Viktor & Rolf hope to spice up fragrance market with new fragrance

In the last few years the Holy Grail in terms of men’s fragrance has been to come up with something as successful as Paco Rabanne’s surprise hit 1 Million. I say surprise because, in reality, the fragrance itself is a bit ‘meh’ – its natural home being a Wolverhampton nightclub on a rainy Saturday night. But the bling bling bottle is genius which kind of makes it the ‘all-fur-coat-and-no-knickers’ of the fragrance world. Or ‘all-leather-jeans-and-no-Y-fronts’ if you prefer. But still it sells – by the bucket load.

In a crowded, increasingly competitive, market bottle design really matters (witness Marc Jacobs’ novel Bang flacon) so it’s no surprise that a stand-out bottle was top of mind when creating Viktor & Rolf’s new fragrance for men, Spicebomb.

Designed to resemble a hand grenade (it even has its own pin) it’s certainly eye-catching, though I’d have liked to have seen it a little heavier myself, since a weighty bottle always says quality to me.

And, so, what about the fragrance itself? Well, it’s quite different to the design duo’s first men’s fragrance, Antidote. The brief here was clearly to create something sexy, wearable and very ‘now’ and in this respect it succeeds admirably.

Spicebomb hits you like…well, a bomb really, with one big olfactory wallop. There’s chilli, saffron and pink pepper along with fresh bergamot and grapefruit notes and leather, tobacco and vetiver ones. It’s a more conventional blend than the press bumpf would have you believe and to me it has a headiness akin to fragrances like Mugler’s A*Men and a faint gourmand quality (the cinnamon maybe?).

It doesn’t feel quite as sophisticated, daring or as complex as Antidote, nor as quirky, but because of this it should be able to reach way beyond the former’s narrow customer base. Who knows? It may even go off like a….No, I’ll resist that one.

Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb is available exclusively from Harrods now and nationwide from 7th March priced £45 for 50ml eau de toilette.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s new fragrance Kokorico reviewed

It doesn’t launch in the UK until January (an odd choice I know but perfectly timed for the Valentine market I guess) but already Jean Paul Gaultier’s lightest fragrance for men Kokorico is already creating a buzz in the fragrance world. The question on everyone’s lips, of course, is is whether it’s good as Le Male – a fragrance that, thanks to its iconic bottle, beautifully-shot ads and distinctive juice, has become a bona fide modern male classic.

The short answer is no. But then how could it? The bar has been set pretty high. Kokorico (inspired by a cocky rooster’s cry, but that’s Gaultier for you) is quite different from what I expected. A blend of fig leaf, patchouli, cedar, cocoa and vetivier, I was anticipating a distinctly gourmand fragrance but no, the fig leaf cuts right through the cocoa note giving this a surprisingly fresh, green, summery  smell. It will certainly work much better as a daytime fragrance than Le Male does and isn’t nearly as sweet or powerful.

As you might expect the bottle’s a quirky, shaped  like a man’s face in side profile and housed in a flat red tin (see the vid below for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the flacon). Gaultier fans are certainly going to love it but will it have the longevity of Le Male or will Kokorico just be a flight of fancy? Only time will tell.