Yankee Candle’s new barbershop collection – the perfect gift for the well-groomed man

YANKEE CANDLE BARBERSHOPFew names in the scented candle business are as recognisable as Yankee Candle.  I personally can’t pass a stockist without spending at least ten minutes having a sniff at what’s new to their burgeoning range. Some scents I’m enthralled by; others totally repel me. A couple have had me running for the door. Which, in a way, is the secret to Yankee Candle’s success because when a brand polarises people (take Marmite for example) it is at least avoiding indifference.

Anyway, Yankee now have a whole range based around male grooming and five familiar smells associated with it: Barbershop (above), Aftershave, Hot Towel, Chrome and Hair Tonic. Squarely aimed at men – and as gifts for men – the candles come in sleek black tumbler jars with brushed metal lids. Barbershop, burning away in my living room as I write this, is a delightfully clean-smelling blend of eucalyptus, lavender and amber and smells fresh and powdery without being overpowering.

Yankee Candles have been almost as long as I have (no mean feat for both) and are famous for the excellent diffusion of their scents so if you’re looking for a sure-fire way to fragrance your pad this particular range might be right up your street.

Yankee Candle’s Barbershop glass tumbler candle costs £12.99

Green People’s new Men’s Collection: good for you, good for our woodland.

GREEN PEOPLE MEN'S COLLECTIONIf you’re one of those people who likes to do their Christmas shopping early or are simply looking for a great birthday/anniversary/thanks-for-cutting-the-hedge gift for someone you might want to have a look at one Green People’s limited edition skincare sets in aid of one my favourite charities, The Woodland Trust. There are four individual collections: Facial Care, Body Care, Hand Care and this handsome-looking Men’s Collection which features two 100ml body washes: a Peppermint & Eucalyptus one that’s perfect for gym bags and an Orange Peel and Clove wash that’s delightfully festive. They’re free of chemical nasties, made with certified organic ingredients and the packaging, featuring a noble stag, is absolutely lovely. What’s more,  30p from each sale of a men’s collection goes to The Woodland Trust to help with its preservation of our beautiful forests. As an animal lover and a nature lover I can’t think of a nicer gift.

The set costs £19.95 and is available from September from www.greenpeople.co.uk and via Ocado.

Paco Rabanne’s Invictus: standing on the shoulders of a giant?

InvictusIt’s already hit the top spot of the best selling men’s fragrances in the UK and now that we’re in the frenzied run up to Christmas you can be sure that Paco Rabanne’s Invictus, which launched at the end of July, is going to be at the top of many a man’s festive wish list.

It’s success, of course, comes in the wake of a fragrance phenomenon – Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million. Since its launch back in 2008 1 Million has become the envy of fragrance houses worldwide. So popular has it become that, remarkably, a bottle is sold every five seconds. Such popularity isn’t without its drawbacks though. After all, how do you follow a fragrance that that’s become a modern classic and also a benchmark for commercial success in a notoriously fickle market? 

pacoIt was this very question that I put to Paco Rabanne Vice President Vincent Thilloy when I met him in Paris a while back. “In truth we could not have imagined how successful 1 Million would become or how it would end up a market leader,” he told me.  “Although I suppose key to its success was the fact that we took a risk with it, especially with the bottle. Few companies are willing to take real risks these days but the way I look at, it’s not taking a risk that’s the risk!”

Certainly, 1 Million‘s gold bullion bar bottle and the novel ‘trophy’ flacon of Invictus are both unlike anything on the market but according to Thilloy it’s still the ‘juice’ inside that matters most. “Having a great bottle is only part of the story,” he believes. “Ultimately, the smell of the fragrance is everything because you’ll only buy a fragrance again if someone says you smell great.”

So how does Invictus –  a fragrance that was over two and a half years in development – smell? Well, if you haven’t tried it yet it’s at the other end of the spectrum to 1 Million. Where that fragrance is sweet, warm and sexy Invictus is fresh and sporty.  Sure, it features earthy patchouli and warm woody notes but there’s a fresh ‘marine’ vibe (think the smell of ocean spray) and a slight metallic something going on there too. Fundamentally, though, it’s a fragrance of two halves.

Invictus_packshot“With Invictus we really wanted to create something that was fresh but not in a traditional ‘cologne fresh’ way – we wanted a fragrance that had two distinct sides to it,” says Thilloy. The beauty of this olfactory duality – and what differentiates it from 1 Million is that you can wear Invictus in the day and into the night, as the warmer base notes develop.

Paco Rabanne’s fragrances have always tapped into man’s most ardent aspirations. 1 Million was about a desire for wealth and the playboy lifestyle, Black XS was about wanting to be a rock star and Invictus is about being a champion. So now that this latest fragrance is firmly on the fragrance map what next? “I can’t tell you,” says Thilloy coyly. “But what I can tell you is that we’re already working on it!”

 

Christmas is coming so here’s a great new gift idea from Elemis

elemisChristmas is coming and if you’re looking for a great gift set for your dad, brother, son or yourself Elemis might have the answer. New for 2013 is The Adventurer set. Featuring two of my favourite Elemis products (the Deep Cleanse Facial Wash and their Aching Muscle Super Soak) along with their excellent Daily Moisture Boost it’s a fab gift for Christmas and also serves as a great introduction to the brand. Comes with a fancy ribbon attached, too, so you don’t even need to wrap it!

The Adventurer set by Elemis is available from nivenandjoshua.com

Crème de la Mer launches crème de la crème for men

How’s that for a blogpost title mouthful? But, hey, it’s the truth because after years of men swiping their wives’ and girlfriends’ luxury skin products, Crème de la Mer have finally put together a dinky little skincare set for men, housed in a cool carry case and featuring the best of their product range.

The Men’s Skin Essentials kit contains five signature products – The Moisturising Gel Cream, The Eye Balm Intense, The Lip Balm, The Cleansing Gel and The Tonic, providing you with pretty much everything you need for a good skincare regime.

Crème de la Mer itself is legendary, of course. Expensive, yes, but for those who swear by it, the best skincare range out there (I had once had a friend with bad acne scars who used nothing else and who swore it had greatly improved his skin). For others it’s just a feel-good indulgence and if it makes you feel good that’s money well spent.

I myself have always been a fan of the Lip Balm, while the Moisturizing Gel Cream, which is much lighter than the original Moisturizing Cream and is included in this kit, is a great option for men because it’s quickly absorbed and doesn’t leave a shine. Certainly, if you’re new to Crème de la Mer this kit is a great way to discover for yourself what all the hype is about and if you’re already a fan it’s definitely one for your Christmas wish list.

The Crème de la Mer Men’s Skin Essential kit costs £175 and will be available from November. For stockists call 0870 034 2566 or go to www.cremedelamer.co.uk