Jo Malone London Blossoms: Bloomin’ Marvellous

I might be on the other side of the world right now, but that doesn't stop me waxing lyrical about Jo Malone London and their latest release, Blossoms

As a proud UK Ambassador for Jo Malone London I'm fortunate enough to get exclusive access to their pre-releases and a direct feed to their news desk. In this article I'm going to give you the low down (is that what the kids say?) on what they have coming out this month. 

When I first saw the press release for Jo Malone London Blossoms, my mind immediately turned to impressionism. A romantic era where Art allowed invited people to use their imagination. To be transported to an otherworldly realm steeped in colour and vivid expressionism. 

The new blossoms collection, available for a limited time only, really encompasses the romance of Spring. Embraces the conviviality of what fresh light and hope can bring. 

IMPORTANT TO NOTE

This is not what you call an evergreen article. This is a here and now message, these scents are only available for a limited time from April 2019. 

Carl, tell us about Jo Malone London Blossoms

Dressed in a rainbow of ombré designs, the line-up is comprised of longed-for Star Magnolia and Silk Blossom, long-loved Orange Blossom and the radiant new Frangipani Flower.

You might remember I've written about layering scents before on the blog. In case you need reminding, Jo Malone London fragrances can be worn alone or layered with another to create a unique combination.

When it comes to the Jo Malone London Blossoms collection here are two pairings that are truly mesmerising. 

THE PAIRINGS

Frangipani Flower Cologne with Orange Blossom Hair Mist

A warm oral scent, radiant with frangipani as shimmering orange blossom flows through your hair.

Silk Blossom Cologne with Star Magnolia Hair Mist

An uplifting oral scent with vibrant silk blossoms softened by the gleam of star magnolia in your hair.

The Jo Malone London Blossoms collection includes:

  • Frangipani Flower Cologne 30ml and 100ml – £49 and £98  

  • Silk Blossom Cologne 30ml and 100ml – £49 and £98 

  • Silk Blossom Home Candle 200g – £49 

  • Star Magnolia Cologne 30ml and 100ml – £49  and £98 

  • Star Magnolia Hair Mist 50ml – £44 

  • Orange Blossom Cologne 100ml – £98 

  • Orange Blossom Hair Mist 50ml – £44 

  • Orange Blossom Diffuser 165ml – £65 

Join the Club 

Just as a caveat to this blog, I'm thinking of hosting a fragrance night round mine when I get back from traveling.

I'll set up the camera and people do one minute vids on what they think their favourite fragrance is and why, then I'll upload it to my YouTube channel

I'll get the BBQ going, stick on Goodfellas, get the poker chips out, you know make it less like a scene from Sex and the City. What do you think? DM me on Instagram or in the comment box below if you think this is a decent idea. 

The Perfume Shop | Deals of the Week Fragrances for Valentines Day

Valentine's Day is looming boys and girls. In this article I'm going to recommend 5 his and her fragrances from The Perfume Shop that will make the perfect lovers gift. I wanted to highlight both genders as I know a lot of female readers come to my blog for gift ideas. 

The Perfume Shop (winner of the coveted Retailer of the Year Award at the Fragrance Foundation Awards for the past two years) have some great deals on this week so you need to jump on this quick.

You can purchase the perfume in any of their 256 stores across the UK & Ireland or through their website. Choose from a multitude of delivery options; click & collect or next day all available.

Valentine Gift Ideas for Him

NEW RELEASES

Emporio Armani Stronger With You Intensely EDP 50ml

(Launching at The Perfume Shop 30th January 2019) RRP - £56.00

You may have seen the 'Together Stronger' web series on YouTube. A brilliant marketing campaign that has clocked up more than eight million YouTube. The same couple will be featuring in a new campaign for 2019 set in the Mediterranean entitled “Together we are shooting stars”. 

This fragrance has more of an oriental push. Floral notes at the heart with Sage and Lavender, underscored with Tonka Bean and Cinnamon. Perfect for your fireside companion. 

Hugo Boss, Boss Bottled Oud Aromatic EDP 100ml

Launched January 2019 RRP - £88.00

The ultimate Black Tie fragrance. ‘BOSS BOTTLED OUD Aromatic opens with a refreshing orange flower note on top and a seductive myrrh on the dry down. Very masculine. Your partner will effuse a woody leather trail with this fragrance. 

Perfect for those one on one black tie events that are slightly unusual. I was recently invited to a cigar and whisky tasting event down at Churchill's. Although I couldn't make the event, I would certainly look to wear something immediately distinguishable, to an event with an unusual theme. 

Alien man Fusion EDT 50ml

(Launching at The Perfume Shop 4th February 2019) RRP - £47.00   

Of all the new fragrance releases from the Perfume Shop, this Alien Man Fusion has a slightly more accessible price point. The bottle is ostentatious, it's different and the green coffee and smoked beach base notes give it a real kick. 

I would invest in this one if you're really looking to take your partner by surprise. 

Deals of the Week for Him

Eau De Lacoste Blanc EDT 100ml

ONLY £24.99 (offer valid 31st January – 6th February 2019)

You need to jump on these quick because they're amazing marquee name fragrances at a great price. This Eau De Lacoste Blanc EDT 100ml is one of the best every day scents on the market. For your sporty partner who enjoys a healthy and fitness focused lifestyle. 

It has a very citrus opening, plenty of grapefruit, rosemary and my favourite spice to put on salmon currently; Cardamom. (Honestly, get some Cardamom on your fish it's the best). 

Lacoste rarely make a misstep both in fashion and in their fragrances. It's a safe bet and a very versatile scent. 

Boss Bottled Night EDT 100ml

Price TBC (launching 7th February – 14th February 2019)

If I were to do an 'editor's pick' this would be it. Such an amazing spicy, intense fragrance for under £30. BOSS Bottled Night has an undeniable, palpable, masculine aura to it. 

It's compelling, sits close to the skin, has great silage and plenty of character. Trust me this more of a present for you than it is for him. You'll love it!  

WHY SHOP AT THE PERFUME SHOP 

Before we get into the women’s selection, a brief note on why you should shop through The Perfume Shop. Firstly they're the proud sponsors of this feature and by supporting them you're also supporting this blog, keeping the good CT ship afloat. 

Secondly,  their staff are trained and developed so that they are the most knowledgeable sales advisors within the perfume industry, with over 400 industry recognised experts.

You can visit any store (there are ten in London) and the experienced staff there are equipped and able to assist you select your perfect fragrance for you or for your Valentine.

Lastly, you can also personally engrave the fragrances starting from £5.99, both online and in selected stores.

 

Valentine Gift Ideas for Her

Emporio Armani In Love With You EDP 50ml

(Launching at The Perfume Shop 30th January 2019) RRP - £68.00

The flip-side to the Stronger With You Intensely for him is this very delicate In Love With You for her. It evokes and encapsulates all those unquantifiable emotions of love and obsession. 

Featuring the iconic double ring. Mr. Armani wears two single rings, one belongs to him, the other belonged to his life time partner, Sergio Galeotti. This double ring design was Mr. Armani’s inspiration for the caps of the bottles.

CACHAREL Yes I Am EDP 50ml - £60.00

New to the fold this year is the affirmative fragrance Yes I am by Cacharel. If your partner is into her makeup, has an infinity with lipstick then this iconic-shaped bottle will be just the ticket. 

It's bold, daring and reflects all the positive qualities in your partner. You'll be entranced by the scent, composed of Mandarin, Jasmine and Sandalwood. A very Oriental flavour and texture that will keep you on your toes. 

Daisy Love Sunshine EDT 50ml

(Launching at The Perfume Shop 30th January 2019) RRP - £57.00

This Daisy Love Sunshine is just brimming with optimism. A beautifully encased fragrance that effuses Summer vibes and the promise of good times. From the mind of Marc Jacobs, this perfectly balanced Sunshine Limited Edition will transport your partner to a happy place where optimism overflows and the carefree spirit of daisy is celebrated.

She'll love it if yellow is her thing and she has a penchant for fruity floral fragrances. 

Deals of the Week for Her

Lacoste Touch of Pink EDT 90ml

RRP - £55.00 down to £27.99 SAVING of £27.00 (offer valid 31st January – 6th February 2019)

A very playful scent and an absolute bargain with the reduction price! It's a very youthful scent. The pink bottle is hardly a subtle feminine touch but works perfectly. There is a citrus, there is floral notes and with it the promise of Spring. 

It has an everyday feel, a versatile scent that can worn to any event during the day. Even casual dinners or meetings. 

Gucci Bamboo EDT 50ml

Price TBC (launching 7th February – 14th February 2019)

Lastly on the ladies deal range is Gucci Bamboo. The bottle and the scent combined are remarkably elegant. It's notes of ambery and orange blossom just give it a velvet intensity. 

It's a complex fragrance that communicates perfectly for the essence of today’s multifaceted woman. The modern Gucci woman shares Bamboo’s characteristics of confidence and poise. 

There is so much positive allure I would have to make this Gucci Bamboo my editor's pick for fragrances for her. 

 

 

 

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 Tom Ford Top 5 Fragrances | Including the New Ombré Leather

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I must get a 1000 emails a day asking what my favourite Tom Ford fragrance is. Not really, but it's the reason the terrorists hate us. We get to spend ten minutes every morning deliberating on whether we want to smell of Tuscan or Ombre leather. What a life right? Seriously it's really been the agony of choice putting this list together, but here it is:

5. Tobacco Vanille 

I refer to this scent as the Dalton of the Blu-Ray box set. (Stay with me). It's animalistic yet sophisticated, refined yet rugged. I enjoy when I'm wearing it, however it's never my go-to. But that's only because the others are so damn good. 

4.  Noir de Noir

The spice elements in Noir de Noir make this the perfect Black Tie after shave. I like to put this on my wrists before heading out to award shows, or upmarket press dinners. It stays close to the skin so having it on the wrists is better for projection. What's more the silage is so good that I know I'll still be smelling good right through the after parties. 

 

3. Plum Japonais

Yes Japanese plum and cinnamon. Amazing fragrance that is possibly the best Autumn/Winter fragrance you can own. It's dark, has an element of mystery and exudes masculinity with a woody (oud) dry-down. Imagine yourself cuddling up to the missus in Winter Wonderland, wishing it wasn't £10 for a glass of mulled wine. 

 

2. Tuscan Leather 

You know how you can't have Rocky 4 as your favourite Rocky but secretly it's your favourite. This Tuscan Leather fits right into that slot. A guilty pleasure to be enjoyed socially, amongst the spoils of the unapologetic elite. Yes, I'm talking about Private Members clubs. Trinity Square, Home House, concierges, cigars in front of the fireplace. I'm talking about that private jet you hired just so you can smoke that Romeo & Juliette in 1st class. (Ok I've taken it too far, but you get my point rich white-y). 

 

1. Ombre Leather

1. Yes Top of the list, A number One, top of the heap. The Tom Ford Ombre Leather. We all like new shiny things don't we. But this 2018 release is the best in the range. It has all the woody-fruitiness of its predecessors but a better balance. The scent is very linear, meaning there's zero fuss, unambiguous. Plus it has the coolest name, and I can't help saying it to myself when I pick it up of the shelf. 

SHOP MY TOP 5 TOM FORD FRAGRANCES

Jo Malone and Huntsman Collab | Makes Scents I Suppose

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This week I attended a dinner with some handsome souls to witness the release of the new fragrance collaboration between Jo Malone and Huntsman Savile Row. I'm a huge fan of each of these quintessentially British brands and it's great seeing these two juggernauts within their respected industries join forces. 

I've mentioned it countless times before, but I love it when the right people come together and make things happen. One of the biggest crimes of the last century is that Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren never had any kids. Those two were specimens, in their peak the best athletes on the face of the earth had they borne a child, it would be flying around right now catching planes falling out the sky. 

I digress. 

The bottles are beautifully appointed, dressed for success in a distinctive bottle, decorated with Huntsman's gold typography and a matte burgundy cap.

The four refined fragrances are as follows. 

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AMBER & PATCHOULI COLOGNE

For lavish evenings, entombed with the presence of amber. A scintillating pairing, blended measurably with deep, characterful patchouli.

ASSAM & GRAPEFRUIT COLOGNE

The luring smokiness of guaiacwood. Like Mariella Frostrup's voice, late 90's. (I've not heard it for the past 20 years as she's not been on the telly as much. I can only imagine it's got smokier but I can't attest to that). It's lively, full bodied and seductive. (The scent, not Mariella Frostrup. Although I bet Mariella is also those things, but having never met the lady, I can't attest to that either). 

BIRCH & BLACK PEPPER COLOGNE

The initial notes will project a citrus burst of grapefruit. As it settles, the  black tea note of Assam simmer through seamlessly, unfolding like the last ten minutes of an Agatha Christie Murder Mystery. 

It has a herbal, forest-floor vibe and would is on the crest of being intrusive, yet shows restraint just at the last. 

WHISKY & CEDARWOOD COLOGNE

Anything with Cedarwood gets my spider-senses tingling. Wait, no wrong way round. Anything with Whisky in I should say. (But spray responsibly).  Fused with the cool spiciness of black pepper and cardamom, juxtaposed with smoky birch and an accord of magnetic ink. 

 

The new collection is available at jomalone.co.uk, select Jo Malone London Boutiques and Huntsman, Savile Row from October 2018.

Photo Credit @archiebrooksbank

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. 

 

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. 

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

Hermes.jpg

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

Olympéa & Invictus: New fragrances by Paco Rabanne | Fragrance Direct

Hands up if you tend to get a new bottle of fragrance for Christmas? Valentine's Day? Or how about your birthday? Me too! The problem that I have with that, is I tend to get gifted the same fragrance that I've worn for many years because your loved ones don't want to risk straying away from the norm. This tends to repeat year after year and then I'm stuck wearing the same boring scent until they have completely run out by which time I'm normally gifted another bottle of the exact same! 

Fragrances as well as clothing change in terms of trends. New, exciting combinations of perfume are discovered every month, so why stick to the same monotonous scent that you've worn tirelessly for years? I personally like to try multiple different fragrances and test the reaction of people when you first meet them. This is why I love brands such as Fragrance Direct because they are forever refreshing the collections that they stock, including the new exciting trends. 

"Wow you smell great, what are you wearing?"

On the 20th January 2018 I was introduced to these two incredible fragrances courtesy of Fragrance Direct, Olympéa & Invictus by Paco Rabanne. Two very unique bottles look great on your shelf either together as his & her's or individual. So this year whenever anyone asks what I would like for a present, I'm just going to direct them to the new fragrances on offer at Fragrance Direct, job done. Keeping it fresh and on-trend.

But What do Paco Rabanne Olympea & Invictus smell like? 

INVICTUS

The scent of victory, the essence of heroes. A daring smash-up of freshness and heat. Marine and grapefruit flirt with the warm breath of gaïac wood and ambergris. Ecstatically addictive, a powerful stimulant. In it to win. Ingredients: Woody fresh - marine accord, laurel leaf, ambergris accord, grapefruit zests, guaiac wood and patchouli heart.

OLYMPÉA

As charming as a modern goddess and just as disarming. Salty-vanilla, watery jasmine and ginger flower wrapped in cashmere. A divine potion of addictive sensuality. As soft and enveloping as skin. Ingredients: Fresh Oriental / Gourmande Floral Salty-Vanilla - salted vanilla, water jasmine, ginger blossom, green mandarin, ambergris and cashmere wood.