Baxter Pacific Cannabis | Fragrance Review

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Let’s talk Cannabis shall we? Full disclosure, I do not smoke cannabis, it's never been my thing. However, it's fast become an area of cultural interest to me. Especially with the rise of CBD oil, I spent a day researching the topic and you can find a link to my findings here

With that in mind let’s take a look at Pacific Cannabis; a new fragrance from Baxter of California. This fragrance is more appropriately marketed as a love letter to the city of California. Based on ingredients and locations that are synonymous with Los Angeles, they have set out to capture the essence and spirit of the city to bring you a new kind of fragrance. 

Has it actually got any Cannabis in it? 

In a word no. Cannabis Accord is used to stimulate the best parts of the natural cannabis leaf with a mix of essential oils and notes, with no actual cannabis used (no THC). Clear as mud? 

That said it's a great marketing ploy and it does raise an eyebrow. You have to ask do you want to go around smelling like cannabis? Well in truth, even if you did, you won't with this fragrance. 

You have an opening of Pink Pepper, Rosemary essence and Bergamot which has an extremely spicy and surprisingly exotic allure. It's not overly strong, but it has presence. I would also caveat the fragrance plays a neat tune in that it feels oddly familiar. Almost nostalgic, yet it's playful and modern. It's not a luxury scent, but it has a very fresh feel. I think that's the best compliment I can pay to the fragrance is that it has captured that LA vibe. Where creatives can flourish. The world is your oyster and so on. 

I never got anything other Tonka and Lavender on the dry down. And it didn't seem to last that long on my skin. I had a cautious one spray on my wrist and I couldn't locate that two hours later. Although that's not to say that a few more sprays wouldn't give it more longevity. 

I think the fragrance is a decent ice breaker for conversations. It is unique and I did get compliments. It certainly draws a laugh when I told my friend I'm wearing Cannabis. 

I recommend you seek it out and see for yourself. I would compare this with a middle of the range aqua parfum, if you like Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria you'll enjoy this. 

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush | Fragrance Review

Today I'm going to review the Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush. Although it's been out over a year, I wanted to bring it to the front of mind for some people that are looking for a punchy slick scent. 

The commercial featuring global ambassador Ansel Elgort oozes elegance, cloaked in a film noir red-pseudo that expresses intimacy, nihilism and some kick-ass Mustang Shelby's.  

The bottle is a typical metallic grey with a red insignia. It suggests a lighter scent, perhaps more suitable for summer. It's the fourth instalment for the Polo Red series. Polo Red was launched in 2013, Polo Red Intense in 2015, Polo Red Extreme in 2017 and now we have Polo Red Rush. 

The notes from the Polo Red Rush are aromatic fruity musk, cedar, mandarin, orange, grapefruit, lavender, saffron, pineapple, lemon, red apple, mint and orange blossom. 

First thing you'll notice when spraying is that the distribution on the atomiser is fantastic. A wide spray and the cap seals shut with a click. Very sturdy and you can lift the bottle by the cap which I like.

I was first hot a juicy burst of apple. There is a real notable sweetness and citrus opening and it's very pleasant. Not intrusive but also not overly original. I have the Jean Paul Gautier Popeye and I felt this really hit the same notes, but not as well. 

I did enjoy the woody dry down and I've heard some rumblings that people would have preferred it to stay sweeter, but I'm more inclined to have the maturity of the Cedarwood rather than the citrus lasting on my skin. 

I would caveat that by saying I think this has a lot of range and versatility. It's not an aqua parfum, but fits neatly into a sporty genre as well as transcending the summer and Autumnal seasons. 

I do think it's probably the weaker of the collection, but I'm still talking about a very enjoyable scent that I'm sure will grow on me overtime. 

Spice Blend by Maison Christian Dior | Fragrance Review | The All Rounder We've Been Waiting For?

Today I'm going to give you some initial thoughts on the new fragrance from Maison Christian Dior, Spice Blend. The name is terrible. Sounds like two keywords dreamt up by a PR machine that have spent all day deciphering what people punch into Fragrantica. 

But that's all the nasty words I have for Spice Blend as I'm enraptured with this scent. From the nose of Francois Demachy, Dior's perfume creator, (who remarked upon this as being a nostalgic creation) Spice Blend is marketed as a signature scent, simultaneously fresh and fiery. 

The opening notes are very peppery. It has a knockout opening, like Tyson coming out for round one, swinging. Blistering. The fusion of rum and ginger feels slightly boozy yet exotic. It's catchy, its invitational, it's also a bit suspicious. Like going a second date with a girl, whom on the first date, confessed she's a Russian spy with orders to kill you. 

It has a middle of coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon, which sweetens on the dry down. This gives this underpinning of sweet and spice, an elegant and sophisticated mix. It did envelope me. It did make me question, what am I going to do with this fragrance? 

How can I categorise this? Section it off, box it up. We all need genres, we all need a certain taxonomy to help us identify who we are. This could be a signature scent but it has too much of an uppercut for a height-of-summer fragrance. 

That said, the piquancy of Spice Blend is a real joy to experience. If you like Tuxedo by YSL then this is in that ball park. I think the luxury and the spice element is closer to Ambre Noit, also in the Dior collection. 

It's available now for £200 for a 125ml bottle. Ask for a sample from your local stockist. It's available on their website

Sauvage Parfum by Dior | Fragrance Review

Before I crack on with the Sauvage Parfum by Dior review, let me set the table with a quick history of the releases so far. Sauvage EDT (Eau de Toilette) was released in 2015. The EDP (Eau De Parfum) version was released in 2018 and we have the latest Sauvage Parfum.

I wish perfume companies would name their fragrances like Fred the Weather names his hurricanes. There is no doubt in my mind that Dorian is happening right now off the coast to the Bahamas. I haven't confused it with other category five hurricanes like Hurricane Carla, that hit Texas in the 60's. 

Spread the names out a little. 

We'll skip past the fact that the latest advert for Sauvage Parfum has been axed after it was accused to be racially insensitive to Native Americans. Which it's not by the way. 

I always like to start the reviews by giving you an idea of what to look out for, according to the press release. 

From the press release: 

For 2019 Dior presents Sauvage Parfum. Composed by Francois Demachy, Dior Perfumer-Creator, this enriched variation pushes the limits, amplifying the signature freshness and crafting new contours. 

Leading with a zesty whirlwind of bergamot and notes of pulpy mandarin, cardamom and Elemi, the addictive complex of Sauvage Parfum reveals entrancing notes of dry amber core, Virginia cedar and Sri-lankan sandalwood. 

Sauvage Parfum offers extreme freshness coloured with warm oriental-style hues and evocative oriental notes. Adding touches of colour, Sauvage Parfum is highly concentrated with an intoxicating scent, delivering new depths and a palette of contrasts. 

From what I've gathered by following various perfume forums and talking to my people at Dior, the signature bergamot that was used in the original Sauvage is now mixed with a juicier mandarin.

Which might explain why this updated version has a less scabrous dry-down than the EDP. Others have referred to that as the shower-gel tones. I don't think it was quite that bad. Although it does depend on the quality of shower gel you use. 

It's certainly more refined. It does sit closer to the skin and the background is overall very inviting. It wants you to come in and play around with the layers. Price wise it comes in around the same as the Beau de Chanel perfume. So it's towards the high end, which might be too rich for someone that's just after the Parfum as a flanker to the EDT and the EDP. 

But for DIOR nuts, I'd say there's plenty of reason to invest in this. It's a more broodier scent. Darker, smoother, perfect for the upcoming winter months. 

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.

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. 

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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

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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. 

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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'. 


 

 

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. 

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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. 

 

The Perfume with Cannabis Notes | 212 VIP Men Party Fever by Carolina Herrera

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News of a fragrance launch from Carolina Herrera is something that makes you sit up straight in your chair. Although the Venezuelan Fashion designer has handed over the creative reigns to Wes Gordon, the name still resembles and exudes Herrera's exceptional personal style. 

Perhaps better known throughout her career for dressing a bevy first ladies stretching as far back as Jacqueline Onassis, to current day Melania Trump.  

Although Spanish fragrance company Puig licensed the Carolina Herrera name to develop and market a line of perfumes in the late 1980s, a launch is rarified air. Not a single new liquid between 2002-2016. Now we have the launch of two new fragrances presented in chromed iridescent bottles; 212 VIP Party Fever and 212 VIP Men Party Fever

These perfumes are looking to align themselves with life behind the velvet rope.  They're looking to encapsulate the feeling of a VIP party. Behind the scenes Carolina Hererra 212 VIP has assembled a group of young talents from different walks of life, diverse in their personalities, cultures and nationalities, to be its nightlife crew.

They're young dumb and full of, no wait sorry that's Keanu Reeves in Point Blank. The 212 VIP team are young, authentic and enthusiastic about bringing their unique style to this universe, their spontaneity makes each see life differently.

 

Carl what is so different about this 212 VIP Men Party Fever

It has cannabis in. Yes, amongst its note of red berries, jasmine and ginger, comes a prominent yet not over powering trail of burning cannabis. 

You can definitely smell it, yet it doesn't quite have that pungent drive you'd expect to find in Bob Marley's shed, or an art students bedsit. 

It has a very distinguished and 'devil may care' insouciance about it. The sort of elegance you might associate with the mid-sixties Rat Pack just before the split. It has the infused duality of freshness and nostalgia. It projects well. Has decent enough silage. (I got about 5-6 hours). 

I'd say the bottle is neither here nor there for me. Looks like a battery for Robocop. Too rounded for an edgy perfume of this nature.

212 VIP MEN PARTY FEVER 100ML £59.00

Jimmy Choo Man Blue | Fragrance Review

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A bottle of The Jimmy Choo Man Blue fragrance arrived on my doorstep the other day and I wanted to give you my first impressions.

Who is the Jimmy Choo Man Blue for?

Jimmy Choo are looking to target the hip urban gent. The kind of man that skates to work in his suit and espadrilles. He's probably called Will, has great hair, your girlfriend can't shut up about how funny he is at work. We universally hate Will. 

Yet that's because Will is the man we all yearn to be. Now Jimmy Choo has introduced Jimmy Choo Man Blue fragrance that will help you channel your inner Will. 

 

The Bottle and Packaging

If you're thinking this bottle is reminiscent of a hip flask, you'd be right. It's curved at the back and, oozes sophistication and has graduated lacquering. Although it looks elegant, the dip-dye blue fade makes it hard to photograph. (Did my best). But that's hardly a disparaging remark on the design, more a pointless whine from a photographer’s standpoint. 

Another of the brand's signatures, crocodile, is worked as a textured effect on the soft rubber cap. 

It has strong bold shoulders making this an uncompromising and masculine looking bottle. 

 

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Carl what does Jimmy Choo Man Blue Fragrance smell like? 

It doesn't have that aquatic fresh opening that you might expect. It has a very peppery front, and then the woody, earthy notes settle in. 

I'm guessing I was after something more summary, casual, afternoon-date or a brunch meeting in Lululemon. But in fact it's more serious. It has a leathery base and I try to discern the wood notes. I'm never to crash hot on distinguishing the sandalwood from the cedar wood. 

I'll revert to the quote from the master perfumer from Jimmy Choo, Nathalie Lorson

"I composed this set of textures around three impacting elements: the aromatic velvety texture of sage leaves, the grained and raw texture of leather and the smooth texture of sandalwood (that settles that one) to create a masculine and modern addiction." 

 

Would I buy Jimmy Choo Man Blue Fragrance? 

Jimmy Choo Man Blue retails at £32, £46 and £66 for 30ml, 50ml and 100ml respectively. 

I would definitely have this fragrance on my shelf. It projects well, is undeniably masculine, has decent silage (I got 7-8 hours) and the spicy notes compliment my style. I'm not entirely sure it does what it says on the tin. I can't imagine myself getting on a skateboard with my white sneakers anytime soon. Leave that to the youngsters. 

Paul Smith Hello You! Fragrance Review

The new fragrance from Paul Smith fell on to my lap the other day. It's a unisex fragrance, the bottle isn't gender bias and has a universal appeal. The striped Paul Smith logo is evident both on the box and on the side of the bottle. We know Paul Smith is an avid book collector and this logo placement is a deliberate, yet subtle nod to his love affair with books.

The bottle is square, transparent and the liquid is also clear with a hint of pale green. Possibly to pair the inside pastel green coloured box.

Look out for the pin up girl on the inside of the bottle. Paul Smith is a huge fan of the pin up girls that the pilots would paint on their aircraft in World War 2. This vintage-retro throwback has a universal appeal; I know the pin-up portrait tattoos are ubiquitous right now.

 

Carl enough about the bottle, what does Paul Smith Hello You fragrance smell like? 

It's very crisp, has a lovely opening. Immediately I was confronted with a freshness, a citrus delivery and some lavender notes.

On the dry down I reached some more green notes, which would have been the apple cores. I can't say I identified the bergamot or mandarin, but there is an overall citrus texture that projects well.

 

Would I buy this Paul Smith Hello You fragrance? 

This is a very everyday fragrance. Nothing heavy or overwhelming. It's worth noting that Paul Smith is the biggest British fashion brand and for a heavyweight in the industry, the price point is remarkably modest.

50ml £35, 100ml £45.

 

The silage was also impressive for a summer fragrance, I got 6 hours and change which was quite surprising. The base notes of patchouli and vetiver penetrated through, perhaps not as masculine as the website description might have you believe but it's certainly present.

The Paul Smith Hello You fragrance is available through their website, it would also make a decent gift because of its universal appeal.

 

Dermot O’Leary Introduces the Earl Grey & Sandalwood Fragrance | Exclusive to M&S

Following the runaway success of Dermot O'Leary's skincare range and his first two fragrances, M&S is proud to announce the launch of the newest fragrance Earl Grey and Sandalwood, launching in June 2018. Earl Grey and Sandalwood sounds the name a working title Arthur Conan Doyle had for Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Maybe it came down to a coin toss. We'll never know. 

Dermot O'Leary launched his debut fragrances through M&S back in 2017; Bergamot & Basil and Vetiver & Cedarwood. The Earl Grey and Sandalwood is a lighter projection, appropriate for summer use. 

 

What is the bottle like?

The bottle sits square, square shoulders, square base and is transparent allowing a dip-dye effect of aqua marine to sit at the bottom. Almost the opposite to the Vetiver & Cedarwood which had a darker hue of blue at the top and faded to clear at the bottom. 

 

How does Earl Grey and Sandalwood smell? 

Earl Grey and Sandalwood opens with fresh, sparkling notes of bergamot and mandarin, leading to a heart that features aromatic earl grey tea accords and blackcurrant.

The base is composed of complimentary woody notes from galbanum, musk, cardamom, sandalwood and petitgrain, evoking sparkling high mountain streams in the heat of the summer sun.

Speaking of the collaboration and his growing relationship with M&S, Dermot commented; "There's no bond that's more quintessentially British than M&S, and I have loved working with the team there on this latest fragrance which will join the family of products we have created together. I hope everyone enjoys wearing it as much as I do".

Earl Grey & Sandalwood by Dermot O'Leary launches on 7th June 2018 online at www.marksandspencer.com and in M&S stores for £22.

Dermot O'Leary has coincided this new fragrance with the launch of his 24.hr Grooming for Men, a skincare range exclusively for M&S available in store and online. 

With many years in the entertainment business, Dermot has tested a huge variety of products and wanted to apply his learnings to create a hassle-free, affordable grooming collection of his own.

Jo Jenkins, Director of Womenswear, Beauty and Lingerie at Marla & Spencer adds: "We are absolutely thrilled to have worked with Dermot on the launch of his first grooming range for men. Recent research has shown that the male grooming market holds a great potential opportunity, and we are delighted to have partnered with Dermot as we feel both our male and female customers will really relate to him."

 

Would I buy Earl Grey and Sandalwood?

Absolutely. In a heartbeat. Dermot has got a great product on his hands here and the best thing is he isn't trying to over sell his cache. He is a public figure, he is immaculately dressed and a gentleman. Accessible, good quality and a very decent caveat for my Summer outings. 

 

 

Penhaligon's Marylebone Wood Fragrance Review

Penhaligon’s has launched a new trio of fragrances named for London neighbourhood’s: Belgravia Chypre, Kensington Amber and Marylebone Wood. I was dispatched a bottle of Marylebone Wood for review, which pleased me because I'm a huge lover of Marylebone and anyone who plays Monopoly knows how crucial an asset it is to own all the stations. 

Marylebone is known for being the capital of luxury. Endless hordes of aesthetic medicine centres, beauty clinics, patronised through the years by iconoclastic figureheads such as John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Ian Fleming. Home to Sherlock Holmes and the Wallace Collection. Home of Chiltern Firehouse where Kylie Minogue recently celebrated her 50th birthday and Orlando Bloom got a waitress fired using his powers of seduction. 

I digress. 

Let's say that Penhaligon chose their locations well. I'm not entirely sure if Bethnal Green would have flown off the shelf. (And if anyone thinks that is a dig at Bethnal Green, you're right). 

The Penhaligon's Marylebone Wood Fragrance had a lot to live up to. Although nothing as pretentious and arrogant as Hugo Boss calling their liquid, 'The Scent'. Please. 

 

First impressions

The bottle has a very cutesy appeal. The bow tie on the cap signifies a hint of aristocracy, and the sketches of the mews houses is very spot on. These houses you'll find dotted around the likes of Montagu Square where John Lennon and Ian Fleming used to reside. 

Around 200 years ago the maisonette of today were constructed for stabling of horses and carriages, with rooms above to house grooms and servants.

They were converted at the start of the 20th century when it became popular to furnish them in the Arts-and-Craft style of that time

This series of London themed fragrances come from the Perfumer of the year 2017 Fabrice Pellegrin.

On opening the woody scent carries notes of dry smoky sandalwood, vetiver and patchouli for a heady and subtly-sensual aroma.

I'm sure I have hits of cedarwood before the dry down. It's modern, it enlivens, and it's got the kind of character you'd expect from a bottle at this price point. 

 

Would I buy this? 

I would consider buying this if I was mutually sharing a bathroom with a loved one. It's a fragrance for both him and her, and you can share this, enjoy it, it projects well and has decent silage. Much better than some perfumes I've reviewed recently. 

My only disappointment is that it plays quite safe. Perhaps it needs to in order to be gender neutral, but I would have liked a bit more adventure. 

 

HERMES Eau de Citron Noir | Fragrance Review

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Here we go, back in the saddle after a short breakaway and I've been meaning to talk about the new Eau de Citron Noir Fragrance from Hermes for some time, so let's get into it. 

 

First impressions

The bottle has a tapered-tubular aesthetic. The shoulders are rounded and almost sits on the shelf like a small gentleman with his arms tucked squarely behind his back and it houses a blue liquid that has an iridescent quality to it.

I'm not sure who designed the bottle but it's worth noting the head perfumer is no longer Jean-Claude Ellena, but Christine Nagel. According to some sources Jean-Claude Ellena is now semi-retired and only does a perfume once every two years. 

Here's what Christine Nagel has to say about the release. 

"Following a path through the olfactory universe of hesperidia led me into a vast world, dotted with surprises, with citrus fruits.  Finger lime, Buddha's hand fruit, Eureka lemon... So many unusual varieties of citrus appealed to me, but it was the smoky and distinguished black lime that finally stood out as the key note."

Christine Nagel Hermès head perfumer 

 

What can I expect from HERMES Eau de Citron Noir Fragrance?

It has a great opening. Plenty of citrus, a touch of orange but all play second fiddle to a phenomenal lemon note. It lingers for about 20 minutes, it has a fresh delivery and then it evolves into a smoky-masculine metamorphosis. 

Here's where I have a slight issue with the scent. It doesn't really punch through with the weight of an authentic woody aroma. There is a little synthetic, almost faux-leather feel about the scent and it dissipates rather quickly. 

On the Hermes website it evangelises about going from 'midday to-midnight' which is also slightly disingenuous. I lost all feel for the perfume after 5 hours and for the price point, the silage should have the legs for 6-7 hours. 

 

Would I buy this bottle? 

If this Perfume was a James Bond movie, then it would be The World is not Enough. It has one of the best openings I've ever seen, then gets formulaic the more it goes on. I'd buy this bottle now and again for that opening, but know that this wasn't Pierce's best. (Hope that makes sense). 

 

What do other people say? 

I've had some good feedback. Only at a meeting today I was asked what I was wearing. (In a good way). And you know it's good when they ask to come in for a closer smell. (It was an informal meeting). 

Online I've found the reviews to be mixed. I did like one review that said 'it smells like the inside of a well-used, wooden Indian spice box that's held a variety of spices for decades.'

 

Available in 50ml and 100ml £48 and £96

2018 Bleu de Chanel Parfum | Fragrance Review

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I'm excited, are you excited? The launch of a Bleu De Chanel fragrance comes along come with the annual scarcity of a World Cup or long awaited James Bond movie. We're teased perpetually. Tantalised longingly. The emancipation swells and circles around the perfumery forums like a raptor in transit. 

What's the story so far with Bleu De Chanel? 

Luckily it doesn't have the complexity of a Marvel franchise. The new Bleu De Chanel Parfum is only the third instalment in the series. And I know what you're thinking, when has there ever been a decent 3rd instalment? Jaws? neh. Godfather? forget it. 

If you don't mind I'll let the press release take it from here. 

2010 - BLEU DE CHANEL Eau de Toilette

The original widened the scope of cedar to give it an arid vibrancy and the crispness of a pine forest at the height of summer. A vertical composition, soaring and carefree, spouting the bitterness of grapefruit and the dryness of vetiver. (Press release). 

2014 - BLEU DE CHANEL Eau de Parfum

Explored another aspect of cedar. The identifiable fabric of the first opus was plunged into ambery and musky notes. The murmur of sandalwood could be heard in the background, but the ambery accent and tonka bean are what heightened the sensuality of cedar.

2018, BLEU DE CHANEL Parfum

Adjusts the proportions of wood and citrus of the two previous interpretations. Immediately recognisable, the olfactory core of the very first fragrance is tattooed on the skin with the same, shiver-inducing top notes, the refreshing zests and the fresh sensation of lavender and geranium.

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First impressions? 

It's sweeter than it's predecessor. At the same time it has a bit more meat on its bone. Denser. I wore it to a bloggers breakfast at Sotheby's and I get a couple of remarks on my scent. That could be due to it's lack of projection (maybe I needed an extra couple of sprays?), or perhaps in a semi/business environment it wouldn't be appropriate for someone to complement me on how I smelled. Good or bad. 

How long does it last? 

This is perhaps the most interesting thing to note. The Silage is rumoured to be quite middle-distance with the EDP range, but I started to feel the presence of the perfume more as the day wore on. 

Later at another event down at the Oris pop-up launch in Mayfair, I actually thought I could smell the fragrance on someone else. But it was me. And the notes were starting to register, perhaps my mind just needed a blank canvas to process the data. 

What could you detect? 

I was getting more Lavender, and something crisp and woody. More sandalwood than cedarwood. It had depth, it had character. It was sophisticated and dense. 

Overall thoughts, worth the money? 

Very impressed with the perfume as a whole, but like they say in the blogging world, you're really only as good as your last blog. 

The trouble with Bleu De Chanel parfum is that you're always going to compare it to its predecessors, and in that department, I don't see a massive arc in it's trajectory. 

After the second meeting the scent began to fade to a trace, 4-5 hours in total, which is a shame. I do like the fact it doesn't invade a space, that it's projection is subtle, and that I'm wearing someone that 9/10 other men in the room won't be wearing. 

They've amped up the price, rumours are that the formula has less alcohol and more oil so the cost of production has increased. 

Bleu de Chanel - Debenhams - £66

Bleu de Chanel - Debenhams - £66

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