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. 

Tom Ford to launch ultimate Oud Wood set

TOM FORD OUD WOOD MACCASSAR SETIf, like me, you’re a huge fan of Tom Ford’s ridiculously sexy Oud Wood fragrance you’ll probably salivating just looking at the pic of their forthcoming Oud Wood collection. And I wouldn’t blame you. Bringing together all the products in the range, except the scented beard oil (which kind of belongs to his grooming range anyway), it’s presented in a beautiful Makassar box. Looking at it, I really can’t think of a more luxurious addition to a gentleman’s bedroom dresser. You may need to give that piggy bank of yours a bit of a shake though…

The Tom Ford Oud Wood Collection Set will be available from Harrods Salon de Parfum from 5th October priced £850

Acqua di Parma release “Tuxedo” edition of Colonia Essenza

New Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza Tuxedo  Edition 2015 (1)Good news for fans of Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Essenza: October sees the release of a special “Tuxedo” edition of the fragrance. Inspired by black tie (the bottle reflects the contrast between a tux’s matt fabric and its satin lapels) the timeless Acqua di Parma bottle gets a gentlemanly make-over.  I know it’s a bit shallow to judge a fragrance by its bottle but, well, it is lovely. As is the fragrance. Great for collectors and Essenza fans it’ll be available exclusively from Selfridges from October 1st 2015, priced at £140.

Something old, something new: Carven launch two fragrances for men

CARVEN VETIVERYou know how Madonna’s first few albums are infinitely superior to the stuff she’s churning out right now? Well, sometimes you just have to concede that the original, early stuff is the best –  which is very much the case with the launch of two new fragrances from French fashion house Carven. I say new but in fact only Carven Pour Homme is new; Carven Vétiver is a relaunch of a fragrance that originally saw the light of day way back in 1957.

It’s ironic, but not entirely unexpected given the state of the fragrance industry at the moment, that it’s the latter that is the standout fragrance here. I’m a big fan of vetiver fragrances – and a fussy one too – but this delicate and elegant take on the genre, with its fresh notes of lemongrass and grapefruit and hints of geranium, lavender and bergamot, is lighter and more playful than some vetivers out there and I’ve been wearing it all day and loving it.

CARVEN POUR HOMMEPour Homme, on the other hand, is an annoyingly anodyne concoction that falls down by trying too hard to be contemporary and mainstream (think Bland Ambition rather than Blonde Ambition). Woody, spicy and aromatic (hence ticking all the boxes for a contemporary-but-boring best-seller) it’s one of those fragrances that catches in the back of the throat and smells a bit like a 19-year-old’s bedroom, which is surprising given the involvement of perfumer éminence Francis Kurkdjian, who created it alongside Patricia Choux.

The bottles for both, however, are superb and the design is the best I’ve seen for ages: simple and eye-catching, they echo the clean lines of a timeless roll neck sweater and have an understated elegance that’s often missing from modern fragrance flacons, so props to master glass-worker Pochet who created them.

Anyway, you’ve probably gathered by now that if I had to recommend one of these two fragrances to you it’d be Vétiver – and recommend I do.

Available from Selfridges from 5th February and nationwide from 5th May.

Selfridges launch new ‘Handsome Prince’ grooming box for Christmas

selfridges373-2062014-MENSBOXX14_001_ALT01Following the success of their last grooming box Selfridges have launched another boxed selection of grooming goodies  – just in time for Christmas. Which is certainly handy if you’re one of those people who never knows what to buy the man in your life. Many of the brands featured last time are back – including a personal favourite of mine, Triumph & Disaster. Altogether there are 10 products (though my preview box seemed to be missing its Molton Brown body wash) together with an Alphabet Bags ‘Handsome Prince’ washbag to shove everything into. The whole thing comes in a great Selfridges gift box and I can’t imagine any man not being pleased to receive one on Christmas morning. Enables you to tick one gift off your list, too, so that’s got to be good news right?

The Handsome Prince Grooming Box costs £35 from Selfridges, while stocks last.

Selfridges have male grooming all wrapped up

selfridegs 2

Grooming Boxes are tricky things to get right. When GlossyBox attempted one I, like many people, was left rather underwhelmed, partly because the size of the samples seemed particularly stingy for the money.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept the Grooming Box, it’s a way of collecting together a range of different grooming products, from a different array of brands, so that you get to sample their wares and they get to win you over. Quite often they feature smaller or travel-sized versions of well-known products (and on occasions really small samples).

selfridegs 1So, how does the first Grooming Box from Selfridges rate? Well, actually, it’s one of the best I’ve seen – if not the best. Featuring nine separate products from seven different brands – including personal favouries like Triumph & Disaster, Clarins, Molton Brown, Kiehl’s and Commes des Garcons – it’s generous in terms of products and scope and would be just as good a gift for someone as it is a great way to sample some fine brands for yourself. Sure, it might have been nice for them to have featured one or two more brands rather than featuring a trio of products from Scaramouche & Fandango but other than that small criticism I really can’t fault it, so well done Selfridges and I hope there’s another one in the pipeline for later in the year!

The Selfridges Grooming Box costs £20 and is available exclusively from selfridges.com whilst stocks last!

Acqua di Parma’s Collezione Barbiere gets a new lease of life

8. Collezione Barbiere GroupageI still remember the tingle of excitement when I first saw Acqua di Parma’s Collezione Barbiere range a few years back. Lightly scented with their legendary Colonia fragrance it was just so luxurious, elegant and desirable. The only problem with it was that if you didn’t like the scent you were kind of stuffed. What if, for example, you liked the range but wore Acqua di Parma’s Blue Mediterraneo or the wonderful Colonia Intensa Oud fragrance?

acqua di parma scrubClearly the company must have been aware of this slight drawback because they’ve wisely reformulated the range with a barely-there scent that makes perfect sense commercially, allowing it to be used as a stand-alone grooming range regardless of the fragrance you wear.

Stars of the line up include the luxuriously thick and creamy Shaving Cream, the new Shaving Oil – which is fantastically light and non-greasy –  and the the Scrub Purificante Viso (I just love typing that – it sounds so good in Italian) which is especially worth having as it’s not too abrasive. What’s more, a brand new Eye Treatment and Face Cream have been added to round out the range and to elevate it from ancillary shaving range to a full-blown collection of skincare essentials. Definitely one of the new season’s must-buys.

Collezione Barbiere is available from Selfridges and your usual Acqua di Parma stockists from 1st October.