Spice up your life with Comme des Garçons’ latest fragrance

COMME BLACK PEPPER 2As much as I love Comme des Garçons fragrances their last few offerings (Wonderwood, Amazingreen, Blue Santal) haven’t been ones I’d personally wear. So it’s exciting (not to mention somewhat of a relief) to discover that their latest one, Blackpepper, most definitely is. As a note, black pepper is somewhat ubiquitous in men’s fragrances these days but it’s normally tucked away so its presence rarely hits you like a vigorous twist of a pepper mill. In Blackpepper, however, you get a big old, nostril-tingling hit, tempered eventually by cedarwood (the other big note in this fragrance) which softens it beautifully. A touch of patchouli and a little tonka bean round the whole thing out, making Blackpepper, not just super-spicy, but surprisingly sexy too. One of my favourite launches of 2016.

Available exclusively at Selfridges until October and nationwide thereafter, priced £83 for 100ml eau de parfum. 

Elizabeth Arden’s City Smart – the ultimate urban defender

city smart (1)Living, as I do, in one of the busiest – not to mention most congested – capitals in the world I’m acutely aware of the potential damage that city living can inflict on skin. With new research suggesting that it’s not just sun damage that causes uneven pigmentation but pollution too, using products that shield skin against environmental aggressors has never been more important – especially if you’re a townie. Air pollutants called ambient particulate matter are a particular problem because they can trigger the production of harmful free radicals which cause all kinds of skin problems – from inflammation to premature ageing.

Thankfully, coming to the rescue is Elizabeth Arden‘s new PREVAGE City Smart – a product I’ve been using daily for a couple of weeks now. Designed with an invisible barrier that shields skin from pollution it also packs a broad spectrum SPF50 sunscreen and a raft of powerful antioxidants to give skin maximum protection against daily damage. On top of all that it also contains optical diffusers which enhance the appearance of skin too. At £55 for a 40ml tube, though, it’s possibly one city survival product you’ll need a job in the City to afford.

 

Exclusive: Oliver Sweeney launch second luxury fragrance – and it’s every bit as good as the first.

FullSizeRender 30You know how bands often struggle with that ‘difficult’ second album? Well, it happens in the fragrance industry too sometimes. After launching an eye-catching and original scent many companies pull back with their second launch, following an altogether safer, more pedestrian path. Not so Oliver Sweeney, who’ve successfully dodged the difficult second fragrance syndrome with their latest launch Bosco Selvatico. 

Created by Claudine Roublot – the same nose responsible for Sweeney’s first fragrance, Argento – it consciously distances itself from today’s homogenous, gourmandy mass-market offerings, starting off with a beautifully vibrant citrus burst of bergamot and lime before showing off a spicy, herbaceous side and finally revealing a beautifully warm, green, woody and slightly smoky finish that works so well on the skin you’d think it’s oozing from it rather than sitting on it.

FullSizeRender 31Like Argento (one of my favourite launches of 2015) Bosco Selvatico is uncompromising in the sense that it sits outside of current trends – which is very much to its benefit. A companion fragrance to its predecessor (it’s  a little more ‘daytime’ than Argento) it’s elegantly old-skool, reminding me of the way men used to smell before those sickly-sweet foody notes crept into almost everything and turned us into walking patisseries. Even its name, Bosco Selvatico, is uncompromising in a way. After all, how tempting must it have been to have called it by the English translation “Wild Wood” instead?

Reading through my fragrance reviews on this blog it’s tempting to conclude that I like very little and that I’m critical of almost everything that comes to market. I’m not, of course, but I know what I like and hope that those honest, critical reviews add weight to the ones where I genuinely rave about something. Bosco Selvatico is one of my favourite fragrance launches this year and is, without doubt, one of the best. Recommended.

Bosco Selvatico costs £99 for 100ml eau de parfum and is available from Oilver Sweeney stores and online at oliversweeney.com

 

Mr Porter’s 2016 Summer Grooming Kit lands

MR PORTER SUMMER GROOMING KIT (1)Grooming Boxes (collections of skin care and hair care products compiled as kits) are, at best, a bit hit and miss. Many I have encountered are skimpy, over-priced and badly curated. These are criticisms it’s impossible to level at Mr Porter‘s grooming boxes, however, because they’re by far the most artfully edited boxes out there. Their brand new Summer Grooming Kit, for example, features well-known brands like Clinique For Men, Tom Ford and Lab Series alongside cult ones like Bumble & Bumble, Czech & Speake and Baxter Of California and lesser known luxury brands like Patricks, which you may not have heard about but should definitely become acquainted with. All in all the kit features 13 full and travel-sized products (there’s a Perricone MD Cold Plasma sample which isn’t in the pic because I used it straight away) and costs £75. If that seems like a hefty initial outlay, consider this: the Clinique, Lab Series and REN products alone are worth £97. If you fancy getting your hands on one, though, don’t spend too long thinking about it – they tend to sell out faster than tickets to see Adele.

Mr Porter’s Summer Grooming Kit is available now from mrporter.com

 

 

Shields up! Protect your skin this summer with FIT’s new Sun Protect Serum

unspecifiedFor men, the quest to find the perfect sunscreen isn’t always as straightforward as one might think. With our skin both oilier and hairier than women’s, the texture and stickiness of products if often a deciding ‘factor’ (if you’ll forgive the pun) in our choices; the ideal product being something that offers high SPF, broad-spectrum protection but which is lightweight, non-greasy and transparent on the skin. And

in terms of what men need from their suncare FIT Skincare‘s new Sun Protect Serum is a product that ticks every box.

FIT SUN PROTECT 2 (1)The first sunscreen serum created for men, it offers a broad spectrum, five star UVA rated, SPF 50 sunscreen to protect you from both the sun’s burning UVB rays and the UVA ones that age your skin; it leaves absolutely no greasy or unsightly white residue (if anything it leaves skin with a matte finish) and has a barely there fragrance that vanishes altogether after a couple of minutes. This last bit is a big bonus in my book since I’ve worn sun products in the past that smelt of everything from Digestive biscuits to – nightmarishly – curry powder. The scent of one I road-tested a couple of years ago mysteriously attracted so many flies I looked like Pig Pen from Peanuts!

FIT SUN PROTECT 2 (2)On top of these pluses FIT’s Sun Protect Serum uses cutting-edge ‘micro encapsulation technology’ that helps provide more evenly spread protection and also  contains antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and FIT’s unique OXY-FIT-10 oxygen delivery system – a few bonus features that help defend against the dehydrating and DNA-damaging effects of the sun. In terms of summer skincare it way well be your ultimate defence shield.

FIT Sun Protect Serum SPF50 is available now from fitskincare.co.uk

A Grooming Guru/FIT Skincare For Men Sponsored Post 

Tom Ford For Men grooming range expands with three new products

tom fordTom Ford pretty much set the standard in luxury grooming when he launched his men’s Skincare and Grooming Collection a few years back and this June sees the range expand with the addition of three brand new products. As well as an Exfoliating Energy Scrub to brighten and revitalise dull, tired-looking skin and a moisturising Shave Oil there’s a new Brow Gelcomb too. The scrub is fantastically refreshing and the Shave Oil has a great, non-greasy texture which makes shaving a dream – especially around facial hair, where its transparency comes in really handy – but it’s the Gelcomb that’s the most interesting of the three products.

tom ford 2 (1)Designed to smooth down errant eyebrows it dispenses a tiny amount of (slightly tinted) gel via its comb head, allowing you to give your brows some shape, definition and symmetry. Is it a bathroom cabinet must-have? Probably not, in the sense that it’s hardly a grooming basic, but then, Tom Ford has always looked beyond the basics for his grooming rage which is what makes it so special. And if you’re the kind of guy who always wants look on point, even down to the very last detail, you’ll absolutely love it.

All three new products are available from June 1st.

New Neroli from Tom Ford

TOM FORD PORTOFINO ACQUAPizza you can have too much off. Vodka you can have too much of. But Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino? Well, that you can never have too much of. Which is just as well, since this spring sees two new variants of the cult fragrance hit shelves nationwide. Neroli Portofino Acqua, as the name and frosted glass bottle suggest, is even fresher than the original with a beautiful, light wateriness and echoes of crisp trad colognes rather than the bitterness of some crudely constructed ‘Acqua’ fragrances. The characteristic citrus notes seem to sparkle even more in this version making it the perfect fragrance for long, hot summer days and its unobtrusive, ephemeral  nature makes it ideal for work too.

Neroli Portofino Forte, on the other hand, is warmer, more sensual and less spiky than the original fragrance with the perky citrus edges rounded out thanks to a combo of musks, woods and a hint of leather, adding a bold sensuality that has hitherto been lacking from the original. Which of these you go for largely depends on your budget (Forte, an eau de parfum, is more than twice the price of Acqua) and I personally prefer the latter, but whichever you choose, trust me, you’re onto a real winner.

Tom Ford Portofino Forte will be available from Feb 14th from Harrods Salon de Parfum and nationwide six weeks later priced £195 for 50ml EDP. Neroli Portofino Acqua is available from John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser from 6th March, priced £95 for 50ml EDT.