Avant Garde – Lanvin’s new fragrance for men

The other day I had the pleasure of meeting Givaudan’s Shyamala Maisondieu, the nose behind the brand new Lanvin men’s fragrance. What struck me whilst talking to her was her obvious passion for her creation and how clear an image of the ‘Lanvin Man’ she had in her mind (she painted such an evocative picture of a busy, sophisticated, well-travelled man kicking back in front of a roaring fire I nearly asked if I should pop out and get some more logs!).

In an age of fragrance-by-focus-group it was great to see something created with genuine art and passion (she very kindly helped me unravel the secrets of my own fragrance collection, too, but more about that another time).

Avant Garde itself is an oriental woody fragrance, bursting with exotic spices (as a child Shyamala loved the smell of cardamon so it’s included here), along with woody and tobacco notes and a hint of beeswax, which gives it a sweet, edible honey inflection.

So is it any good? Well, it’s much gentler and warmer than I expected and sweet in an Mugler A*Men kinda way (but not nearly as pungent obviously). With evidence to suggest women are especially attracted to sensual woody oriental fragrances and to sweet notes it’s very much a fragrance they’ll love to smell on men. Which is no bad thing right?

P.S. The bottle is amazing and feels like a smooth and sensual black pebble!

Lanvin Avant Garde is available from Harvey Nichols, priced £49 for 100ml eau de toilette.

Ask The Guru: How do I prevent bogies?

The moment I added a form for readers of this blog to ask me grooming questions I knew I’d get some curveballs. But nothing fazes me. So, without further ado I am answering this for “Mr P’ who chose to pick  (if you’ll excuse the pun) a rather novel question to throw at me. The question being ‘ how do I prevent bogies?’

First off, let me be clear up something. Contrary to fact, nasal mucus wasn’t created purely for man’s pleasure –  it’s there to act as a filter, protecting the nose and lungs from all kinds of nasty irritants like smoke, dust, grime and bacteria. Let those irritants build up for a few days and you soon have an impressive rhinolith (or bogey, if you prefer the schoolyard slang). The fact you have them at all is actually a good sign, not a bad one, as it indicates that your hooter is working properly.

You can’t prevent them altogether (nor should you try in fact) but you can reduce their numbers with sensible nasal hygiene – in other words, gentle blowing and judicious daily cleaning with a tissue. If your nose gets very dry and crusty, try steam inhalations (try adding some Tisserand Organic Eucalyptus Oil) or a tiny bit of Vaseline rubbed inside the nostril. Clearing the nasal passageways with a sea water nasal irrigator (available from chemists) can help keep your passages clean too and is surprisingly good fun.

Whatever you do, at least try to resist the temptation to have a good dig. One of life’s great pleasures it may be, but it also increases your chances of nosebleeds and can transmit germs from your nose to your eyes and mouth. Picking your nose and eating it (a practice known as mucophagy and something even Gordon Brown has been caught doing in Parliament) won’t kill you – in fact one scientist has gone on record as saying it may be beneficial to the immune system – but isn’t going to win you many friends either. Wiping bogies on tables/under chairs/on your boss’ annual report isn’t funny or clever either. Well, it’s not clever anyway.

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