Two great new fragrances for summer ’17

In the last ten years the release of summer-appropriate fragrances has become as much a part of the holiday season as sandals, strawberries and horrifying sartorial slip ups (why are British men so bad at dressing for summer?). In fact, without a clutch of light, crisp and zingy scents summer just wouldn’t be summer. I’ve written about some of those on offer this year for my summer fragrance round up over on fashionbeans.com but new ones seems to pop up every day – like these two new numbers from Tom Ford and Azzaro.

Ford’s offering (and I can barely keep up with the amount of new launches appearing from his Private Blend Collection these days)  Mandarino Di Amalfi Acqua (£139.50 for 100ml EDP from John Lewis) is a reworking of Mandarino Di Amalfi featuring a hint of mint to give it a cool watery freshness. It’s delightfully  fresh, citrusy and herbaceous and as with the aqua version of Neroli Portofino, the frosted blue bottle is about as evocative of summer as it gets. I know several people who actually prefer the aqua versions of Ford’s fragrances to the originals so if you’re mad for Mandarino you certainly might want to give it a try.

As for Azzaro Chrome Pure, well, if you read this blog regularly you’ll be aware of my views about Azzaro’s (somewhat controversial)  last fragrance Azzaro Wanted. If not you can read them here). Thankfully, Chrome Pure (£43 for 50ml EDT from Debenhams) sees the brand on safer – and slightly more sophisticated – ground. The bottle is simple, yet elegant, and the fragrance itself is a ferociously commercial blend of bergamot, mandarin,  akigala wood (a note created by fragrance company Givaudan which has its origins in patchouli) and tonka bean. Okay, it’s not a blend that’s likely to win any awards for originality but it is guaranteed to win some fans for its sheer wearability. Almost as refreshing as the fragrance, though, is the ad campaign. As with the ads for the original Chrome fragrance, it eschews the barely-clothed male/female clichés that have been a staple of fragrance advertising for so long, for a gentle, in-the-moment father/son thing instead. In character, it couldn’t be further away from Azzaro Wanted and for that alone it’s worthy of praise.

 

 

Aveda Men opens new pop-up Grooming Station in London’s Fitzrovia

AVEDA___A3970-2Estée Lauder have been doing some rather clever things with their men’s brands of late. Where once they were fiercely competitive with one another, brands like Clinique For Men, Aveda, Lab Series, Tom Ford and Zegna have been happily hanging out together in a show of unity that’s both refreshing and, as it happens, extremely practical. As well as their excellent men’s grooming station in London’s Westfield White City, curated by Esquire magazine, a new pop-up Grooming Station has just, you know, ‘popped-up’ in London’s Fitzrovia.

AVEDA___A4503At its heart is an Aveda Men Barbershop where you can have express hair cuts, trims and beard tidies, but as well products from Aveda itself you can also investigate fragrance from Tom Ford and Zegna and skin care from Lab Series and Clinique, meaning all your grooming needs can be met in  one quick in-and-out visit.

Men tend to be magpies when it comes to their skin care, hair care and fragrance choices, cherry-picking products from different ranges depending on what they like and what suits their skin, so it makes perfect sense for Lauder to offer the very best of their men’s brands in one go. In a way, they’ve done the edit for you and as we all know, it’s all in the edit.

The Aveda Grooming Station is located at 6 Mortimer Street, London W1F 3JJ and l be open until August. To keep up with what’s happening there check out @AvedaUK #groomingstation

 

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.

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

Tom Ford launches Noir Extreme

TOM FORD NOIR EXTREMEAlthough it only launched a couple of years ago Tom Ford Noir is one of my all time  favourite fragrances (along with his Private Blend Oud Wood) so I must confess that I was a little nervous when I heard that Noir Extreme was on its way. After all, Extreme versions of fragrances can often be a bit like remixes of your favourite songs: interesting and surprising but not always as memorable as the original.

Noir Extreme – introduced to the press last night with a special party at London’s Chiltern Firehouse – avoids this potential pitfall by being quite different from its older brother. Where Noir is characterised by violet and powdery iris, Extreme has an intense fruity sweetness to it that reminds me – in tone at least – of Ford’s Plum Japonais, though that initial headiness does eventually give way to a slightly more comforting gourmandy creaminess. It’s certainly more overtly sexy that Noir and decidedly more ‘nighttime’ too.

One thing’s for sure – Extreme is going to polarise opinion as much as Noir did. But then, almost all of Ford’s fragrances polarise opinion – which is why they work so well and why they’re always so talked about. Do I like it? Well, yes. But would I sacrifice it for the original Noir? Probably not, but only because I’d feel like I was cheating on the original fragrance if I did.

Tom Ford’s new beard oil: a new way to layer your fragrance?

Tom-Ford-Conditioning-Beard-OilOne of the main criticisms of beard oils is that their fragrance is so fleeting. Of course, many men prefer it this way but for those who want a longer-lasting fragrance the choices are pretty limited. Tom Ford’s new beard oils certainly correct that, introducing a new way for men to wear fragrance in the process.

Available in three Tom Ford Private Blend fragrances – Neroli Portofino, Tobacco Vanille and (my favourite) Oud Wood – it’s probably the punchiest and longest-lasting fragranced beard oil I’ve tried. I wore the Neroil Portofino one last night to the annual Beauty Magazine Beauty Awards and it pretty much lasted all night.

In truth, this is both a blessing and a curse; a blessing because you smell great and if you’re layering your fragrance it gives you a new place to scent yourself but a curse because the fragrance will be right under your nose for hours. So here’s a simple application tip: apply a small amount with your fingertips or using a moustache and beard comb but avoid the moustache area directly beneath the nose. Incidentally, since the oil itself isn’t particularly greasy you can also use a small amount on the hair on your head too.  One thing’s for sure – fragrance layering just got a whole lot more interesting.

Available from Selfridges