Azzaro Wanted – seriously, what were they thinking?

Azzaro Wanted-1Oh deary, deary me. Let’s talk about Azzaro’s new Wanted fragrance for a moment shall we? The one in the bottle that looks like a fully-loaded gun chamber. Now, the six-shooter bottle design for this fragrance, regardless of bad timing in light of the tragic events in Orlando, is a quite spectacular exercise in clichéd, one-dimensional and outdated hyper-mascuine thinking. I used to think that Davidoff’s The Game, with its casino chip flacon, was terminally naff but this takes things to a whole new level – and a subterranean one at that. Presumably the thinking behind it is that a. men absolutely love guns and b. guns are sexy and street and therefore customers will think the fragrance is masculine and, like, really, really cool.

You can just see the design meeting now: “Right guys, we need an eye-catching bottle – something like Paco Rabanne’s Invictus or that Gaultier one with the massive bulge. What screams ‘men’ then? How about a football? Or a motorbike? Or a big, clunking fist? Oh, no, Diesel did the fist. Wait a minute. I know – how about a gun? What’s more masculine than a gun? It’s cowboy; it’s gangsta; it’s Bond; it’s NRA and man-on-a-rampage. But mostly it’s Bond. Especially if we make it sleek, shiny and gold. What better vessel for our killer fragrance than a killer bottle?”

Well, I’m afraid Azzaro have shot themselves in the foot here (sorry) and I suspect they know this too since the bottle description on their website is a masterclass in obscurification. Avoiding the ‘G’ word altogether and with not a passing mention of bullets the bottle is instead “elegant and precious, with a stunning rugged, mechanical look” (it’s a gun folks) and “a  symbol of freedom and virility” (still a gun). Most bizarrely, it’s also “an embodiment of extreme masculinity tinged with the nostalgia of childhood”. Now, unless your dad was the Son of Sam I’m not entirely sure what childhood nostalgia it’s referring to here but no matter, the bottom line is that, in 2016, Azzaro’s  firearm-inspired Wanted is, to put it bluntly, anything but.

Acqua di Parma release “Tuxedo” edition of Colonia Essenza

New Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza Tuxedo  Edition 2015 (1)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.

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.

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.

James Bond 007: the fragrance. Or one of them anyway…

The press release for next month’s launch of Procter & Gamble’s new James Bond 007 fragrance might say “the world’s first male fragrance dedicated to the legendary British spy” but a quick search on Google reveals that someone officially (or unofficially) got there first in 1996 with this stunning-looking eau de toilette. And whilst I doubt there’s  much difference in smell, this version does look decidedly….well, George Lazenby. Know what I mean?

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

Original Penguin’s first men’s fragrance is decidedly…un-Original

On paper the first fragrance from iconic fashion brand Penguin sounds promising: the press release describes Original Penguin For Men as being “an oriental fragrance with a distinguished combination of juicy gold apples, purple sage, Mediterranean neroli and a punch of black pepper, along with fresh acords of fir needle, lavender provence and a seductive mix of vanilla noir, tonka bean and dark musk.”

The reality, though, is decidedly un-Original. Like so many fragrances today is has a slightly bitter, acrid smell  and a predictability that makes my heart sink. With fragrances like this I often bring up my Plasticine analogy. You start off with lots of wonderfully vibrant individual colours but the more you mix them the more they’re destined to become an unappealing, nondescript, sludgy brown.

The fact is, this is a fragrance that could have originated from any number of houses where the prime objective in creating a fragrance is not to offend rather than to impress. What results, then, is a scent that could equally be a Beckham or a Boss. Or both. Either way it’s decidedly meh. Nice bottle though.

Original Penguin For Men is available from Debenhams, priced £33 for 50 ml eau de toilette

The Perfume Shop’s best selling male fragrances

If you’ve ever wondered what the most popular fragrances for men are wonder no more. At a brilliantly organised event to celebrate The Perfume Shop’s 20 years in business and to showcase upcoming launches and the best of this year’s summer fragrances, I came across this display, featuring the shop’s perennial best sellers. They’re in no particular order but what resides in this case gives you a great steer on what British men are using and includes some of my own personal favourites.

From top left: Chanel Allure, Armani Code, Terre D’Hermes, Joop!, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Boss Bottled, Dolce & Gabbana The One, Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male, L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme, Davidoff Cool Water, Paco Rabanne 1 Million.

For more info on the fragrances go to www.theperfumeshop.com

The Grooming Guru’s Top 5 Autumnal Fragrances

I was going to compile my Top 5 fragrances for Autumn for a blogpost on here but since Men’s Health pipped me to the post and asked me to compile a list for them I thought I may as well simply share the link with you. So to discover why I think Dsqared’s Potion is magical and Roja Dove’s Danger Pour Homme is positively pornographic simply click here!