When good hormones go bad. My quest to smell like a man!

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 18 - 2013

As you may have guessed from the title, I’m totally blaming the pregnancy hormones for this one.  Whether or not they are actually culpable remains to be seen but it feels slightly less shameful to rest the responsibility upon my ever-increasing levels of hormonal angst.

Some women eat coal, crave the taste of rubber and leather… me?  Well, I just want to smell like all of those things instead.  You can keep your girly florals, sweet fruits, and vomit-worthy vanillas… give me all of the MAN SCENTS.

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Were my pockets big enough, I’d carry the above candles around with me 24/7, pausing regularly for a sniff before continuing on my way.  My Jonathan Ward Woodstock candle, which I picked up whilst scouring the shelves at T.K. Maxx is the least masculine of the trio and perfect for the season, reminding me of a dampened but very-much-alive forest floor… woody and aromatic.

My Mum picked up the Rigaud Cuir de Kyara candle for me after spotting it nestled on a tabletop at her local Emmaus in France.  She said that the smell of pure, unadulterated leather “nearly knocked her head off” and thus, knew instantly that I would fall in love with it.  She was right.  It’s a blinder and I’m now obsessed with finding other candles from this Parisian brand.

Finally, and thanks to a Zuneta/Amazon bargain, I’m pleased to finally be able to add this Malin + Goetz Vetiver candle to my collection!  I haven’t been able to walk past the display of M+G candles in Liberty for ages without stopping to sniff this one in all its earthy, woody and downright sexy glory.

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But my obsession with man-scent doesn’t just stop at candles.  Oh no!  It gets far more serious…

I bought L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tea for Two during their Summer sale a couple of years ago and it was love at first sniff but recently, I just can’t get enough of it and have upgraded to a massive 100ml bottle in order to get my fix.  The perfect blend of smoky embers, honeyed tobacco and warming ginger to keep all thoughts of frostiness at bay this Winter.

Ahhh, Molton Brown… I remember when I first came across your distinctively delicious Re-Charge Black Pepper scent (now called black peppercorn) a few years ago whilst staying at a hotel in Basel.  To this day, I kick myself for being good and not stealing all the hotel toiletries, it just felt too naughty to take the ones that I hadn’t actually opened to use during my stay!  Instead, I scoop up other people’s spoils on eBay and long for the candle version!

My final fragrant craving is one that Mr. L is less than impressed with.  He can cope with sharing most of his scents with me, infact… many times, we purchase a fragrance under the certain knowledge that we’re doing so in order to share the bottle (it makes a £70 splurge so much more palatable split two ways).  My desires to wear his smells-just-like-a-freshly-wet-shaved-man Floris Santal*, however, are falling on deaf ears.  I’ve been allowed a quick spritz, twice.  Only twice.  I actually think that might constitute domestic abuse.

Are there any “boy” scents that drive you wild?  And, question is… are you wild enough to wear them?

* press sample


Men of the World. Y U No Smell This Good?

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 14 - 2012

We all have definite ideas about the scents we like to surround ourselves with — be it the washing powder we use to clean our undies; the candles we light when we step through the door after work; or the bath oils we pour under a hot running tap at the end of the night.  When was the last time you chose a new shampoo in the supermarket before flipping up the lid and inhaling a quick whiff to make sure you shared the product’s olfactory persuasions?

But what about the people we share our lives with?  What control do we have over how they smell?!

It’s taken a long time to gently steer my husband away from the Umbro Aftershave of his early twenties and onto scents which don’t make me want to check behind his ears for dirt.  I sound like a fragrance nazi right?  I’m not… it’s not that he resisted either, he just didn’t have an opinion either way.  Over the past couple of years, he’s developed a greater understanding and passion for fragrance — and thankfully, we do share quite similar tastes — something which comes in very handy for sharing the cost of those more extravagant fragrance purchases.

On this day, St. Valentine’s Day — I thought I’d hand the reins over to my brilliant husband, who has picked out the fragrances from his collection that make us both swoon when he wears them.

YSL – M7 Oud Absolu | Molton Brown NTS – Rogart | Parfum d’Empire – Ambre Russe | Oscar de la Renta – Oscar for Men | Floris – Santal

I’m still an awful fragrance reviewer, I just don’t have enough words swirling around in my puny brain to conjure up enough ways to say “if this fragrance were a doughnut, you’d consume four of them in one sitting”.  Although, I’ll never get better if I don’t try, so – in our own bumbled together manner… (at least I’ve got someone else to blame)

Yves Saint Laurent: M7 Oud Absolu (£58.00) *

As part of the reworked YSL Heritage Collection which celebrates half a century of expert perfume creation, the brand have released a reworked version of M7 which first came to the public nose in 2002 under the direction of one Mr. Tom Ford.  From such an agent provocateur, you’d expect to experience something special and you won’t be disappointed with this fragrance, which despite the reformulation is described as the climax of male sexuality1.  M7 is a deeply smoky scent with notes of myrrh, french labdanum, patchouli and a resonating woody, almost leathery oud accord.  There’s a medicinal hint that lingers through the dry-down which we both find comforting.  It’s not sharp but resinous and syrupy, like a cough drop.  M7 is a fragrance for the night, of the night.  If Serge Gainsbourg were to walk in behind me right now, this is the smell I’d catch (and hold onto) as he passed.  An intensely sexy, dark scent.

1 yslbeauty.co.uk

 Molton Brown Navigations Through Scent: Rogart (£60.00)

If you prefer to scent your senses with a touch of the gourmand, you may be interested in Rogart’s unusual but profoundly delicious note more usually found on your pancakes than in your perfume: maple syrup.  The tasty fragrance from Jennifer Jambon opens with a bracing blend of juniper berries and fir balsam which gives it that ‘great outdoors’ feel and indeed it should, as it draws its inspiration from the Cobequid Mountains of Canada.  All this freshness contrasts wonderfully as it warms on the skin and develops a hint of campfire, resinous wood and that sweet, mouthwatering maple.  Jointly, we’ve purchased nearly all of the releases in the Navigations Through Scent collection but Rogart firmly remains my husband’s favourite.

Parfum d’Empire: Ambre Russe (£84.50)

Not sure we’ll ever fall out of love with the majestic, imperial notes contained within Parfum d’Empire’s exquisite nod to Tsarist Russia.  It’s all here: vodka, champagne, tea, leather, amber and incense.  It’s like the party you know will conclude with most of its guests going home in a meat wagon before sunrise.  It’s raucously obnoxious and it knows it.  It wants you to know it too and you can’t help but admire Ambre Russe for it’s audacity to even exist.  It manages to be simultaneously effervescent (that’ll be the champagne hic!) and creamy, with the boozy amber trumping all else.  If you like dark, oriental fragrances, consider this a contender for the big daddy – shy, delicate noses need not apply.

Oscar de la Renta: Oscar for Men (£45.00)

We fought a little over the inclusion of this… I wanted to place Bvlgari Black above this one but Mr. L triumphed by making me a cup of tea and pointing out that, for once, he was entitled to call first dibs.  Oscar de la Renta’s Oscar for Men can be picked up online for as little as £17.00, which admittedly, ups the desirability stakes.  It’s a far sharper, more summery scent than the ones we’ve so far included – the top notes of bergamot, mandarin, and black pepper ensure that it prickles a little with a zestiness that makes you stand up and pay attention.  It has a floral heart that tempers the spiciness a little but if you’re a fan of the peppery notes of something like Marc Jacob’s Bang, you should enjoy this equally.  Oscar for Men trails with a suggestion of leather and vanilla which further smoothes the pepper without ever fully quietening it.  A spicy serenade that wears well in warmer months thanks to it’s sparkling opening.

Floris London: Santal (£69.00) *

As is my prerogative, I’m a woman of many contradictions.  Sometimes, I will eschew the feral, growling sensibilities of something like M7 (though never Serge) and want the man in my life to appeal as much to others as he does to me.  Floris Santal is the perfect scent to meet that need with its clean but never soapy existence.  Creamy sandalwood (and good sandalwood at that) gives Santal the most distinguished of edges in the overpopulated woody oriental category.  A hint of spiciness and musk keeps things warm and sensual whilst the crisp bergamot and trickles of lavender promote the balance beautifully and prevent this classic scent from ever feeling generic or old-fashioned.  Longevity is unparalled, displaying the kind of quality one would expect from a traditional British fragrance house like Floris.  I may have started with Serge Gainsbourg, but please… let me end with a young, freshly-shaven Paul Newman.  Rawr.

I’m feeling a tad hot under the collar now!  Happy Valentine’s Day you lovely lot.

Do you lust over leather or go crazy for classic cleanliness?  Do those animalic undertones bring out your wild side or perhaps you simply prefer a good old splash of Brut! 

Tell me, how do you like the men in your life to smell? (note: “of money” isn’t a valid answer!)

* press sample

A couple of years back, I stayed at the Les Trois Rois hotel in Basel, the penthouse suite no-less and there’s a video of me (Mr. L keeps threatening to YouTube it), running around the suite (it’s not pretty – I was 6 months pregnant), all breathless and getting hugely excited (as only a peasant would) over the fruit displays, cinema screen TV and private rooftop jacuzzi.

But the thing that got me squealing most of all in the video were the 5 bathrooms, each filled with full-size Molton Brown products.  Infact, so decadent was it that I didn’t steal a single bottle to take home – it just felt too naughty.  I still curse that angel sitting on my shoulder – I could have at least decanted a bit from each bottle right?  Clearly, I’m only devious with the benefit of hindsight.

Which is why I would be rather pleased were I to receive this set of Molton Brown shower gels for Christmas.  Take that stupid angel!

The Spectrum Set contains 6 x 100ml bath & shower gels which include the scents: energising seamoss; relaxing yuan zhi; travel-reviving cempaka; re-charge black pepper; warming eucalyptus and invigorating suma ginseng.

Priced at £36 and available to buy online from moltonbrown.co.uk

Do you steal hotel toiletries?

I wrote about Molton Brown‘s new fine fragrance line back at the end of July (how quickly is this year whizzing through?) but I thought it was time for a recap in honour of their brand new Facebook App which will allow Molton Brown fans to profile themselves against the new fragrances and sign up for a complementary sample!

I went along to the launch last week and got the chance to speak to the perfumer behind the new range.  Talk about a fangirl moment, it was touching to see how completely excited she was with the launch of her ‘babies’.  I have to admit, I kept looking at her nose and wondering how much she could insure it for.

The Five new fragrances range from a light, yet soulful floral (Lijiang) through to the dark and brooding (Iunu).  Each pay homage to the part of the world for which they’re named.  The tie that holds the range together is the ancient Spice Trail, beginning in the birthplace of perfume (Egypt) and following its path to completion in the New World (Canada).

Jennifer Jambon, the perfumer behind the collection (on the left) has worked hard to evoke the feelings one would associate with the various destinations… they may not all be completely true to life, but they still work beautifully in a slightly fantastical way.  I received a sample of my personal favourite, Iunu and one sniff skillfully transports me to an ancient land I’ve never had the pleasure to visit.

Inspired by Egypt, the Birthplace of Scent, I detect the arid, musky notes that I’d associate with the Nile Delta.  Myrrh, hot pepper, sandalwood, clovebud and white jasmine transport me to those faraway river banks in a cloud of ancient opulence and mystery.  Truly intoxicating, a little bit dirty and with the kind of warmth that ensures this fragrance will sing on my skin as the months get cooler, I’m smitten.

The other four fragrances each carry their own personality just as confidently (Singosari is also particularly divine!), it’s a case of marrying up your scent personality to the fragrance.  This is where the new Facebook App comes into its own.

Take your own journey through a series of questions, where you’ll be able to discover which fragrance you are most suited to based on your tastes and preferences. Once the quiz has been completed, you will be able to sign up for a complementary sample of your chosen fragrance.  Get navigating explorers!

Molton Brown Navigations Through Scent fragrances are available to buy nationwide from Molton Brown stores, concessions and online.  Prices from £55.00

Molton Brown to launch fine fragrance collection

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 30 - 2011

A well-engineered scent can whisper inspirational stories to its wearer, weaving tales of history and geography from top note to base and this debut fine fragrance collection from Molton Brown has been attuned to achieve just this.

Navigations Through Scent is a five-piece collection scheduled for nationwide launch this September.  The line up traces the influence of the ancient spice routes, drawing inspiration from key focal points along the trail.  The journey begins in the Egyptian Ancient World before moving through both time and history, settling in the New World, Canada.

Each 50ml bottle imparts scents that are indigenous to the regions from which they take their name.  Indeed, Jennifer Jambon, Molton Brownʼs Principal Perfumer, spent a year researching these destinations to uncover a host of unusual scent ingredients that would evoke emotions and memories reminiscent of these faraway lands.

The collection appeals to my inner armchair-geographer, I could spend hours looking at maps, infact, I still remember the day I discovered Google Earth for the first time and the hours I spent poring over the locations in all their satellite glory.  So, of course, the first thing I did when I received the information about Molton Brown’s new endeavour?  I fired up Google Maps to discover more about the inspirational places behind each scent!  Quite possibly the most geekiest thing I’ve done to date.  Possibly.

Iunu (07°91′S, 112°65′E) – £65

Iunu, buried under modern-day Cairo starts the ancient journey with a lead ingredient of Egyptian Jasmine and a distinctly rich floriental musk.  My favourite from the collection, feminine and a touch animalic.

Top Note: ginger oil, elemi oil
Middle Note: Egyptian jasmine oil*, ylang ylang, black pepper
Base Note: patchouli oil, oakmoss

Lijiang (25°16′N 110°16′E) – £65

Lijiang, inspired by China is a musky floral featuring Osmanthus absolute.  A prized, high-value oil.  Described as combining the light, delicate softness of silk with crisp tea.

Top Note: vegetal notes, pink berries
Middle Note: white tea, osmanthus absolute*
Base Note: white musks, vetiver

Singosari (07° 91ʼS, 112° 65ʼE) – £55

Singosari takes us to Indonesia, historically part of the Spice Islands.  Patchouli plays a lead role in this sensual and feminine fragrance that evokes the spirit of tropical rain and exotic spice.

Top Note: incense, ginger
Middle Note: cinnamon, nutmeg
Base Note: vetiver, patchouli*

Apuldre (51° 02′N 0°47′E) – £55

Apuldre, the old Anglo-Saxon name for Appledore in Kent.  Inspired by the green-aromatics of the English countryside and featuring a hit of juniper berry (think gin!) on a base of leather.  A mischievous scent and the most masculine from the collection.

Top Note: juniper berry*, wormwood
Middle Note: cedarwood, violet leaf absolute
Base Note: modern leather accord, styrax absolute

Rogart (45° 33′N 63°09′W) – £60

Rogart, Nova Scotia marks the end of the journey to the New World.  A juxtaposition of coniferous wilderness with the woody warmth of maple syrup makes for a deliciously Autumnal fragrance.  My 2nd favourite from the collection.

Top Note: elemi oil, juniper
Middle Note: angelica, maple syrup
Base Note: gaiac wood, fir balsam*

* signals the key ingredient native to the fragrance’s geographical inspiration.

If you can’t wait until the nationwide release in September, the brand will be releasing the Navigations Through Scent collection exclusively at Harrods from August.

.

* Disclosure: I was given a set of sample vials at a recent press day.

RANDOM

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