Romantic panic? How to buy fragrance he’ll actually love

Valentines Day – love it or loathe it – is just around the corner, and it’s still the day that generates the most fragrance sales, peaking at 42% of all prestige beauty products sold. So if you’re thinking of splashing out on a scent for your significant other, follow our guide to ensuring success…

If you already know what he loves

Have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent grooming products like body/beard oils and shower gels or body lotions. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of fragrances (which are always useful and well-recieved).

If you don’t want to get them the same old thing, then take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent they already like, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges.

Plus, we now have a dedicated Men’s fragrance section, full of detailed descriptions we’ve sourced directly from the fragrance houses and perfumers themselves. And, because we know so many of us wear fragrances with no regard to gendering (yet so many houses still categorise them as ‘male’ or ‘female’), we’ve given you the option of choosing ‘shared‘ in your scented searches.

If you have no idea what he likes

A selection box of scents showcasing a range of fragrances with differing styles is your saviour. They can try them all at home, taking time to choose their favourites, and most likely discovering scents they had never heard of or perhaps would have walked past were they not temptingly waggled beneath their noses…

Amouage Men’s Discovery Set £50
Amouage are a luxury niche house that can never be accused of ‘following the flock’ – this stunning collection will wow whomever is lucky enough to recieve it with incredibly impactful, long-lasting and utterly unique fragrances. With this beautifully-composed collection we invite you to discover the many characters of these accomplished fragrances – a dozen ways to wear and enjoy Amouage, encompassing all the masculine fragrance families.

With its roots in the Sultanate of Oman, the very ‘cradle’ of perfumery, this is a luxury perfume house with its finger on the pulse-point of what modern fragrance-wearers want. So we are proud to introduce this truly decadent collection featuring TWELVE MEN’S AMOUAGE FRAGRANCES, allowing you to explore and delight in these creations at your leisure.

Mr. Scentastic Discovery Box £19 / £15 for VIP Club Members
For those wanting to begin (or expand) their fragrance wardrobe, we’ve put together a thrilling collection of simply the finest men’s fragrances out there. Where do we start..? Certainly with the so-modern 6ml MUGLER ALIEN MAN as well as a 30ml DEAR BARBER WITH CONFIDENCE fragrance for those who like traditional scents. But we’ve also added incredible niche fragrances from perfume houses such as Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Prosody, Hugo Boss, BulgariLalique and more.

So whether you are planning cliff-top walks, a trip away, cosy nights in or some dress-to-impress evenings, there is a fragrance for every occasion in this collection. We have also included two GROOMING EXTRAS – because Mr. Scentastic wants to look as good as you smell. Check out the fantastic travel size Jack Black Double Duty Moisturiser SPF20 and Pre & After-Shave Balm from the divine Atkinsons Grooming Collection.

Escentric Molecules Discovery Set £25
Revolutionising the fragrance industry with their now cult-favourite scents, these EIGHT fragrances take a man-made molecule that smells fantastic in its own right, and then combines them with naturals that help enhance the incredible depth found in that single molecule. These are duos to explore and fall in love with – especially good gifts for the scientifically inclined, or those who yearn to know more about the world of fragrance (and to smell utterly unique).

In each duo, the Molecule and Escentric companion allow you to experience the wonders of science and art in harmony – truly a treat for the senses, and we think you’ll be blown away by how long these last on the skin (and, of course, how fabulous he’ll smell…) For rebels, artists and scientists everywhere, why run with the pack when you can smell so delightfully different?

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush: Exclusive Q&A with perfumer

We caught up with Olivier Gillotin, the perfumer behind Ralph Lauren’s Polo Red Rush fragrance, for an exclusive Q&A and a sneak peek behind the scenes of his inspiration for creating the scent…

Q1. What was your inspiration behind POLO RED RUSH?

In designing the Polo Red Rush fragrance, I was inspired by the acceleration, elation and intensity during the very beginning of a race. I wanted to translate the rush of those never-ending first seconds into the fragrance. To achieve this vision, it needed to bring an immediate, intense freshness. Two ingredients inspired me at first: red mandarin for an impulsive, crispy start, then fresh mint for its energizing power.

Q2. How would you describe the way POLO RED RUSH smells?

I like to describe Polo Red Rush as an energetic red water – a fresh water tinted with crisp, energizing red notes. The citrus top notes (red mandarin, red grapefruit, lemon and pineapple) complement the spearmint mid note for an immediate fresh effect. The scent evolves on the skin with facets of red saffron while orange flower adds a masculine watery fluidity. Finally, a vibrant burst of roasted red coffee is streamlined with Cedarwood, bringing a new sleekness and elevating the background with an enamoring trail of woody musk.

Q3. How does POLO RED RUSH fit into the POLO RED franchise?

Polo Red Rush takes the franchise to the next level, capturing the sensations of speed, seduction and freedom. With its fresh, invigorating and surprising association of citrusy mint and cedarwood, Polo Red Rush perfectly rounds out the Polo Red portfolio.

Q4. What are the main differences between POLO RED, POLO RED EXTREME AND POLO RED RUSH?

Polo Red Rush is a crisp, energetic new interpretation of the original Polo Red. It elevates a spiced, cool watery freshness and bold red citrus profile. Spearmint from Morocco joins as a new bracing and dynamic element. Coffee notes play a supporting role to enhance a sleekly sensual dry-down with cedarwood and musk.

Q5. How did you choose the key notes for POLO RED RUSH? What makes the olfactive structure so intriguing?

Polo Red Rush masters a high proportion of saffron that is paired up with citrusy mint. I chose to elevate saffron for its unique and vibrant character able to unveil a fascinating fresh-spicy facet. Mint – saffron is an unusual and surprising association that creates a fresh yet intense and refined energy. Both ingredients fit perfectly well and complement each other.

Q6. Were there any special techniques or stand-out ingredients used to achieve your vision for POLO RED RUSH?

The creation process has been a construction – deconstruction “game”. My original intention was to design the ultimate experience of fresh energy for the Polo Red thrill-seeker. After translating this idea into fragrance, I deconstructed the formula to clearly identify and highlight its best facets – crisp and citrusy mint, cedarwood, saffron. I then removed all unnecessary ingredients to maintain the most relevant ones and to develop the fragrance in a fresh, unique and refined way.

Q7. What makes POLO RED RUSH so crisp and energizing?

Polo Red Rush has everything of a fresh water putting the emphasis on citrus and mint. In addition to that, I highly elevated saffron, as a powerful red spice imbued with fresh intensity and a key ingredient for the franchise. The combination of citrusy mint and saffron create this unique crisp and energizing freshness.

Q8. You’ve often described how the color red inspires you. How did you channel that inspiration into an entirely different olfactive experience for POLO RED RUSH?

For each Polo Red fragrance, I ensured that the smell brought to mind the color red. Polo Red and Polo Red Extreme respectively focused on the symbolic of seduction and power. With Polo Red Rush, I wanted to explore another strong and explicit meaning: energy. It inspired me to design a red water acting like a booster. This red water needed to be olfactively infused with the positive and stimulating energy of the color to be able to master a never ending rush.

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush £55 for 75ml eau de toilette
Try it at debenhams.com

Fragrance Family Friday: Fougère

As part of our continuing feature, Fragrance Family Friday, today we’re burrowing knee-deep in shady ferns for Fougère

For anyone who’s wondering, you say it ‘foo-jair’ (with the ‘j’ a little soft – almost ‘foo-shair’…) – we thought we’d start with that, because not only can some of the fragrance families be a bit confusing, even pronouncing them can get the better of us at times!

Now that’s out the way, let’s go deep into the shady undergrowth of this fabulous – and still-evolving – fragrance category.

Although there are many modern variations cropping up, a fougère will invariably feature lavender, geranium, vetiver, bergamot, oakmoss and coumarin in the blend. Fougère Royale as the first of them, from Houbigant in 1882. Fougère takes its name from the French for ‘fern’ – and to understand what these ferny, green fragrances smell like, here is an absolute classic, now thankfully revived in a heart-warming way, by Milano Centro

Milano Centro HIM was showcased first at the Beauty International show at Olympia in June 1989, by business partners and interior designers Dean Tatum and the late Matthew Bright. Inspired by ‘the classic sophistication of all things Italian’, they launched with just one fragrance – Milano Cento HIM – a fabulous evocation of a fougère that smells like a cool, shady walk through a forest.

What does it smell like? Imagine citrus luminescence sparkling in the tops notes with bergamot and peititgrain, giving way to a herbaceously dappled breeze of rosemary, lavender and basil. As it warms, you’re swathed in the musky warmth of smooth sandalwood and suavely sprinkled spicy notes of clove, cinnamon and amber atop a darkly glimmering patchouli base.

When Milano Cento – the perfect, drop-dead sexy man smell – later disappeared from the shelves (as many fragrances do, alas…) it could have been a mere scent memory, if it wasn’t for Dean Tatum’s wife Valissa and son, Jasper. They had the idea to recreate a single bottle for Dean’s 50th birthday: the ultimate journey back in time. As any perfume world insider knows, however: it’s not that simple. ‘Trying to find someone to produce for us, in the small quantities we were after, was quite a challenge. It was only after we called a few stockists, who said they remembered the brand and asked when it was coming back, that we had the idea to relaunch it.’

We’re so glad they did. This is a fougère fragrance that smells classic in a timeless way, rather than simply reminiscent of the era it originates from – it’s grown-up, insouciant, perfect for any occasion.

Want to try it for yourself? Find Milano Centro HIM in our Explorer Men’s Discovery Box – along with SIXTEEN other fragrances to explore!

The Explorer Men’s Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

By Suzy Nightingale

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

Father’s Day – stage a scent intervention with these fragrant gifts

Dad, it’s time to step away from the Cologne Auntie Brenda gave you when you were 19: we’re staging a scent intervention for Father’s Day…

Today, June 11, is our last cut-off day for posting before Father’s Day on June 16 – but you can use these tips whenever you’re buying a fragrant gift!

Buying a fragrance for your father – or the father-figure in your life – can be tricky. You want to gently ease them away from the one they’ve been drenching themselves in for decades because the scented landscape has (mercifully) changed; but where to begin on their new fragrant adventure?

We specially curate a selection of our Discovery Boxes with men in mind (or anyone who prefers more traditionally ‘masculine’ leaning fragrances), as well as stocking a superb selection of Brand Boxes from new niche houses and the more unusual, already established names.

Discovery Boxes/sets really are the best gifts: you’re not imposing your own taste or guessing at theirs, and with a plethora of perfumed delights to explore, the chances of scented success are greatly increased!

Choosing a new fragrance deserves time and space to properly see how they develop on your skin, and something we know you love is the chance to try things you’d perhaps never heard of before. When given as a gift, these boxes also represent the chance to gently move someone you love out of a fragrant rut…

Bringing brand new releases, much-loved classics and niche perfume houses, with an unprecedented SEVENTEEN FRAGRANCES to explore, there’s something for all to fall for in this bumper selection! Including FIVE fragrances from the Elements of Man line-up by ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, a zing for your step from TOM DAXON Sicilian Wood, the power of the just-launched CREED Aventus Cologne – alongside classic ACQUA DI PARMA Colonia, inviting you to dip your toe in summer waters… We’ve also thrown in TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! The evocative Milano Cento Body Wash 30ml, to pair with the same fragrance in the box, along with Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturiser SPF20.

And if you buy this box before 28th June, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a full-sized fragrance or grooming product. Which you can choose to give as a second gift, or well, *cough* just keep for yourself.

The Explorer Men’s Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

If he’s something of a rebel or always up for trying the latest technology – we’d steer him toward the incredible, ground-breaking fragrances of Escentric Molecules. Creating unique duos that combine a man-made aroma-molecule with naturals, try each of them in turn, compare the four pairs, and find out why this continually innovative house are set to blow your mind. What’s more, feedback tells us these fragrances last the whole day through, and smell utterly unique.

The Escentric Molecules Discovery Set includes four duos x 2ml samples.

Escentric 01 – the Iso E Super molecule features heavily, with the remaining formula using ingredients ‘designed to underscore its low-lit mood.’

Molecule 01 – the ‘partner’ to Escentric 01 contains nothing but Iso E Super – a single ingredient.

Escentric 02 – vetiver, synthetic musk, Muscone plus powdery orris, elderflower extract and hedione

Molecule 02 – unadulterated Ambroxan

Escentric 03 – a tribute to the more familiar side of vetiver: its dark, slightly exotic woodiness.

Molecule 03 – Vertiveryle acetate, a refined vetiver note is celebrated at its purest

Escentric 04 – pink grapefruit, rose and pink peppercorns

Molecule 04 – a seriously room-filling sillage of smooth sandalwood

Escentric Molecules Discovery Set £25

It’s time to switch up their scent game and move from heavier fragrances to a fresher 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 priceless when you help them discover a new favourite…

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

Not all dads and father figures are fuddy-duddy, and if yours is more hipster than has-been, this box is the way to go. Featuring 14 truly exclusive niche fragrances, there are an incredible THREE LUXURY-SIZE SAMPLES perfect for travelling – the new addictive Anima Vinci Sesame Chān (7ml), fabulously fresh Tom Daxon Laconia (4.5ml) and the exotic Merchant of Venice Blue Tea (5ml). Showcasing scents from very exciting perfume houses – including decadence from Juliette Has a Gun and exquisite naturals from Prosody and Parterre – he’ll be among the first to smell BDK Parfums with the so-French Rouge Smoking and Parle Moi De Parfum’s delectable celebration of rose. And yes, men smell utterly fabulous in florals – take it from us. All of these fragrances are totally sharable and higly desirable for those who want something more unique.

Limited Edition Niche Discovery Box £23 (£19 for VIP Club members)

If he wants ultra luxury and something we’re sure none of his contemporaries will already have, we’re delighted to introduce a very exciting new brand – Memoize London – and invite you to delve into this treasure trove Discovery Set, which includes eight wonderful new fragrances. Memoize celebrates the importance of creating a harmonious balance between fragrance and emotion.

Tristitia – the essence of calm, relaxation and pure leisure. Reminiscent of of a lazy Sunday morning, cocooning you in floral and vanilla scented sheets, no need to rise, the amber is keeping you warm…

Avaritia – the essence of insatiability, opulence and unquenchable desire. The first time you dare to think you can have exactly what you want, the need for something that is all yours.

Era – the essence of passion, provocation and power. Lose control of your emotions with this powerful fragrance; reigniting the fire within you, evoking deep seated memories within.

Luxuria – the essence of lust, seduction and intoxication. Memories of the first moment of interaction, where desire and passion consumes you. Your skin will tingle with luscious blackcurrant, tuberose and the warmth of musk will captivate you.

Superbia – the essence of self-confidence, self-love and self-worth. An overwhelming feeling of pride, joy and delight. Recalling a first day of school, the pruned rose bushes, games in the woods, the leather strap of a satchel, a mother’s proudest moment…

Gula – the essence of pleasure-seeking and self-indulgence. A fragrance of sumptuous vanilla, absorbing orange, rich clove and delicate lavender. Gula is an immeasurable mix of thought provoking scents providing unrestrained gratification for your appetites, desires, or whims.

Invidia – the essence of insatiable desire to want, to have, to be who you want to be. Envious and aspirational, your mind takes you on a sub-coconscious journey through the memories from your childhood; always wanting what you can’t have – sweet vanilla ice cream, caramels, tobacco….

Black Avaritia (Limited Edition) – the essence of indulging all of your wants and needs in abundance. Travelling through the rich and woody tones, takes you back on a journey to a foreign land. The warmth on the skin is reminiscent of the sun kissing your skin.

Memoize London Discovery Set £57

Knowing a lot of niche-loving chaps who want to look their best are out there, may we also suggest the second Niche box – it includes a 7.5ml of Anima Vinci Neroli Wisdom which basically smells like a Moroccan summer in a bottle. 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’VE ALSO ADDED SOME SKIN LOVING TREATS! Yes, dads need pampering, too. Keep his face glowing with the recent GOLD AWARD winning skinSense ANTI-AGING Overnight Leave on Mask (WORTH £8.50) which he can slap on overnight for minimum fuss – and ensure his hands are looked after with the wonderful bestselling Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (WORTH £10). When you consider the value of the two grooming items alone is worth £18.50 – you’re basically getting the rest free!

Niche Collection II Discovery Box £19 (£15 for VIP Club members)

 

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

Shay & Blue launch Kings Wood…

Shay & Blue have been exciting fragrance lovers since 2012, founder Dom De Vetta’s previous roles being Senior Vice President at Chanel and Global General Manager of Jo Malone London, joining with talented Grasse perfumer, Julie Massé, to create his very own fragrance house.

We were thrilled to get the opportunity to exclusively preview their latest – Kings Wood – in our New Man Discovery Box, and now the fragrance has officially launched, we’re able to fully celebrate. Scroll down to watch our Unboxing review of the fragrance…

Shay & Blue say: ‘Kings Wood is a unique men’s fragrance. Different and distinctive it is a real statement of confidence. Bursts of fresh pineapple are blended with the natural aromatic of fearn leaves to create layers of freshness with an intriguing depth. The base notes of fine leather and English oak leave an impression of classic masculine refinement.’

We’ve noticed a resurgence of heritage woods being used in contemporary fragrances – and here, English oak is showcased in all its majestic glory, and the pineapple makes for welcome change to those who prefer something a little more adventurous than citrus in the opening notes. Crisply green fern leaves are enhanced by a sprinkle of warm pepper on a luxuriously smooth and reassuringly solid base, and the supple leather in the dry-down just makes us want to snuggle up for a deeper sniff…

We filmed an Unboxing session live on our Instagram channel, and have now uploaded this to YouTube so everyone can enjoy – watch it, below! We get sniffing Shay & Blue Kings Wood around 23:50 on this video if you want to skip straight to it, and Part 1 of the Unboxing is also available on our channel if you want to sniff-along with all the scents.

We’re absolutely loving the pineapple in Kingswood, it’s a different kind of fruity – lusciously juicy but with a spikiness that cuts through the smoother, richer notes. But did you know that pineapples were once a symbol of wealth and welcoming, being so expensive they could be rented (at extortionate prices!) for hosts anxious to prove their importance, and still adored for their thirst-quenching exoticism?

If you want to try a sample of Kings Wood along with our other carefully curated fragrance selection, you can buy The New Man Discovery Box here. And we know those of you who’ve already got in touch to tell us how much you love Kings Wood will be anxiously counting the hours until it officially launches on 1st September, so you can finally get your hands on a full-size bottle in-store.

Shay & Blue Kings Wood £85 for 100ml natural spray
Buy it at shayandblue.com

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

Eight & Bob’s Robert F. Kennedy edition reveals all

Ever wondered how the world’s most powerful (and glamorous) people actually smell? Well settle down for a tale that involves a president, his brother, a sarcastic socialite, a butler and a beautifully presented (we think very sharable) sensational scent…

The Story: ‘One night during the summer of 1937 in the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Albert Fouquet, a young socialite and perfume connoisseur, met an American student who was touring France: John F. Kennedy. Within minutes of being introduced, the vain JFK was captivated by the essence that Albert wore. John’s charm and congeniality persuaded Albert to leave him a sample of his cologne with a note at his hotel the following morning:

In this bottle, you will find the dash of French glamour that your American personality lacks.’

(The shade of it all! Rather daring to address one of the Kennedy’s in such a manner, but we guess if you were a particular kind of socialite, such cutting remarks were part of your stock in trade…)

Eight & Bob continue the story by describing how, on returning from vacation, ‘Albert received a letter from JFK thanking him for the fragrance and informing him of its success amongst his friends. He requested that Albert send him eight samples, “and if your production allows, another one for Bob”.

 

The order wasn’t fulfilled until Philippe, the family butler, found beautiful glass bottles in a Parisian pharmacy for the cologne to be housed in. Albert ordered several boxes with the same pattern as the pinstripe shirt that JFK was wearing when they met, and then labeled the bottles and boxes with John’s request: “EIGHT & BOB”.

A few months later, Albert began receiving letters from America with requests from various Hollywood directors, producers, and actors such as Cary Grant and James Stewart. Everyone wanted their very own piece of “EIGHT & BOB”.

In the spring of 1939, Albert died in a car accident near Biarritz (France). Philippe, the only person who could create and handle the orders, continued Albert’s legacy and in his final shipments hid the bottles inside books to prevent the Nazis from seizing the cologne.

The Fragrance: Decades later, thanks to the family of Philippe, the formula for “EIGHT & BOB” has been completely recovered, along with its carefully crafted production process. Once again, it has become one of the most exclusive colognes, worn and desired by the world’s most elegant men and women…’

Top notes: pink pepper, cardamom, lemon

Heart notes: violet leaf, labdanum, dry woods

Base notes: sandalwood, amber, vetiver

The Review: A warm tingle of pink pepper ripples through breezy lemon infused with the cool, aromatic cardamom. A whisper of green violet leaf cuts through the resinous sensuality of the heart, leading to a musky, woody trail that’s devastatingly suave. Think sneakers worn with an impeccable suit, tanned skin and crisp white shirts worn with minimal accessories and a dazzling, heartbreaking smile.

The Special Edition: To mark the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s death, Eight & Bob have partnered with the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation, ‘a prestigious and internationally recognised organisation managed by Kerry Kennedy, daughter of RFK.’ What’s more, they will donate a percentage of the revenue received from this special edition fragrance to the foundation, ‘as a tribute to RFK’s dream of a more fair and peaceful world.’

Eight & Bob RFK Special Edition £110 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at harveynichols.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

How to choose your perfect wedding fragrance…

The flags are flying, excitement is mounting, and everyone in the fragrance world is wondering which fragrances HRH Harry and (soon-to-be HRH) Meghan have chosen for their wedding…

But a more pertient question is to ask: how on earth should you go about choosing the perfect scent for your ‘big day’ (or any special occasion) anyway?

Follow our guide to choosing his and/or her scents to create an olfactory memory that will last a lifetime…

– It’s vital to live with a fragrance for several hours (better still – an entire day) on your skin. That scent you spritz and immediately fall for may turn into something less than loveable as the notes develop.

– The very best way to try is in the comfort of your own home, with zero pressure, scroll down to our hand-picked selection of samples for you try, below (they’re perfect for bridesmaids gifts and wedding favours, too!)

– Try not to test more than a few fragrances at one time, because too many at once = a muddle (and you’ll likely forget which is which, anyway!)

– Following on from the previous point, when testing a fragrance, be sure to write down the name of it on a blotter or jot down on your phone. By the time you get home a pile of random bits of scented paper will mean nothing to you!

Scared to branch out? Type the name of a fragrance you already know you love into our Fragrance Finder, and we’ll immediately suggest six new scents we think you’ll fall for!

Don’t know where to start? Book a bespoke fragrance consultation as a couple (or on your own if you prefer) – we’ve listed seven scent sittings for you try, and many are completely free, so what do you have to lose?

– When you find a fragrance you love, consider following the fragrant theme through to your floral arrangements, colours, mini-versions (to give as bridesmaid gifts or wedding favours), and matching scented candles to use for table decorations…

If you can’t indulge yourself while choosing a wedding scent, when can you? Take time to sit back and explore these fabulous fragrance selections we’ve specially curated – bringing you an extensive range from cult niche houses to luxury designer, with iconic classics and a few scented treats to enjoy along the journey…

The whispered breeze of Amouage Beach Hut is perfect for seaside weddings, while Sana Jardin Berber Blonde will whisk you to more exotic shores.

Fragonard Verveine will sparkle the whole day through and Estée Lauder Modern Muse Nuit is ideal to smoulder softly as dusk falls.

The Beautiful Mind Series duo celebrate intelligent, creative and inspirational women, as two perfumers for Miller Harris Tender and Scherzo uniquely interpret F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.

Indulgent are here to help de-stress with : a sumptuous Heathcote & Ivory Lavender Fields Hand Cream (don’t forget those hands will be photographed close-up and on show all day, so pop this perfectly sized nourishing and relaxing cream in your pocket!) and from Aromatherapy Associates, Deep Relax and Support Breathe Bath & Shower Oils. Much needed, we sense…

Treat Yourself Discovery Box £19 (VIP price £15)

An utterly delectable range of new fragrances, recently launched by founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed, this stunning portfolio of perfumes reflect her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. A box of delights to discover for nomads, free-spirits and all those who love clasically composed yet contemporary scents. Close your eyes and bask in these…

Savage Jasmine Night-blooming jasmine, wrapped around intoxicating musk. 

Sandalwood Temple Moroccan neroli oil, enveloped it in Atlas cedarwood, Haitian vetiver, creamy vanilla and East Indian sandalwood.

Tiger By Her Side Showcases Moroccan rose alongside Somalian incense and Indonesian patchouli.

Berber Blonde Filled with the light of Sana Jardin’s signature orange blossom, alongside Moroccan neroli oil and musk.

Celestial Patchouli Exotic aromas of patchouli, leather, cinnamon bark and Australian Sandalwood give way to the abundant warmth of rose, jasmine, osmanthus and Moroccan orris.

Nubian Musk A sensuously inviting blend of musk and vanilla, rose, jasmine, Moroccan grapefruit flower, Haitian vetiver and Australian sandalwood.

Revolution de la Fleur This is a sultry, sun-filled melody of Madagascan ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani, rose, vanilla and sandalwood.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set £30

An entire wardrobe of masculine fragrances for him to try before he buys (and for you to approve, perhaps?) there’s a wealth of choices from fresh and reviving, crisply stylish, designer favourites to ultra-luxe new houses to discover, and a FULL-SIZE face wash by cult male grooming brand, Heath! Also great for gifting to the Best Man or splitting in to wedding favours for hard-to-buy-for male guests…

Cartier L’Envol Sunshine diffused through golden droplets of amber, a canopy of forest trees with resinous, woody depth. Perfect for outdoorsy types and nature-lovers.

Cristiano Ronaldo CR7 Not only for football fans, a spritz echoing that first sip of whiskey, or sinking gladly into your favourite leather armchair in a gentleman’s club.

Coach For Men Thirst-quenchingly green with citrus enhanced by a herbaceous waft of coriander, sensuous geranium, fragrant cardamom and softly suede dry-down.

Dunhill Racing A nod to heritage gentlemen’s fragrances: citrus, lavender, pepper and musk, but a juicy twist of grapefruit, orange blossom and guaiac wood set this scent apart.

Ferrari Man in Red Thrill-seekers with a softer side should reach for a fruity-spiced opening, golden plum entwined with orange blossom and soothed by lavender.

Jaguar Black Chromite A flash of just-peeled mandarin, crisp tartness of green apple and a background of incense and patchouli add mystery and sophistication to the journey.

Jovoy Private Label Originally made for a client who just happened to be an Arabian prince, this one will have all and sundry swooning when they smell the woody, musky trail…

Kenneth Cole Mankind Nuzzle-up to succulently juicy fresh pineapple warmed by ginger and cardamom, tarragon and cinnamon enveloping vetiver on a greenly mossy base.

Missoni Parfum Pour Homme Head-clearing lemon leaves and pomelo dress up fougère notes of lavender, jasmine and herbs to a stylishly snugglish finish. A new go-to. (With matching shave balm & shower gel!)

Vince Camuto Homme Citrus and juniper = G&T, with Italian fennel, blue cypress and balmy lavender to soothe the nerves while taking a walk in the cool of the spruce trees.

For Him Discovery Box £19 (VIP price £15)

For the ultimate in luxurious was to try a selection of fragrances – these don’t just look pretty (perfectly presented in a vintage hatbox-style gift box), all the Valeur Absolue scents were created specifically to evoke particular feelings. Featuring an incredible seven 14ml bottles, each flacon has semi-precious gems to further enhance the perfume’s emotion. And if you can’t quite stretch to the full collection, we suggest putting this on your Wedding List to enjoy exploring together long after the confetti has blown away!

Harmonie Takes you to a safe and invigorating place, serene and welcoming: a world of absolute harmony.

Confiance Offers intense and comforting aromas, from the tones of Bourbon vanilla and cedarwood.

Vitalité Develops around citrus and acerola: bold and resolutely optimistic.

Joie-Éclat Gets it spirit-uplifting power from essential oils of Florida grapefruit and Haitian vetiver.

Sérénitude Creates the essence of an empty beach, via floral and woody tones.

Sensualité Embodies the sensuality of a serene, beautiful and self-assured woman.

Rouge Passion Is a floriental with enchanting tonalities – alive, seductive and radiant.

Valeur Absolue Deluxe Coffret £112

Whichever fragrances you plump for, we wish you all the best of luck and a lifetime of happiness with The One (your other-half and the scents you fell for), and hope our guide has helped settle any scent-choosing anxieties!

Written by Suzy Nightingale