Become a leatherman with Acqua di Parma

2. Colonia Leather 100mlThink of Acqua di Parma and you tend to think of light, fresh Mediterranean fragrances bursting with energy and packed with more citrus fruits than your average bottle of orange squash. And you’d be right of course. But in the last few years the company have also been exploring a much darker and more sensual side. Their new fragrance Colonia Leather is a perfect example of this and is as warm and sexy as the original Colonia fragrance is light and summery.

The leather accord is true and authentic smelling and there’s a touch of smoky oud in there too but not enough to overpower the fragrance and you detect it most three or four hours after applying. Other notes include orange, lemon, raspberry thyme and rose but as you might expect it’s the leather that dominates here.

The acid test of any fragrance, of course, is whether other people rate it when they smell it on you. So as a test I wore Colonia Leather the other night and a friend I was meeting instantly commented: “Wow! What are you wearing? You smell amazing!” Somehow, I think I’ll be wearing this sexy little number again.

Alpha Male? Then maybe you’ll like Shay & Blue’s Oud Alif

oud alfBritish perfumery is going from strength to strength at the moment, not least because of the ability of brands like Shay & Blue to create interesting, elegant and refined fragrances. I was a fan of their delicious Blood Oranges the minute I got a whiff of it and am told it’s now become a firm favourite with male customers.

Their latest offering, Oud Alif, is at the other end of the olfactory spectrum but is no less impressive. Alif, in case you don’t know, is Arabic for ‘Alpha’ so it’s an oud that has a lot to live up to but it doesn’t disappoint. It’s deliciously warm and smoky but creamy, chocolatey and leathery at the same time and there’s a dash of earthy patchouli in there too just to round things off. All in all the perfect fragrance for Autumn/Winter.

Available from Shay & Blue from the beginning of November priced £85 for 100ml Fragrance Concentrée

London calling…

Tom-Ford-London-GQ_25Jul13_pr_b_1There’s a real flurry of activity in the Tom Ford Beauty camp this autumn, with so many great things launching in such a short space of time that devotees like myself don’t really know what to mention (or wear) first. As well as the immaculately turned-out Texan’s first dedicated male grooming range and Private Blend Oud Collection (I nearly wet myself when I saw that for the first time) there’s London, a brand new fragrance specifically created to celebrate the launch of the new Tom Ford store in Knightsbridge.

The press release for London is littered with words like “carnality”, aphrodisiac”, “animal” and “feral” and for once with a press release they’re worlds that perfectly capture the spirit of the fragrance they’re describing. Though it has a lovely floral heart, with geranium and jasmine, and a base rich with oud, cedarwood and birch tar oil (one of my favourite notes), it’s the musk that grabs you. It’s this hyper-sexual note – one I tend to associate with Roja Dove’s men’s fragrances – that turns London into one of the most sensual fragrances in the entire Private Blend collection.

I remember talking to a perfumer from across the pond who’d had lovers all over the world and she told me the men from London, despite their coyness and reserve, were by far the kinkiest she’d encountered. This unisex fragrance may well just reinforce that observation.

Tom Ford Private Blend London will be available from the Tom Ford Boutique from September priced £140 for 50ml eau de parfum.

DSquared Potion Royal Black: the old black magic is back

potion royal blackMy love affair with DSquared’s POTION is a bit like love affairs in general; I have fallen in love with it, out of love with it and now – I’m pleased to report – I am, at the very least, considering having another fling with it.

I adored the original POTION which launched back in 2011 (as you can see here) but POTION Blue Cadet, its follow up, left me massively underwhelmed  (as you can see here). The latest flanker, POTION Royal Black, however, puts things back on track somewhat.

Warm, woody and spicy, with a touch of oud and tobacco, it’s deliciously intense and punchy, with echoes of Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather. I’m sure some people will find its initial intensity a bit much and summer seems an odd time for its launch (it very much feels like an Autumnal fragrance to me) but if you’re in the mood for something deep, smoky and sexy it’s well worth a go. My only criticism is to do with its staying power which could be better and which is why it’s a fling for me rather than a full blown affair.

Notes: 

Top: bergamot, incense, pimento

Middle: rose, cedar wood, Balcanic tobacco absolute, oud

Base: leather accord, cahsmere wood, gaiac wood, musk

DSquared’s POTION Royal Black is available from 15th July from Harrods priced £67 for 100ml eau de parfum.