Pablo Picasso is a name permanently etched into twentieth-century art history. As a Spaniard, the bull and bullfighting made an early appearance in his paintings, and, in the 1930's, Picasso's works chiefly featured Le Minotaure - a half man half bull figure appended from Greek mythology.
To me, Minotaure is the embodiment of the Mediterranean, in an unrestrained, virile manner. Its tangy blood-orange citrus head is swiftly underlined by radiant geranium and then warmed by smoldering sandalwood and spices. But at the heart of this beast is a very rich leather that can't be beaten. Raw, brawny and sexy, it has the provocative smell of a napped leather motorcycle jacket that has been warmed by a man's body. It's heart beats over honey-like amber and soft musks.
This fragrance epitomizes the feeling of a warm southern European night.
Fashioned on one of Van Cleef & Arpels' exquisite men's 'constellation' watches, the beautiful flacon that holds Midnight In Paris is a true object of desire! A weighty balloon of coloured glass in dusky, twilight hues, holds an enchanting starscape and a fetching fragrance to boot!
The appropriately named "Midnight In Paris" is the newest masculine scent from this time-honoured jewellery house that has been in the biz for over 100 years. The bottle and the juice inside possesses all the poetry of a starry night as witnessed from the quintessential city of romance.
Amber and bitter leather dominate in this creation, which deserves its place in the wardrobe of every man who possesses a sense of charm and passion.
Boasting some of perfumery's most iconic ingredients, Midnight in Paris has a striking amber / leather aspect - one that is ever-present, and brings with it feelings of comfort and familiarity. There is a slightly effervescent quality to the opening which reminds one of a night sky prickled with light. An opulent vein of lily-of-the-valley whispers from the heart of the composition… and a slightly creamy tonka bean facet gives the scent an intrinsic, lip-smacking appeal. A rising swell of incense emerges in its development, and works incredibly well with the sharp leathery aspects.
Just one application of Midnight in Paris, and you're good to go. It will captivate, charm and fascinate, drawing those around you in for a closer sniff.
Midnight in Paris is the ideal fragrance for romantic nights with your loved one.
Well, she's not called BANDIT for nothing! This World War II creation by the fashion house of Piguet is internationally revered for her unrelenting sass and feistiness... an outlandish floral/leather time-bomb that is still detonating hearts today!
Bandit is every bit as relevant now, as she was back in the 40's. A whip-cracking chypre, she commands the respect and attention of all those who cross her path. Out of the bottle, she dazzles and narcotizes with a rush of heady white blooms (gardenia, tuberose, muguet and jasmin) which act as a rich floral smoke-screen over a dense, leathery, animalic heart. Civet, musks, and resins furnish this scent with a wanton, promiscuous sense of carnality.
A bitter, leathery / mossy base grows and grows, pushing their way through the rousing florals with unabating determination. Bandit is not the least bit tender… she is a force majeur… she will steal your heart and probably lift your pocketbook too!
Bold and confident women will rock Bandit, whilst those with any doubts will be worn by her. She makes no apologies.
A few squirts of this infamously daring elixir, and you will be transformed. Don't say we haven't warned you!
Distinctly British in style, Penhaligon's LP No. 9 is every bit the love potion it's title might suggest it to be. It has a romantic, slightly vintage "London-at-the-turn-of-the-last-century" feel.
Shimmering citrus top notes veil deep, rich, spicy heart and base accords... zesty bergamot, lemon and mandarin merge with a humming blend of rosemary, black pepper, warm cinnamon and smokey amber - the total sum of which tends to prickle at the back of your nose. The opening sensation is rather like inhaling the aroma of scotch and dry ginger ale. But with time, one can detect the delicate blend of warm clove, mint-like geranium, dry vetiver and fragrant sandalwood. This is a scent to be cherished as something timeless, sophisticated and elegant.
One cant help but feel transported back to Victorian England when wearing this masculine treasure... dressed in top hat and tails, stepping out of coal-black carriages with white gloves and silver-tipped ebony canes; Love Potion No:9 hanging in the air overhead like a shiny black raven.
LP No.9 has considerable projection and lasting power. This debonair and dignified eau de toilette can be worn anytime, but would perhaps best be appreciated at the office, or worn to exciting 'black tie' events.
Amber fragrances are chiefly olfactory interpretations of fossilised tree sap - resinous stones which have hardened over the centuries. The process of extracting the scent from these stones can be highly destructive, and with very low yield, so many amber scents are composed using warm, sweet and slightly spiced components - like vanilla, labdanum and resins - which somewhat emulate the odour of true vegetal amber.
Serge Lutens approached his amber interpretation with a good measure of artistic flair. Whilst observing the tradition of using vanilla and precious resins to achieve a rich, opulent warmth, Lutens breathed new life into a classic theme, marrying soft floral notes of angelica to herbal accords of coriander, bay leaf and oregano.
The result is a staggeringly beautiful composition, which opens with a husky, parched quality, followed by a rush of dry aromatic greens. An ember of honeyed warmth presses up from beneath as myrrh and benzoin collide with sandalwood, patchouli and creamy vanilla.
Ambre Sultan is unlike 'traditional' ambers, and can be worn on most occasions. Whilst it has above-average projection and persistence, it is not cloying. Finally, an artistic rendering of amber that can be worn and appreciated by men and women alike!
Ever since Dior's Eau Sauvage stepped onto the world's stage in 1966, it has blossomed into arguably one of the house's most-loved and classic masculines. In the decades following it's release, it has spawned a number of flanking fragrances, but 2012 saw the addition of an exciting pure parfum added to the Eau Sauvage range.
Parfum-strength colognes for men are few and far between, and this is one offering that does not disappoint.
The opening of Eau Sauvage parfum tips it's hat to tradition and suggests a commonality with the original eau de cologne and eau de toilette - bitter lemon and aromatic herbs dominate. Moments later, however, is where the new and the old diverge in style… Eau Sauvage Parfum skyrockets into the stratosphere with a rich, enveloping blend of dark green vetiver and resinous myrrh. The juice itself is an attractive forest green, and it wears on skin much like a thick woody, green blanket might, when pulled around your body.
Eau Sauvage Parfum takes the original scent on a slightly different trajectory some 45 years after its original launch. Its higher concentration of perfume oils ensures you won't need to reapply throughout the day. Resolutely masculine. Infinitely satisfying.
Perfume Serge Lutens is widely revered in the fickle perfume industry, first for his work with Shiseido in the 1980s and 90s, and more recently for the magnificent signature line he has developed since 2000. His work is commonly viewed as avant-garde and many have achieved "cult" status in the niche perfume world. His ideas and approach are often quirky and unconventional.
Serge Noire, launched in 2008 is an artful perfume rendering of smoke, ash and wood… but one which is resolutely unorthodox - it has an almost Gothic feel. If compelling, mysterious scents are your bag, the Serge Noire delivers. It is a contrast of textures; damp and dry, gloomy and light.
Its opening is somewhat surprising and polarising… flashes of wood and spice which take on an almost saccharine feel, but then swiftly taper away into a more sinister amalgam that brings to mind decomposition and decay. Some time later, the scent evolves once more and a lovely dry woody incense emerges which inspire mental images of gloomy churches burning resinous stones in concealed censers. There is a thread of warm amber, patchouli and cosy cinnamon that press up from below. Serge Noire feels both threatening and ethereal in equal measures… a "Brothers Grimm" approach to perfume, perhaps.
Many have come to love the creative brilliance and perfume narratives that spill from the perfumed pen of Monsieur Lutens. Serge Noire represents some of his most challenging and pioneering work yet.
All hail one of the Grande Dames of perfume! Rochas Femme was first created by perfume miestro Edmond Roudnitska in Paris during the second world war, and is still much loved and admired to this day.
But, she's no shrinking violet! Only a perfume that is robust, bold and commanding can withstand the passage of time, and so few do so with as much spunk and sassiness as Femme.
This perfume is based around central accords of dark plum and dewy peach - each stimulate our "feel good" food-loving senses, but before things turn too tutti-fruiti, Femme slaps you across the face with a sexy leather glove - a stinging bitterness and warmth that grows and spreads laterally across this perfume. It has a spicy, resinous heart of clove, cinnamon and benzoin which lends complexity and depth. As with most chypres, this perfume has a glorious mossy base, and rich, sexy musks make it every bit a scent for a modern-day femme fatale.
Truly a perfume to be experienced. The vampish Rochas Femme commands your attention and respect.
Can you handle her?
My guilty pleasure! A far cry from the original dark pink Joop! Homme, Joop! Jump is a punchy, spirited scent for men with oodles of appeal. Did I mention it has a vodka accord? Now I have your attention!
Joop! Jump is an uncomplicated fragrance that embodies some of the things we enjoy most in life: sunshine and shots! It's grapefruit / rosemary opening is aromatic, summery and vibrant, and a rich green vein of vetiver; earthy and lush. The heart is transparent with a lip-smacking vodka accord, and clean white musk. There is an underlying base of tonka and heliotrope which add a slightly creamy, saccharine texture which helps anchor this eau de toilette to your skin. If you enjoy the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male, or Paco Rabanne 1 Million, then Joop! Jump is likely to impress. It has all the markers of a fine scent that can be worn casually or for nights out on the town.
Joop! Jump is sophisticated in its simplicity, and it transcends many of the "Sport" style fragrances on the market. In short, a crowd-pleasing party perfume.
Terre d'Hermés is a fragrance triumph. Voted 'Best Fragrance of the Year' by FiFi in 2007 in the 'Men's Luxe' category, there is much to love in this weighty square-shouldered flacon.
Its opening accords of fresh green/orange citruses are sharp and refreshing, however, it quickly shifts into an unusual chocolatey/jaffa note, before some rich earthy and elemental accords come to the fore. It is the scent of a long-forgotten orange orchard that is overgrown and untameable... one that can only be reached by cutting through thick, tangled undergrowth that has flourished over several centuries through abandon and neglect. There is almost a sense of an "electrical storm" hanging overhead... a threatening heaviness, accompanied by the sharp spike of ozone in the air that declares when clouds, swollen with precipitation, are set to burst. One can detect the aroma of dusty, turned earth as it is speckled with fat raindrops... soil that is littered with over-ripe, mouldering oranges that have fallen from the green canopy above.
Terre d'Hermes comes in two concentrations - an excellent EDT spray, and a pure parfum spray (somewhat rare amongst men's releases these days) which will last pretty much all day long.