Good news for fans of Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Essenza: October sees the release of a special “Tuxedo” edition of the fragrance. Inspired by black tie (the bottle reflects the contrast between a tux’s matt fabric and its satin lapels) the timeless Acqua di Parma bottle gets a gentlemanly make-over. I know it’s a bit shallow to judge a fragrance by its bottle but, well, it is lovely. As is the fragrance. Great for collectors and Essenza fans it’ll be available exclusively from Selfridges from October 1st 2015, priced at £140.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from Austin Reed’s new fragrance for men but I certainly wasn’t expecting to like it quite as much as I do. Warm, woody and delightfully floral, Austin Reed Signature also has a gourmand sweetness to it but doesn’t overplay this in the crude, blunt way many men’s fragrances do so the dry down has a nice, but not sickly, creaminess. Good price point too.
Top: Sicilian bergamot, graprefruit, tangerine, pepper
Middle: Moroccan atlas rose, chinese geranium, thyme, ginger, liquorice, cardamon, orange flower
Base: Vanilla, vetiver, cedarwood
Austin Reed Signature is available via Austin Reed stores and online priced £35 for 50ml and £45 for 100ml.
Keen readers will know the I’ve written about Givenchy’s brand new fragrance Gentlemen Only a couple of times on here already. An elegant and modern fragrance which takes some of it olfacory and design cues from one of my favourite fragrance of all time, Givenchy Gentleman, it’s an aromatic, woody and spicy blend of green mandarin orange, pink peppercorns (this year’s must have fragrance note), nutmeg, birch leaves, cedar, patchouli and vetiver.
Featuring Australian heartthrob Simon Baker the ad campaign (below) focuses on the forgotten art of being a gentleman, revealing that even though times may change good manners never go out of fashion.
To celebrate the launch of the fragrance Givenchy have a trip to New York (along with €2000 to spend in Bergdorf Goodman), as well as 80 “instant win” bottles of the fragrance up for grabs via a great little Facebook App. To enter simply click here. It would be ungentlemanly not to!
He’s the ex Senior Vice President of Chanel and former Global General Manager of Jo Malone Ltd and she’s a talented, up-and-coming perfumer so what could go wrong? Well, nothing as it happens, because Dom De Vetta and Julie Massé know exactly what they’re doing with boutique fragrance brand Shay & Blue.
The styling (with it meticulous attention to detail, is very Jo Malone (beautiful boxes, beautifully ribboned, only this time in blue) but the fragrances are much better, more rounded and muti-faceted. Blood Oranges, for example, is utterly delicious: it oozes dark, citrus juiciness to begin with but develops into a gorgeously leathery fragrance with musky overtones and a sensual woody, ambery base that’s both mysterious and a wee bit naughty. It’s about as far removed from what most people think of as citrus pefumery as you can get, is delightfully styled from start to finish and is made in England too. I absolutely love it and I think you will too.
Shay & Blue’s Blood Oranges costs £55 for 100ml natural spray. For more information see shayandblue.com. Shay & Blue’s new London Boutique can be found at 80 York Street, Old Marylebone, London.
I’m very fussy about Vetiver fragrances. I’ve tried so many and been disappointed so often (Creed’s Original Vetiver being the one I wear personally), so when I got to sample this new creation from Roja Dove I was bracing myself for yet another let down. I needn’t have worried.
This Vetiver – a spicy Chypre fragrance lifted by green and citrus notes – has that familiar earthy, smoky vetiver aroma but the whole thing is made more complex by the addition of celery, nutmeg, caraway and oakmoss and – surprise, surprise – is imbued with that base, elemental and animalistic sexiness (what I call the ‘pornographic note’) that runs through so many of Roja’s fragrances.
All in all it’s rich and sexy and has real staying power. If you’ll forgive the awful pun, I think I smell a winner.
Available from Harrods from April, priced £195 for 50ml eau de parfum.
In recent times the big trend in fragrance has been all about Oud – a precious resin extracted from trees in south-east Asia (the finest comes from Laos and is the source of the Oud for this creation). It’s a trend I love, with Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and YSL’s reworked M7 Oud Absolu being two of my favourite fragrances.
This one, by the man who created the excellent For Him for Narciso Rodriguez, still has the unusually animalistic vibe of the oud but is much sweeter, headier and intoxicating than many I’ve worn in the past and positively revels in its sheer Arabian-ness. Possibly a little too sweet for my own taste but well worth checking out if you’re an oud aficionado.
Available later this month from Liberty, priced £175 for 2.4 fl.oz. For more info go to www.franciskurkdjian.com
Oh I know what you’re thinking – anther day, another Beckham post. Look, can I help it the man’s as ubiquitous as chlamydia? This time, it’s not his pants or quiff I’m discussing, though, but his latest fragrance, Instinct Sport.
It’s fair to say I’ve not been much of a fan of the Beckham fragrances in the past so it’s with some surprise that I find myself actually quite liking this one. Launching in time for the lucrative summer fragrance market (and just in time for the Olympic 2012 sporting frenzy) it’s clearly designed as something to throw into your gym bag, spritz yourself with after a five-a-side or take on your hols.
It opens with a fantastically jolly, juicy and fruity set of notes, including mandarin, ginger ale and apple and though these soon give way to a more pedestrian, slightly unsophisticated dry down, featuring patchouli and sandalwood, the scent as a whole is wearable, inoffensive and perfectly pitched as an affordable introduction to men’s fragrance. Ad’s all a bit ‘tan ‘n’ tatts’ though isn’t it?
Available now from Selfridges.