Tag Archives: men’s cologne

The Best of 2013

Now that Christmas is behind us, our sights are squarely set on ringing in the New Year. Bye bye 2013. Hello 2014. But, before I completely put this year behind me, it’s inevitable that I reflect on all that occurred.

I found that I tapped into my grooming side a bit more this year and you may have noticed that in the number of stories I published. I discovered some great products and just had to share them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Best of 2013 Grooming

Without question, the one item that overhauled my morning shave was the Fog Free Shower Mirror by ShaveWell. After searching for one and stumbling across this one, it was the best purchase I made in 2013. The return on investment continues to yield benefits.

Since I’m spending more time in hot showers, I’m paying extra attention to my skin and making sure I don’t allow my eczema to flair up. Rod’s Royal is a new men’s grooming line that’s been nothing short of impressive. Their body lotion is excellent. While it’s thick, which some guys run from, it quickly works it’s way into your skin leaving it feeling hydrated without feeling greasy.

One of the arguments often used to sway men to jump over to using safety razors is the dramatic price difference to using cartridges. Well you can now add to that Razor Shield by Hyd for Men. This solution, which is applied to your razor after every use, extends its life by protecting it against oxidation.  I extended the life of my razor or 25 days. Not bad for a product that costs $17.99.

Hailing from Toronto, Canada and made for vagabonds, gentlemen, and ruffians is Crown Shaving Company – an absolute gem of a brand. From the first time I applied their shaving cream to my face with my badger brush, I knew I was using something special. The way it hugged my face, the way my blade glided across my face with ease, it’s masculine scent and luxurious feel all had me hooked from day one. Hands down the best I’ve tried all year.

The surprise of the year came from Lucky Tiger’s Liquid Shave Cream. I was asked to review it for customshaving.com and I was skeptical from the beginning.  As I said in my review, “this liquid savior produced a thin sheet of slickness that rivals any of your trusted shave creams.”

In another year that saw a lot of fragrance releases, I fell in love with few. The ones that did catch my attention, however, I wore repeatedly.

Best of 2013 Fragrance

I’ve never been a fan of the signature scent thing but Royal Vintage is one scent that could make me change that. With its traditional masculine appeal, it’s a throwback sans the heavy bravado. What I particularly love is that it can be worn for any occasion. Once you try; you won’t want to leave home without.

Cumin can be a troubling note for many but it’s one of my favorites. Fate Man by Amouage serves a nice punch of cumin in it’s opening but the unexpected twists subsequent layers reveal made this a standout for me. The way saffron, mandarin, ginger, and animalic notes are balanced is impressive.

A citrus scent that’s clean, possesses depth and lasts all damn day is what you get from Thirdman’s collection of scents. Eau de Nomade was my scent this summer. I wore it daily and for good reason. As I said in my review, “…it’s Sicilian lemon, blood orange and cardamom (notes) are beautifully balanced and what you get is a zesty, slightly sweet and tantalizingly warm, scent that’s far from your average summer cologne.”

Sometimes you smell a scent and the first thing that comes to mind is this is interesting or this is boring. The first time I smelled Enigma by Roja Dove, I thought to myself, this deserves a well-fitted suit and freshly polished brogues. It possesses a refined masculinity. Its boozy slightly peppery opening is reminiscent of a firm handshake. But as it quiets down and the tobacco and ambergris comes to the forefront, it exudes a quiet confidence. I love how masculine this scent is. It’s familiar but its cadence is in a league of it’s own.

One of the scent subplots of 2013 was booze and it played a supporting role in Atelier Cologne’s Gold Leather. As oppose to cognac, they chose rum, which added to the sweet warmth of Gold Leather’s opening. What did it for me with this scent was the use of eucalyptus as it offered an unexpected freshness to the weighted notes of saffron, agarwood, leather, cedar and guaiac wood. The result – a unique take on leather scents defies the usual suspects. Personally I think it was one of the slept on scents of 2013.

There you have it – my best of 2013. To see what made the cut of my fragrant colleagues, please visit Eyeliner On A CatCandy Perfume BoyOlfactoria’s Travels and Persolaise.

Happy New Year!

Fate Man by Amouage

Amouage Fate Man

My first recollection of cumin in a fragrance was Le Labo’s Rose 31. It confused me early on as I found its warm, sweaty body order like smell jarring. When I realized it was supposed to be there, the scent grew on me. and it has become one of my favorite scents. Saffron caught my attention when I was in Paris a few years ago and sampled L’Artisan’s Safran Troublant at the Lourve. Its sweat heat was an instant win for me. Both cumin and saffron are prevalent in the opening of Amouage’s Fate Man, which not only caught my attention but has continued to excite my olfactive bulbs.

Fate Man for me has been a troubling scent. Every time I’ve worn it, I realize another layer and for that reason, I appreciate its craftsmanship. The very first time I wore it, I picked up the cumin and saffron right away in the top notes and they pretty much overshadowed everything else. On another wearing, about four hours or so after applying it, I was in awe that my nose picked up the floral notes in the middle. I surely didn’t think it would go there after the pungent opening I experienced and that dramatic shift impressed me. I have since recognized there’s more going on in Fate Man’s opening and that tug of war between the freshness of mandarin and the zestiness of ginger and the animalic presence of cumin piques my interest. I should footnote here that my early test of Fate Man occurred in the middle of the summer and perhaps that heat agitated the cumin enough that it presented itself in stereo while the other notes were in analog.

If you’re a fan of Amouage’s collection of fragrances, you’ll recognize that Fate Man fits the story they’ve been telling. Their use of pungent spices, incense and woods has become defining traits of the brand. But Fate Man illustrates what I love about perfumery – just when you think a scent has flattened out, an interesting twist occurs and wakes you up. The right turn it takes in the middle was such a surprise for me that it sealed the deal on how I feel about it. On top of that, its longevity is superb. If Fate Man is your first encounter with Amouage, the amount of cumin you detect could affect your perception of this scent as it can be a polarizing note. In other reviews I’ve read, it would appear cumin played it’s part as opposed to my experience where it played an extended solo. Nevertheless, I suspect Fate Man will do well for Amouage and I look forward to the next chapter in this ongoing story Christopher Chong is superbly narrating.

Fate Man – 50ml – $280.

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Montabaco by Ormande Jayne

Montabaco

Many years ago, as a Christmas gift I received my first desktop humidor. After unwrapping it, I stared at it for a while and day dreamed about how it would look on my desk. After stocking it with cigars and desperately trying to maintain its humidity level, I’d open it just so I could smell freshly humidified tobacco and the cedar that contained it. This gave me the same ahhh feeling I’d get when I visit the walk in humidor at my favorite cigar shop, OK Cigars. After wearing Ormande Jayne’s Montabaco, my ahh ha moment revealed that this scent captures what no other tobacco scent I’ve come acrfreshly humidified tobacco and the moist air that surrounds it, and it’s fantastic.

Montabaco is a part of Ormande Jayne’s Four Corners of The Earth collection, which is made up of four scents. Collectively, they pay homage to the places that have inspired the brand’s founder and creative director Linda Pilkington. Montabaco’s inspiration comes from Latin America.

The scent opens very herbaceous with a slightly sweet edge. It’s zesty and aromatic. The scent has a lift to it as well. I imagine that’s the clary sage that’s present in the top notes. I can see where some may say it’s medicinal in its opening but it doesn’t bother me. There’s also something mysterious about the opening, it’s airy but in a way I’ve never quite experienced.

As Montabaco moves into it’s next phase, the scent turns and the star of the show, tobacco becomes more prominent. A well humidified cigar blooms revealing the beautiful scent of its tobacco leafs. Walk into a humidor and the humidity intensifies this scent. It’s like it lifts it from the leaf and floods the air with it. Montabaco’s tobacco leaf note captures this essence while the use of rose gives it a sweet mossy scent. Once I finally peaked at the scent’s notes, I realized there’s an air note and whatever that is, it’s likely imitating the humidity in the air that makes the scent of tobacco blossom. As the scent moves into its final phase, it becomes more sensual with its use of sandalwood and ambergris, which surrounds more tobacco.

You don’t have to be a tobacco lover to appreciate Montabaco. The way it’s layered with notes like orange absolute, rose, violet, tonka and sandalwood, to name a few, presents a very unique scent. Judging from a few of the reviews I’ve read, I suspect men will either love or hate it, but that’s the beauty scent. On one occasion I wore it, a woman picked up its rose note and complimented me on how I smelled.  If Montabaco is inspired by Latin America, I suspect it’s not the glamorized sexy that we’re often fed to the beat of drums. Its inspiration is the culture beneath the veil. And like the back roads where the really good food comes from fish shacks and rum shops, Montabaco isn’t for everyone but I’m digging it.

Olfactive Studio – The Eye and The Nose

 

In August of 2012, while at the Elements Showcase, I discovered Olfactive Studio. If you attended the show, it would’ve been hard not to as they were the buzz of the show. Everyone I spoke with mentioned them as a must see and I’m glad I did.

Celine Verleure, the brand’s founder and creator greeted me with open arms. As she explained the concept behind the brand, I was in awe. The love affair continued as I sampled each of the scents in the collection. It was hard to pick a favorite and just when I thought I had one, I recently sampled the collection’s newest scent Flashback and I’ve found myself at odds all over again.

Celine was recently in New York and held an event at Art Opening to debut the U.S. launch of Olfactive Studio, which will be available at both Aedes de Venustas and Bergdorf. We met for a chat at the Standard Hotel and we talked about her journey to this point. For the first installment of “In Their Words,” Celine discusses the concept behind Olfactive Studio.

An eau de parfum of 3.4 oz will go for $195 at Aedes.

Good Read…My First One

ForbesLifeSpring13

I’ve been busy, writing more about men’s fragrances and grooming than I ever have. It’s been fun and challenging as there aren’t enough hours in the day. The good thing though is I have a bunch of stuff in the pipeline to publish here at Fragrant Moments.

A recent opportunity that came my way was the chance to assist the Style Director of ForbesLife magazine, Joseph DeAcetis, in producing a Spring/Summer scent story. With the excitement of a kid in a candy factory I jumped at the chance to put my editor hat on for print and let my fragrant passion fly. What lies within the April issue is a result of sniffing this and that, fighting for some and unfortunately passing on others. It was a lot of fun stepping behind the veil and seeing how the magic happens and I hope more opportunities like this come my way.

Grab a copy if you can and let me know what you think of the selected goodies.

Thank you JD.

Eau d’Italie Acqua Decima

AcquaDecima

When you feel a brand has done right by you, anticipation builds when you learn a new release is coming. If you’ve been following Fragrant Moments, you know I’m a fan of Eau d’Italie. Several of their fragrances are a part of my collection and I suspect Acqua Decima will be too.

With notes of lemon, mandarine, mint leaves, neroli, petitgrain white wood and vetiver to name a few, this sounds like it’s beautifully built for the dog days of summer. This is the tenth fragrance in Eau d’Italie’s collection (Acqua Decima means Tenth Water in Italian) and its inspiration comes from a stretch of land that links the Amalfi coast with the Bay of Sorrento called The Path of the Gods.

Acqua Decima launches in the U.S. in July 2013 and will retail for $140.

 

Good Read..Scents of Spring

Image

With Daylight Savings going into effect this weekend, we’re all looking forward to spring. Those extra moments of sunlight will be celebrated with outdoor cocktails, breezy strolls and flirty innuendos. As a precursor to the season of relief, LifeStyle Mirror produced a piece about the Scents of Spring. They asked me to be a part and to my surprise, I’m in the midst of great company. My thoughts are alongside Chad Murawczyk of Min New York, David Moltz of DS & Durga, Francis Kurkdjian, Christopher Cervasel of Atelier Cologne and Carlos Huber of Arquiste. Check it out when you have a moment.

Forget about the hour of sleep you lost and look forward to spring baby…it’s right around the corner.