Looking for a new fragrance? Then bring on the Artillery!

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

New fragrance round-up: what’s hot, what’s not.

At this time of year fragrance launches come upon you faster than colds so rather than give a detailed critique of every one I thought I’d pick a handful of the most recent and challenge myself to be succinct for once. So here goes…

Prada Luna Rossa.

Housed in a superbly modern flacon Prada’s latest offering is all about freshness. But not in a predictable, sparkling citrus top note kinda way. Instead, it’s all about spearmint, clary sage and lavender which lends it a slightly soapy floral feel with a sharp, aromatic freshness. Easy to wear and good for evening but even better for daytime. Looks the biz, too, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

Roja Parfums Fetish Pour Homme.

Pornographer de parfum Roja Dove’s latest fragrance for men is typically filthy in feel – leathery, musky, animalistic and slightly spicy but has been given a more romantic  and tender side with notes of violet and jasmine. Sexy, complex and capricious it can kiss you one minute and whip you the next. Which is just how I like my fragrances.

 

 

 

 

Aramis Gentleman.

The problem with Aramis is that in creating such an iconic fragrance (in what is now known as Aramis Classic) it sort of has nowhere better to go. This latest fragrance takes its cues from the original fragrance but adds black pepper, along with oregano and ginger to take it in a different, lighter, direction. Like remixes of great records it’s certainly worth checking out but the original is still the better version.

 

Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Leather.

I’m no fan of Thierry Mugler’s men’s fragrances (though Pure Shot did much to change my views). This  souped-up version, with leather and patchouli, is particularly pernicious. I’ve sniffed hard to find the leather (a smell I love in fragrance) but all I can detect is a sickly sweet caramel and something akin to the smell of hairspray. Mugler fans may well love it but it would make me run a mile.

 

Le Noir by Lyn Harris.

One of three men’s fragrances created exclusively for M&S this, like the other two fragrances that form the range, has a certain old-fashioned charm that I rather like. A blend of bergamot, lavender, patchouli and amber it still smells like something you dad might wear but it has a leatheriness I rather like. For £25, certainly worth a go.

Undergreen Black: at last a fragrance with balls

The fragrance industry,when it comes to men’s fragrances at least, is in the doldrums: there I’ve said it. Launch after launch produces generic, nondescript scents aimed at followers rather than leaders. Fragrance by focus group rules.  As I’ve said before, it’s all about bland ambition. Increasingly fragrances rely on fancy bottles to disguise the pedestrian juices inside, like someone masking unwashed hair with a dry shampoo. There are no classics in the making anymore. And I seriously worry for the guy who’s 22 today because his current scent squeeze will be dead and gone by the time he’s 30 (if not 25). He’ll certainly be hard pushed to have anything to reminisce about when he’s 40.

So when I come across something at least having a go I cling to it like a life raft. Which is where Undergreen‘s latest fragrance Black comes in. It actually launched exclusively at Harvey Nichols last month and a sample has been sitting on my desk since then, hidden under a pile of press releases.

Anyway, the upshot is that I love it. Key to its allure is a mega-punchy liquorice note which works beautifully with the black pepper top note and trio of woods at its base. It also has that fusty, churchy smell I absolutely love in fragrances.

Ok, so Undergreen is a niche brand able to take risks and a bottle will set you back three times as much as something from the high street (though you do get a 100ml eau de parfum for your investment) but trust me, it’s worth it. Trust me, right now, niche is where it’s at.

Undergreen Black Classic Edition costs £120 for 100ml eau de parfum. Available from Harvey Nichols.

Have Le Male Flask, will travel

If there’s one thing you can definitely say about Jean Paul Gaultier it’s that he knows how to keep his fans happy. His fragrance bottles are always huge fun and this limited edition travel flask version for his iconic Le Male fragrance is no exception. Cool eh? Collectors, crack open the piggy bank!

The Le Male Eau de toilette 125ml Travel Flask costs £55. A similarly-sized flask version of Le Male Terrible is also available for £57

ck One “on-the-go” – the little wonder

I know that only yesterday I was singing the praises of the supersize fragrance bottle but just so you don’t think I’m totally obsessed by size I thought I’d redress the balance by bringing to your attention something quite the opposite: this dinky 20ml “On-The-Go” version of ck One.

Launched last month it’s possibly one of the most practical fragrance products I’ve ever come across. Not much bigger in size than a credit card (though thicker obviously) it’s pocket-sized and the juice is encased in a robust hard plastic bottle, making it absolutely perfect for gym bags, office drawers, suit pockets and for your summer holds. Genius.

ck one on-the-go costs £12 for 20ml.

YSL’s Whoppers!

The other day, whilst describing a new Lalique fragrance, I mentioned that I like scent bottles with a “murder-weapon weightiness”. Well, with these giant sized versions of YSL’s L’Homme, L’Homme Libre and La Nuit L’Homme I could go on a veritable killing spree. And I’d still smell fantastic in my prison cell.

Each one costs £79 for 200ml eau de toilette. Available now.

Lalique launches Hommage a l’homme

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Lalique’s new fragrance for men Homme a l’homme at the Lalique shop (if one can call such an establishment a shop) in London’s Conduit Street. I must say, it’s a spectacular venue, full of spectacular things and a place I’ve never ventured into (can’t think why because that £10,000 Lalique sound system looked lovely!). But anyway, if you want a little bit of the Lalique luxury yourself this new fragrance is a good place to start.

Given free-reign to use what ingredients they liked perfumiers Christine Nagel and Mathidle Bijaoui have come up with something deliciously fresh with a spiciness that’s much subtler than you find in most of today’s men’s fragrances (the now ubiquitous black pepper’s there but not overpoweringly so and the addition of saffron is a lovely touch).

It also has a juciness which comes from a violet leaf note (Nagel demonstrated this to me by snapping open a real violet leaf and it has a surprisingly fresh, cactus/cucumber smell that does indeed smell ‘juicy’). All this is finished off with a sexy trio of base notes including cistus, oud and musk.

It’s a pretty good combination and the bottle itself is beautifully simple, having a murder-weapon weightiness I always look for in flacon. But if you really want a bit of luxury check out the £1,000  crystal bottle version! I am rattling my money box as I write.

Homme a l’homme by Lalique is available from Harrods right now and nationwide from May, priced £49 for 50 ml eau de toilette. You can also buy it online from www.lalique-parfums.com