Blue is the colour of the sky and the seas; the colour of ice-covered mountain peaks and expansive lakes and the inspiration for Montblanc’s fragrance Explorer Ultra Blue.
Three noses, Givaudan’s Jordi Fernandez, Olivier Pescheux, and Antoine Maisondieu have come together. The top notes are a zesty fusion of Italian bergamot and citrus of the finest quality, with the addition of a touch of pink peppercorn to deliver a fresh spicy note with woody facets.
A marine accord is the beating heart of the fragrance. The blue aquatic depth that comes from fusing citrus with the marine and airy notes evokes the freshness of Alpine landscapes, with the subtle hint of a sea breeze. The fresh, iodine, salty and airy notes contrast with grey amber notes. One final stop on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia delivers the base notes of patchouli that defines the structure of Montblanc Explorer Ultra Blue.
Left - Montblanc Explorer Ultra Blue - EDP 100ml - £72
TheChicGeek says, “This is a fresh woody fragrance. It’s easy on and easy off. It’s a burst mountain forests, but it’s not a stayer. and quickly disappears. It’s cohesive without a single note dominating and also nothing jarring. It feels mature but not old fashioned. The idea was for it to be glacial, without being cold, like breathing the air of the mountain forests. The patchouli here is said to be original to the fragrance, being distilled to remove the dark and earth facets,
The bottle is the same iteration as the original EXPLORER but in a rich blue colour way.”
Launches nationwide May 2021
See TheChicGeek’s Tried & Tested of the first Montblanc EXPLORER here
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Montblanc for review
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A new indie perfume brand from London, founded and created by Nick Steward, Gallivant works in collaboration with perfumers in Venice and Paris. The collection of eight hand-crafted fragrances, named after some of the world’s most vibrant cities, are designed to be travel-friendly with 30ml sized bottles, perfect for slipping into your holdall.
Nick Steward has two decades of hands-on experience in perfume making and was product and creative director of the pioneering niche house L’Artisan Parfumeur.
Handmade in the UK, unisex, vegan and cruelty-free. Gallivant is an ethical and sustainable independent artisan business.
TheChicGeek says, “The Phileas Fogg of perfume, Nick Seward, has produced a travelogue of scent. From Tel Aviv to Brooklyn, each fragrance is a modern take on a place memory.
I was hoping ‘London’ was going to smell like the inside of a red telephone box. Ewww!
If I had to pick a favourite, I would say ‘Tokyo’. Created with Nicolas Bonneville, it is a zingy, spicy, wood. A citrusy head of bergamot and yuzu with black pepper and cardamom, is electrified with a dash of wasabi. A woody heart of hinoki, cedarwood, and incense with orris root, rose and nutmeg mixes with a base of amber, sandalwood, patchouli and vetiver.
Tokyo has a slightly treacly cola top with an aquatic freshness. The warmed incense is there, but it’s deep and kept light with the fruit.”
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Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Gallivant for review
Created by perfumer Jordi Fernandez, ‘Imperial Emerald’ layers iris, Egyptian jasmine and lily of the valley over a subtle base of white musk.
The perfume was inspired by the beauty and majesty of the peacock. Native to India and Sri Lanka, for centuries the peacock has been interpreted by different cultures as a symbol of immortality and regality.
TheChicGeek says, “This looks beautiful with its real feather detail, and you know how much I love Venice. The fragrance is very white florals. There’s a lot going on here with top notes of bergamot, mandarin, pink peppercorn, carnation and iris. Heart notes of orange flowers, ylang ylang, peony, egyptian jasmine, lily of the valley and a base composed of white amber, benzoin and white musk, so it’s definitely not for the wallflowers of fragrance.
It smells old-fashioned, but not in a bad way. It’s probably too blousy for me, but would suit some of those other strutting male peacocks I know..."
Left - Merchant Of Venice - Imperial Emerald Eau de Parfum Concentrée - 100ml - £250 Available exclusively from Harrods
Disclosure - A sample product was gifted by Merchant of Venice to review
"When Jean Paul Gaultier opened Beau's case and, closing his eyes, the smell of coconut wood inspired a profound desire to relax, while the bergamot and the tonka bean whispered to him that lounging was the most refreshing of sins."
The perfumers were Quentin Bisch and Sonia Constant who teleported themselves to “Gaultier's garden”.
TheChicGeek says, “What a beauty! Jean Paul sticks to his winning formula here; tin can packaging, torso bottle and well priced. This is JPG’s Adam, with the giant fig-leaf to match - ooo-er.
The fragrance is an unapologetic gourmand with lots of yummy notes, making this a fun fragrance, but not sickly. It’s wearable and will definitely appeal to the devoted Le Male fan club. While containing the masstige tonka bean, it doesn’t smell generic or boring and has the same tongue-in-cheek sense of humour we adore from Mr Gaultier.”
Left - Jean Paul Gaultier Le Beau - 75ml - £44.62
Disclosure - The product was gifted by Jean Paul Gaultier to review
Part of Floris’ ‘Private Collection’, Vert Fougère, a lighter reimagination of a traditional woody fougère fragrance has green top notes of galbanum, grapefruit and bergamot, blended with a heart of lavender, neroli and ginger, on a base of smoke accord, amber and cashmere.
Master Perfumer, Nicola Pozzani, says, “Revolutionary in its composition, fougère to me is a marriage made of opposites: crisp, smart freshness versus sensuous, indulgent warmth. It’s sparkle and mystery, light and shade, it’s citrus herbal notes mingling with the woody oriental. Our new fougère had to be simple yet vigorous.
“I envisioned a garden at twilight, so I took lavender, but wanted it to be moody with the dew of the evening, so added patchouli and dark green with galbunum - green notes were my first love in perfumery. A slight citrus tone shines in the background reminiscent of our roots. Fougère stands for endurance so I boosted the scent with cedarwood, a nearly immortal red wood. Finally I created a sense of cosiness with cashmere woods and touch of vanilla and smoke.”
TheChicGeek says, “There’s almost something medicinal about this at first. The green element is coming from the galbanum, which is from an aromatic gum resin derived from the plant genus Ferula, chiefly Ferula gummosa and Ferula rubricaulis. It’s part of the carrot family and looks a bit like cow parsley or fennel.
This fragrance has a cooling, almost menthol quality, but it’s not cold and then goes slightly powdery. This isn’t a spring green type vert, but rather a damp, fernery undergrowth type green on that perennial favourite fougère but there’s also a sweetness that makes this very easy to wear and far from dark.”
Left - Floris - Vert Fougère - 100ml - £120
Disclosure - A sample to test was provided by Floris
To create Montblanc EXPLORER, three noses from Givaudan have combined their expertise: Jordi Fernandez, Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux. Each of them brought their own knowledge of a specific ingredient and their emotional experience; bergamot from Italy, vetiver from Haiti and oatchouli from Indonesia.
The top note bursts with effusive Bergamot from Italy. Called OrPur®, this particular bergamot explodes with floral, green, and intensely fresh notes.
Left - Montblanc Explorer - EDP 100ml - £70
“I find this ingredient particularly luminous, like a young Mediterranean boy bursting with laughter: pure and eminently elegant,” says Antoine Maisondieu, who is a great fan of this citrus fruit. “Bergamot is also an icon of Calabria and symbolises the light of this region. We wanted to infuse Montblanc EXPLORER with this unique atmosphere, synonymous with joy, light and refinement.” This bergamot is paired with the masculine notes of French OrPur® clary sage and spicy orPur® pink pepper.
The heart note of this journey takes us to the most remote part of Haiti: in the extreme south-west of the island, in the region of Les Cayes, where the most refined vetiver is organically and ethically produced. Celebrated by perfumers all over the world, Haiti's vetiver oil is comparable to no other, thanks to its smoky hues and its slight overtone evoking hazelnut.
“I love the fact that it takes time to truly understand all the richness of vetiver,” explains Olivier Pescheux. “It's not a common or easy-to-access smell. It's authentic, raw and earthy. Vetiver is a root with strong masculine accents: the combination of complexity and roughness gives it real virility.”
A final stopover takes us to Indonesia, east of Borneo, in the heart of the rainforest, more specifically on the island of Sulawesi to discover a new type of patchouli of unparalleled quality. This patchouli has been developed exclusively for Montblanc fragrances.
“Patchouli is often at the centre of my creations, as it brings a rich and complex character to the perfume, it is the beating heart of the fragrance,” explains Jordi Fernandez. “This incredible custom-made patchouli gives a unique olfactory dimension to our palette. I used it in Montblanc EXPLORER to bring its iconic signature to it. It enhances the leather and cocoa notes of the composition, without showing its earthy facet.”
TheChicGeek says, “Mont Blanc has become a reliable go-to for mastige men’s fragrances and this is their best since Legend. Three strong noses work here and they’ve kept it simply layered with their three main and quality ingredients.
The bergamot gives the fragrance a wetness which suits the dry and earthy vetiver; you can imagine lush tropical forests and the smell from the damp undergrowth. While nothing raises its head above the scent’s parapet, it all works and resonates with a pleasing quality. The bottle has something of the Frédéric Malles about it.”
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Mont Blanc for review
TheChicGeek says, “Tommy Hilfiger has really carved out that niche of affordable designer. Once they realised that they weren’t a true ‘designer’ brand and just stuck to making distinctive and fun clothes, they seem to have flown.
This is the latest incarnation of the classic Tommy fragrance which was released in the 1990s. Now is a woody and spicy fragrance with bergamot and mandarin notes and geranium, ginger, cardamom and warm wood.
This is fresh and easy, and at, £35, it’s also cheap. It’s sort of fragrance as an everyday body product and that's how you should use it. What I would say is, if you don’t go to the upper price level for fragrance, I would ignore the mid range - anything £50-£70 - and come down to something like this. It’s basically the same thing, and, here, you’re not paying over the odds for the same thing.”
Left - Tommy Now - 100ml - £35
“With 'the modernist', I designed a fragrance that has that self-assured simplicity. Bergamot opens the parfum and leads the way to a oral centre. Freesia felt like the perfect choice in this journey from citrus to timber. I love the sweet and sharp sensation of freesia and the way it softens and radiates a cleanliness on the skin. This is cradled in the warm hands of frankincense. I wanted a dominant, distinguished base and its complexity is enriched with labdanum, timber and even fruit, creating an autograph for the wearer. I’m not a big fan of scents that arrive before you do and linger in the room after you’ve left. For sure, be powerful and be bold, but let them remember how you smell, not just the smell.” says John Evans, Fragrance Designer & Founder of the modernist fragrance.
Taking a break from corporate life, John worked full-time as a writer and has seven novels published. Following his re-entry into the world of finance, John lived and worked in the US and Australia for a number of years. He and Andrew, his partner, returned to the UK in 2008 where John was the Managing Director of a global business.
Leaving full time work at the end of 2014, and at Andrew's suggestion, John began formalising a lifelong passion for fine fragrance. Soon after, John authored the modernist manifesto and founded the house of modernist fragrance. Formulated in London and made in England, this is his first fragrance.
Left - The Modernist - 50ml - £145
TheChicGeek says, “It’s refreshing when somebody has put everything into a single fragrance. This feels like a labour of love and another welcome addition to the family of small British perfume producers. I’m not sure whether ‘the modernist’ is the name of the company or the fragrance or both. But, I really like it.
It has a cool, almost menthol, freshness at the top, with an element of turpentine. Then, a peppery layer which moves into spice and the comforting and intoxicating depth of the frankincense. It doesn’t dominate, but has a delicate richness, very much like John’s goal in the creation - see his quote above. The packaging reminds me of Miller Harris.”
HERMETICA, says it is the first of its kind – a digitally focused fragrance brand, with 13 unique fragrances – that will be delivering internationally due to its alcohol-free fragrances.
From the fragrance stable of Irish/French couple, John and Clara Molloy – founders of MEMO International which has brands such as MEMO Paris and Floraïku. See what TheChicGeek thought about Floraïku - here Hermetica is a collection of molecular fragrances inspired by the ancient practice of alchemy, which sought to transform basic metals into precious materials and to find the ultimate elixir of life
This hybrid formula, using unique patented technology - Innoscent™ - where synthetic molecules are extracted from natural source, developed by Symrise, is a first-ever in the fragrance industry. The alcohol-free formula reveals immediately the heart of the fragrance.
The result of this modern-day alchemy is four collections of 13 long-lasting and powerful perfumes plus, Source1 – a unique scent that can be found in all of the fragrances.
Left - Hermetica - 100ml - £155
Each Hermetica scent is presented in an emerald green lacquered bottle with a golden metallic cap debossed with the Hermetica logo. The bottle is housed inside a golden perforated cylinder reminiscent of the molecule that carries the perfume to your nose.
TheChicGeek says, “When you’re presented with 13 fragrances it’s difficult to know where to start. There’s a random ‘personality’ questionnaire to go through on the website which asks you questions to help define your fragrance. Mine came out with ‘Source1’, which, funnily enough, was the first fragrance I tried from the box of 13. Lucky?! Maybe.
The ‘Source1’ is found in each fragrance, ranging in concentration from 20 to 60%, and contains bergamot essence, amber and a fresh wood.
They say because of the complexity of an alcohol free fragrance, this took more than two years to create, due to its new and innovative formula that enables the top and mid notes to appear instantly, revealing the heart of the perfume after the first spritz, making it unique to every individual.
They offer a ‘discovery kit’, containing all 13 perfumes, and can be purchased through the website, allowing consumers to smell each scent, before buying; the cost is then offset against the price of a full priced fragrance.
I was drawn to ‘Greenlion’ with its patchouli, juniper berry oil and amber wood, but there's so much good stuff here. This has the pedigree and is another welcome addition from the MEMO founders. I love the names and I’m still enjoying discovering them all.
As the for the digital bit, they’re launching in Harvey Nichols later on this month and extending the MEMO counter to be 50% HERMETICA, so they’re not purely online, but they want to position themselves as digital native as they’re sold internationally due to its alcohol free formula and can be therefore be shipped globally. Personally, I would just buy the sample set and enjoying playing until those run out.”
Sample Set - £25 Redeemable against the price of a full sized bottle
TheChicGeek says, “The last dunhill fragrance, 'Icon', back in 2015, set the standard for the modern range of dunhill men’s fragrances. I was a fan - see more here and four incarnations later, it’s time for something new.
‘Century’ is their latest offering. The perfumer is Carlos Benaim and features refreshing top notes of bergamot, grapefruit and mandarin. A base of sandalwood, warming olibanum - frankincense - and fragrant neroli sits on sandalwood, musk and cypriol
As somebody at the press launch said, this smells like a posh body wash. The type that stays on your skin in a soft, soapy and background kind of way. That's not to be derogatory and there are plenty of people who don't want shouty fragrances. This is very subtle and warm, with the mixture of neroli and sandalwood, and, pleasingly, is an easy wearer in a quality and sophisticated way. It's just not something you'll be able to pick out distinctively in a line-up, but it's still good at what it does.
The bottle is one of the best I’ve seen for a while. It’s very Verner Panton - the designer was a major influence for SS19 - see SS19 Milan/Paris Trends Scrapbook here - and looks like a paperweight from the 1960s. It’s disappointing the magnetic, curved top doesn’t fit perfectly into the recesses on the side. This probably says more about me being on the spectrum than anything else!
This is an accomplished fragrance from dunhill and makes their collection of fragrances some of the best packaged in the mainstream men’s market."
Left - dunhill London - Century - 75ml EDP - £59
Available now exclusively to Harrods. Launches nationwide from the 6th August 2018