Grooming Guru Essentials: Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Patchouli Essential Oil

Call me an old hippy but I am utterly in love with the smell of patchouli oil. When I was a teenager is was the the preserve of festival goers, bikers and those with a penchant for gypsy skirts and gong therapy. In truthfulness, it still is. And yet, it’s also wonderful addition to any man’s bathroom cabinet.

One of the signature basenotes of many men’s fragrances –  not least two of my all-time favourites, Givenchy Gentleman and Le Labo Patchouli 24 – it has a delightfully earthy, musty, masculine aroma that’s long lasting and (to me at least) fantastically sexy.

I often use a few drops as an alternative to traditional fragrance (as with most essential oils you should dilute it with a little carrier oil though I seem to be able to use it neat on my skin without problems).

It also has the advantage of being very portable so is great for travel too. I’ve also found that a few drops on your ankles and wrists in the summer seems to guard against mosquito bites! The biggest advantage, though, is the price. At less than £7 a bottle this one is a brilliant recession-busting alternative to those £40 eau de toilettes.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Patchouli Essential Oil costs £6.75 from Neal’s Yard Remedies

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

insider interview – Kenneth Green, Chairman of Kenneth Green Associates.

Yesterday Kenneth Green, Chairman of luxury fragrance and skincare distributor Kenneth Green Associates was welcomed into the Fragrance Foundation’s elite Circle of Champions. Truly passionate about fragrance, he is only the third UK recipient to receive this prestigious industry award (the other two being Sir Paul Smith and grande dame of British fashion Vivienne Westwood) and a more deserved recipient I can’t think of. Here he shares his insight  into the current state of the male fragrance industry and what reveals what makes a genius juice….

GG: What does it mean to you to be honoured by The Fragrance Foundation in this way?
KG: It makes me very proud for our company’s achievements over the past 20 years.

GG: So what’s your favourite male fragrance of all time?
KG: Definitely L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme.  It’s clean, fresh and discreet and is housed in a beautiful, yet simple, classic package.  Designed by Mr Miyake who is a very involved icon – not just a name on a pack.

GG: Best male fragrance bottle of all time?
KG: Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Male.

GG: Why do you think fragrances like Le Male and L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme are still so popular, years after their launch?
KG: Great package and design, both of which were the process of creativity of the designer whose name is on the box.  They’re both fragrances that are original and that can be used time and time again.

GG: So what qualities make a male fragrance a ‘classic’?
KG: Quality. Creativity. Originality

GG: I’m terrible at hiding my feelings when I smell a new fragrance I don’t like. Are you honest  when you’re in a similar situation?
KG: Yes – if not it would cost of lot of time in wasted professional effort.  Taking a fragrance to market that does not work is criminal, not to mention a waste of  “my money”!

GG: What has been the most exciting new men’s launch of 2009?
KG:
 Paul Smith Man, created by our own British designer with much personal care and attention to detail.  Paul even took the advertising creative photos himself.

GG: As a male grooming writer I must say I have been very disappointed by the lack of inventiveness of the industry in the last few years. Nobody seems to be taking chances any more and it’s hard to see any of the new launches becoming classics. What are your views on this?
KG: There is a degree of banal and fast and dirty launches that do not portray quality or longevity, together with “copy cat” fragrances – i.e. ones that just follow the last successful smell instead of being creative.
We do see creativity and quality, though, coming from Classic brands, Terre d’Hermes for example.  Van Cleef & Arpels – Collection Extraordinaire, A-Scent by Issey Miyake, Paul Smith Man, Serge Lutens, Annick Goutal.  All have heritage and love and care in creation, together with quality in the package, bottle and juice.

GG: The last year or so has been a tough one in terms of the economy. How has the recession affected the male side of the fragrance industry?
KG: The Fragrance Industry has done well in recession and grown again.  It is not in decline.  The feel-good factor of a £400 new overcoat or a £5,000 wristwatch might not be appealing but a £40 bottle of your favourite pleasure is a wonderful and affordable “quick-fix”!

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