Fancy a Bleu de Chanel shave? Then pop into John Lewis for their pop-up

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Bleu de Chanel Hydrating After Shave GelI wrote about the two brand new Bleu de Chanel shaving products the other week and tomorrow  (25th February) and again on 3rd March, from 4 – 9pm, Chanel will be hosting a special pop-up shaving evening with expert barber Dan Gregory at John Lewis in Oxford Street. If you’re in town on either of those days and fancy a professional shave and a chance to sample the new products yourselves then you can book a 30 minute slot by calling 0203 073 0648. Appointments cost £30 but that’s redeemable against any purchase from the range on the day, so if you like Bleu de Chanel and fancy a bespoke shave get booking!

Acqua di Parma launch Colonia Club

acquaI think I must have rather annoyed the lovely Acqua Di Parma people at the launch of the company’s latest fragrance Colonia Club the other day by constantly referring to it as a sport fragrance – something they fervently denied each time I mentioned it. I’m not sure why, though, because that’s basically what it is. Oh sure, the inspiration might be that most elegant and refined of activities – dressage – but in character it’s definitely a sport fragrance in character, featuring, as it does, citrus notes like lemon and mandarin alongside the sport scent favourite, mint. Conceptually, the whole thing – including the superb green bottle – fits into the existing Acqua Di Parma portfolio beautifully, filling a gap with something muscular and energetic and, thanks to the addition of galbanum – a note variously described as smelling like cut grass, pea pods or pine needles – something ‘green’ smelling too.

colonia_club_01Of all the Acqua Di Parma fragrances this is the most youthfully commercial too. And by that I mean it does smell a lot like a dozen other men’s fragrances on the market. Now, that can be taken one of two ways: as a bad thing or a good thing. It’s certainly a positive if the objective is to attract a slightly younger customer whose main frame of reference, fragrance-wise, are big-selling fragrances from famous fashion brands like Dolce & Gabbana. In truth, it’s not my favourite Acqua Di Parma offering (there are so many good ones it does have rather stiff competition!) but if you’re looking for something that’s punchy and has a bit of energy to it and which isn’t too polarising a fragrance you might want to give it, you know…a sporting chance.

Available now from John Lewis

What matters most: authenticity

PS_PORTRAIT_FOR_MEN_PACKSHOTMaybe it’s because I’m a Northerner. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family where straight-talking was the norm. Or maybe I simply just enjoy the shock and awe that accompanies brutal honesty. Whatever it is, what matters most to me is authenticity, and especially in fragrance.

Having written about male grooming for over 13 years and interviewed scores of perfumers, skincare experts and brand ambassadors about their products I like to think I can smell a fake a mile off. You can tell when somebody is keeping it real by a certain glint in their eye and by the way in which they talk about their product.

Interviewing new generation perfumer Barnabe Fillion (creator of the new Paul Smith fragrance Portrait for Men) a while back I was struck by the genuine passion he exuded when talking about his creation and the creative process which led to its birth. Authenticity, he told, me was absolutely key to everything during the creation of the fragrance and that everything was underpinned by it. He kept this notion at the back of his mind throughout the entire process.

Tom-Ford-London-GQ_25Jul13_pr_b_1And authenticity, I believe can be bottled. It shines though the Portrait For Men (where notes are included due to a direct connection to the designer) but Creed do it, Roja Dove does it and Tom Ford does it with his fragrances, which never compromise or pander to the needs of focus groups.  So when I look for a great fragrance I don’t just look for notes I love –  like vetiver, patchouli and lavender –  I look for one buried deep in the base of the scent and it’s one that’s never listed. Yep, you guessed it – it’s called authenticity.

I wrote this little post as part of the John Lewis Vine campaign #Whatmattersmost. If you are passionate about something – if something matters to you like authenticity in fragrance does to me – you can enter a great competition they’re running to win two £1000 John Lewis vouchers and a Canon SLR camera.

Anyone can enter the competition – all you have to do is create a stop motion animation on Vine about what matters to you and Tweet it using the hashtag #whatmattersmost. So far people have vined everything from their vintage clothes collection, their camera collection and their rabbit (click here for some examples).

To enter simply click here. The competition ends on Sunday 8th September, though, so get your finger out!