#19 - Aesop x Mr Porter Dapper Gentleman Grooming Kit
Updating your Scent
Fragrances are commonly regarded as one of the most personal items in a man’s or woman’s grooming cabinet. Undoubtedly, when it comes to sensorial perception, smell plays a primordial role to the point where memories of particular persons or places are inherently associated with specific scents. It’s like part of memories are comprised by an olfactive fraction which comes into play whenever you come across that particular odor. Developing such an intricate relation with its wearer as well as those around him/her, fragrances easily become a tough, personal choice based solely on individual taste.
Despite the never ending amount of available alternatives, categorized according to its main notes and family such as floral, spicy or woody, there are those who develop a special bond with a unique scent which often becomes somewhat of a trademark. Then again, others prefer to continuously rotate their selection to cover the widest possible spectrum. Whichever group you fall into, I believe one should have at least as many fragrances as “fashion” seasons.
Much like what happens with garments come a new season, your scent should follow and adapt to the days to come. Summer is time for fresher fragrances, with hints of fruit or citruses overpowering the more wintery notes of spices and wood. If you’re looking for a unique essence with strong personality give Diptyque Philosykos a try; I’ve been wearing it for a while now and I must say it has become a personal favourite along with the discontinued Paul Smith London.
Word of advice? If you’re struggling to find that perfect gift, stay away from perfumes: unless it’s someone who religiously wears the same one for years, there’s a high risk of missing it by a long shot.
Customize your scent
As Summer draws to an end (and coincidently so does my parfum), I’ve been feeling an urge to upgrade my fresh citrus fragance (Burberrys) to something more adequate for the cold and gloomy months ahead. For Fall and Winter my choice lies upon an essence of sturdier character and “body”, incorporating hints of tobacco, wood, liqueur and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, etc.), giving it a warmer feel to face the harsh Winter days. Even if I haven’t decided which one to adquire yet, one thing I know for sure: I want something unique, a one of a kind aroma that will allow me to differ from the rest of the pack (how many times a night do you smell Davidoff when going out?).
When looking for the holy grail of fragances you are presented with a variety of options:
- Opt for natural fragances found at herbal boutiques, which are 100% natural and made from fruit and roots essences (figg, bergamot…);
- Try handmade essences usually associated with cultural ethnic backgrounds, the likes of those found at Bazaars or souks in Morocco or India;
- Look for boutiques specialized in body fragances and colognes, sure to provide you with alternative quality products at affordable prices;
- Splurge - high end brands offer exquisite fragances at exclusive boutiques, some of which are mixed and blended at the time of purchase. This kind of exclusivity can cost somewhere between 200€ and 500€;
The trick is finding something you feel like it’s a part of you and endowes you with a sense of well being, comfort and confidence. A man’s scent is one of his most personal traits and should reflect his identity, thus being chosen by him alone (that’s one of the reasons I restrain for offering parfums as gifts and seldomly use those offered to me). To emphasize this personal side of fragances, the same parfum may have a slightly different odor when used by different men, as skin properties have an influence.
I’ve found a few options that may be great alternatives to the mainstream products sold at body and beauty shops such as Sephora and that won’t leave you on the verge of bankruptcy (I haven’t tried them all yet though):
Comme des Garçons Wonderwood at Por Vocação (Madagascan pepper, bergamot, Somalian incense, nutmeg, Cristalon, Cashmeran, guaiac wood, cedarwood, caraway seeds, Javanol, sandalwood, vetiver, oud).
Diptyque Eau Duelle at Por Vocação (A narrow escapade between gentleness and character, feminity and virility, white vanilla and black frankincense).
Calé Fraganze D’Autore at Wrong Weather (Olfactory family: Musky Citrus; Head notes: Grapefruit, Lemon, Rum; Middle notes: Acacia, Magnolia, Note of Pinã Colada; Bottom notes: Vetiver, White Musk, Green Tea).
D.R. Harris Marlborough Cologne at Wrong Weather (a subtle blend of woods including cedar and sandalwood).
Cedar Eau de Parfum at L’occitane (Head Notes: Grapefruit, Wood sap; Heart Notes: Cumin, Tobacco leaves; Base Notes: Cedar, Tonka Bean).
Thé Bergamote at L’occitane (Black tea leaves, bergamot, mandarin and grapefruit light up the sparkling nature of bergamot, heightened by a dash of cardamom, while the woody notes prolong the intensity of tea, creating an original trail of scent that is rich in contrasts).
Tom Ford Tuscan Leather at Harrods (Saffron, Raspberry and Thyme open to Olibanum and Night Blooming Jasmine. Leather, Black suede and Amberwood add an intricate richness).