For Alien Man, Mugler has tried to reinvent the leather fragrance family by overdosing it and giving it an olfactory twist, an overdose of osmanthus blossom with apricot notes, paired with a woody base of smoked beech bark.
The overdose of leather is triggered thanks to its pairing with cashmeran, a fresh, vibrant and spicy wood.
Left - Thierry Mugler Alien Man - 100 ml - £68
TheChicGeek says, “With a name like ‘Alien’, you’d think the field was pretty open for something outer of this world. Something that was the opposite of natural and played with the idea of things or someone being in the wrong place.
Alien Man is a bit of a let down, especially with me being such a big fan of the male Angel, A*Men. That bar was set pretty high. I don’t get the top at all, but the dry down is much more interesting. I’m getting dried grass with wet, white flowers and a peach or fruity element.
Created by Jean-Christophe Hérault, the fragrance is centred around the flowers of the osmanthus scrub, used throughout East Asia for its scent and flavour, which is likened to apricot and peach.
They could have had much more fun with the bottle. It’s a bit dark, shows all your fingerprints, and simplistic and the top squeaks as you spray.
Mugler, as a brand, is always pretty out there for me, and this feels disappointingly conservative.”
Lalique has announced the launch of its new men's scent, L'Insoumis Ma Force. It opens with fruity lemon notes mixed with spicy cardamom and green apple. The heart features lavender balanced with violet leaf, rosemary and green camphor, rounded off with a sensual wood and amber base. The perfumer is Fabrice Pellegrin.
TheChicGeek says, “Translated as ‘rebellious’ and ‘my strength’, this is a classic fougère with the 90s note of choice - green apple. While not its main focus, Lalique fragrances are pretty good and I usually like the packaging. Often inspired by the frosted/art-deco style of his most famous glassware, the Lalique bottles are affordable nods to the super-expensive originals. This is a bit of a let down as a bottle and is not very memorable.
The fragrance enters a busy space for the lavender-based with a woody base with a lemon/green top, but, of its type, it ain’t bad. While there are a lot of these around, this certainly has the freshness, scents of this type have, without that annoying synthetic after-note - read cheap - you find with less expensive variants.”
Left - Lalique - L’Insoumis Ma Force - 100ml - £72
For Paul Smith’s new ‘Hello You!’ fragrance, perfumers Fanny Bal and Dominique Ropion say they were inspired by Paul Smith’s celebrated use of colour. The fresh, sparkling citrus opening is followed by a very British aromatic lavender heart, blended with a fruity apple accord. The base notes underline the strong masculinity of patchouli and vetiver, magnified with the sensuality of ciste absolute.
TheChicGeek says, “I really like Paul Smith, the man and the brand. He’s probably the nicest man in fashion. But, I’ve always got the vibe that he doesn’t really know that much about fragrance and therefore has never given it his full attention.
His past fragrances have never been that distinctive, which is strange for a man who happily paints shops fuchsia pink - LA - and Minis stripey. They were also quite young and priced too cheaply.
Anyway, there’s a new men’s one on the block called ‘Hello You!’. A play with Paul’s famous 1940s pin-ups, usually found on the interiors of his wallets, it sticks to the classic rectangular bottle with a screw cap.
I like the name, but, it feels like the kind of packaging I wanted 15 years ago from him. It’s a shame they didn’t do a choice of male or female pin-ups, it would have felt more contemporary - I was thinking ‘Cooey’ for the male one!
The fragrance is still young and it is priced to sell, but I find I’m having less and less patience for these types of fragrance. I really want something special from Paul Smith and for him to have the same confidence with fragrance that he has with colour.”
Left & Right - Paul Smith Hello You! 100ml - £45
This new woody aromatic leathery fragrance was designed for Jimmy Choo by Nathalie Lorson. On top, clary sage’s aromatic imprint strikes a balance between freshness and refined texture. The tonic transparency of bergamot brings a breath of fresh air and contrasts with the spicy warmth of black pepper. The intense texture of leather reveals itself in the heart of the fragrance, assuming an extreme masculinity enhanced by the urban elegance of grey amber and the vegetal woody facets of cypress. The creamy sensuality of sandalwood provides a distinctive and addictive dry-down, supported by magnetic vanilla and vetiver.
“I composed this set of textures around three impacting elements: the aromatic and velvety texture of sage leaves, the grained and raw texture of leather and the smooth texture of sandalwood to create a masculine and modern addiction,” explains Nathalie Lorson.
TheChicGeek says “This is the Jimmy Choo Man reimagined as a carefree skateboarder. I’m thinking Rocco Ritchie or one of the Beckham boys. I thought the blue element would denote an aqua fragrance, but it’s a leather wood. It’s slightly older and more mature than the skateboarding image suggests.
There’s a sweetness of the vanilla, but it’s a classic mid-market leather fragrance that I think works better on clothes than on the skin. Nothing pokes its head above the leather parapet and I’m not sure what’s ‘blue’ about this fragrance, unless it’s your knees after a turn on that skateboard!”
Left - Jimmy Choo Man Blue - EDT - 100ml - £66
New British fragrance brand klaxon. Founded by Michael Donovan and named after the ancient, Central London parish of St Giles - it’s that bit just near Tottenham Court Road station, where the coloured Renzo Piano buildings are - where he was born, this new collection of five fragrances is based on different characters.
Michael has worked in the fragrance business for many years with some of the biggest names and noses. Here, he has teamed up with perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour, and spent the last three years creating the five scents: The Tycoon, The Writer, The Stylist, The Actress and The Mechanic.
TheChicGeek says, “It’s always great to see new British fragrance brands. Especially from somebody with over 20 year’s experience in the business. Michael sent me the three most masculine fragrances to try - The Tycoon, The Writer and The Mechanic.
There’s a lot going on, but it works. I actually found it difficult to choose one standout. I liked all three and underlining it all is quality.
The Tycoon is a classic chypre with notes of patchouli, labdanum and oakmoss augmented with a castoreum.
The Writer opens with fresh ginger, rosemary absolute and the focusing sparkle of aldehydes with castoreum absolute plus sandalwood, cedarwood and driftwood.
The Mechanic has a base of hot rubber, musk, oakmoss and a balsamic, cracked styrax with an earthy geranium and patchouli opening.
The Mechanic is the most interesting as it doesn’t fit in as easily with the other character names. The market for niche fragrances continues to grow and this is definitely a collection worth seeking out. I just wish the branding and labelling had more personality and fully represented the fragrances’ depth of character.”
St Giles Collection - 100ml - £130
Exclusive to Selfridges
The latest edition to the Blu Mediterraneo series is centred around the extremely rare chinotto fruit. Called Chinotto di Liguria - Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy. Its capital is Genoa - it is a small orange-type fruit which had been used by the Italians to make fizzy drinks, but had somewhat disappeared.
The top notes of the fragrance are enhanced by the bittersweet notes of the chinotto fruit and the sparkling crispness of mandarin. At its heart, jasmine and geranium bloom with the dynamic and refreshing notes of cardamom and rosemary. It is rounded off with the peace and tranquillity accorded by the base notes of musk and patchouli. A fragrance reminiscent of an early morning stroll along the rocky coastlines of western Liguria.
TheChicGeek says, “Nothing makes you want to book a Summer holiday like the launch of a new Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo scent. The blast of sunshine and the hypnotic blue of the bottle makes you want to rush down to Lunn Poly and take a one way flight to Southern Europe. ANYWHERE.
Left & Right - Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo - Chinotto di Liguria 75ml - £66
This tiny orange had somewhat - or should that be kumquat?! - fallen out of use in Italy. It has a thick skin and the fragrance is extracted by fermenting the entire fruits.
This isn’t your standard sparkling citrus fragrance. It’s more interesting than that. It has a warm spiciness - cardamom - which seems to keep the fragrance in the background, but it has a heat and intensity that keeps it resonating. It's like the heat from coastal rocks after a long day in the sun.
This is the kind of fragrance that would keep people guessing regarding the ingredients and is a welcome addition to the citrus category.”
“Marigold is a fairly unusual ingredient. Its fruity and aromatic facets contrast harmoniously with the fresh and natural tones of jasmine sambac. Together they capture the vibrancy of an Indian flower market,” says Mathilde Bijaoui, Jo Malone Master Perfumer.
Left - Jo Malone Cologne Intense Jasmine Sambac & Marigold - 100ml - £115
TheChicGeek says, “The green, hypnotic fragrance of the Arabian jasmine is the star here. It’s the kind of fragrance you want to inhale as deeply as possible to make it last longer. The top is marigold, which I didn’t think had much a scent(?), and the base is benzoin, a balsamic resin from the bark of the Styrax tree.
Add in ylang, ylang, vanilla and amber and you not only have an Indian flower market, but one of those rare, warm British summer nights when the climbing jasmine is pumping out as much scent as possible into the night. While this is instinctively feminine, the lines are blurring so much in fashion, beauty and gender, that anything goes.”
Launching nationwide April 2018
Like Jo Malone? Read English Fields review - here
This year’s limited-edition range of Jo Malone scents is inspired by English fields. “Sunlight skipping across golden fields. Plentiful. Rich with precious grains. Hearty oat. Fluffy barley. Earthy rye. A warm and wholesome celebration. Cooled by the freshness of flowers. Poppies. Primroses. Cornflowers. Alive with colour. Dancing happily to the hum of crickets. The buzz of bees. The essence of the English landscape in five captivating scents,” or so the blurb goes. I can feel a Sting song coming on!
Left & Below - Jo Malone - English Fields - 30ml - £47
TheChicGeek says, “ The five scents are; Poppy & Barley, Primrose & Rye, Oat & Cornflower, Honey & Crocus and Green Wheat & Meadowsweet. The middle, gourmand three are the most interesting; the other two I think you can find elsewhere.
Primrose & Rye is pure holiday sunshine. It has that dry sun-tan lotion smell - a bit like Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc - from the mimosa and vanilla. The Oat & Cornflower smells really oaty with a hint of hazlenut, while Honey & Crocus, many people's favourite, smells like an almond biscuit, in a good way. The honey and almond milk will certainly get those saliva glands operating. I think they need to pump this into supermarkets to make us buy more!
This is a really fun collection and, like I’ve been saying for ages, these small sizes make it more playful and something you take away on holiday, plus they run out before you get bored. They just need to make the names on the bottles larger as you really need to concentrate to read them.”
Like Jo Malone? Have you seen the latest Cologne Intense fragrance? here
Created by Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux, who set out to reveal “the charisma of the wearer”, Montblanc Legend Night is a woody fragrance with aromatic notes of clary sage and peppermint, enhanced with cool spices (cardamom) and sparkling bergamot.
The middle notes contain cedar wood blended with floral lavender tones, and slightly powdered violet.
"In the base notes, we wanted a strong and memorable signature, full of contrasts,” explain the two noses. “On one side some dense and vibrant woods with a duo of Vetiver and patchouli wood, and on the other, the enveloping depth of musk and velvety black vanilla.”
Left - Montblanc Legend Night 100ml - EDP - £67
TheChicGeek says, “The first Legend arrived in 2011, and has proved to be a commercial success. This is the third in the series after Legend Spirit.
It starts off fairly standardly and unmemorable, but then warms into a soft, vanilla wood with a background of violet. There’s nothing especially distinctive here and it doesn’t feel particularly ‘night’. Maybe not heavy enough?
I think Mont Blanc as a brand could go for a more upmarket feel and better quality ingredients with their fragrances. There’s a disconnect between a £500 pen and a £67 fragrance available from The Perfume Shop and, I think, as consumers become more used to nicher, quality fragrances, the people running these brands should take note and aim to copy or emulate the finish and feeling or get left behind. I do like the ombré bottle, it has that 80s ‘Fahrenheit’ feel, but I’d probably stick to the original Legend."
Montblanc Legend Night will be available exclusively at The Perfume Shop from 12th March 2018. Nationwide from 3rd April 2018.
The first fragrance for men from Nejma, Koeptys - from the latin coeptis, meaning project or endeavour - is a collaboration between the brand, master perfumer, Alice Lavenat, and French rap phenomenon, Booba - no, me neither!
Booba is the most downloaded music artist in French history and is said to have been closely involved with the whole creative process.
Left - Koeptys - 100ml EDP - £130. Exclusive to Selfridges
Koeptys opens with notes of incense, cinnamon and pepper before revealing a floral woody heart. Pure vanilla and patchouli inject power and sensuality to the base of this highly aromatic and addictive scent.
The alternating upper and lower case letters highlight the word ‘key’ and are a reference to the street culture that has been a major influence on Booba’s life and music.
TheChicGeek says, “When I first saw this I wanted to try it. I know nothing about Booba, but the name and font was giving me Egyptian hieroglyphic vibes and I was intrigued.
Nejma is known for centring their fragrances around oud, but it definitely doesn’t feature here. What starts off as something wet and metallic, and what you think could be the same predictable men’s scent, quickly whooshes into something more floral and much more interesting. It has a big feminine slant with the base of vanilla, but isn’t sickly and doesn’t dominate.
The woody floral centre dominates and is warm yet green and this fragrance is definitely something that twists and turns depending on whether it is on your skin, clothes and your mood.”
Right - French Rap Star, Booba, with whom the fragrance is a collaboration