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.

From Russia…with love

Readers of this blog will know I love a scented candle. So I was thrilled to attend the launch of three new premium candles by Jonathan Ward latest the other night. Wax Master Jonathan has a well-deserved reputation for creating candles that take you on a journey as much as they fragrance your environment and the ones making up The Russian Collection are no different.

Inspired by Russia’s colourful history each of the trio of candles – Kartushya (warm and spicy), The Gypsy (sensual and floral) and The Empress and Darya (spicy and woody) tells its own evocative story. The latter, for example, was inspired by the the caputure of serial killer Darya by Catherine The Great (now how’s that for inspiration for a scented candle?).

Of the three, my personal favourite is this last candle, which is a perfect choice for men since it’s loaded with earthy vetiver along with warm woody notes and has a  sexy, slightly leathery aroma. So if you’re looking for the perfect way to fragrance your pad, go buy! Or пойти и купить as I think they say in Russia.

Candles in the Russian collection are available in two sizes: large (8.5oz with a 45hr burn time) and medium (6.5oz with a 20-25hr burn time) and are made with organic soy and beeswax. The large candle costs £35 and the medium £25. To buy go to www.jonathanwardlondon.com

PS. Look out for a Q&A with Jonathan on here very soon!