a dinky till with cool handwritten labels they’re a brilliantly effective way of scenting your house in a hurry and are especially good at masking the smell of things like fried fish or – and I can attest for this – cat litters that see heavy traffic. My fave version at the moment is “Ozo” which is woody and floral with a slight liquoricey vibe and which totally, but safely, satisfies my penchant for pyromania.

Available from Niven & Joshua.

Bella Freud makes the Seventies chic with new 1970 scented candle

BELLA FREUD CANDLE 1970Telegraph Men's Style - 21st September 2013 pg 24A while back I wrote a piece for all about men’s increasing interest in scented candles (or ‘mandles’ as they’ve already been dubbed) for last Saturday’s Telegraph Men’s Style supplement. At the the time of writing Bella Freud hadn’t launched this rather cool 1970 Black Musk & Patchouli  candle, which is a shame because had it been around it would have definitely made my selection.

Infused with frankincense, myrrh, oakmoss, musk, sandalwood and vetiver it pretty much contains all my favourite notes and is a delightfully hippy concoction that smells, for all the world, like one of the many mystic shops in Glastonbury which I never seem to be out of.

I love it and its scent diffuses beautifully, fragrancing any room in a matter of minutes. Recommended.

Bella Freud’d 1970 Black Musk & Patchouli candle is available from Space NK and bellafreud.co.uk.

Cire Trvdon’s Bartolomé: an adventure in space and time

Cire Trudon - BartolomeChecking out the new offerings from Cire Tvudon at their boutique in Marylebone yesterday I was struck by the fact that all their scented candles have this wonderful ability to take you to places other than where you actually are. Frankly, lighting one is a bit like stepping into Doctor Who’s Tardis – you never quite know where (or when) you’ll end up.

Their Roi Soleil candle, for example, transports you to the vast wooden floor of Versailles’ Mirrored Gallery while the faintly bonkers La Lune whisks you off to, well, the surface of the moon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATheir latest creation, Bartolomé, doesn’t take you quite so far (its cues come from a Spanish missionary’s trip to the New World island of Hispaniola in the 16th century) but it’s just as exotic. Packed full of woods and spices, with notes of saffron, nutmeg, cypress, carrot seed, liquorice, cedar, vetiver, vanilla and amber, it’s a delightfully sweet, exotic, gourmand scent that’s an absolutely fantastic tonic to the impending cold days and dark nights.

Recommended. Especially for the armchair time traveller.

Available from Cire Trvdon, 36 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7QL. Tel 0207 486 7590

Jonathan Ward launches diffusion line

JW CANDLEQuite often when I review scented candles or diffusers the reaction I get is “sounds nice but they’re so expensive!” Given that good candles can set you back £35 or more it’s a fair comment, especially in these difficult economic times.  With this in mind Jonathan Ward – a man who’s a true wiz with wax – is to launch a diffusion line of candles offering customers the chance of accessing his luxury brand at slightly lower price point.

The range still has the features Jonathan Ward is famous for (the double wicks, clean burning wax and complex, multi-dimensional fragrances) but the candles cost a mere £16 and the diffusers £20 making them roughly half the price as the mainline collection.

Thoroughly English, the collection of six candles is inspired by all things native (hence names like Dorset Shore, Mightnight Sherwood and Vintage Tweed). Woodstock, above, is a blend of aromatic English woods like oak and birch along with patchouli and forest flowers like bluebell. Inexpensive maybe but certainly not unsophisticated.

The “J” range by Jonathan Ward will be available from www.jonathanwardlondon.com from April 15th.

The new Floris Bergamot & Geranium Scented Candle

floris bergamot and geraniumWhen I first heard about this new candle from Floris I was uncharacteristically excited. The reason for this is that its core essential oils are two of my absolute favourites. I’ve loved the smell of geranium since I was a child and bergamot is one of my favourite citrus scents, richer and more rounded than grapefruit, orange or lemon. The combination of the two is lovely.

I always think with luxury products that it’s the little touches that mater the most and this hand-poured candle features both a snuffing lid (possibly the most useful addition to a scented candle, especially for anyone who values their fingertips) and, handily, a little cork mat so it doesn’t leave marks on your favourite coffee table. It comes in a glamorous gold box too so what’s not to love?

The Floris Bergamot & Geranium Scented Candle is available here. There’s a companion room fragrance too.

 

Disclosure Notice: I received a free sample of this product for review purposes

Couldn’t give a fig for scented candles? This one might make you change your mind.

JONATHAN WARD FIG ULTIMATUMAs you’ve probably realised if you’re a regular reader I love a good scented candle. In truth, with two cats and a small house I can’t help but love them. I’m quite fussy about what I take a match to though. I like my candles to be as complex as my fragrances, don’t like anything too intoxicating or overly floral (I prefer my place to smell nice but not like a 17th Century boudoir) and like a clean, soot-free burn.

Like all of Jonathan Ward‘s hand-poured artisan candles his latest, Fig Ultimatum, is certainly complex. Eschewing predictability, as he always does, he’s taken the hugely popular and commercial smell of fig but added much more depth to it with honey, cognac, a warm, wet peatiness and a slightly animalistic amber base. The result is a candle that’s not as sweet and sickly as some fig fragrances can be but something altogether warmer, sexier, creamier and more comforting, so give it a go. And that’s my own ultimatum.

Jonathan Ward’s Fig Ultimatum Artisan Candle is available from 1st March from www.jonathanwardlondon.com priced £35.

The Grooming Guru’s Christmas Gift Guide For Her

Stuck for a present idea for the woman in your life? How about these glorious gifts?

03102012042806There are scented candles and then there are Fornasetti scented candles, which don’t just smell great but turn the humble room fragrance into a mini work of art. This one, the Flora di Fornasetti candle, fills the room with gloriously intoxicating notes of lily of the valley, jasmine and tuberose and comes in the most exquisite ceramic vessel and gift box. £99 from Selfridges.com
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Face facts, how a bottle of fragrance looks is just as important as how it smells when it comes to gift giving. And who could not be won over by this orb-topped fragrance from Vivienne Westwood? Deliciously feminine, with notes of bergamot, red english rose and heliotrope, Boudoir is a no-brainer when it comes to gifting so go buy! £34 for 30ml eau de parfum from escentual.com

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I always think that Molton Brown products look like colourful little jewels. And if that’s the case then this Orion Gift Set, featuring six colourful bath and shower gels is a veritible treasure trove for beauty magpies. Looks fab and best of all, is easy to wrap! £36 from nivenandjoshua.com

ren-gift-set-05I love REN as a brand and suspect she’ll love you if you gave her this Neroil Duo Gift Set featuring a Neroli and Grapefruit Body Wash and Body Cream. They smell  fantastic and the great thing is that, once they’re on the side of the bath, you can can proceed to steal them for yourself. £28 from renskincare.com

Tidy_All_PurpleLizThough the contents of a woman’s handbag largely remain a mystery to me I’ve seen enough friends rummaging around in them to know that they’re clearly a bit like the Tardis inside (i.e big and very messy). This dinky little Aspinal Handbag Tidy solves part of that problem by safely housing a few essentials like lipstick, lipgloss and contact lenses. £65 from aspinaloflondon.com

black orchidYou probably know by now how much I love Tom Ford fragrances. Well, Black Orchid is one of his best selling signature fragrances for women and this gift set, featuring a 50ml bottle of the rich, sensual fragrance along with a 75ml body lotion, is guaranteed to make a big impression on Christmas morning. £75 from selfridges.com

whole lotta colourI must confess I don’t know much about make up (the last time I wore any myself was back in the Eighties when it was de rigueur for men to slap up) but what I do know from reading the posts and tweets of my fellow beauty press and beauty bloggers is that Clinique’s Chubby Sticks* have been a bit of a sensation this year. So much so that this Whole Lotta Colour gift set has sold out on their own website and it’s pot luck whether you’ll be able to find a store near you that has a set. But since it’s clearly one of this year’s must have gifts you’ll get extra points if you do find one. So what are you doing reading this? You’d better get shopping! £30 from a store near you (hopefully).

*they’re lip colour balms in case you were wondering

Josephine’s Rose candle by Jonathan Ward – the ultimate bedroom accessory

Looking for a great Valentine’s gift for the woman in your life? Then how about this fantastic scented candle from Jonathan Ward London? Inspired by the legendary romance between Napoleon and Jospehine and the latter’s passion for roses, Josephine’s Rose features a medley of rose notes (english rose, tuberose and tea rose) but manages to avoid being old fashioned or ‘Nanish’ thanks to a sexy, musky note of amber.

As with the Serge Lutens fragrance Tuberose Criminelle (which I reviewed here) when rose is ‘sexed-up’ by other ingredients, debased a little if you will, it always smells miles better to me.

As always Jonathan is clever with his choice of ingredients – taking something potentially ordinary and giving it his own unique twist so it becomes extraordinary. Ideal for setting the perfect bedroom mood. Just add matches and willing partner.

For more info go to www.jonathanwardlondon.com

Why Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle is ‘therapy’

I must confess, I’ve always been rather cautious of anything containing lemongrass. And with good reason. The smell of it brings back terrible memories of a Thai restaurant in Soho, a dish containing mussels and the three days that followed, during which I lost not only the contents of my stomach and much of my dignity, but over half a stone in weight too.

So it was with some trepidation that I put a match to Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle today. Hancrafted, using soy wax and aromatherapy grade essential oils, it’s a nicely thought-out fragrance and the colour of the glass is exquisite (practically the same as my lounge walls, which is handy!).

Although touted as the kind of candle to help you unwind at the end of the day it strikes me as being quite a stimulating scent, one brilliant at keeping a lounge, office or bathroom fresh, rather than for setting the mood in the bedroom.

If you’re a man nervous of florals, it’ll be perfect for you and Timothy’s range includes a few other cancels I can see appealing to men, including Wild Tobacco & Jasmine and Oakmoss & Vetiver, which sounds amazing. Best of all, even though the one currently alight in my living room has lemongrass, it didn’t bring back one single awful memory. It may even have helped me tackle my fear.

Available from www.timothyhan.com priced £38.