All posts filed under: Fragrance

Penhaligon's Savoy Steam - The Spa Man

Penhaligon’s Savoy Steam: inspired by the steam baths

Penhaligon’s Savoy Steam has a great story. The idea and resulting Eau de Cologne and Eau de Parfum were inspired by the steam baths that were once adjacent to the historic Savoy Hotel in London. Long gone and almost forgotten, the chance discovery of a poster of the steam baths led to a journey by the fragrance and development team at Penhaligon’s whereby they created something brand new. Long story short, this chance discovery led to these new blends. There’s also a nod to a very early fragrance: Hammam Bouquet, 1872 which also provides a stepping point for these delightful fragrances. They are designed to evoke the scent and sensation of steam. Now, quite how you truly capture that in an essence is beyond me. But it’s an excellent inspiration for the fragrance that you now find win these smart bottles. It’s fresh, refreshing and gives you a sense of purpose. I like this on hot steamy days when the air is heavy and you need a light refreshing boost. But you really do need to apply this …

ESPA Winter Spice Reed Diffuser - The Spa Man

Five of the best: reed diffusers

Reed diffusers are like a grown up’s version of a scented candle. They infused the air with a gentle scent and aroma that can be calming and soothing or fragrant and uplifting. The old saying that you get what you pay for rings very true in this segment of the beauty industry. I have put my nose to many a reed diffuser only to draw back in horror. Sweet, sickly, cheap and nasty. Gift shops are the worst culprits. Hideous. Reed diffusers in the spa market are definitely worth the investment and give a rounded fragrance for the home that can enhance the mood because they are generally based on a blend of high quality essential oils. They last for weeks and weeks so it’s definitely worth upgrading to quality reed diffusers. Put one on your Christmas gift list now. Five of the best: reed diffusers     AromaWorks Serenity Reed Diffuser Uplifting and energising, the citrus, warm fragrance of lemongrass promises to energise the mind and body. Neroli calms and emotions and soothes stress. It’s a fabulous blend and one …

Grume Eau de Toilette No14 - The Spa Man

Gruhme for him

Gruhme is a very British story about fragrance. Created by former lawyer Rob Hallmark, he wanted to craft a new way for men’s grooming. Gruhme is the brainchild of Rob Hallmark, our CEO and Founder (pictured). Rob grew up in the West Midlands where he spent seven years as a lawyer advising businesses before deciding to follow his heart and start his own. Rob was convinced the male grooming sector could appeal to the modern male consumer in a new way Beginning with fragrance the brand debuted in 2013. the newest kid on the block is Gruhme for Him Eau de Toilette No.14 – which is light, fresh and modern. When I first captured the scent, an early Ted Baker fragrance sprung to mind. But it’s a more complex story than that. It’s where it ends up that most appeals to me. It’s a long-lasting fragrance that works well day and night, although for me its a nice day time scent that I like to wear to casual business meetings. I have it in mind for …

Five of the best: autumn fragrance

As the nights draw in and mornings grow darker a new wave of fragrances are set to hit the market. Warming, spicy and perfect for long brisk walks in the part and cosy nights by the fire, this is The Spa Man’s pick of the best. BOSS BOTTLED OUD This is my favourite from the selection of fragrances. It’s long-lasting, potent and a heady mix of oud laced with smoky cypriol and gaiac wood (that’s the base) you will also experience bergamot, apple and plum rest on an aromatic elixir of geranium, clove and cinnamon, fused with rare saffron and evocative labdanum resin. BOSS BOTTLED OUD is available nationwide at House of Fraser and Debenhams RRP, £56.00 for 50ml, £76.00 for 100ml Ex Idolo Ryder Another potent spicy mix this time from Ex Idolo which has created an interesting blend inspired by the history of the members clubs of Mayfair and St. James in London. The fragrance is a juxtaposition of sweet tobacco and boozy notes against a warm woody-amber accord. The fragrance is anchored …

Thierry Mugler launches A*MEN Ultra Zest

Bright, vibrant and in your face, the packaging for the new A*MEN Ultra Zesty Eau de Toilette sets the tone for what you get in the bottle. It’s bursting with citrus, but has a sweetness to it that makes it a great spring/summer scent for any man. Quite quickly the citrus notes give way to woody tones and it has a spicy-ness that is reminiscent of previous limited edition fragrances from Thierry Mugler. A*MEN Ultra Zesty Eau de Toilette is a limited edition launch for spring, and is the perfect cocktail of woody, spicy and citrus notes. You will instantly pick up on the fresh scents of mandarin, blood orange and ginger which are my favourite of the blend. Read the blurb and there’s a touch of cinnamon, coffee and black pepper. Now I couldn’t pick these out individually – but they come across with a pleasing spicy touch. When the fragrance settles there is a fine mix of vanilla, patchouli and tonka bean which ensure that this is a sophisticated and sensual scent. I …


Summer scents are my favourite as they can evoke memories of beach holidays, days in the sun and evenings at the beach bar. I have trialled a few recent releases with a pointer of two about where they are “best-for”. Best for: summer picnic CREED Vetiver Geranium This is quite classic and rather grown up scent and perfect for a picnic with Pimm’s. Combining Vetiver and Geranium it’s not overpowering and not overtly maculine as it’s marketed as a unisex fragrance. I wouldn’t wear it everyday – especially with its price tag. Top notes or Lemon, granny Smith apple and Bergamot make way for heart notes of Rose, Geraminum and Cinnamon. Base notes include Cedar, Vetiver, Patchouli and Amber. £165 (100ml) from Liberty and John Lewis Best for: date night A*Men Pure Wood by Thierry Mugler A limited edition woody entry from the classic A*Men by Thierry Mugler. I was never a great fan of the original, but have to say I love this. It possibly better suited to Autumn and Winter as its woody and …

New face for Hugo Boss

HUGO BOSS is always spot on with it’s brand associations and ambassadors. So the choice of Gerard Butler as the face of BOSS BOTTLED was a natural partnership. Expect to see him in print and on TV over the next few months, they are launching in Autumn (oh yes, Autumn is on its way). Butler, is, naturally rather pleased with the association, saying, “It’s a generous compliment to be named an ambassador for an iconic luxury brand as BOSS Parfums.” BOSS BOTTLED is available to purchase nationwide.

Givenchy presents Gentlemen Only Intense

Fragrance is one of those parts of the grooming regime I thoroughly enjoy, but understand very little about the nuances of the blends. I know if I like a scent or not but can’t always say exactly why, what is the trigger, the pull factor. I vary from spicy and woody to more citrus and summery. Leaning toward the darker, woody and spice scents for evening wear and citrussy based during the day. So with Givenchy’s Gentlemen Only Intense, it’s the woody notes and touches of amber that appeal. I feel rather grown up wearing it, adopting its fragrance for important meetings and evening events. Top Notes: Green Mandarin Oil, Pepper Trio, Birch Leaf Heart Notes: Patchouli Oil Heart, Cedarwood Oil Texas, Leather Accord Bottom Notes: Tonka Bean, Incense Oil, Skin Accord It’s elegant and refined, but I wish it maintained its presence just a little longer. Eau de Toilette 50 ml – £47.50 Eau de Toilette 100ml – £64 Stockists : department stores nationwide including John Lewis and Boots

Hugo’s got a new face

HUGO BOSS Parfums is always switched on when it comes to big name partnerships for is fragrance range. It has just announced the signing of ten world-class footballers to front the 2014 ‘Success Beyond The Game’ campaign. There’s a range of fragrances in the line including my all-time Hugo favourite, BOSS ORANGE MAN which is represented by Germany’s Footballer Of The Year 2012 Marco Reus. BOSS BOTTLED. UNLIMITED. is a new, limited edition scent and is being fronted by England’s Goalkeeper Joe Hart (pictured above). It’s great for spring, fresh and lively and I first noticed pineapple. According to the release it’s inspired by vibrant green notes BOSS BOTTLED. UNLIMITED. has been created with a blend of refreshing mint combined with juicy pineapple and enduring masculine woods. BOSS BOTTLED. UNLIMITED. The Collection Eau de Toilette 100ml £55.00 / €79.00 Eau de Toilette 50ml £41.00 / €61.00 Available nationwide.   And if you really want to get in on the action here’s the Twitter hashtag: #SuccessBeyondTheGame campaign

A gift that keeps on giving

Ermenegildo Zegna has a limited edition gift with purchase on offer for February. It’s an embossed tablet case with any Ermenegildo Zegna fragrance purchase, including the Uomo fragrance (which I am wearing right now). Easy enough concept. The case is smart and just what you need for your tablet. It’s available in stores nationwide and for fragrance purchases 50ml and over. Ermenegildo Zegna Uomo EDT 50ml – £45.   Grab it while you can.  

The scent of action man

Designed for action man (perhaps Bear Grylls) this new Eau de Cologne from Victorinox is in a soft-touch plastic bottle with lots of sporty clips and things. Great for the gym as it’s light-weight and won’t break if you drop it. The scent is fresh, light and sporty. Swiss Unlimited Energy does burst with energy but then dries off and sadly doesn’t last as well as I had hoped. It has a twist up cap lock – nice touch, but it seems more effort has gone into the packaging. The press info didn’t mention the fragrance notes or ingredients at all, it was all about the bottle. I picked up cedar and grapefruit, it’s light and refreshing. Bottle’s great – fragrance is nice but it crashed and burned. Swiss Unlimited Energy – £39.00 Victorinox Fragrances retail from

A life with a view

There’s a new fragrance range in town – A Life with a View. Taking inspiration from views (certainly different) it bills itself as architectural fragrances for the 21st Century. A high ideal indeed. The Villa (Italy) and The Gite (Provence) didn’t immediately appeal, sadly neither did The Cottage (England) but as soon as I took a whiff of The Loft (New York) I was hooked. It’s got a smoky touch to it that immediately caught me. To create the whole scene overlooking Central Park woodsmoke is set against green notes of chamomile and thyme, whilst a glorious vase of roses blends with the warming comfort of cedarwood, sandalwood and vanilla. The overall impression is modern, smart and urban. THE FRAGRANCE: Top Notes: Smoke, chamomile, thyme Heart Notes: Rose, patchouli Base Notes: Vanilla, cedarwood, sandalwood, musk notes Candle 590g – £40 Travel candle and reed diffuser also available.  


I came across another oud fragrance recently, and please, before you switch off, this one is interesting. It’s not from one of the big fragrance houses and has a touch of class to it. It’s from a brand called Ex Idolo and so I’m told is hand crafted in Mayfair. Matthew Zhukis the creative guy behind the concept and so far, I’m liking it. Thirty-three is a fragrance crafted from quite unique (and rather old) ingredients. It’s an aged fragrance, a bit like wine in some respects – but naturally, you don’t drink it. The soul of the fragrance is built around a vintage oud – distilled in 1980 and aged until its release in 2013. It is also, so the website tells me, the only modern perfume to use a significant amount of wild-harvested Chinese oud oil and natural Chinese rose oil to build the scent profile. It’s potent from the outset, and initially I thought, no, it’s too strong. But within a few minutes it settles into a softer more velvety fragrance and …

Versace Pour Homme Noir Oud

Black and gold set the scene for the latest Versace men’s fragrance. I know that a number of oud scents have hit the market this year, but they have all largely passed me by. I’m a big fan of Versace Eros, it was my summer favourite and you can read about it here. The new Versace Noir Oud is potent, it packs a punch on the olfactory senses and lasts and lasts – all day and into the night. The Spa Man 2 is a bigger fan, for me it’s more of an evening scent. It begins with citrus notes, but these are quickly overtaken by the spicy elements and that’s where it stays. You might get a hint of the bitter orange and neroli but for me it’s all about cardamom, black pepper and of course the intense notes of oud. This is one that you will either love or hate. I love it – but only, in the night. £110 Available exclusively from Harrods  

Quantum – the new 007 fragrance

The third instalment from the James Bond 007 fragrance line came out of no where. It’s linked by name to the film but not aligned specifically to capture the marketing hype of a new film launch. That aside, I have to say I’m a real fan of the 007 Ocean Royale, read my review here. It’s a fresh and bright daytime scent that has ensured many welcome compliments this summer. So, onto the newest launch – Quantum. For me it’s a slightly more sophisicated scent and one that I will reserve more for the evenings. Quantum is blended with Juniper Berries and Bergamot for a touch of  citrus but it’s the deep woody notes that give it real character – Sandalwood in particular. I’ve never smelt Violet Leaf before – but its in the mix too. Like the others that came before it, I have instantly taken to 007 Quantum, perhaps you will too. Available nationwide including Debenhams and EDT/30ml – RRP £20 EDT/50ml – RRP £25 EDT/75ml – RRP £32 EDT/125ml – RRP …