“Marigold is a fairly unusual ingredient. Its fruity and aromatic facets contrast harmoniously with the fresh and natural tones of jasmine sambac. Together they capture the vibrancy of an Indian flower market,” says Mathilde Bijaoui, Jo Malone Master Perfumer.
Left - Jo Malone Cologne Intense Jasmine Sambac & Marigold - 100ml - £115
TheChicGeek says, “The green, hypnotic fragrance of the Arabian jasmine is the star here. It’s the kind of fragrance you want to inhale as deeply as possible to make it last longer. The top is marigold, which I didn’t think had much a scent(?), and the base is benzoin, a balsamic resin from the bark of the Styrax tree.
Add in ylang, ylang, vanilla and amber and you not only have an Indian flower market, but one of those rare, warm British summer nights when the climbing jasmine is pumping out as much scent as possible into the night. While this is instinctively feminine, the lines are blurring so much in fashion, beauty and gender, that anything goes.”
Launching nationwide April 2018
Like Jo Malone? Read English Fields review - here
This year’s limited-edition range of Jo Malone scents is inspired by English fields. “Sunlight skipping across golden fields. Plentiful. Rich with precious grains. Hearty oat. Fluffy barley. Earthy rye. A warm and wholesome celebration. Cooled by the freshness of flowers. Poppies. Primroses. Cornflowers. Alive with colour. Dancing happily to the hum of crickets. The buzz of bees. The essence of the English landscape in five captivating scents,” or so the blurb goes. I can feel a Sting song coming on!
Left & Below - Jo Malone - English Fields - 30ml - £47
TheChicGeek says, “ The five scents are; Poppy & Barley, Primrose & Rye, Oat & Cornflower, Honey & Crocus and Green Wheat & Meadowsweet. The middle, gourmand three are the most interesting; the other two I think you can find elsewhere.
Primrose & Rye is pure holiday sunshine. It has that dry sun-tan lotion smell - a bit like Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc - from the mimosa and vanilla. The Oat & Cornflower smells really oaty with a hint of hazlenut, while Honey & Crocus, many people's favourite, smells like an almond biscuit, in a good way. The honey and almond milk will certainly get those saliva glands operating. I think they need to pump this into supermarkets to make us buy more!
This is a really fun collection and, like I’ve been saying for ages, these small sizes make it more playful and something you take away on holiday, plus they run out before you get bored. They just need to make the names on the bottles larger as you really need to concentrate to read them.”
Like Jo Malone? Have you seen the latest Cologne Intense fragrance? here
Created by Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux, who set out to reveal “the charisma of the wearer”, Montblanc Legend Night is a woody fragrance with aromatic notes of clary sage and peppermint, enhanced with cool spices (cardamom) and sparkling bergamot.
The middle notes contain cedar wood blended with floral lavender tones, 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.”
Left - Montblanc Legend Night 100ml - EDP - £67
TheChicGeek says, “The first Legend arrived in 2011, and has proved to be a commercial success. This is the third in the series after Legend Spirit.
It starts off fairly standardly and unmemorable, but then warms into a soft, vanilla wood with a background of violet. There’s nothing especially distinctive here and it doesn’t feel particularly ‘night’. Maybe not heavy enough?
I think Mont Blanc as a brand could go for a more upmarket feel and better quality ingredients with their fragrances. There’s a disconnect between a £500 pen and a £67 fragrance available from The Perfume Shop and, I think, as consumers become more used to nicher, quality fragrances, the people running these brands should take note and aim to copy or emulate the finish and feeling or get left behind. I do like the ombré bottle, it has that 80s ‘Fahrenheit’ feel, but I’d probably stick to the original Legend."
Montblanc Legend Night will be available exclusively at The Perfume Shop from 12th March 2018. Nationwide from 3rd April 2018.
The first fragrance for men from Nejma, Koeptys - from the latin coeptis, meaning project or endeavour - is a collaboration between the brand, master perfumer, Alice Lavenat, and French rap phenomenon, Booba - no, me neither!
Booba is the most downloaded music artist in French history and is said to have been closely involved with the whole creative process.
Left - Koeptys - 100ml EDP - £130. Exclusive to Selfridges
Koeptys opens with notes of incense, cinnamon and pepper before revealing a floral woody heart. Pure vanilla and patchouli inject power and sensuality to the base of this highly aromatic and addictive scent.
The alternating upper and lower case letters highlight the word ‘key’ and are a reference to the street culture that has been a major influence on Booba’s life and music.
TheChicGeek says, “When I first saw this I wanted to try it. I know nothing about Booba, but the name and font was giving me Egyptian hieroglyphic vibes and I was intrigued.
Nejma is known for centring their fragrances around oud, but it definitely doesn’t feature here. What starts off as something wet and metallic, and what you think could be the same predictable men’s scent, quickly whooshes into something more floral and much more interesting. It has a big feminine slant with the base of vanilla, but isn’t sickly and doesn’t dominate.
The woody floral centre dominates and is warm yet green and this fragrance is definitely something that twists and turns depending on whether it is on your skin, clothes and your mood.”
Right - French Rap Star, Booba, with whom the fragrance is a collaboration
TheChicGeek says, “You’ll be pleased to know this doesn’t smell like the top deck of a double decker bus. If somebody sprayed this and you had to close your eyes, you’d never guess this was called ‘Cannabis’.
Inspired by Andrew Goetz’s time in Amsterdam, the fragrance contains bergamot, black pepper and magnolia with a base of cedarwood, patchouli and sandalwood.
It’s fresh, fragrant and warm. There isn’t any smoke or that pungent odour associated with cannabis and is definitely an easy-wearer. This would make a good, everyday fragrance and I think the 420 fans will be disappointed if they smell this. Maybe they should have called it 'Amsterdam'?"
Left - Malin + Goetz Cannabis EDP 100ml - £125
See more grooming products containing cannabis here
Based on a 50 acre estate called “Keyneston Mill" in Dorset, Parterre - translated as “on the ground” - is a new and experimental British perfume brand aiming to grow many of the ingredients themselves. Two thousand plant varieties to be precise.
Founded by husband and wife, David and Julia Bridger, their backgrounds are farming and graphic design, respectively, Parterre launches with three fragrances, all limited in number and stocked at Fortnum & Mason.
Left - Not the Crystal Maze - Keyneston Mill, Dorset
TheChicGeek says, “Who knew you could grow vetiver in the UK? I always thought it was a tropical grass found in places like Haiti. Soon to be open to the public, Keyneston Mill looks set to be a destination in itself and not just for perfume fans. I can see a Monty Don special coming on!
No budget has been spared here with Sir Elton John’s ex-gardener Stuart Neilson and former RHS botanist Nanette Wraith being brought on board. Design plays an important part in the core of the garden with Renaissance Italy and Kandinsky referenced while the rest of the acreage is put to growing in volume.
Based on botanicals, obvs, the three fragrances, produced in collaboration with leading perfumer, Jacques Chabert, are “A Tribute To Edith”, geranium and rose, “Run Of The River”, bergamot mint and orange flower, and, the most masculine, “Root Of All Goodness”, bergamot, vetiver and leather.
I admire Parterre because they will be at the whim of the unpredictable British weather and, as such, they’re still trying to work out what works and what gives a decent standard of product. They’re also producing the oils themselves using steam distillation.
Right - Parterre - "Root Of All Goodness" - 50ml/100ml - £95/£160
Like the majority of gardens, things will get better with age. Everything seems quite new and experimental, and while the French will probably scoff and turn up their noses, literally and metaphorically, just remember they did that once to English sparkling wine and look how far that has come.
It would be nice to see which of the ingredients are homegrown - maybe a Union flag next to them? - I do think they’re missing a trick not doing at least one fragrance with 100% British grown ingredients, but I’m sure, in time, that will come. Also, they should use a British perfumer or try doing it in-house.
This plugs into the British obsession with plants and gardening and being able to visit and see the place will only add to the attraction. Of the three fragrances, the most masculine is the “Root Of All Goodness”, but I was drawn to the rose one. Men can wear pink and smell of roses, these days. I like the branding, it is fairly feminine, but the hand calligraphy numbering on the bottles is a nice touch. I’d just love to know what they could do with the stinging nettles, bindweed and Japanese knotweed in my garden!”
The classic touch of lavender is altered by noble iris, that master perfumers Nathalie Lorson and Olivier Cresp placed at the heart of the fragrance. Combined with smooth, sweet pear and in a subtle nod to the original 1975 release, a patchouli-leather accord structures this new woody floral fougère fragrance.
Left - Gentleman Givenchy - 100ml - £66
TheChicGeek says, “Off we went to Paris for the launch of this and even after two days it still wasn’t sinking in exactly which way around gentleman and Givenchy were arranged. The new fragrance is called Gentleman Givenchy and not Givenchy Gentleman - do you see what they did there? - which is the original 1975 fragrance and, to many, a classic.
Right - Face - Aaron Taylor-Johnson representing the "Gentle Man"
The new version is getting a lot things right: the face Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a good choice. He looks great in the ad. and the commercial, shot by his artist wife, it sees him dancing and looking hot. The bottle is the classic Givenchy shape and the idea of a “Gentle Man” is modern and reflects the change in masculinity over the 40 years since the original.
The main problem I have is, the fragrance smells like everything else. I’m not getting the original here and it’s certainly not memorable. Again, another fragrance not to dislike, but nothing to get excited about either.
With Givenchy’s pedigree they should have reintroduced the original with all its seventies-ness to a new generation and re-owned one of the great male fragrances. Givenchy is a storied brand and they have a respected history, they just don’t use it enough.
They have a new designer, Clare Weight Keller, and it will be interesting if she has any input into the beauty side of the business which has been neglected under the former Creative Director, Riccardo Tisci.”
Left - TheChicGeek giving good "Gentleman" on the red carpet in Paris
Below - TheChicGeek getting his Gentleman Givenchy on in the Eurostar lounge on the way home from Paris
The first fragrance in Beaufort London’s new ‘Revenants’ fragrance series is Iron Duke. A tribute to Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke Of Wellington (1769 – 1852), perfumer Julie Dunkley has created a strikingly powerful fragrance with animalic depths – an apparition of the celebrated horseman, warrior politician and sartorial pioneer.
TheChicGeek says, “I’ve become a fan of Beaufort London fragrances - read more here - and this is the start of a new collection based on the ghosts of great British figures. This is inspired by Wellington and his horse - Copenhagen - and the Duke’s penchant for brandy and drinking.
Beaufort London haven’t revealed the individual notes, which actually makes it more fun. I got a top of boozy cough mixture then the warm, leathery, animalic body of the horse. There’s some spice in there, yet it’s warm, sexy and leathery. It’s dirty, but has a modern naturalness to it, like a honey or something.
It’s keenly priced at £95, especially being a high concentration eau de perfume (30%), and the image on the bottle is by Leo’s - Beaufort Founder - friend, tattooist Robert Gisbourne-Ashby.
This is wearably animalic. If you want something even dirtier and grubbier then try Peau De Bête.”
Left - Beaufort London - Iron Duke - 50ml - £95
Read about the latest fragrance from Beaufort London, Rake & Ruin - here
In the modern Orwellian landscape it often feels like it’s a battle of the overly confident male egos. From Trump to Putin to Kim Jong-un, puffing your chest out and beating it hard has become an everyday occurrence. I thought - hoped - we’d left this in the last century, but it feels like we’re reliving the worst of the 20th century, every day.
There’s nothing wrong with being and feeling confident. It’s what gets you ahead, or so we are told. But, a delusional sense of entitlement and pride often ends with many cases of cutting your nose off to spite your face.
Last night, Zegna launched a new collection of premium fragrances. Titled #ElementsofMan, it contains 5 new fragrances named “Talent”, “Integrity”, “Passion”, “Wisdom” and "Strength".
Left - Wisdom, anybody?
While I can see the overall idea, it doesn’t feel very contemporary. Where’s “Vulnerability” & “Sensitivity”?
It feels like the Donald Trump collection of fragrances, which is ironic because Trump’s first fragrance, "Donald Trump, The Fragrance” was produced in partnership with Estée Lauder, who also produce the fragrances for Zegna. Launched in 2004, he also had others, now discontinued, called “Success” and “Empire”.
He’d probably wear all five of these, layered á la Jo Malone, yet he’ll think it was his original idea. More is more when you’re reeking of “Strength” & “Wisdom”, don't you think? No room for "Arrogance"?
It feels like an idea dreamt up between Lauder HQ in “Never Sleeps” New York and Zegna HQ in “Macho” Milan with little thought for the rest of the world. Successful men do wear Zegna’s clothes, you need a certain depth of pocket to be able to afford it, but let’s leave the 80s arrogance to Gordon Gekko.
Right - The full Zegna #Elementsofman line-up
“Talent”, for example, in isolation just seems a little strange. My British modesty and cynicism couldn’t wear a fragrance called “Integrity” without a little smirk.
Zegna is a premium menswear brand and they manufacture the most beautiful Italian clothes and fabrics worn by some of the world's most successful men. I think men today are more complex than these allow. These, at £180 for 50ml, are a premium fragrance offering, it just feels a shame that they’ve handicapped them with their names before you’ve even opened the bottle.
While the image of Davidoff Cool Water has always been a sparkling, aqua blue wave somewhere exotic like Hawaii or Malibu, you don’t have to go that far to experience the addictive draw of the sea.
Davidoff kindly took me to Cornwall to experience the latest edition to the Cool Water franchise - Wave. TheChicGeek and water don’t usually mix, but there’s something about Cornwall that when the sun comes out, it’s magical.
Famous for its ‘oceanic’ aquatic scent, Davidoff asked renowned perfumers, Francis Kurkdjian, Antoine Lie, and Jean Jacques to collaborate to create Wave. It begins with a bracing surge of the energising, signature marine splash accord and grapefruit notes that mingle with stimulating Sichuan pepper. The middle features birch leaf and juniper, on a masculine base of patchouli and sandalwood.
TheChicGeek says, “This is an easy wearer and that’s why the original Cool Water has remained so popular. A nice update, segue way, call it what you will, I particularly like the botanicals in it. The original ‘marine splash’ is there and while the rest balances around it, it remains a classic aqua cologne. It has a greenish feeling to it that continues the fresh theme without making it feel immature or unsophisticated. Cool Water Wave brings back the memories of the beach, so I'm diving in!”
Below - Surfer Geek