How to be well “Gruhmed”

GRUHMEAs a consumer it’s often all too easy to go for the most obvious choice when it comes to fragrance, especially when the big fashion houses and cosmetic companies throw so much money at celebrity endorsement and in-your-face advertising. However, sometimes it’s worth looking a bit further afield for an interesting eau de toilette. This one, by British brand Gruhume being a good example.

Delightfully fresh, crisp and spicy –  with lemon, bergamot, lavender, juniper berry, black peppercorns, patchouli and petitgrain – it’s as good as any of the fragrances you’ll find in your local department store and considerably better than many of them. Plus, in buying a bottle you’re supporting British entrepreneurialism at its very best. Worth investigating.

Gruhme For Him No 14 is a available from gruhme.co.uk priced £45 for 100ml eau de toilette.

Martin Margiela replicates the smell of a New York Jazz Club with latest fragrance

REPLICA ALL THAT JAZZI must say I was rather excited about the arrival of Marin Margiela’s Replica Jazz Club fragrance. Woody, oriental and sweet – with pink peppercorns, neroil, run, sage, vanilla, tonka bean, tobacco leaves and vetiver, it’s the first masculine scent in the Replica series and is meant to conjure up the heady ambiance of a New York Jazz Club.

Like all the scents in the Replica series the bottle, with its delicious simplicity and printed cloth label is absolutely sublime and is everything a fragrance flacon should be. As for the fragrance itself, well, if it’s not damning with faint praise, it reminds me a bit of Diesel’s Fuel For Life Spirit (another L’Oreal-owned fragrance which launched this year), even down to the colour of the juice. It’s sweet, it’s gourmandy, it’s very now. Is it any good? I think on this occasion I’ll leave that question for you to answer.

Dirty things up with Dreckig bleiben!

dreckig_bleiben_2As a journalist and blogger I get approached all the time by people thinking I will “just love” a certain product. About 80% of the time they’re being wildly optimistic (an essential quality if you’re a PR I suspect) but very occasionally they’re spot on, as is the case with German boutique fragrance Dreckig Bleiben.

Meaning “stay dirty” (a name which only makes me love it more) I got sent a sample a while back with a note from the company saying they thought I’d like it. And they were right. Created by perfumer Mark Buxton, a man who’s worked with the likes of Le Labo, Givenchy, Cartier and Burberry it’s fantastically warm, smoky, woody and earthy and you can see immediately why he also has Commes des Garcons on his CV. It’s actually very Comme in its feel (well, Comme back in the day, when they were in the zone, fragrance-wise).

It’s certainly interesting and the more I smell it, the more I think there’s something faintly industrial in amongst the natural woodiness (think an oily factory floor). Anyway, it could simply be that today’s teensy hangover is affecting my nasal receptors but if it’s intentional then it’s a juxtaposition I love.

Seemingly, the brief for the fragrance was to come up with something that rejected superficiality and Dreckig bleiben certainly has depth, while little details like the fact that the wood of the lid is made from centuries old reclaimed housing timber and the fragrance itself is limited to just 999 bottles certainly adds to the allure. A dirty pleasure? Absolutely.

Dreckig bleiben is available from dreckigbleiben.com

 

The notes

Top: Calabrian bergamot, Tunisian neroli, Sicilain Mandarin, Chinese Ginger

Middle: Cistus, Gurjum Oil, elemi

Base: cedarwood, oil of guaiacum, sandalwood, vanilla.

DSquared Potion Blue Cadet: the spell is broken

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Keen followers of this blog will know how much I loved the original DSquared Potion fagrance. So much so in fact that I awarded it the title of Best New Fragrance in my annual Grooming Guru Awards in 2011. Unfortunately, Dsquared’s latest launch, Potion Blue Cadet, completely breaks the spell of the the original.

An aromatic woody fragrance, with cutting notes of bergamot, mandarin and grapefruit, along with pedestrian tonka bean (yawn), it’s fantastically commercial but, perhaps because of this, ends up smelling like Issey Miyake’s Pour Homme Sport (with which it shares several notes) or some charmless concoction cooked up in the P&G laboratories. In fairness, the dry down is much better so it does have some redeeming qualities but it’s not a patch on the original Potion. So DSquared, please bring back a little of the old magic with the next one okay?

Notes:

Top: begamot, mandarin, pink grapefruit

Middle: Siberian pine, Blue Hemlock, Fir Balsam, White Cedar

Base: Musk, Tonka bean, Cistus resin

Dsquared Potion Blue Cadet launches in May.

Disclosure Notice: I received a free sample of this product for review purposes

Shay & Blue’s blood is worth bottling. Well, their Blood Oranges fragrance is anyway…

BloodOrange_FinalshayHe’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.

7136pWHLVOLShay & 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.