Want to fragrance your pad? Then go hell for leather

Leather Candle_5060270293583If you’re a man, finding a scented candle that doesn’t make your pad smell like a boudoir can be a real challenge so here’s one that makes your search a cinch. Roja Dove’s Roja Parfums Leather Bougie is rich, warm and – as the name suggests – delightfully leathery. It’s also big on one of my favourite fragrance notes, birch tar – an ingredient that has a natural affinity with leather since it’s often used to make it waterproof. How does it smell? Well, imagine slipping into stiff new riding boots, straddling an unforgiving leather saddle and galloping off through a Scottish forest at full pelt and you’re kind of halfway to appreciating its rich, manly fabulousness*.

Available from Harrods

*Think of me what you will but I really enjoyed writing that last sentence. 

New fragrance round-up: what’s hot, what’s not.

At this time of year fragrance launches come upon you faster than colds so rather than give a detailed critique of every one I thought I’d pick a handful of the most recent and challenge myself to be succinct for once. So here goes…

Prada Luna Rossa.

Housed in a superbly modern flacon Prada’s latest offering is all about freshness. But not in a predictable, sparkling citrus top note kinda way. Instead, it’s all about spearmint, clary sage and lavender which lends it a slightly soapy floral feel with a sharp, aromatic freshness. Easy to wear and good for evening but even better for daytime. Looks the biz, too, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

Roja Parfums Fetish Pour Homme.

Pornographer de parfum Roja Dove’s latest fragrance for men is typically filthy in feel – leathery, musky, animalistic and slightly spicy but has been given a more romantic  and tender side with notes of violet and jasmine. Sexy, complex and capricious it can kiss you one minute and whip you the next. Which is just how I like my fragrances.

 

 

 

 

Aramis Gentleman.

The problem with Aramis is that in creating such an iconic fragrance (in what is now known as Aramis Classic) it sort of has nowhere better to go. This latest fragrance takes its cues from the original fragrance but adds black pepper, along with oregano and ginger to take it in a different, lighter, direction. Like remixes of great records it’s certainly worth checking out but the original is still the better version.

 

Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Leather.

I’m no fan of Thierry Mugler’s men’s fragrances (though Pure Shot did much to change my views). This  souped-up version, with leather and patchouli, is particularly pernicious. I’ve sniffed hard to find the leather (a smell I love in fragrance) but all I can detect is a sickly sweet caramel and something akin to the smell of hairspray. Mugler fans may well love it but it would make me run a mile.

 

Le Noir by Lyn Harris.

One of three men’s fragrances created exclusively for M&S this, like the other two fragrances that form the range, has a certain old-fashioned charm that I rather like. A blend of bergamot, lavender, patchouli and amber it still smells like something you dad might wear but it has a leatheriness I rather like. For £25, certainly worth a go.

Aramis’ new Perfume Calligraphy – full of Eastern promise

It’s not often a fragrance lands on my desk that both I and my mum could wear. So it’s quite a novelty to be reviewing Aramis’ intriguing new unisex scent Perfume Calligraphy.

A shameless stab at the Middle Eastern fragrance market (it openly claims to have been developed especially for the Arabian consumer) it’s a fantastically rich, heady, supersweet and faintly intoxicating blend of cardamon, myrrh, patchouli, amber, musk and (of course) oud wood.

It’s absolutely not for the fainthearted and has an intensity that will be alien to many a western nose, weaned as we are on a diet of insipid scents where a black pepper note is about as daring as things get. There’s something about it, too, that reminds me of some of perfumier Roja Dove’s muskier moments.

I myself had a surprisingly complex reaction to it. I kind of love it but can’t wear it, being strangely attracted to the muskiness but unable to live with it on my own skin (not at this time of year anyway, maybe in winter). I must say, it’s a reaction I find rather refreshing because I’m terribly black or white when it comes to fragrance, either loving something or recoiling – as I did when I first got a whiff of Dolce Gabbana’s The One Sport – in utter horror.

In what I’ll admit is quite possibly the strangest analogy imaginable for a fragrance review it’s like stumbling across something dead in your garden – you don’t want to look but you simply cannot resist doing so. Basically, compelling.

Available exclusively from Harrods priced £105 for 100ml eau de parfum

Roja Dove’s new Vetiver fragrance smells like a winner

I’m very fussy about Vetiver fragrances. I’ve tried so many and been disappointed so often (Creed’s Original Vetiver being the one I wear personally), so when I got to sample this new creation from Roja Dove I was bracing myself for yet another let down. I needn’t have worried.

This Vetiver –  a spicy Chypre fragrance lifted by green and citrus notes – has that familiar earthy, smoky vetiver aroma but the whole thing is made more complex by the addition of celery, nutmeg, caraway and oakmoss and – surprise, surprise – is imbued with that base, elemental and animalistic sexiness (what I call the ‘pornographic note’) that runs through so many of Roja’s fragrances.

All in all it’s rich and sexy and has real staying power. If you’ll forgive the awful pun, I think I smell a winner.

Available from Harrods from April, priced £195 for 50ml eau de parfum.

The Grooming Guru’s Top 5 Autumnal Fragrances

I was going to compile my Top 5 fragrances for Autumn for a blogpost on here but since Men’s Health pipped me to the post and asked me to compile a list for them I thought I may as well simply share the link with you. So to discover why I think Dsqared’s Potion is magical and Roja Dove’s Danger Pour Homme is positively pornographic simply click here!

Roja Dove adds sex to Scandal Pour Homme

Roja Dove is the undisputed King of Fragrance and is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to perfume (check out the interview I did with him here). So it’s no surprise that his first ever fragrance for men, Scandal Pour Homme, is a complex, intriguing but eminently wearable affair.

Taking inspiration from the classic Fougère fragrance family (look out for its signature lavender, tonka bean and moss notes) it also has fresh notes of bergamot, lemon and petigrain, along with floral ones (in the shape of jasmine, violet and lily of the valley) and warm spicy ones thanks to sandalwood, nutmeg and cardamon.

But it’s the deep base notes, the ones that develop after some time on your skin, that make the most impression for me. With ambergris (a prized, waxy ingredient that’s regurgitated by sperm whales) and musk, this is where Scandal becomes seriously sexy. And as if to reinforce this fact, opening the beautifully-designed  box itself it like slowly disrobing. The flash of purple you see when the box is closed is just like a teasing hint of flesh and lifting the lid only reveals more! What happens once you get the bottle in your hands is up to you!

Scandal Pour Homme is available from Harrods, priced £175 for 100ml eau de parfum.

Roja Dove’s new gig creates unnecessary Buzz

Few things set the beauty or grooming worlds alight more than a little out-of- character behaviour. Imagine for example, if Chanel announced that Jackie Stallone was going be the new face of Mademoiselle or Lynx produced a bodyspray that didn’t double up as a fly spray?

And now the beauty and grooming worlds have a new scandal to drop their jaws over – esteemed perfumier Roja Dove (the the world’s sole Professeur de Parfums no less and one of the most respected noses in the industry) has created a brand new fragrance for – draw a deep breath – The Sun.

In a way that only an industry steeped in snobbery can react, the news that someone so top end should collaborate with something so positively low rent has elicited gasps of incredulity. How could he? What was he thinking? Can it really be called… Buzz? I can actually hear the cupcakes dropping as I write.

Well, I don’t know what his motivation is but suspect the answer may be as simple as a. he got paid a shitload of money to do it (and who amongst us hasn’t done work we’re not proud of when the money has been too good to refuse?), b. he simply fancied the challenge of working out of his comfort zone (he can’t produce fragrances for Arab princes every day of the week after all) or c. maybe the tabloid had a great story involving him, The Triads and a that fat bird from Eastenders and simply cut a deal.

At the end of the day, though, Roja is a bespoke perfumier (and one of the best) so his job is to create fragrances to order. Nothing shocking there. But anyway, who cares? Hugh Grant had his Divine Brown moment and when you spend all day in the firmament there’s nothing more alluring than a faint whiff of filth. I do know one thing though – they sure as hell won’t be buying it in Liverpool.

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