Jo Malone teams up with legendary stylist Judy Blame

FullSizeRender 3Growing up, as I did, in the 1980s, it was impossible – as someone interested in magazines and fashion – not to know who Judy Blame was. Working with the likes of Buffalo stylist Ray Petri, he was responsible from some of the most iconic looks of the decade – and the one that followed. As a stylist and jeweller he’s worked with everyone from Boy George and Bjork to Dior and Galliano.

JUDY BLAMEInspired by the DIY punk aesthetic of the Seventies his work was (and still is) characterized by the use of everyday items: from buttons and safety pins to keys, tassels and household cutlery. And so, appropriately, it’s a button motif that’s been used for his new collaboration with fragrance house Jo Malone.

The perfect present for the style-conscious perfumista, the Judy Blame for Jo Malone London Box, is a great way to have your favourite Jo Malone fragrance pimped up, Blame style. Each bottle is adorned with little button stickers comes in a special ‘pearly kings and queens’ box, tied with ribbon printed with (you guessed it) more buttons. The box itself is cool enough to become something you’re likely keep long after the fragrance has run out and is perfect for keeping stuff in, whether that’s pocket squares, bow ties, belts or, you know, spare buttons, keys and safety pins.

The Judy Blame For Jo Malone London Box will be available exclusively from Selfridges and from jomalone.co.uk from 1st June, priced £85.

New Neroli from Tom Ford

TOM FORD PORTOFINO ACQUAPizza you can have too much off. Vodka you can have too much of. But Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino? Well, that you can never have too much of. Which is just as well, since this spring sees two new variants of the cult fragrance hit shelves nationwide. Neroli Portofino Acqua, as the name and frosted glass bottle suggest, is even fresher than the original with a beautiful, light wateriness and echoes of crisp trad colognes rather than the bitterness of some crudely constructed ‘Acqua’ fragrances. The characteristic citrus notes seem to sparkle even more in this version making it the perfect fragrance for long, hot summer days and its unobtrusive, ephemeral  nature makes it ideal for work too.

Neroli Portofino Forte, on the other hand, is warmer, more sensual and less spiky than the original fragrance with the perky citrus edges rounded out thanks to a combo of musks, woods and a hint of leather, adding a bold sensuality that has hitherto been lacking from the original. Which of these you go for largely depends on your budget (Forte, an eau de parfum, is more than twice the price of Acqua) and I personally prefer the latter, but whichever you choose, trust me, you’re onto a real winner.

Tom Ford Portofino Forte will be available from Feb 14th from Harrods Salon de Parfum and nationwide six weeks later priced £195 for 50ml EDP. Neroli Portofino Acqua is available from John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser from 6th March, priced £95 for 50ml EDT.

Paco Rabanne lighten up with 1 Million Cologne

PACO RABANNE_ 1 MILLION COLOGNE_ PACKSHOTS_2Love it or loathe it Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million is a fragrance phenomenon. It’s a heady cocktail, though, so if it’s a little bit too ‘in-your-face’ for you maybe you should check out 1 Million Cologne. Sharper and fresher than its best-selling brother it has a slightly bitter, cocktail feel (the result of mandarin orange and a fresh marine accord) which makes it a much better option for summer. It’s spikier and not quite as rounded and creamy as the original 1 Million fragrance but is just as ferociously commercial and has lost non of its tenacity – when I tested it out on my skin I could still smell it 12 hours later.

Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne is available now. 

Ahoy there! There’s a new limited edition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male on the horizon!

JPG_LE MALE_2015 Ltd Ed_IMAGE 6BGenerally speaking I’m very suspicious of limited edition versions of popular fragrances (at the end of the day they’re essentially a way of shifting more units) but I’m always rather excited whenever there’s a new edition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic Le Male because they’re always such fun and so well executed. And since a new one emerges every spring I can’t be the only one who enjoys them. This year, the fragrance takes on a pirate theme, with a crimson skull and a pair of crossed sabres emblazoned on a sailor’s jersey. If you’re a collector you’ll no doubt want to add it to your swag but if you’re just a fan of Le Male and are running low this is the perfect time to replenish your stock. And I know it has a pirate theme but do me a favour and pay for it rather than just ‘appropriate’ it, ok?

Available from Feb 2nd while stocks last.

The library is open…

library of fragrance paperbackI love The Library of Fragrance. They really do have what you might call a ‘scents’ of fun (sorry). Fireplace, Thunderstorm and Play-Doh are on my desk at all times. They’re just so…entertaining. Anyway, just about to become available in the UK is Paperback – a unisex cologne that’s all vanilla, violets and, yes, the familiar smell of musty old bookshops. Don’t panic – you’re not going to smell like a well-fingered copy of Fifty Shades of Grey – it’s a little more complex than that – but it certainly does have a whiff of years-old paperbacks. In a good way, you understand.

Available from thelibraryoffragrance.com from 21st November.

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. 

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male summer fragrance goes all Maori

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male isn’t just a fragrance phenomenon. Thanks to the continual supply of limited edition versions (and bottles) it’s become a collecting phenomenon, too, with many fans desperate to snap up the latest quirky bottles for their collections.

Latest in the line up is this Maori motif tattooed torso for the Stimulating Summer Fragrance – a seasonal version of Le Male. Unlike many fragrance repackages Gaultier’s work because they’re always clever, fun and playful – a bit like the man himself I guess.

As for the fragrance (yes, that’s important too) this summer version isn’t quite as sweet and heavy as the regular version and is perked-up with summery notes of lavender and mint, making it perfect as the weather starts to warm up.

Available now priced £37.50 for 125 ml.

How Jo Malone’s Tea Fragrance Blends saved my sanity

If you’re sitting there thinking that being a Grooming Editor is only marginally harder a job than pushing trollies around an Asda car park you’d be pretty much right. But think of all the hardships I have to endure – especially being polite about fragrances that, frankly, often smell more of kitchen bins than tonka beans.

Curmudgeon that I am, I always seem to be moaning about the state of the men’s fragrance market and how terminally dull it is these days and I’m sad to report that a sneak preview of the new Paul Smith fragrance Optimistic did nothing to change this view  (verdict: nice box, shame about the juice, which is so generic it might even make masters of bland ambition Hugo Boss jealous).

But all is not lost! For, just when I was about to give up all hope of finding a fragrance vaguely interesting, Jo Malone comes along with five limited edition tea-based colognes. As an avid tea drinker  I was fascinated  to see what they’d some up with.

Thankfully, master perfumer Christine Nagel has triumphed in creating fragrances that are wearable whatever your sex and whatever your preference in tea (well, except syrupy ‘builders’ tea, obviously).

My absolute favourite is the Earl Grey and Cucumber Cologne which, like the tea on which it is based, is wonderfully uplifting and has an unmistakable citrus twist, though it’s even better combined with the Fresh Mint Leaf Cologne. Don’t worry, fragrance combining is an acceptable tradition with Jo Malone fragrances just as taking tea with a slice of lemon is. So thank you Jo Malone for restoring my faith in the world of fine fragrances. I raise my cup, with pinkie fully outstretched, in your honour.

Jo Malone’s Tea Fragrance Blends are available from March, priced £34 for the 30ml cologne. For more info go to www.jomalone.com