Tuesday, 31 October 2017 13:13

Label To Know Parterre

Grown in UK fragrance brand Parterre Keyneston Mill

Based on a 50 acre estate called “Keyneston Mill" in Dorset, Parterre - translated as “on the ground” - is a new and experimental British perfume brand aiming to grow many of the ingredients themselves. Two thousand plant varieties to be precise.

Founded by husband and wife, David and Julia Bridger, their backgrounds are farming and graphic design, respectively, Parterre launches with three fragrances, all limited in number and stocked at Fortnum & Mason.

Left - Not the Crystal Maze - Keyneston Mill, Dorset

TheChicGeek says, “Who knew you could grow vetiver in the UK? I always thought it was a tropical grass found in places like Haiti. Soon to be open to the public, Keyneston Mill looks set to be a destination in itself and not just for perfume fans. I can see a Monty Don special coming on!

No budget has been spared here with Sir Elton John’s ex-gardener Stuart Neilson and former RHS botanist Nanette Wraith being brought on board. Design plays an important part in the core of the garden with Renaissance Italy and Kandinsky referenced while the rest of the acreage is put to growing in volume.

Based on botanicals, obvs, the three fragrances, produced in collaboration with leading perfumer, Jacques Chabert, are “A Tribute To Edith”, geranium and rose, “Run Of The River”, bergamot mint and orange flower, and, the most masculine, “Root Of All Goodness”, bergamot, vetiver and leather.

Parterre British botanical fragrance company exclusive Dorset

I admire Parterre because they will be at the whim of the unpredictable British weather and, as such, they’re still trying to work out what works and what gives a decent standard of product. They’re also producing the oils themselves using steam distillation.

Right - Parterre - "Root Of All Goodness" - 50ml/100ml - £95/£160

Like the majority of gardens, things will get better with age. Everything seems quite new and experimental, and while the French will probably scoff and turn up their noses, literally and metaphorically, just remember they did that once to English sparkling wine and look how far that has come.

It would be nice to see which of the ingredients are homegrown - maybe a Union flag next to them? - I do think they’re missing a trick not doing at least one fragrance with 100% British grown ingredients, but I’m sure, in time, that will come. Also, they should use a British perfumer or try doing it in-house.

This plugs into the British obsession with plants and gardening and being able to visit and see the place will only add to the attraction. Of the three fragrances, the most masculine is the “Root Of All Goodness”, but I was drawn to the rose one. Men can wear pink and smell of roses, these days. I like the branding, it is fairly feminine, but the hand calligraphy numbering on the bottles is a nice touch. I’d just love to know what they could do with the stinging nettles, bindweed and Japanese knotweed in my garden!”

Published in Labels To Know
Thursday, 20 July 2017 15:15

Tried & Tested Coach For Men

Review Coach For Men Fragrance

Coach introduces a new fragrance for men. It is said to have a New York attitude and an American authenticity. Coach For Men starts with an energetic top note of crisp and effervescent green Nashi pear. A spicy burst of cardamom adds warmth, complexity and a subtle touch of sweetness. The scent ends with a textured base of vetiver—earthy, woody and green—layered with hints of suede and ambergris.

Left - One of the best bottles I've seen this year Coach For Men

TheChicGeek says, “In the battle for mainstream luxury - which is where all the money is BTW - Coach have a real energy right now. They feel like they are leading, rather than following, and have, finally, made Coach a recognised and desired brand in the UK and Europe.

This is their first men’s fragrance under their new license deal - they were previously with Esteé Lauder.

I really like the packaging: the ombré flacon and embossed logo with the name on the a leather tag is strong yet subtle branding. Even the textured calf-skin-like finish on the box is a nice touch.

The juice is commercial, but, that’s expected. The best bit is the dry down which soft and warm and without anything jarring or dominating.

Review Coach For Men Fragrance James Franco

The face is James Franco. I thought they would have chosen somebody a bit younger. Coach has been pushing a more collegiate, youthful feel and James Franco, pushing 40, is a bit done and has been used by other brands before. I personally think of Chloe Moretz and Brooklyn Beckham as Coach’s target image now: young and cool. But, this fragrance certainly works on its own."

Right - Too old for the new Coach? The Coach For Men face James Franco. 

Coach For Men - Out 12th September 2017 40ml - 100ml - £29 - £62

Published in Grooming
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 11:53

Tried & Tested JOOP! WOW!

Review Joop WOW fragrance men'sJOOP! WOW! awakens all the senses with captivating top notes of bergamot, cardamom and violet-leaf. A blend of rich absolutes: irresistibly sensual fir balsam, darkly masculine tonka bean and dangerously warm vanilla surabsolute. The foundation is the supremely woody base, noble combination of distinctive woods, vetiver and cashmeran, a memorable signature, full of masculinity, intensity and texture.

TheChicGeek says, “Joop fragrances became synonymous with toilet attendants in dodgy night spots and as such the brand was tinged with the dreaded ‘naff’ label. It’s never really resonated as a fashion brand here, unlike in Europe, and as such doesn’t have much identity.

Pronounced Joop with a J here, or with a Y on the continent, it wasn’t cool enough for people to look pretentious by saying it properly. 

Left - JOOP! WOW - 60ml EDT - £39

Time for a clean slate then. Coty, the brand license owner for fragrance, has made an effort with this one. The scent is good. It’s warm, woody and amber-like without being sticky which often happens at this price point. 

There’s masculine favourites of vetiver and tonka bean in there and a few gourmand ingredients such as vanilla and green notes such as geranium.

I just think there’s a disconnect between the name, the fragrance and the imagery and bottle. The image is of a mature (gentle)man, the fragrance is quite grown-up and the bottle looks likes a miniature of whisky, while the name ‘WOW!’ seems more immature, fun and for the younger, social media generation. 

I actually like the name WOW! it’s quite pop, but it seems more suited to maybe a Marc Jacobs fragrance then something with the serious and old-fashioned hashtag #thescentthatmakestheman

The simple bottle design doesn’t have any shelf appeal and isn’t gimmicky enough. I think they want the One Million crowd with this one.

The fragrance isn’t wow, but then what is? But, it’s good.” 

Published in Grooming

Givenchy Parisian Break review fragranceThis limited-edition fragrance from Givenchy's Gentlemen Only series is an aromatic blend of citrus and woody notes. Featuring lemon, Nepal mint, sage, Haiti vetiver and ambroxan with a scene of Paris’ River Seine on the bottle.

TheChicGeek says, “You’d be mistaken, from the bottle, for thinking this smelt like the Seine. Well, thank goodness, it doesn’t. I’ve been a fan of Givenchy’s Gentlemen Only series, and this, the fourth, is what I would class as a ‘Summer Edition’.

Its fresh, aquatic notes loses some of the warmth of the original though. It has a strong lemon top note uncut with a coolness from the mint. While nothing revolutionary, it does offer a summer freshness without tipping over into annoying marine”.

Left - Givenchy - Gentlemen Only Parisian Break - 100ml - £60.50

Published in Grooming

Ermengildo Zegna review Acqua Di BergamottoLight and fresh, this invigorating fragrance based on Italian Bergamot contains notes of Calabrian bergamot, from Zegna's own special farm, along with rosemary, vetiver, and neroli, all said to 'emulate the cooling breeze, lush green fields and blue coastline' of Southern Italy.

TheChicGeek says “Nothing is more Italian or Italian summery, should we say, than the bergamot. This large citrus fruit has long been the main ingredient for that freshness in men’s fragrance, particularly some of the original Eau de Colognes which date back many hundreds of years.

This pretty much does what it says on the tin, but with a more contemporary spin. The other elements - the rosemary and vetiver give it a slight ‘marine’ hit of woody freshness to the citrus.”

Left & Below - Ermengildo Zegna - Acqua Di Bergamotto - 100ml - £76

Ermengildo Zegna Acqua Di Bergamotto

Published in Grooming

Acqua di Parma Colonia ClubChoosing the equestrian discipline of dressage as its focal sport, Acqua di Parma’s new Colonia Club has the signature Acqua di Parma top notes of citrus - bergamot, lemon, petitgrain and mandarin, immediately followed by an unexpected olfactory note. 

The freshness of mint – combined with neroli oil –  is blended with aromatic geranium and lavender notes with equally elegant freshness of galbanum. 

The dry and woody accents of Haiti vetiver, combined with precious musk notes and a rich grey amber accord, make up the perfect base, stressing the masculine, dynamic, sophisticated tones of the fragrance.

There is an Eau de Cologne spray, Hair and Shower Gel, Deodorant Stick and Spray, Shampoo and Shower Gel within the Colonia Club range.

Left - Acqua di Parma Colonia Club - 100ml - £81

TheChicGeek says, “Billed as Acqua di Parma’s ‘Sports’ fragrance, Colonia Club is a classic men’s fougeré (lavender) unpinned with fresh mint. This a classic type of men’s fragrance, thus being very wearable, in a very popular men’s family of fragrances. The mint remains warm thanks to the amber.

The only negatives are - it has that initial stickiness that you get with a lot of men’s fragrances, you could put that down to the amount of green notes in the fragrance and it also doesn’t last very long. BUT, it is an Eau De Cologne which in their nature are light and should be sprayed liberally and often.

The rich racing green colour suits the classic deco flacon and visualises this green and fresh fragrance. This is the sort of fragrance that works well across a range of products, especially the types of gym products, like shower gel, in this range."

www.johnlewis.com

Published in Grooming