Tom Ford Lavender Extreme Fragrance Review

Today I'm going to lend you my thoughts on the Tom Ford Lavender Extreme which was released in May 2019. 

This private blend is in the higher tiered pricing bracket, £220 for a 50ml. A little on the steep side but is it worth it? The bottle is presented in silver throughout and oozes luxury.

OPENING

The opening notes are fresh, of course it's undeniably Lavender, but it's a fragrance that lets other things in. I found some bergamot creeping in, but not the bitter or medicinal kind. 

Before the tonka bean and the creamy texture hit me on the dry-down, I was preoccupied with some similarities between this and Taste of Heaven By Kilian. The Tom Ford Lavender Extreme is more of a subtle Lavender. Although I would say the two could saddle nicely together. 

The Lavender Extreme has a better smoothness than say the Fucking Fabulous scent, but lacks the creaminess of a Lost Cherry. 

I should say that although the Lavender lets the other notes have their time in the sun, nothing over powers it. Nothing dare usurp the headline act. 

It's a scent that really follows you for the first couple of hours. The silage I'd say is around 3 feet and I'd be wearing this on business casual occasions.

It doesn't quite have that event smell. I wouldn't want to wear this during Goodwood or any Black Tie (unless layered with another Tom Ford Private Blend fragrance, Tuscan Leather or Tobacco Vanille might work nicely). But I picture this as a signature scent, upmarket meetings, grey suit and possible first date scent. 

It's a very controlled scent. 

COMPLIMENTS 

I've been wearing this for a week now. My trip to Ascot got me some interesting compliments from the guys, although some remarked that it didn't project as much as you'd hope a fragrance from Tom Ford would. 

Which is why I'd have this as business casual. Layer it for events. I'd like to make a statement and have some allure for the bigger dates in my calendar. 

The women (or I should say, woman) absolutely adored this. Not overpowering, not over glowing. Just very luxurious and seasonal. This is a summer fragrance that’s fresh, confident and classy. 

Introducing Sniph: Explore the Scents

Today I'm going to introduce you to a new fragrance company out of Sweden called SNIPH. I flew out to their Headquarters in Stockholm for a couple of days and was introduced officially to the brand.

SO WHAT IS SNIPH? 

In a nutshell it is a monthly fragrance discovery service. They cater for men’s, women’s and unisex perfumes so this is truly something for everyone.

The idea is quite simple. The expert perfumers at SNIPH have already sampled hundreds of artisanal scents from the best boutique perfume studios around the world and keep searching globally to find new niche and exclusive fragrances for you. They then select the ones they think you’ll like best and sort them out in their 6 distinctive collections.

Gradually your selection gets more refined as SNIPH comes accustomed to the scents that you prefer.

Finding a new perfume can be tedious. Sniph is a discovery service for perfume that enables you to try new perfumes. Every month they deliver carefully selected perfumes from exclusive brands in a smart and chic 8ml bottle. With 6 distinctive collections to choose from, you’ll receive a new fragrance that is perfectly tailored to you every month, directly to your door. With no commitments and always free shipping. Basically, they are here to make it simple and fun for you to explore new scents, for you to fall in love with and for any mood or occasion. Perfect for finding your new signature scent, or building a scent wardrobe.

They don't do high-street brands, instead they celebrate uniqueness and are welcoming you into the hidden world of scents to let you enjoy carefully selected perfumes from exclusive brands. Sniph partners with amazing perfume houses worldwide. This means the scents in your subscription may be available in the UK or exclusively available through Sniph.

BUT I LIKE MY OWN FRAGRANCE, WHY WOULD SNIPH WORK FOR ME? 

Firstly, it's always good to mix and match your fragrances. I'm a loyal lover and brand ambassador for Jo Malone London for example, but my shelf is not exclusive to their scents.

By experimenting with different fragrances from SNIPH this enables you to 'explore the world of scents' (to coin their campaign slogan).

You also might like to have some of the heavy lifting taken away from you when it comes to shopping for fragrances. Let someone else with experience select a fragrance for you.

Another thing, that I learned during these days with Sniph in Sweden, is the power of scent. Scent has the power to stir emotions, awaken memories, set moods and captivate the imagination.

Think about it, would you want to smell the same at an important meeting and at a date?

 With this being said a scent wardrobe, where you choose your scent after mood and occasion, is the new way of looking at scent. And to be honest there is a full world out there of amazing scents that would be a shame to miss out on. 

ANY OTHER BENEFITS FOR USING SNIPH? 

Sure, they come in very handy travel vials together with a neat and smart case. Less than 100ml which is also convenient for the bathroom. I know it sounds like woe is me sometimes, but I don't always have the space for all the fragrances on my nightstand or bathroom shelf. (Remember this is London, no walk-in wardrobes here).

They are also really hear to share their love for scent with the world and invite people in to their world. To educate people about the world of scents is one of their missions which means that you will never just receive a random scent with learning about it as well. 

HOW WAS THE TRIP CARL? 

Thanks for asking guys, it was short and sweet but a very interesting and relaxing affair. You may have seen from my stories I enjoyed some yoga sessions at the Djursholm Country Club.

It was a perfect induction into sensory awakening. How often do we close our eyes and listen to what it is we're smelling. 

So much focus is on the visual. Instagram is a proven benefactor of that. Imagine an APP that delivered a scent to your phone. (Jesus that's a great idea, Zuckerberg lets schedule a meeting).

After that we made a flower crown and had some drinks. You know, standard Swedish customs. 

In Sweden they have a Midsummer tradition where you place 7 different flowers under your pillow. You then dream of your one true love.

SNIPH had a neat twist on this tradition and left 7 different fragrances for us to spray on our pillow. I dreamt of ice cream!

I'd like to thank SNIPH for inviting me to Sweden and introducing me to their brand. I had a real sense of community and kinship with the founders and staff. I'll be writing more about SNIPH and the fragrances I receive in later posts.

SNIPH offer subscriptions for 14 GBP a month with free delivery. I am very pleased to be a SNIPH ambassador and all thoughts here are my own. 

DISCOUNT CODE: Use my personalised discount code below which will give you 25% OFF.

HAWKINS25

Memoize Imperia x Rowan Row Fragrance Review

Well, this is where the bar is at with Influencers. Collaborating with a perfumery is definitely top of my wish list.  I don't think I'd ever stop bragging about it if Jo Malone London asked me to create a fragrance (hint hint PR team). 

Still, couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. And have you checked out the man's physique of late? If his shoulders could talk to each other they'd just say, 'we'll meet at the balls'.  Rowan Row has partnered with luxury niche fragrance house, Memoize London to collaborate on an exciting scent project.

So what can an influencer bring to the table for a fragrance house? 

Good question. As well as tapping into an audience of 917k followers, having someone easy on the eye for all their lifestyle imagery, Rowan can draw inspiration from his travels, personal development and experiences, together with a little soul searching along the way and born of this was the scent; Imperia.

This is not a scent that's been magically spawn overnight. It's been a passion project of Rowan's that has kept him busy behind the scenes for the past 12 months. It's noteworthy that this fragrance is his first truly interactive collaboration and the first product to bear his name. Imperia, by Rowan Row.

IMPERIA; noun, plural im·pe·ri·a [im-peer-ee-uh] Command; supreme power, strength.

(Damn why didn't I get given that as a middle name at least. I hate my parents). 

On to the recipe, from the Press Release. 

Top Notes: Citrus, Lemon, Green
Middles Notes: Aromatic, Fougere, Lavender, Clary Sage, Mint
Base Notes: Amber, Leather, Woods, Musk, Moss

Is it any good? 

I'm happy to say yes. You'll definitely get that citrus opening, an instant hit of lemon and bergamot mingle with a rich aromatic fougere accord in the heart built around clary sage, lavender and cool mint.

Later the base notes push through, some black amber but moreover, the diffusive leather and spiced woods. I didn't detect the earthy moss, but maybe that was intended to be subtle. 

Overall I don't know if it's worth the price tag (127 GBP is ambitious for an introductory scent) but it's in keeping with the luxury range and the price tags Luxuria and Castitas both retail at 177 GBP. 

Still I've enjoyed my time with this scent. It's got mystery, it's evocative, complex but not overly artisanal. The silage I got about 4-5 hours which is just under what I'd expect for a perfume in this price point. However, I've had some great comments on this scent, the feedback has probably been one of the best I've had in a long time. 

Memoize London prides itself on supporting small, independent British suppliers wherever possible. From hand finished, wooden oak caps crafted in Yorkshire, hand-made boxes made in Leicestershire, to a small filling house in the Lincolnshire Wolds. All components took great time and consideration to create, to ensure we provide the customer with the ultimate luxury experience.

Exclusive to Selfridges, the Memoize Imperia by Rowan Row fragrance launched 16th May and is £127.

Ready for the Riverbanks: Jo Malone London Wild Flowers & Weeds Limited Edition Collection

Is it that time to talk about Jo Malone London already? You bet it is! My regular monthly Jo Malone London news drop focuses on the new Wild Flowers & Weeds Limited Edition Collection set for launch on 1st March. 

It's getting lighter in the mornings. Walks on the common are becoming more enjoyable again. March brings hope with the advent of warmer afternoons. Although as Red would say in Shawshank Redemption 'hope is a dangerous thing my friend'. We all remember the beast from the east that savaged our London high streets this time last year.

Still, smoke 'em while you got 'em. Meaning, let's make hey while the sun is shining!

As a Jo Malone London ambassador I'm fortunate enough to get samples of the new releases and this month I want to talk to you about the limited edition collection of Jo Malone London Wild Flowers & Weeds

Immediately my mind turns to my childhood, entire afternoons spent plucking weeds from my folks lawn. Manicuring the crevices of the crazy paving on the first dawn of Spring. My Dad giving me 50p at the end and a rewarding sip of his Bacardi. Blew my head off.

Nowadays Wildflowers and Weeds invoke a different sensibility. I think of the charmed walks along the riverbanks of Hackney Marsh. First date: river walks. Second date: river walks plus pub lunch, on the 3rd date the dogs meet. No 4th date, was it something Charlie said? Ah nostalgia. 

What better way to serenade those new riverbank walks, carve out some new memories, than with the new Jo Malone London Wild Flowers & Weeds Collection.

Five limited edition scents, inspired by the unruly weeds and wildly-wonderful plants and flowers that line its banks.

If you caught my last Jo Malone article on how to layer your scents, you'll appreciate that these Jo Malone London fragrances are designed for experimentation. They smell fantastic on their own, but the real fun comes in the dalliance of combining the colognes.

I won't be able to describe the fragrances any better than the press release so below you have the full information on all the Jo Malone London Wild Flowers & Weeds Collection.

Nettle & Wild Achillea: The tangy sting of nettle, peeking through pavement cracks and entwined with wild, white achillea flower. Sparkling with bright bergamot, the greenness softened by a soft base of white musk.

Willow & Amber: The expressive weeping willow, gently draping across the fresh morning water. Captured in the woody pairing of cashmere wood and smoky vetiver, enhanced by softly sensual amber.

Cade & Cedarwood: The smouldering embers of a wood-burning stove at nightfall. Basking in the warm and comforting glow of cade – its smoky scent mingled with cedarwood and complemented by a mouth-watering hint of sensual vanilla.

Hemlock & Bergamot:  Hemlock’s powdery petals, brightened with bergamot. A deadly, yet unexpectedly delicate flower. Illuminated with golden mimosa and a floral flourish of heliotrope. Crisp and modern with a bite of cucumber.

Lupin & Patchouli: Reminiscent of canal banks, awash with colour. A rainbow of lupin flowers, enriched by luxurious rose and deepened with rebellious patchouli. A surprising contrast with the fresh vibrancy of mandarin.

Launching nationwide 1st March 2019  

RRP – £49 for each decorative 30ml Cologne

TOM FORD introduces BEAU DE JOUR: the new fragrance for men & women from TOM FORD BEAUTY

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Whilst it's remaining all quiet on the James Bond front, (no mention of whether Tom Ford will be back to do the wardrobe for Bond 25) we at least have a new private blend to look forward to.

The BEAU DE JOUR bottle is in keeping with the other Tom Ford private blends, inspired by classic apothecary containers and crafted with satisfying bold lines and weight.

The opening will be an incontestable fervent entrance of Lavender. Fresh, evocative. The spicy cardamom and saffron initiate the journey at the opening, as floral desert tones reverberate in a constant shift with an enigmatic sweetness of jasmine sambac.

It's been described as maverick by some e-tailors. Which is a near truth. The blend has a very esoteric appeal, an unidentifiable yet palpable undercurrent of danger. Yet there's a classic sensuality to it.

Which kind of silver screen hard man would wear this? Sure James Bond, the maverick. The chancer. But it's less black tie then Bond, it has a tangible thuggery to it. I imagine Edward Woodward's Equaliser would wear this before leaving the house. (Deep pull Carl, I know).

Patchouli and Amber create an earthy foundation of radiant wood and sensual musky warmth, further elevating Beau de Jour’s refreshing notion of masculinity through the finish.

Classed as unisex, which is not unremarkable as it has a very soft, velvet-like dry down. However, I'm more than happy to class this as a masculine scent. The fougere notes, the patchouli and the oakmoss shifts this blend into my wheelhouse. 

Tom Ford continues to create effortless and unique blends that keeps him firmly on top of the heap. Nobody does it better, (touché Carl) nobody daren't.

@TOMFORDBEAUTY  #TFBEAUDEJOUR

RRP:

50ML – £162.00

100ML- £238.00

 

Davidoff Cool Water Fragrance Review

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Have I told you how Davidoff are missing a marketing trick? They should simply sponsor a catwalk showdown between David Beckham and David Gandy! It will be coined the 'Almighty Davidoff'. You see that's why I get the big bucks people.

It leads me swiftly on to this classic scent from Davidoff, neatly entitled: Davidoff Cool Water.

The Gamechanger

It really was. Released in 1988 the Davidoff Cool Water fragrance came about and enlivened the aquatic range. 

The Notes

In the top note, a marine splash awakes the senses with a distinct floral opening. You'll get an immediate introduction to the main theme of Lavender, followed by a subtle push of Rosemary and Orange Blossom. 

I know these all sound like girls that will be linked to Jeff Bezos as he looks to seek solace from divvying up over $50Bn in divorce settlements. But trust me, the signature blend and vibrancy of this blend has stayed the test of time. 

On the dry down you'll get that relaxing flourish of sandalwood, cedar with an undercurrent of musk. A very reassuring masculine vibe. 

Davidoff Cool Water Bottle 2.jpg

What do I think?

Pierre Bourdin created and broke the mould when he introduced Davidoff Cool Water. Other flankers have saddled nicely, the Deep Dive and more recently Cool Wave have been notable inclusions to the Davidoff Cannon. But for my money nothing has usurped the original. 

When and where can I wear it?

It's a very casual fragrance, perfect for the office or out on a lunch date. It's not sophisticated enough for black tie or dinner events. I'll be wearing this to meetings with clients, coffee runs, even on my upcoming trip to Bali.

It's very Spring/Summer, it's fresh, youthful. I'd wear this with shorts, polo, tee shirt. My one reservation is that I'm loving the scent, but definitely feel like I'm at the high end of the demographic for its target audience. Because of the citrus/sweet notes, I'd say it would be too playful for anyone 45 and older.

Would I buy it again?

Absolutely, I've been buying it for years. I can't wait to roll this is out in the hotter months, that's if it lasts the course in Bali. It wakes me up, enlivens my senses. Makes me want to put on Pet Sounds and ride my little Deuce Coupe all the way to Lowestoft.

UOMO Salvadore Ferragamo Signature | Fragrance Review

UOMO Salvatore Farragamo Signature Fragrance.jpg

Today I want to talk about UOMO Salvadore Ferragamo Signature Fragrance, the third instalment in their fragrance collection. I've been road-testing this fragrance for the past week, but before I give you mine and my friends feedback, we should speak about the original. 

In 2016 the UOMO Salvadore Ferragamo was introduced to market, with its flanker the UOMO Casual Life in 2017. The latter being more summer targeted, more youthful and as it says on the bottle, 'casual'. 

The UOMO Salvadore Ferragamo Signature Fragrance is more of a return to the original, with a darkened sensibility. Famously referred to as the Tiramisu fragrance for that piercing, unapologetic wave of sweet coffee. 

The bottle is black, built like a futuristic hip flask. Muscular and sits in your palm without compromise. 

UOMO Signature Fragrance.jpg

Initial thoughts 

On first spray you'll have that inevitable, creamy-coffee opening. The Tonka bean will come through and that odd, reassuring air of nostalgia to the original hugs you like a long distant friend. 

It simmers down with some grapefruit, the patchouli arrives in time to take you on a wistful journey. It has an oriental flavour to this fragrance, but not overly complex. It lacks a certain mystery, but that's fine. 

Further Thoughts 

As I sat with the fragrance, walked around the flat, I had this odd sense that I was under dressed. I've never felt that way with a fragrance before. That is somehow demanded a better wardrobe than the jeans and hoody I was sporting. 

It did morph into something else, maybe the Tonka bean and the leather started to really push through. 

What others thought  

I didn't get many wow reaction to this on first wear. I wore it to a couple of events, the Gentleman’s Grooming Show, a recent trip to France for Laurent-Perrier. However, I started to get more reaction from women, in fact to put it bluntly, this was tailor made for women. 

Guys just don't want to get onboard with the sweetness, but women were more in favour. Plus it had that undertone of leather to offer just the verisimilitude of rugged masculinity. 

Smells like? 

I've heard some people refer to this as the new POLO Red Extreme, probably because of the Tonka bean reference. I've got that fragrance in my locker and it's not as rich as Extreme. Possibly because it's a little more synthesised. (I'm guessing, don't quote). 

Others talk about it being the new CH for Men, (Carolina Herrera) I'd agree to some extent. It lacks the woodiness of CH, and isn't as pretentious. But it does have that even-keel balance of keeping it light, latte-sweet whilst ensuring a black-tie-esque sophistication. 

Final thoughts

It's more polished than the Casual Life, it has decent silage (4-5 hours) and I love coffee so this UOMO Salvadore Ferragamo Signature Fragrance really speaks to me. 

It's a bit like the Rocky films. The original is better than the other two, but the 3rd is much better than the sequel. Come on, Mr T. That said the 4th with Ivan Drago was the most fun so I'm looking forward to next year. Stay tuned. 

 

Jo Malone London | My Top 5 Fragrances

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I struggle to find a better phrase that encapsulates the spirit of Jo Malone scents than the description on their website "Think of Jo Malone London as the Savile Row of scent: finding a precise ‘fit’, a scented statement perfectly suited and tailored to your taste." 

This Savile Row connection is a poignant one fresh on the back of their collaboration with Huntsman, tailor to the Kingsman movie franchise. 

I flirted with each in the previous post. However, now I've had time to ponder, ruminate; pace around the flat externalising obnoxiously in a grandiloquent manner to absolutely no one, (my new favourite past time) I've adjusted my conclusions which I will share for you here. 


Amber & Patchouli

For lavish evenings, entombed with the presence of amber. A scintillating pairing, blended measurably with deep, characterful patchouli. The darkest of all the Jo Malone London offerings. What Jo Malone does better than Tom Ford, and Killian, is manage to be linear, whilst taking you on a labyrinthine journey of mysterious spices. It achieves that by introducing elements of Oriental exoticism. It's velvety, it's profound, it lasts a day longer on the fabric but sadly the silage lets it down for me. The only reason why it's in at number 5. 

Where can I wear it? 

I'm going to save this one for the 3rd date scent. Just when she thinks she’s got you all figured out. 


Orange Bitters

A hearty scent perfect for Winter. It hasn't quite the hubris of the English Oak which I'll come to later, but certainly comes packed with an insouciant bravado. That's achieved by the 'off the leash' citrus opening that develops seamlessly into a woody (Sandalwood) dry down. It's got the linger of dried plums, it's evocative, it's elegant, maybe a little understated but conversely, unvanquishable in its delivery.  

Where can I wear it? 

I'm going to save this for the afternoon press days. There will be a whole bunch of these coming up to Christmas and it's a playful scent, hopefully will make me very approachable. 

 

Myrrh & Tonka

This Jo Malone London Myrrh & Tonka someone once described to me as 'Christmas in a bottle'. It has everything you associate with Christmas, even the name! It's the best projecting of all the Jo Malone scents. You'll be instantly put at ease with the opening of lavender. Then the rush of Myrrh brings some chop to the waters before the whole balance is evened out with the Almond and Tonka bean base notes. 

It's disarming with the lavender, because you expect it to be something it's not. Have you ever watched a film at the cinema, but found the trailer has mis-sold the film entirely? This Jo Malone London Myrrh & Tonka scent is the facsimile to a film that reveals itself in a much better light than the trailer would have you expect. 

Where would I wear it? 

Yes it's cliche, but the works Christmas party is a must. It encapsulates the elegance of Jo Malone and will be the last scent standing at the party thanks to it's marathon-esque silage. 

 

English Oak & Hazelnut

I mentioned the hubris of the Jo Malone English Oak & Hazelnut before and that's because it's unapologetically imperialistic. Another friend once cited this as arriving like a Tyson left hook. I corrected him instantly by saying that Tyson is a natural left hander, but he by and large a self confessed-righty. If you see all pictures of Mike Tyson he holds microphones with his right hand and signs autographs with his left hand. It just so happens he knocked out most opponents with his left hand because he threw that first.  

I digress, but the point I'm getting to is that the Jo Malone English Oak & Hazelnut is neither a Tyson right or left hand, but a Tyson uppercut. It's woody essence is so earthy, it projects like something has sprouted underneath you. A delicious sucker-punch devoid of all things saccharin, undeniably masculine. 

Where would I wear it? 

First date. Always come with the goods on a first date. Nowadays we're not allowed the luxury of delayed gratification in the dating sphere. Bring out the big guns and go in blazing. 


Wood Sage & Sea Salt

In at number one with a bullet. Yes the Wood Sage & Sea Salt is the tour de force oeuvre of perfumer Christine Nagel, who modestly quotes this as 'a little different'. It has that remarkable skill of evoking both the ethereal elements of a free spirit and the grounded elements of nature. It has the most star wattage of all the scents because of it's complexity. It's lustre. 

You can imagine this being modelled by Chris Hemsworth sanding down his boat on the lip of an molested stretch of beach. The wind gorging his hair, the sand weaving its way through his stubble. 

It's optimistic, it's sophisticated, it's not the most distinguished (Orange Bitters holds that mantle) but it's the most endearing. 

Where would I wear it? 

As Apollo Creed said repeatedly to Rocky Balboa, 'hey man, anywhere any time'. 


 

 

My Top 5 'Killer' Kilian Fragrances

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Everyone is an artist these days. You take a birds eye picture of your dinner, put it through a clever filter, come up with a creative hashtag, it's now art right? Well if you believe that you can get the hell out of my office. 

True artists, create something from nothing. Brands like Kilian aren't content on hodge-podging a bunch of exotic fragrances for our consumption and calling it a life. They carefully curate each liquid with fastidious diligence. All presented in a box that looks like it had just been excavated from a pharaohs temple. 

You may have guessed already that I'm sentimental towards Kilian fragrances. It's been another tough one for me to discern a list of favourites. But I've had a go. 


My Top 5 Kilian Fragrances 

Gold Knight 

By the way each of these names sounds like unused Star Wars titles. In at number 5, is Gold Knight. Kilian Hennessy really delivers a potent Autumn/Winter fragrance. The intrepid dark sensuousness of patchouli fused with the ebullient bergamot and anise, caressed and cosseted with the warm golden shimmer of vanilla and honey will put your partners senses in a headlock around Winter Wonderland this year. 


Dark Lord

Unbelievably this is the exact name I gave my ... wait no, can't say that on here. The best word in the English language is titillation obviously, but the second best is Gunmetal. Here the Dark Lord bottle has an Achilles' Heel embossed onto the flacon with extra Gunmetal details. 

And if you've ever wondered what the nuanced dry-down of jasmine drenched in Rum smells like, then this is the scent for you. 


Noir Aphrodisiaque

Sounds like a German graffiti artist that everybody has magically heard of but you. 

This is the sort of fragrance you put on and feel instantly weaponised. It has strident notes of dark chocolate yet is also sweet and spicy. It sits close to the skin so is perfect for those close encounters. It's found its rightful place on the podium. 


Black Phantom 

Ooof just missed top billing. Black Phantom has a lot in common with Noir Aphrodisiaque in that Samuel Jackson is mooted to play both roles in the upcoming Avengers movie. Of course I jest. 

Black Phantom, is created from the same palette of warm spices and sweetness from sugar cane, this fragrance also touches notes such as rum and coffee.


Straight to Heaven 

Oh baby, in with a bullet, Straight to Heaven. It has more wood than a Ron Jeremy boxset. But it's also got that mystery vibe to it. A complexity that I admire. Delicate tickles of dried fruits, nutmeg and amber. It's my go-to black tie fragrance and I can tell you, it does what it says on the tin. Truly a work of art.


SHOP MY TOP 5 KILIAN FRAGRANCES

 

Tom Ford Fougère D'argent | Fragrance Review

Today I'm going to be giving my verdict on Tom Ford Fougère D'argent which I've been road-testing for the past couple of weeks. The ardent Tom Ford fans can get amazingly squabble-some when it comes to which is their favourite fragrance from Tom Ford. I'm personally divided between the Plum Japanois, Tuscan leather and Tobacco Vanille. All are classy fragrances that project amazingly well and reflect my ambitious style.

But now we have the Fougère D'argent Fragrance, the agony of choice! It comes in different sizes, 50ml, 100ml and 250ml. Word on the street is that the 100ml is hard to come by, but as of today I can tell you that all sizes are available from Harvey Nichols for £162, £238 and £395 with free UK delivery.

As ever Tom Ford has flexed his muscles on the pulpit of luxury, despite being chagrined at the price point there is no denying that since leaving Gucci and starting out on his own in 2005, he has established himself as an incredible tour de force as a designer and now a prominent disrupter in the world of perfumery.

 

 

What's Tom Ford Fougère D'argent Fragrance like?

Firstly, the bottle is brick-ish, bold, heroic; it looks like it could pull you out of a house fire it's that heroic. I think it is masculine, both in aesthetics and in smell, despite this being marketed as a unisex fragrance.

It's classy with a gold square lid and has the Tom Ford insignia across it.

You'll only need a couple of pumps because it's strong, immediate. 3-4 max. You'll initially get a citrus vibe as the mandarin orange, ginger and lavender comes out of the traps first.

It will sit, before the middle notes of labdanum and akigalawood middle notes start to take shape.

What are these middle notes?

Labdanum is extracted from boiling leaves and twigs and has enjoyed a renaissance of late because it's seen as a close second to Ambergris which has been banned in most countries.

Akigalawood was actually the name of my reggae band in secondary school. Only joking. Since Oak Moss is no more in perfumery, akigalawood has arrived on the scene. It's a man-made synthetic fragrance similar to that of patchouli, combined with vibrant spicy aspects of pepper.

This is an upscale perfume. Think black tie, think Opera. It's going to last awhile, I got close to 8 hours silage and I got plenty of remarks from my other half on how polished this fragrance is.

 

Summary of Tom Ford Fougère D'argent Fragrance

A very powerful scent, not incredibly versatile as people are making out. It's not an everyday scent. It's high end, both in performance and in price. I love it, perhaps not as much as the Oud Wood and Tuscan leather, but it has a fresh delivery, it's opulent, it will sit well in the Tom Ford canon for sure.

 

Abercrombie & Fitch Launch First Instinct Blue

Abercrombie & Fitch have launched a new fragrance (or juice as they are referring to it in the press release) entitled First Instinct Blue. My first impression of First Instinct Blue is how innovative the bottle design is. I use the word innovative knowing full well how hackneyed the expression is. But these are first impressions, not a studied nor deliberated perspective. 

The packaging is a new imagining of the original design from Fabrice Legros, this quote from the press release "based on a rectangular structure [...] and inspired by that magical moment when you get butterflies in your stomach."

Its silhouette has the square, bold aesthetic and is underlined by an ethereal rippling surface as you look through the bottle. I like it. It speaks to me. It tells me this is for a man that exudes confidence, masculinity, yet there's a more complex, mysterious underbelly once you scrape beneath the surface. 

Carl Thompson x Abercrombie Fitch 3.jpg

 

What about the name? 

The name does little for me. Every Instinct, is a first instinct is it not? Isn't it somewhat tautological to call something First Instinct? I guess Basic Instinct was taken. 

 

What about the "juice"? 

Don't look at me pal, I'm only going with the language from the press release. First Instinct Blue carries notes of cardamom, rosemary, frozen apple, lavender, pepper and tonic beans. 

 

What is Cardamom? 

Cardamom is derived from the ginger family, used in the culinary world to enhance savoury and sweet dishes. The Swedes are huge proponents of Cardamom, apparently it's the spice best suited for Autumnal and Winter dishes so perfect timing. 

 

What do I think? 

It's got a great energy to it. I was enlivened and I got in engaged with the scent very early on. It had that aromatic mystery, a charm and it projected well. The dry down was enjoyable, offering a more herbal, sensual delivery with the peppers and the frozen apple. 

For my money it was spicier and herbal, than woody and earthy. More forest floor than forest oak, so I'm not sure it echoed cries of masculinity for me. Perhaps it could have done with bringing the sandalwood to the front of the mix. 

However, I enjoyed wearing this. The price point is fine; the bottle looks great. It's got an everyday appeal to it and actually works perfect as an autumnal scent. 

 

Robert Graham Fragrance Review | Valour Courage Fortitude

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For the uninitiated Robert Graham is a luxury men’s fashion brand, famed for its contrasting cuffs and collars and exotic bold prints and fabrics. The shirts come at a premium price but certainly worth checking out, they say it's as close as you can get to wearing art. I'm going to be talking about the three fragrances, Valour, Courage and Fortitude, designed to reflect the essence of the brand.

 

The inspiration behind the fragrances

Robert Stock. Founder of Robert Graham, was inspired by the rare craftsmanship of blended spirits for his baptism of fire into the world of men's fragrance.

"Like a great liqueur single malt Scotch or small-batch Bourbon, I saw these fragrances blended from a little bit of this, and of little bit of that," said Robert Stock. "We started with a feeling, where each blended essence had to have its own personality."

 

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The Robert Graham Bottle

It reminds me of something you' expect to house an exotic bottle of Peach Schnapps. Perhaps only served at The Beaufort Bar at the Savoy or The Connaught.  It's angular, housed in a faceted decanter and finished with a foulard print. In the 250ml range they become more ornate in the cap decorations. 

 

What are the fragrances? 

Let's start with Courage. First off all the names sound like names that were on the whiteboard when it came to naming the next fleet of Autobots. And I don't mind. I mind First Instinct, that's not a good name. 

Courage by Robert Graham opens with a citrus-y vibe. It has the bergamot going on but that's at the back somewhere. You hit the spicy vodka, but it's not direct. It's tangled in a delectable web of aromatic woods and herbs. It's the lighter of the 3, though not casual enough for every day. I'd wear this if I wanted to make a good impression at a smart/casual event. If I was into Ballet this would be my night at the ballet scent. 

Valour - This is my favourite of the 3 as it has a better projection. I noticed the silage was an hour or two longer. Maybe 6-7 hours I carried it round. Moving into the colder months this warm-wooded Oriental fragrance will be better suited for the Autumnal months. 

It opens with a nice spicy hit. There's sage, there's amber. It has a very smooth-creamy feel to it; makes me want to buy a box set of The Man from Uncle and watch them back to back in a Velvet nightgown. This is one that I'd wear to the Gentleman's Club. 

Fortitude - Lastly Fortitude, another Oriental fragrance that is peppered with tobacco sweet balsamic vinegar and Patchouli

 

What is Patchouli? 

Ok so I like to do a little teaching on here. I don't know the qualities of every herb and spice, I'm assuming no one does so here's a quick fact: it's a species of herb from the mint family and performs slightly different to other oils in that it matures better with age. 

The ancient Egyptians couldn't get enough of the stuff and treasured as highly as gold back in the day. 

 

My thoughts on Robert Graham Fragrances? 

I thought the show pony was Valour. It really spoke of luxury in a non-complex way. Courage and Fortitude would be good squad additions to your cologne bench, however, I wouldn't justify having all three for the price point. 

Valour and Fortitude both have that Oriental vibe so for variety, I'd pick Courage and Valour. Autobots Transform! To Cybertron! Sorry, couldn't resist. 

 

Mr. Burberry Indigo Eau De Toilette | Fragrance Review

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Finally managed to get my hands on the latest scent from Burberry; Mr. Burberry Indigo Eau De Toilette, coined as a fresh and casual addition championed by British actor Josh Whitehouse. Campaign imagery was taken by Alasdair McLellan down the UK coastline, the unmistakable white cliffs of Dover. Extra points goes to the person who put the Blur track 'Blue Jeans' in the promotional video. I might be reading too much into it, but it's a perfect fit for this. 

A video which flits insouciantly back and forth between colour and black and white. Like all fragrance videos it is ultimately meaningless. I guess it's trying to encapsulate a sense of escapism, start in the city head to the coast cliché. However, it's far less contrite than Kate Hudson whispering 'I am air, I am sea' whilst whimsically pirouetting around with a camera in the new La Mer commercial. 

Created in collaboration with perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, the scent is fresh and energetic with citrus and wood notes including aromatic violet-leaf, spearmint oil, lemon, rosemary, amber and oak moss.

On first impressions it's very aromatic, very modern, yet has a dusting of maturity about it which could be the smokey guaiac wood, one of the hardest and most resilient woods in the world. I read somewhere that there is driftwood in this scent. Surely not. Surely we're not out foraging for driftwood in the name of perfume. Maybe Josh and Alasdair brought a truck load back from the beach between takes. 

So it's citrusy, sweet, flirting with the reach of being saccharine but thankfully just falling short. The rosemary and lemon mix brings a nostalgic whiff of something illusory, not another scent, but a memory. The mint follows, the oak moss is there but almost imperceptible and overwhelmed by the grapefruit. 

It's a playful little blend. I have to say it's not ballsy enough for a black tie do, too assertive for a first date breakfast. I'd say it's perfect armament for a date late-afternoon, perhaps a matinee down Soho or a punt down the river Cam, chauffeured of course down the backs of the collages. 

The bottle honours the brands navy trench coat. Bold and masculine, the weighted cap references horn-look buttons while a hand tied knot in English woven gabardine sits around the neck. 

Thoughts on the hand tied knot: Super….fluous. 

For anyone in pursuit of personal vainglory there is a monogramming service available at Burberry stores and online. 3 letters maximum. If your gifting it then monogramming is a good idea as it prevents the other person from fobbing it off on eBay. 

Overall, I'm a fan. The campaign is strong, imagery and music is a 10! The scent can be malleable for most occasions but I think the aforementioned window of first date, late afternoon is a perfect place for this to rest. Available now to buy for £70.

The collection also launches with a Limited Edition grooming line including Face Moisturiser, All-In-One Shaving Cream, and Deodorant Spray, all of which are infused gently with the scent of Mr. Burberry EDT.

Montblanc Legend Night | Fragrance Review

With so many fragrances on the market today it is harder than ever before to stand out as the one fragrance for you. One way to move forward and up in the rankings of perfume makers is to reformulate and improve on an already popular and great scent. Montblanc have done exactly that, a continual improvement on the already popular Montblanc Legend from 2011 and the Montblanc Legend Spirit in 2015. Now for 2018, they have brought us the Montblanc Legend Night. 

In 2011, a new chapter opened with Montblanc Legend which won its reputation thanks to its signature scent and unique visual captured by Peter Lindbergh. The famous photographer depicts a Montblanc man who is as reassuring just as he is inspiring. Then in 2015, this timeless masculine saga continued with Montblanc Legend Spirit, a fresh and bold version of the fragrance. Echoing this record of excellence, the third olfactory chapter now reveals an equally charismatic, but more mysterious side to the extraordinary gentleman. This new timeless fragrance emphasizes the nocturnal aspect of his personality. Its name is Montblanc Legend Night.

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Montblanc Legend Night paints a top-flight olfactory picture with remarkable contrasts of light and shadow. Designed by the talented duo Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux who set out to reveal “the charisma of the wearer”, this juice is a magnetic woody fragrance, ultra-masculine yet free from aggression. Mysterious. And reassuring. The Eau de Parfum brings out the elegance and aura of the Legend Night man.

The aromatic notes of clary sage and peppermint, enhanced with cool spices (cardamom) and sparkling bergamot, set the fragrance’s fresh and lively tone. The opening is bright, like the natural radiance of our man’s aura.

The middle notes immediately counterbalance this first impression of refreshing coolness with their warm elegance. The precious scents of cedar wood blend well with the floral lavender tones, a classic in men's fragrances, and slightly powdered violet.

"In the base notes, we wanted a strong and memorable signature, full of contrasts,” explain the two noses. “On one side some dense and vibrant woods with a duo of Vetiver and Patchouli Wood, and on the other, the enveloping depth of Musk and velvety black Vanilla.”

The signature counter-accord brings out the distinctive character of the Montblanc man through light and shade.

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Montblanc Legend Night will be available exclusively at The Perfume Shop from 12th March 2018. Nationwide from 3rd April 2018.

Photo Credit: Jon Bradley

Best Scents 2018 | The Vanille Fatale Fragrance from Tom Ford Beauty

Step aside 'new year new me', that's not for me, however 'new year new scent' is something I can get on board with, in fact I've been finding a new signature scent every year since my teens. The last few years signature scents have been Creed Aventus (2015), Tom Ford Tuscan Leather (2016), Gold Knight by Kilian (2017) and could Vanille Fatale from Tom Ford be my 2018 scent? Well, yes of course as it has all the sweet, spicy, woody notes that I love in fragrances, it's bold, beautiful and most importantly totally unique. 

To say that I've been a massive fan of Tom Ford private blend fragrances for a few years is an understatement, I'm in love with them. Each and everyone has a story that you are immediately transported to in your scent memory. Tom Ford Tuscan Leather takes me to a cigar and whisky Gentlemen's club with a roaring open fire with big comfortable leather chairs, I can picture it now. I'm going to touch back to Tuscan Leather again and my other current Tom Ford favourite Tobacco Vanille which both have some similarities to the new Vanille Fatale franrgance. So if you love any of the aforementioned scents, Vanille Fatale is most certainly worth checking out.

New for 2018, TOM FORD introduces VANILLE FATALE, the defiant new scent from Tom Ford Beauty. Refined yet raw, polished yet primal, Private Blend Vanille Fatale grips the senses with stirring spices, grounded florals and robust woods. The wearer is transfixed from the start, as if under the spell of a tempest, a force of nature with an unrelenting hold.

Spicy saffron and coriander mingle with the incense of earthy myrrh and olibanum, intoxicating the senses at the opening. The heart reverberates with a tobacco-like pull of roasted barley and roasted coffee absolute, lending a pleasant bitterness, while rich narcissus and creamy frangipani seduce with grounded floralcy. Thick and distinct, Madagascan Vanilla blends beautifully with wood-forward mahogany, its dark, rich, smoky glamour made all the more exotic with primal, musk-nuanced suede at the finish.

TOM FORD VANILLE FATALE is contained in the classic Private Blend bottle. The 50Ml and 100mL flacon has the sleek, architectural look of a chess piece. 

 

SHOP TOM FORD VANILLE FATALE BELOW

The Fragrance Shop Launch £12 Monthly Subscription Box

Be honest, how many times have you bought a fragrance and felt utterly indifferent towards it after a couple of days. But you see it out, much like you finish off a rubbish book. It's what's known as Magnusson effect, you've started so you’ll finish right? Thanks to the Scent Addiction Subscription from The Fragrance Shop, we will no longer be subjected to this insufferable torture-vortex that lives inside every completist. 

The process is logistical and can be completed in 4 easy steps. First you need to pick 12 scents from the cornucopia of designer fragrances in their portfolio. Tom Ford is in there, Hugo Boss is in there, Black Beards Delight is in there. (Just kidding, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention). Once they're in the cart, sign the proverbial dotted line and you're on your way.

Their team of experts will carefully fill your 8ml travel sized ScentAddict, complete with The Fragrance Shop quality guarantee, ready to be sent to you within 14 days. Each month they’ll send you a new sample refill for your ScentAddict atomiser. You can change your fragrance selection each time, or simply receive the same one if you’ve fallen in love. Once they've packed your order, it will be delivered direct to your home in a post-box friendly package so all you have to do is savour the moment and fall in love.

It's also a strong gift for someone this Christmas as you can enter a different billing address to the shipping address. Someone will get a kind reminder each month that you're just the best. If someone got this gift for me this Christmas, they can sit at the head of my table for the rest of their days. AND if you fall out of favour with that person for whatever reason, fear not, you can cancel the subscription at any time. 

The hardest thing is picking the 12 fragrances from so many. You could easily kill an hour or two rolodexing through the brands. I'd be interested in hearing your choices, I've got mine written down and laminated should someone think about treating me this year. Leave a comment in the box below and let me know which ones make your hit-list this year. 

NEW Acqua Di Parma, Colonia Pura at Debenhams | Fragrance Review

I've smelt a lot of fragrances recently and getting straight to the point, this new luxury launch from Acqua Di Parma is absolutely unique, fresh and contemporary. Why do we always want to smell incredible and different from the person next to us? For me it's because I want the person I'm with to associate that particular scent with me, in a kind of memory bank of matching people with smells. We all do it, when I pass a girl in the street and she smells great, I always think back to a person or time which reminds me of that scent. There are so many choices out there these days and some new launches can be quite similar to previous collections, but this new Colonia Pura scent is unique to anything ever formulated in perfume labs. A incomparable scent guaranteed to turns heads.

In the head, there are spicy notes of coriander which are combined with the classic citrus notes of cologne. In the heart, sambac jasmine and petit-grain meet the green facets of narcissus absolute, revealing a vibrant sensuality. In the base, hints of musk and patchouli sealed by light woody notes of cedarwood characterise the depth of the composition. For the modern and self-aware man who combines authenticity with effortless elegance.

There is a real sense of personality to this new fragrance, a scent that truly tells a story. Centred around an Italian emotional identity, freshness and citrus come across strongly in Colonia Pura. The bottle is iconic and the new bright packaging embodies the fragrance entirely. 

A contemporary and refined olfactory interpretation of the Italian cologne. Acqua Di Parma, Colonia Pura is available at Debenhams and is an inherent fresh fragrance, delicate yet bold, which embodies the most modern side of any mans lifestyle.

Exquisite, Collectable Fragrances by Kilian | Perfume as an Art

Kilian fragrances are without a doubt the most collectable fragrances around, not only for their incredible, unique scents but for their art. Each fragrance comes in a uniquely designed, reusable high quality box, oh no we are not talking cardboard, we are talking a box that has been designed to last, designed for other purposes in mind such as a jewellery box, watch box or even a box to keep all of you business cards in. The newest edition to the Kilian family doesn't disappoint in both in the smell or in the art, in fact I think it is my favourite box and fragrance yet.

As Kilian Hennessy celebrates ten years of redefining the art of modern perfumery, he invites us into a new Golden Age. The new fragrance Gold Knight (above) contrasts the addictive dark sensuousness of patchouli with the effervescent brightness of bergamot and anise, and warm golden shimmer of vanilla and honey.

Gold Knight is like liquid gold melting over a dark sensual armour.
— Pascal Gaurin (Perfumer)
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Moving on to the two Kilian fragrances that have been in my collection for some time, Noir Aphrodisiaque and Black Phantom, both incredible and unique. If you love indulgence and treating yourself, Noir Aphrodisiaque is for you, with a main powerful note of dark chocolate yet is also sweet and spicy. If you love Noir Aphrodisiaque then you have to try Black Phantom, with similar notes such as the warm spices and sweetness from sugar cane, this fragrance also touches notes such as rum and coffee.

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SHOP THESE INCREDIBLE KILIAN FRAGRANCES

#Kilian10Years #PerfumeAsAnArt @ByKilian

Jordan Belfort (The Real-life ‘Wolf of Wall Street) Launches New Pheromone-Based Fragrances

Jordan Belfort, making fragrances, don't make me laugh...is what most of us are thinking, right? As did I. Once I received the set of both of the fragrances 'Phenomenal' and 'Chemistry' I opened them to find a money clip wide enough to fit a massive wad of notes. Don't even bother using it if you *like myself, only carry enough cash for lunch and maybe a couple of beers after work, this money clip in true Jordan Belfort style is designed for a three day non-stop bender, all on cash! All of this aside, these fragrances are really good which is why I've decided to write about them.

Jordan Belfort, the real-life ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ whose life story was immortalised by the blockbuster film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has launched his own range of fragrances for men and women – Phenomenal and Chemistry. Designed at a molecular level to enhance aura and personal magnetism, the aroma molecules in each of the pheromone-based fragrances respond differently and dynamically to each individual user to create unique characteristics when applied.

Both fragrances are the result of a two-year research and development project into pheromones and how they influence individuals and those around us.

The science behind these new fragrances is simple. Pheromones increase your attractiveness, influence emotions and lift your mood and that of others. By enhancing the body’s chemical signals, the wearer can elevate feelings of excitement, anticipation and irresistibility. Both fragrances can be worn alone to layered together to provide Phenomenal Chemistry for the wearer.
— Jordan Belfort
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The Fragrances

Phenomenal Eau de Toilette 100ml RRP £60

With its compelling combination of citrus top notes, depth of oriental wood and warmth from a blend of cedarwood, musk, sweet vanilla and oakmoss base notes, Phenomenal is created to amplify the wearer’s natural charisma.

Notes:
Top: Mandarin, Bergamot, Lemon, Orange, Ginger, Coriander, Pepper and Pimenta Leaves
Heart: Orris, Jasmine, Violet, Rose and Muguet
Base: Vetiver, Cedarwood, Amber and Musk
 

Chemistry Eau de Toilette 100ml RRP £60

A carnal blend of sweet citrus top notes, a dash of sharp pepper interspersed with a hint of wood leading to base notes of musk and leather with overtones of patchouli, Chemistry is designed to spark compatibility and enhance confidence and allure.

Notes:
Top: Bergamot, Orange and Apple Blossom
Heart: Juniper Berry, Pepper, Rosemary, Jasmine and Birch Leaves
Base: Black Leather, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Musk and Vanilla
 

Phenomenal Chemistry – Limited Edition Luxury Box Set RRP £200

This limited edition luxury fragrance box set contains a 100ml Eau de Toilette Phenomenal Spray, a 100ml Eau de Toilette Chemistry Spray and a Jordan Belfort Rose Gold money clip.

The gift box itself is hand crafted in Sheffield, England by one of the world’s leading bespoke packaging specialists. Decorated with cold pressed rose gold foil and featuring the distinctive Jordan Belfort New York crest, it’s the perfect gift idea.

Jordan Belfort Fragrances are exclusively available online at www.jordanbelfortfragrance.com

A TRUE DAY TO NIGHT FRAGRANCE | ARAMIS MODERN LEATHER

London as with many other major cities of the world is a fast-paced environment. Our lives can be extremely busy with work, personal life, family, friends, fitness and mine is no different. I thrive on pressure and I love remaining busy. I’ve been blogging now since 2014, yet many people do not know what I do day-to-day, so when I had the chance to sample the new Aramis Modern Leather fragrance, I wanted to tie it in to a typical day in my life day-to-night. Who else’s day starts with a rushed morning followed by a day in the office, meetings, jumping on an off the London Underground, the gym and maybe even a few drinks or a date in the evening. No time for an outfit change, only time for a quick refresh, an extra spray of Aramis Modern Leather.

For me wearing tailored clothing has always given me confidence in everyday life. Fashion has been around for decades and the same trends cycle around with minor adjustments to bring the clothing into the current, modern era. Aramis are the fragrance equivalent having created an incredible new scent Modern Leather improving on a timeless classic and bringing Aramis back to the forefront. Aramis Modern Leather is inspired by the enduring and iconic key notes of Aramis Classic with an updated perspective that is distinguished in its unique blend of elements.

When working in shirt tailoring, it is imperative to look and smell great; your personal presentation is everything. Aramis Modern Leather is a great day fragrance - distinctly masculine and unmistakably elegant, the provocative fragrance marries the contemporary and timeless with ease.

However a truly immense day-to-night fragrance doesn’t only have to smell tremendous, but almost as important, it needs to travel well. The Aramis Modern Leather is packaged in a slim line clear glass bottle, showcasing the handsome amber-coloured fragrance. The gold-tone cap elevates the new design and is a statement of modern masculinity. The clean, straight lined, non-bulky shaped bottle makes it perfect to slide into your briefcase, laptop bag or even suit pocket ready to spray on the go for a quick freshen-up from the office to meetings.

You couldn’t live in London without spending a lot of time creating the perfect work/life balance, as it is such a vibrant, exciting city. The culture here is very much work hard, play hard and this scent encapsulates the essence of this.

As with any classic day-to-night scent it has to perfectly balance bold masculine ingredients with fresh notes. The new interpretation on the quintessential leather base includes top notes of Basil and Thyme for lift and distinction. Geranium enlivens the senses and adds a masculine floral heart, while Patchouli creates depth of character and fluidity. At the base, refined Leather and Oak Moss bring to life the premium quality of this robust and earthy luxury.

Aramis Modern Leather is available nationwide now.

*This post was created in collaboration with Aramis.

Photography & Videography by Husam Al-Deen