Retro men’s fragrance ads to make you smile

In our semi-regular series looking back fondly to fragrance ads of yore, we’re concentrating today on a batch that are even more (mostly unintentially) hilarious than previous selections. With a fascinating look at what men should smell like, and how they should behave, we feel these serve as public information films, and should possibly be studied in history lessons while a teacher writes ‘What WERE they Thinking?!’ on a white board…

 

There’s something rather ironic about the voiceover saying ‘…for men who aren’t kids anymore’ just as a woman is shown spoon-feeding her man-child partner in a restaurant, don’t you think? Immediately after asserting how grown up and un-kid-like the man who wears this fragrance definitely is, they ask ‘Would Canoe suit you? Ask a woman…’ while she’s now shown cutting his hair. We don’t get to see her rock him to sleep or read him a bedtime story or even talc his bottom with matching powder, but the inference is surely there. The people who made this Dana Canoe advert in the 60s HAD to be trolling the chaps, right? We’re down for it.

 

‘He believes in the same things his father believes in’ – wearing all white outfits while gazing wistfully from windows in all white rooms, apparently. Then, because he’s ‘strong and dependable’ he pops down to the beach to help two fishermen haul a boat out to sea (NB: they were doing perfectly well before he stepped in, but we’re sure they praised his name to the sky). Actually, we’re big fans of the Old Spice fragrance, here at The Perfume Society. It’s a proper masculine classic, and if you haven’t smelled it for a while, quit your sniggering and have a sniff. But do feel free to snigger at the old adverts, all the same.

 

#moustachegoals for miles as our hero is seen splashing on Blue Statos Cologne one minute, and hurling himself into a hang-glider the next. We hope he waxed that ‘tache or he could give himself whiplash. And who’d have thought it? It turns out hang-gliding is the perfect sport to take up if you want to make eye-contact with female drivers – not something we’d have thought Health & Safety regs would approve of, but still. She can get a whiff of his Cologne even as he whisks through the air above her car (like a fragrant falcon), and they immediately decide to live together in a glorified wooden shack. We love happy endings.

 

The Hai Karate adverts were always firmly tongue-in-cheek – ready to take the proverbial out of themselves, and presented in the manner of camp Carry On style films of the era. There’s something a bit weird about watching them now, though – a genuine sense of unsettling danger of women uleashed from their senses by getting a mere sniff of the Cologne. Here, a female nurse adds injury to injury by ruthlessly persuing a patient across a hospital ward. Apparently the brand put ‘instruction for self defence with every bottle’ because it smelled so good, men who wore it were in constant danger. Or something.

 

Shopping for men while picking up their vegetables for the week, two women perform an improptu musical outside a greengrocer’s, discussing what, exactly, constitutes ‘something about an Aqua Velva man.’ I’m not sure we ever quite get to the bottom of it, only that they must be ‘manly’ and ‘last all day’. With packaging that at first glance might be mistaken for men’s hair dye – or a devastatingly attractive fake Moustache In a Box – we can only guess how ‘fresh’ and/or ‘provocative’ the duo of fragrances actually smelled. Or perhaps it’s of secondary importance to the freshness of the veg?

By Suzy Nightingale

How to shop for men’s fragrances? Spread the love this Valentine’s Day (and beyond)

Are you looking to treat the man in your life with a new fragrance for Valentine’s Day, or a chap who’s just exploring the fragrant world for himself, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting. Follow our guide of how to start sniffing out a brave new world…

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Better to tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents – take a look at some of the suggestions, below. And first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge, but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

Why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Age, character, hobbies and career are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent orientals along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with a selection of Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore.

The Men’s Edit Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

A new season is approaching – and this is time for any man to switch heavier winter scents to a new fragrance wardrobe. We curated this selection especially for chaps looking to find something new, so there’s something for every man (and plenty of ‘borrowable’ finds) – including Bentley, Parfums de MarlyCristiano Ronaldo and TWO duos from cult brands – Escentric Molecule and Clive Christian – among others. This is a thrilling collection to sniff your way through, and with two added extras from Penhaligon’s and Aromatherapy Associates, this box is worth over £40 to begin with, and is priceless when you discover that new favourite…

 

Niche Collection II Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIPs)

Our first Niche Collection sold out in record time, so we’ve chosen even more scents this time, including a 7.5ml of Anima Vinci Neroli Wisdom. Alongside treasured houses such as Amouage and Atkinsons we’ve included exciting newness from Parterre, Stories by Eliza Grace, Memoize, The Modernist, Tom Daxon. But it doesn’t stop there… We added skin-loving treats for chaps who know that pampering is self-love they can take part in, too. Keep your face glowing with the recent GOLD AWARD winning skinSense Overnight Leave on Mask (WORTH £8.50) – and ensure your hands smell and feel wonderful with the bestselling Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (WORTH £10).

Miller Harris La Collection Voyage Pour Lui – was £70 NOW £35!

A versatile selection of Miller Harris’ best selling male scents, what an opportunity to try something from this always wonderful British fragrance house. Inspired by dreamy journeys conjured with every spritz, each of the three fragrances come in luxurious 14ml travel sizes, and are presented in precious miniature versions of their full size bottles. Miller Harris Étui Noir – suede-like leather is supported by the woods and powder of iris. Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent – bergamot and cardamom is balanced against black pepper and balsamic elemi. Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac – an addictive blend of rich woods, honeyed tobacco leaves and hot spices.

If you’re treating yourself:

It’s best to try a whole range of differing fragrances – that way you can narrow down exactly what it is your nose is loving best. With each of our boxes, some of which you can explore above, we’ve created Smelling Notes to guide you through the process, but here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

– Try the fragrance on a blotter (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these should be available on perfume counters – and when you buy a Discovery Box from this site, you’ll find a handy pack of blotters already inside.

– Write the name of the fragrance on the blotter, otherwise you’ll definitely forget it, later (and chances are, that one’s bound to be the best!)

– Wait a few minutes for the initial alcohol and the top notes to subside – a lot of people take huge whiffs immediately and then complain ‘it smells of alcohol/hairspray!’ Let it dry a little, first. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial.

– You really need to smell a scent on your skin! Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on. We’ve lost count of the number of scents that didn’t particularly appeal at first-sniff, but which a few minutes/hours later we realised we adored. Fragrances are made to be worn on and warmed by skin, not paper…

– Ideally, try no more than two at a time on the skin – one on each wrist. We don’t believe fragrance-shopping should be rushed, but we all live busy lives. You can try one more, on the inside of an elbow – the elbows also happen to be good pulse-points.

– Try to live with a fragrance for several hours, or better still, a whole day/evening) before you part with your cash. That might mean getting a sample, if it’s available in store (or exploring the Fragrance Discovery Boxes). Try to wear the scent more than once if you’re properly testing it: mood, weather and what you’ve eaten can all seriously change how a fragrance works on your skin, and how you feel about it.

– Spray a darker-coloured scarf or inside of a jacket lining, too, and sniff it later. That way, it still warms with your body heat, but you’re not everwhelmed by it. And you can take it off!

Book a fragrance consultation if you’d really like to make a special occasion of it. Many fragrance houses and department stores now offer this service, some of them are completely free and others you have to pay for (but it’s usually redeemable against purchase). Have a look at our round-up of some of these services; we originally wrote it for people wanting wedding fragrance consultations, but it applies whatever the occasion!

When you’ve fallen in love, only then go back and make your purchase – or flag-up to loved ones which ones you liked most, so they know for future gift-worthy occasions…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Luxury Boxes: perfect gifts for ‘not quite sure what they like’ loved ones!

Have you got people to buy presents for this Christmas whose tastes you’re not absolutely certain of? There are always some, it seems, and we have the perfect gift idea: a selection box of sumptuous scents in Luxury Boxes!

We pride ourselves on offering a beautiful range of luxury niche and hard-to-find fragrances, each box comprising a wonderful selection of scents your loved one can try. We always say the only way to buy fragrance is to live with it a while on your skin, to see how the notes unravel as it warms with you, to explore how each one makes you feel… and the best way to do this is by having a variety of try-me sizes – a scented something for every mood!

Consider giving these gift boxes as an initial ‘taster’ present, and then asking which their favourite was, to buy the full size later on (now safe in the knowledge they’ve tried and adored it!) And of course they make fantastic standalone presents for any perfume lover, with something for every budget.

Why not tick off some more gift buying right now, from the comfort of your home, and let us do all the hard work for you? Or if you’re already done (our congratulations and sheer envy, if you are!) why not put your feet up and treat yourself for a change…?

Now this set represents a HUGE bargain, boasting a £15 voucher given with every box, to put towards a full size of your choosing. Each scent was developed by a different master perfumer – think: Fanny Bal, Thomas Fontaine, Michel Roudnitska, Christian Provenzano, Beverley Bayne and Randa Hammami – true experts and alchemists in the world of fragrance. From stunning florals to exquisitely fresh fragrances and a mystical woodiness that’s captivated everyone who’s worn it, we think you’re going to be as excited as we were to discover this collection. Learn all about this exciting new house with an explanatory leaflet and ten scent strips to fully explore and get to know the fragrances in depth – it’s ideal for those who crave something truly different, and for people just learning the delights of perfumery.
Anima Vinci Discovery Set £15

A fantastic second curation of Tom Daxon fragrances (the first one is still available, if you prefer) continues the exploration of the signature collection from this rising star of the perfume world. Five fabulous fragrances – all shareable, all delectable, a celebration of dark and mysterious scents that we think are just perfect for the colder months. Each fragrance is meticulously created with perfumer Jacques Chabert – who, during his career, has spent time working on scents for Chanel and Guerlain (and who twentysomething Tom Daxon has known since childhood).
Tom Daxon Discovery Collection Two £45

With creations by one of the world’s leading perfumers, the new perfume house Floral Street pride themselves on shaking up your opinions about floral scents, with their distinctly modern spin on a classic perfume category. Put basically, Floral Street’s fragrances are about as far from your granny’s florals as it’s possible to get – each one created by the star perfumer Jérôme Épinette, who is known for his mastery of natural ingredients. As Floral Street put it: ‘These are bunches – not bouquets. Ingredients, not notes. And it’s about ease, modernity and joy.’ Using unexpected combinations beautifully blended, they’re affordable luxuries to indulge in at any time, and especially suited to those new to exploring niche perfumery.
Floral Street Discovery Set £14

In an age where we hear a lot about conscious consumerism, Sana Jardin is looking to change the world – one utterly exquisite bottle of perfume at a time… The scents in the Sana Jardin collection are strikingly beautiful – a magic carpet ride in every bottle. And – enhancing their feel-good factor – this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house offers flacons created entirely from recycled glass, along with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations for Sana Jardin. The perfect pick for someone who’s socially conscious but still wants to smell utterly sublime!
Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30

Discover British master perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek‘s collection in one brilliant box. After years of creating scents for iconic brands like Jo Malone London and Jigsaw, Ruth set about creating her own range. Each of her perfumes is a masterpiece that takes two or three years to make, crafted using some of the best ingredients the world has to offer and seeking to capture fragments of a life well lived within each composition. Expect to find your new scent love right here, with a truly mesmerising modern take on Chypre (surely the most sophisticated fragrance family), along with luscious florals and intriguingly contemporary (and definitely sharable) scents. This selection (with lovely travel-friendly sprays) is a must-try for anyone who has a love of perfume – or would make a great gift for someone wanting to discover, explore and enjoy a unique perfume house.
Ruth Mastenbroek Discovery Set £17.95

The Merchant of Venice invites you on an enchanting journey through the different olfactory families to discover their Murano Collection. A unique set that reinterprets the art of Venetian Perfumery, it is inspired by its craftsmanship and age-old trade with the Orient. Encompassing the exotic ingredients that Venice traded, the perfumes and packaging evoke the rich traditions and history on which this noble city was founded. It’s an incredible collection with each fragrance encompassing a fascinating story and a snapshot of historic influneces composed with the contemporary fragrance-wearer in mind. Did you know The Merchant of Venice found a unique rose in the grounds of a Venetian palace, and used this for one of their scents? For travel, history and scent-lovers alike…
The Merchant of Venice Discovery Set £30

Cochine is Vietnam’s first luxury fragrance brand – and one that we are totally obsessed with! Created to inspire you, Cochine’s collection of eaux de parfum captures the romance of a sun-warmed garden as its enchanting scents unfold into the evening air. The Cochine Floral Collection has been specially selected from Cochine’s portfolio of unique botanical scents, including the newest fragrance, Tuberose & Wild Fig. To wear these is to be transported to exotic climes and a heavenly scented, balmy air. The fragrances are presented in sizes that mean they’re great to have for spritzing at home, popping in your handbag or even taking on holiday – completely perfect for that unashamed floral lover in your life.
Cochine Floral Collection £35

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Follow our step-by-step sniff-along!

Socks. Cufflinks. Slippers. Perhaps a ‘novelty tie’. The options for Father’s Day presents haven’t exactly kept apace with the vast array of gifts for Mother’s Day, so maybe you’d like to consider giving something really special this year? A fragrant gift that will keep on giving…?

It can be difficult enough to select a new perfume for yourslf to wear, but when it’s a gifting occasion, where do you begin?!

We specially curated The New Man Discovery Box to be a starting point to exploring fragrances. Choosing a wardrobe of scent styles, with something to please every age and occasion, there are thirteen in all to explore, plus a full-size scented shower gel and generous travel-size shave gel. Each fragrance has a web page devoted to describing it in greater detail, giving some of the notes you might smell and an idea of the inspiration behind it.

But we didn’t just want to leave you there. Oh no. How about following us on a step-by-step sniff-along? On our Instagram channel, we filmed two live ‘Unboxing’ videos, to show you exactly what you’re getting and try and answer some of your questions about buying fragrance for men. Infact, there were so many scents to sniff, we had to split the videos in two parts, otherwise we could have been there all day!

Unboxing Part One

Unboxing Part Two

There are so many things to consider when buying fragrance as a gift, particularly if you don’t just want to keep on getting them the same ol’ thing every year. So, here are some of our thoughts about the fragrances, as we explored them during filming…

– A great fragrance we thought would be perfect for a chap who doesn’t like anything too overpowering is Issey Miyake L’Eau Mjeure D’Issey – slightly salty, softly balanced with smooth woods and one of those ‘lean closer for another sniff’ type scents, the bottle is stunning, too.

– Others may like a more ‘punchy’ scent, and Creed Viking certainly hits that spot, with warm spices and mint coursing through the composition to get those senses tingling. We loved the quote from fragrance expert James Craven at the launch: when someone asked if this could be worn for work, he replied, ‘This isn;t for the man who feels he has to ask…’

– There are times you can’t pick out a single note at a time in a scent, as they’re so well blended and harmoniously balanced. Jimmy Choo Man Blue, we decided, gave the overall impression of a ‘sexy man smell’ that’s somehow quite classic and yet modern all at once.

– It’s really important to smell the fragrance on the skin, and live with it for some hours, to get a real feel for its character. Shay & Blue Kings Wood was a case in point: it smells so much more juicy and playful on the skin, and really takes you on a journey through the ingredients. The wood used, here, is (unusually) English oak – strong, smooth and wonderfully dry to smell.

– The ingredients need your body heat to develop and bloom to their best. We particularly loved the sweetness underpinning Mugler Alien Man, for example, which doesn’t come through as much on the blotter, but on the skin is incredibly addictive! This one definitely needs time to appreciate the unusual subtleties.

– Suave, sophisticated and traditional-smelling at first, Dunhill Racing Green takes an unexpected path with a twist of seductively heady orange flower and a healthy dose of black pepper. With a bottle that just won a Fragrance Foundation award for best packaging, the scent inside is sure to be a winner for many gents, too.

– Lists of notes aren’t always useful when considering a fragrance. Someone who says ‘I hate patchouli’ would be surprised how many fragrances use that ingredient, and you may never even know it’s there! In  Jack Piccadilly ’69 it has a leathery, rounded smokiness that feels like you’re in an illicit gentlemen’s club (and with a touch of Earl Grey tea) – certainly not the stereotyped ‘hippie’ smell many still associate with that ingredient. And can you guess which famous actor is behind this house…?

– We loved the collaboration between a traditional men’s tailoring company and the oldest perfumery in the UK, Floris Turnbull & Asser 71/72 smells like a freshly ironed, immaculately made men’s cotton shirt, we felt; an aromatic steaminess with a G&T on the side and a stunningly luminous jasmine in the heart.

– Many people ask which types of fragrances are best for hot weather, and we felt Goutal Bois d’Hadrien would be one that’s ideal: cool, crisp but still with a characterful complexity beneath, it’s like a walk in a pine forest beside a sun-warmed lemon grove. Divine.

– Looking for a fragrance that transitions effortlessly from day to night? We felt Michael Kors Extreme Speed did just that, suitably fresh enough to wear to the office without filling the room, but with a great depth as the fragrance develops.

– Men’s fragrances have come on leaps and bounds, now offering a more diverse array of choices (rather than simply ‘sporty fresh’). Floral notes in fragrances smell incredible on a man’s skin – we thought Mont Blanc Legend Night was stunningly soft, powdered with woodsy violet, snuggly smelling in the best possible way.

– Cologne is a traditional favourite, now updated and with a touch of Turkish barbershop exoticism in Ted Baker Grooming Room Cologne. Ultra green petitgrain sparkles on the top as the heart nestles geranium against leather and saffron, and we loved the rich dry-down of frankincense, amber and musk.

– The majority of niche and high-end designer scents say they are ‘unisex’ or even ‘genderless’ these days. We urge you to put aside preconceptions and just smell… if you like it, you should buy and wear it! Although this is presented as a ‘masculine’ scent, we both enjoyed wearing Nejma KoEptYs, which has a deliciously silky coconut milk note balanced by vanilla, tolu, warm spices, and smells fantastic no matter who wears it.

– When searching for any fragrance gift (or treating yourself!) our Find Your Next Fragrance section is here to help. Simply type in the name of a scent you know they (or you) already like, and our clever database will present you with six new fragrance options to try with several budgets in mind.

The New Man Discovery Box £19 (VIP price £15)

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Explore the 'lost' archives of Calvin Klein's Kate Moss photos

Few contemporary fragrances have shaken up the scent world in quite the way Calvin Klein‘s Obsession did in 1985. Youthfully warm, spicy yet layered with waves of freshness, it evoked the heady joy of first love in a style that suggested to the under 30s – this is a perfume for YOU!
Celebrating the reinvention of this contemporary classic in the form of Calvin Klein’s Obsessed, the fragrance has been reinterpreted for both men and women, with a billowing softness of violet leaf, lavender and purple sage for her; grapefruit, pepper and cardamom for him. Both leave intriguing trails of vanilla-y ambrox in the dry-down that we can’t get enough of.

And what better true celebration for the new campaign than to dig through the archives and discover lost footage and the most dreamily beautiful shots of Kate Moss from the original? As Raf Simmons, Chief Creative Officer for Calvin Klein explains, ‘I suppose you could say we were obsessed by Obsession. If one thing summed up Calvin Klein for us visually, it was Mario Sorrenti’s Obsession campaign with Kate Moss. It lived in our heads for so many years and became a touchstone of sensuality… We thought about a scent that could reflect such an idea of memory and desire for today. Of male and female, of the memory of somebody else on your skin.’

A revealing interview with the equally ground-breaking photographer of Obsession, Mario Sorrenti, shows tenderness, passion and talent combined to make not only the scent itself, but the adversiting aesthetic for it, utterly iconic…
What was the creative process like for OBSESSION?
‘It was very natural and instinctive, just Kate and me going off and making pictures. I had a Bolex and my Pentax, and even though we were sent there to work, it felt like we were on vacation. It was personal and intimate.’
What was it like working with Kate at that time? How would you describe your relationship?
‘It was great. We were young and in love and I loved photographing her. When we did Obsession she was 18 and I was 20, just starting out in our lives with no pressure about anything. We were just going off and having fun.’

Why do you think Obsession became such an iconic campaign?
‘I have no idea! I don’t know why it became iconic, it just did. I didn’t really approach it with the intention of taking iconic pictures. We didn’t know what we were going to do. We were just going to make something intimate and beautiful and simple. Looking back, maybe it became iconic because it was honest.
All of a sudden people were going crazy about it. It became very controversial. Some loved it and others hated it. Maybe it was too personal for some. The ones that loved it were mostly our age. It was very intense.’

What is the concept for the Obsessed campaign?
‘It’s about revisiting those pictures and bringing them back as memories. There was a lot of material that hadn’t been used and had never been seen. Hours of 16mm footage. It’s about the old prints, that archive of work, going through old contact sheets, re-editing, discovering new images, you know, reliving that time and those photographs and films.’
How has your creative process changed from then to today?
‘It’s changed a lot. Well, I have more people helping me now—that’s amazing—and it’s much more focused. Back then it was very instinctive. I was still learning a lot about photography, you know, about the art and the craft of it. I was very naïve. I think today I’m much more aware of what I’m doing…’

Calvin Klein Obsessed for Women £35 for 30ml eau de parfum, Calvin Klein Obsessed for Men £45 for 75ml eau de toilette
Buy them at The Perfume Shop
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Calling all 24-hour perfume people…

Who wants to travel with hefty and/or fragile perfume bottles – in a handbag, hand luggage or suitcase? Not us.
So – in time for summer holidays – we are delighted now to be official stockists of Travalo. Each stylish and refillable decant spray enables you to carry up to 5ml of your own favourite scent with you, wherever you go.

Travalo sprays are approved for hand luggage – and glass-free, to avoid risk of breakage. You can even colour-code your collection, as they’re available as sleek metal Classic and chic leather Milano designs in the range of colour options, as seen above and below.

On-the-go spritzing with Travalo is from just £12.49 with FREE p&p!

Eating garlic makes men smell more attractive to women [apparently…]

Although it may sound completely counterintuitive, results of a 2015 study by University of Stirling and Prague’s Charles University revealed that women who sniffed the heady scent of male body odour perceived it to be ‘significantly more attractive and less intense,’ when the men had eaten garlic.
82 women were asked to smell odour samples from 42 men, collected on pads worn in their armpits, and judge them for ‘pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity and intensity.’
[Permit us to wonder, with eyebrows firmly raised, if the same study has been repeated with the gals eating garlic.]
Researchers concluded the results possibly showed that as ‘…the health benefits of garlic consumption include antioxidant, immunostimulant, cardiovascular, bactericidal and anti-cancer effects, it is plausible that human odour preferences have been shaped by sexual selection.’

So that’s vampires bang out of luck, then.
Previous research has shown that many animals’ noses are honed to select mates in the best physical condition, and therefore human noses might well be similarly evolutionary primed to seek out partners with the most promising whiffs. Something to think about the next time your special someone reaches for that extra slice of garlic bread.
Those of you wishing to learn more about the fascinating science of taste and smell can get the juices flowing by reading our latest issue of The Scented Letter Magazine. Full to bursting with the latest news, exclusive interviews and award-winning fragrance journalism – we think you’ll find this is our most delicious issue yet…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Alford & Hoff No. 3 – the 'every day sexy' niche scent inspired by cranial cement (yes, really!) and Barry Alford's five favourite smells…

The story of Alford & Hoff follows two athlete chums who met at college in America who happened to share a passion for scent and skin care – even though they were mercilessly teased for it in the locker roms – through their incarnation as business entrepreneurs and onto launching their own incredibly successful skin care, luxury fashion and accessories and now fragrance line. Barry Alford told us how their latest scent, No. 3, is ‘every day sexy’, and inspired by a unique (and rather bizarre!) industrial product. Intrigued? We certainly were, and wanted to know his five favourite scents, too. It soon became clear: Alford & Hoff are not your average fragrance house…
As Barry explained, ‘Alford & Hoff is basically a brand that’s about two buddies who were at college together and wanted to start their own gig. We didn’t know what we wanted to do, but we wanted to work together. Eventually we decided on a men’s skincare brand. I know that might seem unlikely, but we were the only two guys in our collegiate football team who were doing all the grooming and getting all the flack. As soon as I saw he had the same fragrances as me – I’m talking Drakkar and Farenheight, here – I knew I was going to be friends with him. I thought, finally, someone else who understands’
Super-savvy, they talked about starting a business together, but ‘…Jefferson [Hoff] went into the financial market on Wall Street. And when we gained success we were both spending more on our products – we just loved them. We still had these dreams of starting a business together, and knew it had to be something we were passionate about. Through my medical contacts I met a plastic surgeon and he helped us brand a male skincare line backed by his expertise and we got into Neiman Marcus on the back of that’
The male grooming market may have moved on in leaps and bounds these days, but Alford & Hoff were way ahead of their time, and that led them into the world of fragrance. ‘I think we were successful because we were two former athletes that were making it okay for guys to take care of themselves. We wanted to venture further and decided to launch a fragrance – which we were always so in to and still were! – and that became our Signature fragrance. It actually started to out perform our skincare line, and when in 2009 the economy crashed we decided to pull back and focus on that. It carried us through. We’ve done a lot of work but now are proud to say in many stores our fragrances are on the shelves next to Tom Ford and John Varvatos, not because of some borrowed glory off the back of another line, but because they’re great fragrances.’
Discussing the fact that for years, men have been under catered-for in fragrance, Barry agreed, saying he felt ‘guys are becoming way more sophisticated, they want more than just a sports splash, a deodorant or something their mom gave them, they want to choose it themselves and they’re hungry for knowledge! And the feedback we get is that more men are after fragrances that not everyone else is wearing. I mean let me give you some statistics. We’re in the top twenty five percent of fragrance brands in stores at the moment based on sales. That’s pretty major for a small, niche company like us!’
rodrigo_flores-roux2
Choosing the right ‘nose’ is essential for any fragrance house, but Barry and Jefferson wanted someone they could have a really close working relationship with. ‘Rodrigo Flores-Roux has done all of our fragrances. We knew how good he was, that he’d worked on so many great brands, but didn’t choose him just for his reputation. We really hit it off, and to have that first fragrance be FiFi nominated in the first year just proved how well it worked! No. 2 was lighter and fresher I guess, perhaps more traditional, more towards the sportier end of the market. But this third one is something really different.’
You can say that again. Having sniffed it – a soaring medley of citrus that quickly deepens to something altogether deeper and sexier – we were astonished to hear that ‘…it’s inspired by days selling medical equipment. I know that sounds completely bizarre but please stay with me!’
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‘I used to spend a lot of time in the operating room, consulting with surgeons during a procedure. 80% of my business was craniotomies, meaning I’d be working with neurosurgeons, and one product in particular was a cranial bone cement. And this putty, when you mix the sodium solution with the powder, it just makes the most beautiful smell. And everyone in every operating theatre I’ve ever been in says the same thing, for over ten years. “Oh my god I love the smell of this stuff!” I mean they gather ’round to smell it. So that’s what we tried to do with this fragrance – tied to metallics and aldehydes and a blend of vetivers’
‘Rodrigo got this bang on, first go. He delivered a masterpiece I think. I know he was just so inspired to be working from such a bizarre inspiration and it really triggered his creativity. I mean, I know industrial has been done in the niche world, but I don’t think anyone has done craniotomal cement before!’
Having learned of their unique inspirations and varied backgrounds, we could only guess that Barry’s five favourite smells (something we’re always intrigued to ask perfume people about) would be equally ecclectic. And we weren’t far wrong…
1. Gasoline – When my mom would go to pump gas I’d stick my head out the window of the car and love the smell! It does something to my throat, but I compare it to what they call the “drag” in fragrance. You know when you get this dry smell and just can’t stop inhaling?
2. Fresh cut grass – It reminds me of my football days, the peak of the season, being surrounded by people I love and having fun.
3. Halloween costumes straight from the packet – Another bizarre one, I know! But it’s just a fantastic smell, freshly unwrapped from the plastic.
4. Scotch tape – Its so unique and different, I’d recognise it anywhere and I guess those kinds of smells are comforting somehow. I think I have a really heightened sense of smell – I pick up on things others don’t.
5. The monsoon season in Arizona – When its rains in late summer after its been so hot in the desert. It’s unbelievable, and it’s sweet. I really want to use that in a fragrance. It’s gorgeous. I guess I’ll have to get Rodrigo out there to smell it for himself!
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Alford & Hoff No. 3 £75 for 100ml eau de toilette
Exclusively at Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Jean Paul Gaultier's Classique & Le Male – no mere makeover, watch how they create their sense-appeal…

Are you ready for a new body…? Jean Paul Gaultier have recreated their iconic Le Male and Classique perfumes ready to face a new era. No mere makeover, the bottles have a streamlined, highly contemporary look and the juice inside has been equally re-shaped.
Watch the hypnotic behind-the-scenes production libe video, below, and get ready for a new you…

For perfumer Daphne Bugey, intensifying the irresistible nature of Classique was her passion in this project – lightening the spicy ginger to give it more bite and using a very particular jasmine Sambac with orange flower and chantilly-cream like musk in the base for a gourmand that’s full of surprises.
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Jean Paul Gaultier Classique £64 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

The original Le Male was all about the sensation of hot salty skin, but perfumer Quentin Bisch wanted to ramp up the sex appeal of that cardamom, lavender and costus vanilla with the intense carnality of a suede-esque leather.

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Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male £49 for 75ml eau de parfum
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Love to Smell review our Scent of a Man Discovery Box – so full they had to sniff it twice!

We already loved Love to Smell – the YouTube channel set up by fragrance experts and friends Pia Long and Nick Gilbert to make perfume reviews both fun and informative. But when they had to split their latest review – all about our Scent of a Man Discovery Box – into two parts because there’s so bloomin’ much in the box, we fell in love all over again…
You can watch the video yourselves, below, but we thought it worth a recap of some of the amazing things in store if you haven’t already explored. Firstly, let’s just accept that size sometimes matters and the Scent of a Man Discovery Box is a whopper, featuring 13 fragrances in all, plus luxurious grooming additions (worth £40.25 alone!). We think you might have to agree, it’s just the best gift for a male scent-lover, ever…
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So what’s in the box? *Deep breath* It’s quite a list…
Penhaligon’s No 33 eau de Cologne, 1.5ml eau de Cologne
Lalique Encre Noir à L’Extrême, 1.8ml eau de parfum
Paul Smith Essential, 1.2ml eau de toilette
• Carven L’Eau Intense, 1.2ml eau de toilette
Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme, 0.8ml eau de toilette
• Eight & Bob Original, 1.5ml eau de parfum
• Illuminum Piper Leather, 2ml eau de parfum
• Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent, 2ml eau de parfum
 Prada Luna Rossa Eau Sport, 1.5ml eau de toilette
• Yardley 1770, 1ml eau de toilette
• Beaufort London Coeur de Noir, 2ml eau de parfum
• Gruhme for Him, 5ml eau de toilette
• Montblanc Legend Spirit, 1.2ml eau de toilette
Elemis Ice Cool Foaming Shave Gel, 100ml
Penhaligon’s No 33 Beard Scrub, 5ml
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream for Men, 15ml
Phew. You can see why they couldn’t fit it all into one episode!
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Pia makes a really good point at the start of the video, saying if you’re a woman who happens to prefer fresh or less obviously ‘feminine’ fragrances, then you should also get the box for yourself. We happily wear several of the ‘male’ orientated scents in the box, but called it ‘Scent of a Man’ because this was the first ever perfume box curated for the chaps. In a world where everything can now be seen as ‘shared’ or ‘unisex’ we kind of wanted to point out this was created with them in mind (but nothing to stop us gals from helping ourselves, too!)
So if your appetite has been whetted you can watch part one of the video review below, and then pop here to buy the box – only £15 for VIP Subscribers or £19 otherwise.
Or, if you have the box already, why not join Nick and Pia in a sniffalong as you watch the video?

Written by Suzy Nightingale