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.

Cire Trudon – a must-visit destination for fragrance lovers

I’ve never been a fan of destination shopping. Good exercise it may be but schlepping halfway around town to one shop and then having to hoof it three miles to the next isn’t my idea of retail heaven. But some shops are worth the extra walk and the new Cire Trudon boutique, hidden away on up-and-coming Chiltern Street in Marylebone, is certainly one of them. It may have only been open a matter of weeks but the boutique, selling some of the best scented candles in the world, has already been visited by the likes of Kylie Minogue.

Cire Trudon itself has been around since 1643, making it the oldest candle maker in the world, so you can safely say it’s doing something very right. For me, their longevity probably has something to do with the fact that the scented candles burn beautifully and every one of them has an enchanting story behind it.

The brief for Roi Soleil, for example, had its creator nose-to-the-vast-wooden-floor in Versailles attempting to capture the smell of  the famous Mirrored Gallery. To be honest, it’s worth visiting the shop just to have a smell of Odeur de Lune, based on the smell of, you guessed it, the moon. Not some romanticised idea of the moon, though, but the actual way the moon might smell, based on Nasa reports and its mineral compostion. It’s truly extraordinary (and delightfully bonkers) although in fairness its pungent metal-meets-burnt-tyres aroma won’t be to everyone’s taste. The fact that it exists at all is still rather fabulous in my book.

My own personal favourite, though, is Empire – a great candle for men who want their homes to smell good but not like the Tuileries Garden. A warm, smoky and herby fragrance it has notes of pine, sage, thyme and rosemary along with laurel, juniper and grassy hay. Cire Trudon themselves succinctly describe it as the scent of ‘burning bushes’ – bringing it right back down to earth but making it no less magical.

Cire Trudon can be found at 36 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7QL. Tel 0207 486 7590