Aesop discover a new intensity with their Marrakech fragrance

photo-4It 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.

photo-2Fillion (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. 

What matters most: authenticity

PS_PORTRAIT_FOR_MEN_PACKSHOTMaybe it’s because I’m a Northerner. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family where straight-talking was the norm. Or maybe I simply just enjoy the shock and awe that accompanies brutal honesty. Whatever it is, what matters most to me is authenticity, and especially in fragrance.

Having written about male grooming for over 13 years and interviewed scores of perfumers, skincare experts and brand ambassadors about their products I like to think I can smell a fake a mile off. You can tell when somebody is keeping it real by a certain glint in their eye and by the way in which they talk about their product.

Interviewing new generation perfumer Barnabe Fillion (creator of the new Paul Smith fragrance Portrait for Men) a while back I was struck by the genuine passion he exuded when talking about his creation and the creative process which led to its birth. Authenticity, he told, me was absolutely key to everything during the creation of the fragrance and that everything was underpinned by it. He kept this notion at the back of his mind throughout the entire process.

Tom-Ford-London-GQ_25Jul13_pr_b_1And authenticity, I believe can be bottled. It shines though the Portrait For Men (where notes are included due to a direct connection to the designer) but Creed do it, Roja Dove does it and Tom Ford does it with his fragrances, which never compromise or pander to the needs of focus groups.  So when I look for a great fragrance I don’t just look for notes I love –  like vetiver, patchouli and lavender –  I look for one buried deep in the base of the scent and it’s one that’s never listed. Yep, you guessed it – it’s called authenticity.

I wrote this little post as part of the John Lewis Vine campaign #Whatmattersmost. If you are passionate about something – if something matters to you like authenticity in fragrance does to me – you can enter a great competition they’re running to win two £1000 John Lewis vouchers and a Canon SLR camera.

Anyone can enter the competition – all you have to do is create a stop motion animation on Vine about what matters to you and Tweet it using the hashtag #whatmattersmost. So far people have vined everything from their vintage clothes collection, their camera collection and their rabbit (click here for some examples).

To enter simply click here. The competition ends on Sunday 8th September, though, so get your finger out!