Paul Smith Essential puts affordability at its heart

paul smith essentialThe history of Paul Smith fragrances is a bit of a chequered one and I must confess, I have a nasty habit of liking the less succesful ones like Story (a fragrance that was ahead of its time in terms of its bookish, geek chic imagery) and Portrait which, alas, was more of a critical success than a commercial one.

PAUL-01Coming two years after Portrait and a year after Extreme Sport, Essential is an altogether safer fragrance that leaves nothing to chance by covering all the commercial bases: it’s woody, it’s spicy and it’s aromatic, making it familiar, inoffensive and versatile. Slightly reminiscent of Gucci’s Guilty Pour Homme, with which it shares several key notes, it’s probably not going to set the world alight in terms of originality, but with its low price point (under £30 for 50ml) and wearability I suspect it will do pretty well commercially.

Paul Smith Essential is available now from boots.com

Paul Smith enters the sports arena with Extreme Sport

SPORT5After the bravery of Paul Smith’s last fragrance launch Portrait For Men – a quirky fragrance built around a fresh green tea note – the iconic British designer’s latest fragrance, Extreme Sport, plays it safe (and keeps things a little more commercial) with a juice built around a raft of notes familiar to contemporary men’s fragrances.

SPORT2As is the case with many sport fragrances that don’t go down the super-fresh route it aims – a bit like Issey Miyake’s L’eau D’issey Pour Homme Sport –  to pack a mighty old punch instead. Citrusy, woody and spicy it’s a big, ballsy number that’s vibrant and energetic enough for daytime but warm and spicy enough to be worn for a night out too. If you’re a fan of Paul Smith Extreme – his most successful men’s fragrance – you’ll certainly like this version as it takes most of its cues (visual and olfactory) from that fragrance.

SPORT3What it has over many other sport fragrances (Miyake’s included) is a genuine reason for being. Whereas you’d struggle long and hard to find an authentic connection between Miyake and sport, Paul Smith’s is genuine and well known. Not only did he start out wanting to be a champion cyclist (until an accident made him change dreams) he’s still very much involved in sport, especially cycling, designing jerseys for the Giro d’Italia and lending his signature style to a range of sportswear, sporting equipment and sports watches (one of which is featured on the box and bottle). For sure, that little touch of authenticity isn’t mentioned on the list of notes but it’s definitely tucked away at the heart of the fragrance – just spray and you’ll find it.

Notes:

Top: Orange Essence, Bergamot, Moroccan Nana Mint

Middle: Egyptian Geranium, Lavender, Madagascan Black Pepper

Base: Incense, Cedarwood, Tonka bean.

Paul Smith Extreme Sport launches exclusively in Boots on 2nd April and will be available elsewhere a month later. 

It must be spring – the Paul Smith bunny is here!

GWPs (gift with purchases) can be notoriously hit and miss (and I’ve had a preview of some right stinkers coming up this year) but Paul Smith always manages to deliver with his.

Today this little chap becomes available with any purchase of a 50ml or 100ml Paul Smith fragrance from Boots and other department stores while stocks last.  Pick on up and pass it on to the other half, the kids or, dare I say it, keep it for yourself?

Paul Smith’s Optimistic. I was but was disappointed.

On the face of it, Paul Smith’s new fragrance for men, Optimistic, has everything going for it: great name (especially given these miserable, drepressing and doom-laden times we live in), a fun, smiley, youthful ad campaign and a great, simple cylindrical bottle with playful blue stripes.

It follows, too, in the footsteps of highly respected fragrances like Paul Smith Man and Paul Smith Extreme for Men – fragrances happen to really like.

Unfortunately, what lets this new fragrance down is…well, the fragrance. Everything I love about  Sir Paul Smith the designer – his quirkiness, originality and ability to put a new spin on an old tradition is missing from Optimistic. My initial reaction when I had a sneak preview of it several weeks ago was one of indifference – and in my book there’s no worse indictment when it comes to fragrance.

Though it’s a classic ‘fougere’ (the most popular type of men’s fragrance) and is pepped up with spicy notes of pepper, cardamon and geranium the sum of its parts merge together to produce a kind of bland nothingness (a bit  like when you mix loads of different coloured strips of plasticine together and come up with a brown lump).

I’m not saying it’s bad, offense or polarising even, just that it’s disappointingly safe. Not so much masculine as predictably blokeish. But then we live in times where being optimistic is easy but being adventurous – especially when millions of pounds of revenue is at stake – is still stubbornly hard.

Paul Smith Optimistic For Men is available exclusively from Boots from April 1st and nationwide from May 1st.

 

Want a Paul Smith Bunny? Then hop to it!

Ain’t he cute? Well, right now this little fella comes free with a 50ml or 100ml purchase of any Paul Smith fragrance – men’s or women’s – exclusively from Boots. Then, from 5th April, you can pick him up with a Paul Smith fragrance purchase from department stores nationwide, while stocks last. So if you want to get  your mitts on one you’d better hop to it!

P.S You can even follow him on Twitter here. If you’ve have a mind to you can follow me too – just click  here!

How Jo Malone’s Tea Fragrance Blends saved my sanity

If you’re sitting there thinking that being a Grooming Editor is only marginally harder a job than pushing trollies around an Asda car park you’d be pretty much right. But think of all the hardships I have to endure – especially being polite about fragrances that, frankly, often smell more of kitchen bins than tonka beans.

Curmudgeon that I am, I always seem to be moaning about the state of the men’s fragrance market and how terminally dull it is these days and I’m sad to report that a sneak preview of the new Paul Smith fragrance Optimistic did nothing to change this view  (verdict: nice box, shame about the juice, which is so generic it might even make masters of bland ambition Hugo Boss jealous).

But all is not lost! For, just when I was about to give up all hope of finding a fragrance vaguely interesting, Jo Malone comes along with five limited edition tea-based colognes. As an avid tea drinker  I was fascinated  to see what they’d some up with.

Thankfully, master perfumer Christine Nagel has triumphed in creating fragrances that are wearable whatever your sex and whatever your preference in tea (well, except syrupy ‘builders’ tea, obviously).

My absolute favourite is the Earl Grey and Cucumber Cologne which, like the tea on which it is based, is wonderfully uplifting and has an unmistakable citrus twist, though it’s even better combined with the Fresh Mint Leaf Cologne. Don’t worry, fragrance combining is an acceptable tradition with Jo Malone fragrances just as taking tea with a slice of lemon is. So thank you Jo Malone for restoring my faith in the world of fine fragrances. I raise my cup, with pinkie fully outstretched, in your honour.

Jo Malone’s Tea Fragrance Blends are available from March, priced £34 for the 30ml cologne. For more info go to www.jomalone.com