Etro’s ManRose – a floral fragrance for men, in case you were wondering.

The unmistakable scent of rose has long been a mainstay of men’s fragrances, though in most cases it’s tucked away deep in the composition and the general ‘rosiness’ is dialled down so as not to make it seem overly feminine. Which is a shame in my book because men smell fantastic when rocking a rose fragrance. I myself am partial to Serge Lutens’  ludicrously sexy Tubéreuse Criminelle, which is the kind of scent you imagine the Marquis de Sade wearing whilst brandishing a riding crop, but even I have to be in the right frame of mind to wear it because rose-based fragrances are never for the faint-hearted.

Many men, of course, are still terrified about anything floral, which is presumably the kind of customer Etro is after with ManRose   their latest fragrance and one whose very name suggests it’s aimed at the kind of guy who can’t smell the nation’s favourite flower without instantly thinking of a diaphanously dressed, soft-focus Jayne Seymour wafting through an English walled garden.

Daft name aside (do we really need to be so blunt in 2017?) it’s actually a great starter fragrance for any man  interested in trying florals as a change to the usual woody, smoky or leathery fare. What makes ManRose so accessible is the fact that, though the rose is there, it’s intensity is dialed down somewhat allowing the fragrance to have a delicate, powdery and slightly suedey edge which gives it a commerciality some punchier rose fragrances lack. So if you’ve always wanted to try something flagrantly floral but were always nervous to try this might well be the perfect introduction to the genre.

The notes:

Top: Bergamot, Sichuan pepper, cardamon, elemi

Heart: Turkish rose, geranium, incense

Base: patchouli, vetiver, musk, leather, ember, woods

Etro’s ManRose is available now from Liberty, priced £118 for 100ml eau de parfum.

 

5 great Valentine’s Day fragrances for women

Fancy buying the woman in your life a fragrance for Valentine’s Day but not sure where to begin? Don’t worry, I’ve made it easy for you by asking some of my favourite beauty industry pals what they’d recommend…chaneljpegJane Cunningham, founder of britishbeautyblogger.com:  Chanel No5, from boots.com

“It’s the classic floral you cannot go wrong with, not least because every woman in the world would like to think she deserves Chanel and she’ll love the fact you realise that!”

westwoodlLauren Naylor, The Sun’s Beauty Expert: Vivienne Westwood Boudoir, from escentual.com

“If you want to get in your woman’s good books, opting for a designer fragrance like this is a sure fire way, especially when the bottle looks so goddamn exquisite. She’ll love you for choosing such a quintessentially English brand too.”

moleculesNadine Baggott, Health and Beauty Editor of HELLO! Magazine: Escentric Molecules Molecule 01, from liberty.co.uk

“If you want to indulge your partner in a scent that works for you as well then go for this one by maverick nose Geza Schoen. I never tire of this unisex, pheromone-based, mossy, light-as-air scent.”

amyrisLynnette Peck Bateman, Beauty Director of Saga magazine: Amyris Femme by Francis Kurkdjian, from selfridges.com

“If you’re looking for a unique and imaginative gift for a more sophisticated woman I’d recommend this warm powdery scent with hints of citrus. It’s not by one of the large cosmetic houses so also has the advantage that it won’t be worn by every other woman in the world.”

avedaJacqui Ripley, beauty writer, author and Dolly Mixture blogger: Aveda Pure-Fume Ancient Attar, from aveda.co.uk

“In its presentation it’s low-key and mindful rather than a big splashy blockbuster. It smells natural on the skin too, with Bulgarian Rose being at its heart. Gives the sentiment of love without being predictable.”

Anna Friel clearly has good taste!

I’m not normally one to name drop. In my career as a journalist I’ve met lots of famous types and non-famous types and the latter are generally by far the most interesting. But when it’s fragrance-related, I can’t resist sharing. And I hope she doesn’t mind the indiscretion (and I can live with the naffness of divulging).

Last night some pals and I got talking to actress Anna Friel in a restaurant and at the end of the evening she briefly came over to our table to share with us her current favourite fragrance, one she’d recently purchased from Liberty.

Spraying it on my pal I think she expected its identity to remain an enigmatic mystery. Alas, spoilsport Kynaston here recognised it immediately as Le Labo Patchouli 24.

One of my favourite fragrances, this unisex delight is instantly recognisable and possibly one of the longest-lasting fragrances I’ve ever come across (as my pal observed for himself this morning).

It’s a wonderfully earthy, sexy scent and I wrote about it here back in 2009. If you fancy  discovering why it’s so great for yourself you can find it here.

Tuberose Criminelle by Serge Lutens – the 13 word review

If I have a fault as a writer it’s that I’m a terrible waffler so in a rare attempt at brevity I am going to try to sum up the exquisite Tuberose Criminelle – the new fragrance by Serge Lutens in just one sentence. And here it is…

Tuberose Criminelle: as if a rose were standing above you brandishing handcuffs and a whip. There, job done.

A limited edition unisex fragrance with notes of tuberose, jasmine, orange blossom, hyacinth, musk and vanilla (amongst others) Tuberose Criminelle is available from Liberty from 3rd October and nationwide from 17th priced £78 for 50 ml EDP.

Where’s the soap?

Firstly, my apologies to all those who emailed me asking where I’ve been these last few weeks. Unfortunately, due to family illness I was unable to keep up with my blogging and hence it’s been several weeks since my last post. I was shocked into doing something after someone kindly pointed out that my last blog (and the one that people were landing on) featured a large bottle of Brut. Not quite the contemporary image I have for this labour of love.

So I return to the fold with a small update about a comfort purchase. You see, when times are hard and The Black Dog bites I resort to the one thing guaranteed to cheer me up – soap. Yes, some people do drugs, some cane their credit card. I do posh soap.

So off I trundled to Liberty yesterday and treated my self to these three soapy treats. Liberty’s own brand Lavender & Eucalyptus soap has been a favourite of mine for many years and is great for men since the Eucalyptus takes the old-lady edge off the lavender perfectly. And I’m trying for the first time a couple of Dei Colli Fiorentini soaps which smell absolutely fantastic – Cypress Tree (which has a fantastically masculine frgrance) and Ginestra (aka Broom) which is sweet and smells like…..well, Broom.

To me, smelling soaps is a bit like wine tasting and you can spend hours at it. Seriously, next time you’re a bit under the weather give it a go. I guarantee you’ll come up smelling of roses. Or lavender. Or eucalyptus…..

Le Labo – a real fragrance find

aw07lela795005198-nocolourIf, like me, you’re bored senseless by the generic men’s fragrances churned out by the big fashion houses then here’s a suggestion for you – check out Le Labo. A bespoke fragrance emporium tucked away on Elizabeth Street in New York’s terminally hip NoLita, it’s chock full of wonderfully ballsy, characterful fragrances that smell like nothing else out there and which epitomise modern luxury.

I stumbled upon the uber-cool shop whilst pounding the streets in search of David Bowie’s New York abode (which I don’t think I found – unless he’s chosen to live above a Kebab shop). Anyway, not only is Le Labo worth checking out just for its cool decor, all the fragrances are ‘compounded’ in front of your very eyes and you can even have the label personalised to include you name.

My fragrance is 'compounded' and personalised while I wait
My fragrance is 'compounded' and personalised while I wait

Of the scents on offer, Ood 27 knocks your socks off and the Neroli is to die for but the one I fell for is Patchouli 24, a fantastically sexy, smoky number with an unabashed viagra-like staying power.

Don’t worry if you don’t fancy schlepping all the way to NY to get hold of a bottle though – Liberty stock much of the ready-made range. It’s not cheap (a 100 ml bottle of perfume strength fragrance is £120 but it’s worth every penny).

To visit Le Labo’s site click here.

The writing on the wall (literally) explaining the Le Labo ethos
The writing on the wall (literally) explaining the Le Labo ethos

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