3 top tips to choosing a fragrance – for a gift, or for yourself. Our guide makes it easy

Our 3 top tips to choosing a fragrance take all the worry and confusing out of selecting a scent – be that a gift for someone else or as a treat for yourself.

With Father’s Day around the corner, fragrant gifts are much on our minds, but we wanted to create a guide that gets your started on your journey and, even better, can be used for any time you find yourself confused while pondering perfumes…

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

1: If you already know a fragrance they like

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 wear, 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. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

2: If you’ve no idea what they like (or want to get them something new)

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

But scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots – some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! So the absolute best solution is to buy them a Discovery Box so they can try all manner of differing fragrances in their own time. They may even surprise themselves with their favourite.

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

3: How do I know if a fragrance suits me?

Give it TIME on your skin. So many of us spray, sniff immediately (that’s just the alcohol you’re smelling, with perhaps a mere whiff of top notes) and either make a snap purchase or walk away. Those opening notes can disappear in mere minutes, you really need to let it settle for twenty minutes or more to smell the middle or ‘heart’ notes. The ‘base’ notes are made from ingredients with the heaviest molecules, so these can take several hours to warm and then evaporate on the skin.

If possible, try the fragrance on a blotter first (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these used to be available with testers on perfume counters, but because of new Covid-19 safety measures, many stores don’t allow these now. (We always tend to take our own – and include a handy pack in each of our Discovery Boxes).

Allow a few minutes for the alcohol and the top notes to subside, and then smell the blotters. 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. 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.  You really need to smell a scent on your skin.

Don’t try more than about four or five at a time. Your nose will become overwhelmed. Just sniff a sweater or a patch of your own bare skin to ‘re-set’, or go outside and get some fresh air – smelling coffee beans is a fallacy, it’s just filling your nose with another smell!

Jot down a few words to describe how you feel about each fragrance. These should be emotional words or things it reminds you of (a fabric / musical instrument / colour / place / time of day). They might sound abstract, but are a true reflection of how a fragrance is melding to your personality (or otherwise). Come back to the blotters several hours later and smell again – see if those words have changed.

The best way to find a new fragrance – as a gift or for yourself – is to try several samples at home in a Discovery Box, a curated selection of scents from a large number of houses; or a Brand Discovery Set, showcasing the entire range of fragrances from a single house. With time to let them develop, zero pressure and scents you may have overlooked in-store (or never even heard of before), it’s the perfect way to find that new perfume love…

By Suzy Nightingale

Scenting the superheroes: get your geek on!

Now those advent calendars are in the recycling already, why not treat yourself AND a superhero you know to the Super Man Discovery Box – a different scent to look forward to trying each day. Compare notes via texts or even a Zoom sniff-along!

Allow us a bit of ‘silly season’ scented musing time, here, folks, as we ponder the important question of what we might scent some of the superheroes with. The matches are predominantly male, only because we curated this selection with men and more ‘masculine’ scents in mind, but of course they can be worn by anyone.

Oh it’s okay, we know you might not be feeling particularly heroic right now – the only superhero I currently resemble could be ‘Cheesewoman’ or ‘Gin Girl’ and I don’t think they exist (they should!) But hey, having got through last year and ploughing onwards (and upwards) in the continuing face of uncertainty is heroism to be celebrated nonetheless, non?

Get your geek on…

[All original comic book images copyright of respective artists & publishers, credited individually.]

 

Gamora: ånd fragrance Frånk
The green-skinned alien is the last of her species (mirroring ånd fragrance’s fund-raising effort to protect frankincense) and no stranger to balancing awesome blade-wielding skills with a sharp wit. So we’ve matched her with a fragrance that celebrates the fruitier side of frankincense, where the foresty freshness zings with restless energy, a mischevious melding of citrus and banana-esque ylang ylang shot through with luscious mango, resinous myrrh and silky seams of vanilla folded in for good measure.

 

Wolverine: Anima Vinci Wood of Life
There’s something to be said for learning to harness one’s rage, but we really think James could do with a nice sit down and some deep breaths, bless him. This fragrance is immediately grounding and provides a soothing space for mindfulness – palo santo has been used for centuries in spiritual ceremonies, to ‘cleanse’ negative energies and promote clarity of vision. In combination with sandalwood, spices and vanilla it’s an olfactory moment of ‘OM…..’ Now put those knives away, dear, and chill.

 

Iron Man: Atelier Des Ors Cuir Sacré
Always an admirer of exquisite design, billionaire Tony Stark would surely fall for the gilded charms of this leather-rich fragrance. Imbued with perfectly blended hints of berries and spices, perhaps he’d forget to be grumpy and mellow into reveries of sauntering at sunset on a balmy evening while wearing a velvet smoking jacket. And if he gets stressed, he can shake the bottle to see the flakes of real gold swirl (a grown-up snow-globe, if you will) as the cedar, incense and saffron swoon to the intriguingly cool base.

 

The Human Torch: Caron Aimez-Moi Comme Je Suis
Smouldering ginger recalls heat and positively sizzles when the zing of grapefruit meets the unexpected pairing of hazelnut and vetiver. The wearer must be used to the fiery sensations, so who better than Johnny Storm? A founding member of The Fantastic Four, he’s used to overcoming adversity while literally aflame – talk about leaving a trail! Spritzing this to soften his edges a little (not while actually alight: health and safety first, Mr. Storm), its warm and woody aroma create an irresistibly addictive character.

 

Batman: Floris London Vert Fougère
Vert Fougère is moody – perfect for the sometimes sulky Batman – and embraces its mossy heritage by adding sparkling modernity. And he could do with a bit of sparkle. A bittersweet blend of grapefruit, bergamot and neroli entwine ginger and lavender for added freshness while patchouli, cedarwood and smooth cashmere in the base ensure a lasting legacy. Traditional enough to tempt the wary, exciting enough to add a sashay; we see the latest Batman portrayer, Robert Pattinson, wearing this with aplomb.

 

Professor X: Initio Side Effect
With his exceptional powers of telepathy and mind-control, we feel Charles Francis Xavier would appreciate the hypnotic inspiration behind this scent. An irresistible combination of rum, leather and tobacco is sprinkled with a sweet frisson of vanilla and a tingle of warming cinnamon – the effect quite spellbinding. The woodiness and smooth hints of booze are perfectly appropriate for a study-dwelling genius, while the rich spiciness instills confidence and daring. The overall impression? Those who follow your fragrant trail will be left enchanted…

 

Spider-Man: Jimmy Choo Man
Peter Parker always appealed to the younger comic fans first, and there’s something effortlessly youthful and effervescent about this fragrance. Aromatic and woody up top, an accord of lavender and mandarin is softened by deliciously succulent notes of honeydew melon. In the heart, pink pepper and geranium are mixed with pineapple leaf, as a sign of originality. Finally the fragrance unveils a web of patchouli, suede and ambery woods – joyfully uplifting and one for cheekily charming urban chaps on-the-go.

 

Captain Britain: Jovoy 21 Conduit Street
Brian Braddock very rarely gets a look-in when superheroes are discussed, (the name doesn’t help, huh?) so we wanted to give him a moment with this fragrance. Revisiting an often overlooked classic of English perfumery while giving it a decidedly modern twist; the real secret of 21 Conduit St is the richness of its dual lavender – the radiantly aromatic essential oil further enhanced with an absolute. Rippled through rhubarb, almond and fir balsam to a woody base, it feels aristocratic yet complex, much like Brian himself…

 

Catwoman: Kierin NYC Santal Sky
Fabulously milky, this comfort blanket of cardamom-flecked sandalwood will have all villainous feline types putting their claws away awhile, as the soothing, creamy notes of fig swirl into decadent orchid and saffron-speckled vetiver as a final twitch of the tail. There’s a sophistication to this scent but it truly feels effortless for any occasion. Rendering any gender instantly languorous, your only real problem will be getting anything done, as you’ll want to curl up and revel in how purr-fect you smell.

 

Wonder Woman: Laboratorio Olfattivo Tonkade
Sumptuous waves of dried fruits and a perfectly choreographed dance between resonant sweetness and powerful clouds of amber-rich mystery, this is a regal fragrance fit for a superhero whose backstory now highlights her Amazonian heritage, and explains she’s the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta. But ‘Wonder Men’ can equally get on board with this – a stunner for anyone who should never to be underestimated: a powerhouse of potent accords that should immediately be lassoed into your own collection.

 

Spaceboy: Parfums de Marly Sedley
Hailing from the Umbrella Academy, Luther Hargreeves was the youngest person to become an astronaut, and struggles with his extreme physical strength (accident involving a ‘Martian space chimp’. Don’t ask) which masks his extremely sensitive nature. This feels uplifting – a sparkle of citrus awakening the power of mint, while Hivernal® Neo is a hyper-realistic reinvention of how water smells. Liquid silver, cool Sedley encapsulates a balance of opposites, where noble materials and futurist molecules collide.

 

Black Panther: Ruth Mastenbroek Oxford
T’Challa is one of few superoes who boast a degree, having earned his PhD in Physics from Oxford, so this fragrant memory is entirely perfect for him. Those ‘dreaming spires’ are conjured through magestic composition, from smoky, shadowy layers juxtaposed by this scent’s more luminescent jasmine and comfortingly cashmere notes. At its heart, Oxford’s bold oudh and amber offsets the softer vanilla and vetiver for a daring fragrance that’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. A perfume for the panther that stalks your soul…

 

Klaus Hargreeves: St Giles The Stylist
Another member of the Umbrella Academy, Klaus swaggers with the confidence and dress-sense of a rockstar, has the ability to talk to the dead while utterly beguiling the living – to the point where he accidentally becomes a cult leader and prophet (easily done). His sensual nature and natural style will thrill to the flashbulb of aldehydes and bitter orange up top, while the smooth rum, mango and triple-dose of silky vanilla cream help smother his inner demons all the way down to the base of tobacco absolute and oakmoss. Irresistible.

 

Superman: Versace Dylan Blue Homme
A fragrance for both ‘the man of steel’ and his everyday alter-ego of Clark Kent; the masculinity wafts forth with bold Ambroxan, refreshed with zesty hits of bergamot and grapefruit. The earthiness is zipped up with a punch of black pepper and papyrus wood before being enveloped by an intense cloak of incense, mineral musk, tonka beans and warming, spicy notes of saffron. Equal parts athletic and intelligent, it’s bound to become your go-to when you’ve no idea what to wear. No need to quick-change in a phone booth, either – always a bonus.

 

Samples of ALL of these fragrances are available to try at home in our Super Man Discovery Box for only £18 if you’re a VIP Club Member, (£22 to everyone else) and it also features these grooming extras…Weleda Skin Food (Thing from The Fantastic Four needs to incorporate this into his daily routine ASAP) and FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (which Aquaman could definitely do with).

No matter if it’s a thank you gift for a superhero you know, or a gift to yourself for just getting through all this *gestures broadly* – here’s to feeling infinitely more ‘super’ with every spritz: up, up and a spray! (Sorry).

By Suzy Nightingale

Christmas gift ideas for men: fabulous, festive & fragrant…

Christmas gift ideas for men? It can be difficult, we know – and especially this year, when so many of us are apart from our loved ones. But worry not. You’ve come to the right place! We’re brimming over with scented suggestions that will have him feeling fabulous, festive, AND fragrant

 

Christmas gift ideas for men

The Super Man Discovery Box: £22 (or £18 for VIP club members!)

For super men everywhere, we’ve included independent perfume houses making their mark: recently launched ånd fragrance with sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients at the forefront, decadent Italian niche with Laboratorio Olfattivo and Jovoy with their new creation based on the Mayfair store 21 Conduit St. Also including newness from loved names including St Giles, Parfums de Marly, Ruth Mastenbroek, Floris, Caron,Initio, Atelier Des Ors, Kierin NYC and Anima Vinci. We also bring you TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (50ml), and the divinely scented beard savour WELEDA Skin Food (10ml). Up, up and a-spray…!

 

The Sharing Collection Discovery Box: £23 (or £19 for VIPs)

Yes, we know we’re using the word ‘men’ here, but some chaps perhaps aren’t as advanced in their tastes, fragrance-sharing wise, and will balk at anything not specifically marketed as ‘masculine’ scents. However, here’s a way to ease them in to the modern world – with so many fabulous ‘shareable’ creations being launched, we’ve decided to put our favourites in one beautiful box, for EVERYONE to wear. Niche perfume houses rarely categorise their creations as ‘male’ or ‘female’ – and there’s plenty here with newness from Goldfield & Banks, Kingdom Scotland, BDK Parfums, Vines House Parfum and Rook Perfumes. We also showcase classics such as Goutal Paris Eau D’Hadrien and Eight & Bob Egypt, along with fabulous discoveries from Initio and Atelier des Ors, plus two ‘unisex’ body treats. We won’t be at all surprised if he decides he DOESN’T want to share with anyone else. So maybe treat yourself to one as well?

 

Mihan Aromatics Discovery Set: £33

Mihan Aromatics are a true product of Australia – an up-and-coming perfume house from Down Under. Their luxury, all-natural scents capture the fascinating fragrance landscape of that vast country, created by uber-cool Melbourne couple Josh and Julia Mihan. (They’ve been likened to ‘the BYREDO of Australia…’) In this incredible line-up of gender-neutral fragrances, Josh and Jules combine native floral and spices – including Australian sandalwood, now being deployed by the fragrance industry as a sustainable alternative to Indian Santalum album. You can spray the ENTIRE COLLECTION in this divinely cool set, each one a very clear style; a lightness, a dreamy character, a mood. Try Mikado Bark, a mountainous arrangement of paper and unfamiliar books exude distinction and literary prowess. Or Petrichor Plains, conjuring up the drenching of earth and rock after a shower. Plus: a bonus ‘untitled’ fragrance, still in development, of which you get an exclusive sneak peek… HOW cool it that?!

Jovoy Discovery Set: £30

For chaps unashamedly into decadent scents, you can do no better than choose this collection. Jovoy has a fascinating history as a Parisian house, its customers were a ‘Who’s Who?’ of the Roaring Twenties. Then scent exporter and expert in raw ingredients, François Hénin, rediscovered and revived the fragrance house. So now we bring you this just-launched Discovery Set of FOURTEEN of Jovoy‘s fabulous, opulent fragrances. Created with master perfumers, it is bursting with OLFACTORY HERITAGE and beauty. From Ambre Premier, which layers unisex rose onto vanilla, musk and patchouli to La Liturgie des Heures, evoking the atmosphere of an old cathedral via incense, myrrh and labdanum – and with a dozen more to explore for yourself – each fragrance holds a place in time. Plus each set contains a 10% voucher redeemable against a full size Jovoy fragrance! Daring, decadent, divine: why not treat yourself or – someone close…?

We’ve man-y (sorry) many more fragrant sets with which to entice your senses, simply explore our shop for more ideas (and let us do the sending to save you going to the post office, if you prefer). No matter your budget or the man in your life’s tastes, we have Christmas, fragrantly covered

By Suzy Nightingale

Father’s Day’s not far away: send the perfect present, even if you’re apart

Around the world, people are working out how best to celebrate Father’s Day – be that with a birth father, stepdad or any special man in their lives – in a safe, socially-distanced or ‘virtual’ way.

We have ideas for the perfect gifts to show how much you care, with no gift-wrapping or travelling to the post office to worry about – all available at the click of a button – and no matter what his age/personality/preferences may be!

So, do book in a Zoom meeting, catch up with a phone call, or even safely wave from the bottom of a garden (heartbreaking though that can be) if you’re able; but how about a scented treat to boost his spirits and (let’s face it) perhaps nudge him away from that years-old bottle of fragrance he’s had festering away on a bathroom shelf for years. So is he…

Not sure what he likes? This is the answer!

Our Everyman Discovery Box was put together with men in mind (though we know many female friends who love the more ‘masculine’ vibe of these scents!) and it’s the perfect way to gently introduce a whole new wardrobe of options into your special guy’s life.

There’s independent perfume houses making their mark: Goldfield & Banks from Australia, decadent French niche with Atelier Des Ors, and Kierin NYC fresh from the streets of New York. Also more loved names and newness from Jimmy Choo, Montblanc, Eight & Bob, Yardley (18ml!), Salvatore Ferragamo, Banana Republic, JUSBOX and Lalique. And: TWO FULL SIZE GROOMING PRODUCTS! Fish Soho Original Fish Shape Texturising Cream (100ml) – just in case their at-home haircut didn’t go to plan – and the fab, pampering, Super Facialist for Men Vitamin B3 Deep Cleanse Face Mask (125ml).

Everyman Discovery Box £19 / or £15 for VIP Club Members

A sophisticated chap? Get classy & practical!

Treat him to something classy and practical with this fab ‘twist and spray’ travel set (we’re sure he’ll appreciate the irony of ‘travel’ right now – but hey, a trip to the supermarket is travelling, right?!) He’s sure to fall in love with the immaculately blended dry cedar and warm sandalwood shot through with aromatic citrus (and with two back-up bottles included, hey maybe you could ‘borrow’ one…?)

Chanel Bleu de Chanel Travel Spray £69 for 60ml (3 x 20ml) eau de toilette
johnlewis.com

Leather jacket-wearing indie-loving dad? Nostalgic perfection!

Such a unique, yet instantly memorable, fragrance this one. Overlapping shades and textures of leather and suede are rendered in scented form, shot through with a trio of citrus – tangerine, mandarin and elemi – then softened by powdery iris and a snuggle of cashmere with the wet earth coolness of vetiver misted over smoky drifts of birch and incense for a touch of ‘grunge bar chic’.

 

Miller Harris Étui Noir £80 for 50ml eau de parfum
millerharris.com

Intellectual dad? This one’s ideal for deep-thinkers!

Inspired by classical Greek myth, this surprisingly complex take on mint swirls herbs into the dappled shade of a traditional fougère structure, then infused with a contemporary edge of thorny rose oxide. Cool as a long cold drink on a hot day, crisp asfrost on green leaves, the verdant notes swoon to skin-warmed whispers of soft muskiness that intrigue the whole day through.

 

Diptyque Eau de Minthé £120 for 75ml
diptyqueparis.com

Wishes he was Italian? Get him groomed & smelling good!

If his #LockdownBeard has got a bit out of control, why not hint with this super-stylish kit that he’ll be positively flaunting in the bathroom? Containing a shaving brush, the Shaving Cream and the Aftershave Emulsion in 40ml size, for us it’s all about that iconic Colonia in a dinky 20ml size (suave freshness personified – as worn by Cary Grant!)

Acqua di Parma Prestige Shaving Kit £135
acquadiparma.com

‘Embracing modernity’ kinda dude? Update his scent style with this!

Now look, we know all dads aren’t fuddy-duddy and some don’t need any style tips whatsoever… while others could perhaps do with dusting down and bringing into the light. Either way, this charismatic take on Mediterranean charm fuses blood orange and Sicillian lemon with green herbs, fiery pimento and cool woods will boost his spirits.

 

Dolce&Gabbana K £55 for 50ml eau de toilette
boots.com

A gift to make him chuckle (that genuinely smells lovely!)

Now here’s something to put a smile on their faces (and relief all-round in the family home, perhaps?) with a ‘before you go’ spray of pure eucalyptus and spearmint natural oils, ‘that helps eliminate bathroom odours before they begin’, as they tastefully put it. And you know what? It really works! Think of it as your present to whomever has to live with him…

 

Poo Pourri Royal Flush £11.99 for 118ml
poopourri.co.uk

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

Acqua di Parma Barbiere – Selfridges open new male grooming experience

Acqua di Parma have long been known as the go-to for stylish gents who wish to be wonderfully fragranced, and now Selfridges add to the experience by opening a brand new Acqua di Parma Barbiere space, for an exquisitely scented grooming experience – and just in time for Christmas, too!

Located next to the Men’s Beauty Workshop in their Oxford Street store, Barbiere promises to be ‘…an intimate and refined yet relaxed space where the modern man can indulge in the ritual of a traditional Italian shave, pick up his grooming essentials, and discover the Acqua di Parma fragrant universe.’

Marrying the brand’s signature yellow in soft furnishings with luxurious woods and that innate Italian style – we think it looks distictly Wes Anderson in character – it’s a welcoming place to take a few minutes to unwind, be pampered and experience for yourself some of the wonderful (and heavenly scented) products they offer. Even better: to have someone else do all the hard work for you!

Services will include a proper Italian Traditional Shave (£45) which takes 30 minutes and involves cut-throat razors, hot towels and a soothing Colonia aftershave; a Prestige Shave (£59) for 50 minutes, with facial and eye massage, full consultation and double-shave (for ultra-smooth chops!); various hair-cutting / beard-wrangling options and any number of fabulously indulgent treat packages.

The perfect way to ease yourself into the festive season, have a pre-NYE spruce-up or to give as a thoughtful gift idea, the Acqua di Parma Barbiere experience will be open from 17 December 2018, at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London.

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

Murdock London & Silent Pool’s scented gin fling

We know that many are striving for a ‘dry January’, but to be honest, we’re far preferring the ‘Ginuary’ approach to this month… and as such were excited to hear that gentlemen’s grooming aficionados, Murdock London, have teamed up with Surrey-based gin connoisseurs, Silent Pool, for a fragrant gin cocktail experience based on Murdock’s best-selling Cologne.

Watch the beautiful short film below and read on for details of how you can get your hands on some…

Style-seeking chaps who spend £75 or more during their visit to Murdock London salons in Soho, Covent Garden or Shoreditch can now look forward to a bespoke gin made by Silent Pool – based on the intriguingly smoky yet vibrantly citrusy Murdock London fragrance, Black Tea.

Part of Silent Pool’s ‘Intricately Realised‘ series of collaborations, in which they hook-up with suitably sophisticated companies who inspire limited edition infusions of their artisanal gin, we spoke to Stu Bale, Head of Innovation at the Silent Pool distillery, to find out more…

Stu explained their approach to the Murdock London drink was slightly different to previous Intricately Realised versions, built as a fragrance can be composed, so he ‘…started with the base notes, which were black tea, nutmeg and pepper,’ trying many differing kinds he eventually settled on Tasmanian pepper, ‘which gave a great warmth without having overpowering spiciness.’

We were thrilled to hear that long-time friend of The Perfume Society, Henrietta Lovell‘s Rare Tea was the one selected with which to flavour the gin. ‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best in the world,’ Says Stu, going on to describe how he infused this, along with nutmeg in the same alcohol they use to macerate the botanicals in Silent Pool gin. Another link to the fragrance world, as perfume compositions must be macerated (allowed time to develop) before they are ready to wear.

Layering the materials by ‘constantly referring [to the fragrance] and working systematically from the base notes through to the top notes,’ Stu then added small amounts of sandalwood and cedar to echo the ‘woody, mysterious oriental vibe’ of the Cologne. Finally he added neroli and pettigrain – classic top notes to a traditional Cologne, and the final mixture is served with tonic water to add the ‘oomph’ of a spritzed scent. Having tirelessly researched the taste of this Cologne-inspired cocktail, we can report that it’s silky smooth with a definite tang of gentle spice-infused tea, and goes down a treat.

Have a look at the short film they made…

We also took the opportunity to douse ourselves in the Black Tea fragrance, which is equal measures of refreshing and riveting – a darker, spicier Cologne than most and all the more intriguing (especially at this time of year). Definitely a scent that can also be enjoyed by women, we might have to buy this as a Valentine’s gift (perhaps with a certificate for one of Murdock London’s many grooming services) and, um, ‘borrow’ it for ourselves…

Murdock London Black Tea £70 for 100ml Cologne
Buy it at murdocklondon.com

Silent Pool’s bespoke #IntricatelyRealised gin is currently a gift when spending £75 or more at Murdock London’s Soho, Covent Garden and Shoreditch branches. While stocks last, so hurry!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

7 reasons no man can resist these scents…

Is there a man in your life that’s tricky to buy for? Or perhaps you’re a fragrance-loving chap who’d like to branch out a bit?
We’ve got just the answer…
Asking some men to write a list of what they actully want for Christmas is like trying to get blood from a stone. You might as well pose the question to the cat, so instead of fretting, we’ve made things easy by curating a hand-picked collection of irresistible scents in our For Him Discovery Box – for him to discover, and for you to possibly ‘borrow’ – or just spoil yourself with for a change. And it’s not a subsciption service – so you know exactly what you’re getting, and wont be stuck if it was just a one-off gift you wanted.
Here’s 7 reasons we think you’d mad to miss out!
1) Stuffed to the brim with an impressive 10 fragrances, this is a whole wardrobe of masculine scents in one stylish box. Perfect for the person who’s always been wanting to widen their fragrance collection but has no idea where to begin… (PS: If you went out to buy a full-size bottle of each scent, you’d have to spend £526 to try all these fragrances!)

2) How can you embody the scent of an Arabian Prince? Find out with Jovoy‘s Private Labelit was originally a bespoke fragrance for Arabian royalty!
3) Everyone those who purchase a For Him Discovery Box will be entered to win a FULL SIZE BOTTLE of the ten featured fragrances or grooming extras. But hurry – this prize draw ends on 9th December 2017!

4) Perfumer Mathilde Laurent is one of the rock stars of the fragrance world – in-house perfumer for Cartier, she created L’Envol eau de toilette as an airy Oriental that smells like flying above a forest in luminous sunshine (and it’s one of the sexiest things we’ve smelled on a man’s skin!)
5) He can be one of the first to try Missoni’s new fragrance: Parfum Pour Homme,  together with the accompanying Shave Balm AND Shower Gel.

6) New ‘cult’ men’s skincare brand Heath has got rave reviews from beauty bloggers and glossy magazine editors alike – and we’ve popped a full-size Face Wash in the box!
7) With scents from Dunhill, Jaguar and Ferrariluxury car lovers and perfumistas’ alike will have their pulses racing as soon as they sniff these…
Here’s a run-down of of exactly what you get:
Cartier L’Envol 1.5ml eau de toilette
Cristiano Ronaldo CR7 2ml eau de toilette
Coach For Men 2ml eau de toilette
Dunhill Racing 2ml eau de parfum
Ferrari Man in Red 1.2ml eau de toilette
Heath Face Wash 150ml
Jaguar Black Chromite 1.8ml eau de toilette
Jovoy Private Label 2ml eau de parfum
Kenneth Cole Mankind 1.5ml eau de toilette
Missoni Parfum Pour Homme 5ml eau de parfum
Missoni Parfum Pour Homme Aftershave Balm 25ml
Missoni Parfum Pour Homme Bath & Shower Gel 25ml
Vince Camuto Homme 1.5ml eau de toilette

The For Him Discovery Box is priced £15+ p&p* to VIP Subscribers/£19+ p&p* to non-subscribers – be sure to log in to your account to take advantage of the special VIP Subscriber price. (Not a VIP yet? Sign up here…)
Written by Suzy Nightingale