Paul Smith enters the sports arena with Extreme Sport

SPORT5After the bravery of Paul Smith’s last fragrance launch Portrait For Men – a quirky fragrance built around a fresh green tea note – the iconic British designer’s latest fragrance, Extreme Sport, plays it safe (and keeps things a little more commercial) with a juice built around a raft of notes familiar to contemporary men’s fragrances.

SPORT2As is the case with many sport fragrances that don’t go down the super-fresh route it aims – a bit like Issey Miyake’s L’eau D’issey Pour Homme Sport –  to pack a mighty old punch instead. Citrusy, woody and spicy it’s a big, ballsy number that’s vibrant and energetic enough for daytime but warm and spicy enough to be worn for a night out too. If you’re a fan of Paul Smith Extreme – his most successful men’s fragrance – you’ll certainly like this version as it takes most of its cues (visual and olfactory) from that fragrance.

SPORT3What it has over many other sport fragrances (Miyake’s included) is a genuine reason for being. Whereas you’d struggle long and hard to find an authentic connection between Miyake and sport, Paul Smith’s is genuine and well known. Not only did he start out wanting to be a champion cyclist (until an accident made him change dreams) he’s still very much involved in sport, especially cycling, designing jerseys for the Giro d’Italia and lending his signature style to a range of sportswear, sporting equipment and sports watches (one of which is featured on the box and bottle). For sure, that little touch of authenticity isn’t mentioned on the list of notes but it’s definitely tucked away at the heart of the fragrance – just spray and you’ll find it.

Notes:

Top: Orange Essence, Bergamot, Moroccan Nana Mint

Middle: Egyptian Geranium, Lavender, Madagascan Black Pepper

Base: Incense, Cedarwood, Tonka bean.

Paul Smith Extreme Sport launches exclusively in Boots on 2nd April and will be available elsewhere a month later. 

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.

Will Jay Z’s new men’s fragrance strike gold?

JAY Z GOLDI 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.

jay-z-goldHaving 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.

The notes

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.

Exclusive: Remington aim to Hoover up competition with new Vacuum Beard & Grooming Kit

Remington_Vacuum Beard and Grooming Kit TrimmerHaving sported a beard for over a decade now I like to think I know a thing or two about facial hair. In that time I have also tried just about every beard and stubble trimmer on the market with, it must be said, varying degrees of success.

One of the major problems with trimmers, of course, is that they have a nasty habit of creating an almighty mess in your bathroom or bedroom (on numerous occasions I’ve had to root out a sink plunger to unblock my bathroom washbasin after a quick trim).

Thankfully, Remington have solved this rather annoying problem with their brand new Vacuum Beard & Grooming Kit.  What I like about it is that as well as allowing you to shape your beard to a range of different lengths it also has a detailing trimmer for creating clean, crisp lines and a special foil shaving head which allows you to shave areas like the cheeks and neck where you might not want any beardage.

What elevates it above many other trimmers, however, is its built-in vacuum chamber. This allows those pesky beard clippings to be Hoovered up and stored away as you trim so they don’t litter your bathroom sink or bedroom floor. It also takes them away from your face, removing the need to wash immediately after trimming. What’s more, the chamber’s easy to empty and there’s no loss of suction as it fills either.

If one of things that’s currently putting you off growing a beard is the mess, the The Remington Vacuum Beard & Grooming Kit may well be a real game changer.

Available exclusively at Boots and on boots.com priced £54.99.

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.

Valentino returns with new men’s fragrance for 2014

valentinoAlthough 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.