Tag Archives: Men’s Fragrances

Dude Beauty Blogger

Fragrant Moments blogger, Barney Bishop featured on Yahoo Beauty

Earlier this week, Yahoo’s Beauty site featured a story about male bloggers that write about men’s grooming and I was honored to be amongst the other seven gentlemen featured. About me, the writer Christina Valhouli said, “His blog posts are eloquent and elegant…” That touched me.

Thank you Christina. Thank you Yahoo.

Dolce & Gabbana Intenso

Dolce & Gabbana Intenso


I can’t remember the last time a fragrance by a mass brand REALLY caught my attention. While that may sound snooty, the reality is I find most them unimaginative because they’re all the same.

While working on a fragrance and grooming project, I came across the recently launched Dolce & Gabbana Intenso and haven’t been able to stop wearing it since.

Many years ago before I got into the blogging thing, there were a handful of fragrances I wore on a regular basis and Dole & Gabbana Pour Homme was one of them. Upon first sniff of Intenso, I was instantly taken back. While they have similar characteristics, they are very different.

For Intenso, it’s all about elegance and you get that right from the packaging. The box has a velvet feel and the dark bottle with brownish gold lettering definitely carries this thought all the way through. You really don’t expect the scent to open as light as it does from the usage of dark rich colors but it’s really fresh and clean. I find that this freshness lasts quite a while. As it dries down, however, the tobacco and woody notes begin to take shape and that’s when it truly becomes impressive. The way the scent juxtaposes the freshness and warmth is really nice. I’m a big fan of tobacco and wish it was a bit more present to cut some of the scents sweetness but I can live with it.

Intenso is an eau de parfum so it’s longevity is very good. Its last selling point, which I find equally as important, is its sillage. Intenso isn’t as intense as its name would have you imagine. Its presence is just strong enough to capture the right curiosity so don’t go and over spray or that curiosity will turn you into “that guy.”

Oh, by the way, Collin Farrell is the face behind Intenso. That’s cool and all but its the juice that seals the deal.

The Beloved Is Back


If I pulled a bunch of my guy friends together and went down a scented memory lane, a few must haves from back in the day would be repeated, Polo in the green bottle, CK One, Cool Water, and Joop are a few that come to mind. One in particular was hands down a crowd favorite, Issey Myake. I remember having a conversation with my barber and the way he emphasized his fondness for the scent, it was though an outfit for a night out was incomplete without those final few sprays.

For the first time since dropping his beloved namesake scent, Issey Myake, the Japanese designer has released a new scent, Nuit D’Issey. On first sight, I thought it was another flanker because the bottle’s shape has remained the same. For this scent, Myake enlisted the noses of Dominique Ropion and Loc Dong and they’ve produced a crowd pleaser.

The scent’s opening is sharp and crisp  and we can thank its grapefruit note for that. I also detect hints of pepper, which give it enough of a lift to spark curiosity. From there leather and woods give it a virility that we’ve  come to expect from men’s fragrances.

Nuit D’Issey hits all the right notes and for that I expect it will be well received. Whether or not barbershops and cigar dens will be reminiscing about it a decade from now only time will tell.

Nuit D’Issey can be found nationwide at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, & Sephora.

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!

1899 by Histoires de Parfum

1899 by Histoires de Parfum

In the latest release from Histoires de Parfum, the brand’s perfumer Gérald Ghislain found his inspiration in American author, Ernest Hemingway. While I’m not as well read on the Nobel Prize winning author’s work, I did read an Old Man and the Sea in middle school. A quick search reveals he was quite the rolling stone having had four wives and lived in Cuba and the U.S. I suspect the scent’s sharp opening, which is unequivocally masculine, can be attributed to Hemingway’s “most interesting man in the world” appeal.

1899 opens with a blast of vitality. It’s one part boozy, one part sweet and delightfully spicy. While there are no tobacco notes listed, every time I wear 1899, I envision wearing a fisherman’s sweater while lighting a pipe by a crackling fire. Perhaps that’s the old man by the sea fantasy that lies in the depth of my subconscious but the opening does remind me of the sweetness associated with pipe tobacco. Nevertheless, Italian bergamot, juniper berry and black pepper really do a nice job of setting the stage for Ghislain’s homage to Hemingway.

If you’re a fan of cinnamon I suspect you’ll like 1899, as it’s prominent throughout. I like that vanilla is also used as it softens the scent’s spiciness a bit but the character remains. As 1899 dries down, it becomes the type of skin scent that raises an eyebrow ever so interestingly. It’s soft and woodsy with just a bit of the opening sweetness remaining.

I wouldn’t classify 1899 as an office scent, but that didn’t take away from its likeability factor. I’ve been wearing it a lot and it’s become a fall favorite.

I suspect a lot of guys will like 1899. Its presence is strong and bold and there’s no questioning whom it’s meant for. That said, I could still see women wearing this and wearing it well. I remember I smelled Comme des Garcon 2 Man on a woman and it blew my mind. I think 1899 would do the same.

Put this on your “ to sample” list gents. It’s a winner in my book.

Fragrant Moments on Birchbox

Fragrant Moments on Birchbox

When the temperature outside has you hot and bothered, that ahhh moment a cold shower offers is all we can think about. Hence, spring and summer scents are lighter and fresher and conjure the feeling of cleanliness.

In the fall and winter, however, we bundle up to keep warm. We also sweat less and look for scents that comfort us. That said, fall scents are generally spicier and fuller than scents worn in the spring and summer. Cinnamon, clove, rum, amber, tobacco, leather, saffron, and cognac are a few notes on full blast in the fall.

In the end your nose won’t let you down. You’ll smell the spice factor and know this is for the fall/winter months for sure.

As we settle into fall and the weather gets chillier, what sort of fragrances will you be wearing? If you’re still trying to figure that out, here are a few of my fall fragrance favorites I put together for Birchbox. Enjoy.

Twisted Lily Opens In Brooklyn

Twisted Lily

A few nights ago, I had the pleasure of attending a party at Twisted Lily, a recently opened fragrance boutique and apothecary located in Brooklyn, New York. They graciously hosted Peace Love Perfume and The GoodSmellas for a night of eating, drinking, and of course sniffing.

Owners, Eric Weiser and Stamatis Birsimijoglou settled on a 650-square foot space on Atlantic Avenue in the burgeoning neighborhood known as Boerum Hill. The duo have deep roots in the fragrance industry and put their smarts on display with a beautiful collection of brands that runs the gamut from niche to hard to find, including Providence Perfume Co., Slumber House, Amouage, Penhaligon’s, Etat Libre d’Orange, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, and Mona di Orio to name a few. They even pay homage to Brooklyn perfumeries featuring CB I Hate Perfume, D.S. & Durga and Joya.

Don’t feel like heading into Manhattan on the weekend? Now you have one more reason not to.

Twisted Lily – 360 Atlantic Avenue between Hoyt and Bond Streets. For directions, you can find them on Scent Trails.