Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Aftershave: The Scent Intense for Him by Hugo Boss

The Scent Intense by Hugo Boss is a very new aftershave into the ever growing collection and I only first got my sniffing tackle around it for the first time on Sunday evening after returning from an eventful week away. That said, it had an instant impact and while other aftershaves can sit on the shelf for months, just like my previous post I feel almost compelled to write almost immediately about this offer from the Hugo Boss stable.  
 The Scent Intense for Him by Hugo Boss
 The Scent Intense for Him by Hugo Boss
 The Scent Intense for Him by Hugo Boss
Marketed as an irresistible and unforgettable fragrance for him, you can pick up a 50ml bottle of the aftershave from Debenhams for £54. That price places this in the mid-range in my opinion and when you read further on about how long lasting and noticeable to others this is it actually represents good value for money.

  • Head: Ginger and maninka fruit 
  • Heart: Green cardamom and lavender
  • Dry-down: Black leather and vanilla
A couple of sprays and "wow, that's not what I expected" - instead of a heavy, warm spicy offering that I'd expected just three sprays and the room (and my skin) was awash with a beautiful blend of spice from the ginger offset by the lighter fruity smell from the maninka fruit - yes, it's warm from the start but it calms down quickly, becoming more floral as it works through the heart notes. The lavender is actually a note that flits in and out as you move around - it isn't a static fragrance it's constantly evolving and from time to time you'll pull out one of the notes yet minutes later it'll be gone.

Fear not however, once it settles down some twenty minutes later you are left with one hell of an intense fragrance that'll blow your mind (in a good way). Combining a mild spice with light floral notes and then slapping leather into the mix should make this super masculine and very heavy on the nose but it doesn't, and that's because the vanilla provides a little bite of sweetness as it gradually rests into a heady blend of warmth with longevity to rival much more expensive brands. 

This lasts on the skin for well over twelve hours making it perfect for daywear around the office and then onto a night out. As a plus point, the sillage (the fragrance trail you leave behind) is I'm reliably informed so nice I found a few people leaning in to ask what that cool new fragrance was. Result.


It's the boss - lovely! 


RECOMMENDED



For information:
  • This product was provided to me as a PR sample.
  • I have not been paid to write this post. 
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

AFTERSHAVE: Nuit de Megeve by Eight & Bob

When the missus handed me a 20ml bottle of Nuit de Megeve Eau de Parfum by Eight & Bob my initial reaction was "who the f**k are Eight & Bob" - I'd never of the fragrance or the brand and given that it's taken about six months for me to write down my thoughts I gave this one not a second thought until I pulled out all of the aftershaves I hadn't yet written about (there are over fifteen - when do I start classifying this as an addiction?!?)
Nuit de Megeve by Eight & Bob
Nuit de Megeve by Eight & Bob
Nuit de Megeve by Eight & Bob
Nuit de Megeve by Eight & Bob
Knowing nothing about the brand, the fragrance, the notes, nothing I went to take a peek and do a little research into who Eight & Bob are and where you can pick up a bottle. It turns out that 1, this stuff isn't cheap - £130 for a 100ml bottle of it from John Lewis here and 2, it's actually a unisex fragrance for both men and women.

Normally I find reading about the history of a brand quite tedious, but the story behind Eight & Bob is really quite interesting - I won't ruin it here, but it involves a Parisian aristocrat and a young John F Kennedy in 1937. You can check out the history here

The notes to Nuit de Megeve are:
  • Head: Grapefruit, petit grains and clove buds
  • Heart: Tonka beans, orris and black coffee
  • Dry-down: Vetiver, tobacco and musks
After a spray or two the first thing that struck me was that it was far, far too feminine for me - it was an instant "nope" from me and as the fragrance triggered my memory this reminded me of my Auntie Sue (in a good way - she has great fragrance tastes) but I didn't want to be smelling like a 60+ female. Initially thoughts were not positive, but it was obvious from the fragrance that the sweetness of the grapefruit on the nose was a little too sharp for my liking. It is a rather heavy fragrance despite the citrus head notes but thankfully these don't last and the fragrance evolves quickly and alters so much that I had to fundamentally change my assessment after fifteen minutes.

The sharpness of the citrus dries away quickly and it becomes a much smoother level of sweetness as the vanilla like note from the tonka bean blend with the coffee to make this much warmer, and in turn, much more masculine. 

Within thirty minutes you are left with the final fragrance and this is where my love for Nuit de Megeve really explodes. The vetiver and tobacco provide excellent balance to the sweetness and tones it down to more of an earthy warmth. Lovely!


Even though it gets more masculine it sits perfectly as a unisex fragrance - not too light and not overly heavy on the musks and earthy notes. 


Once dried down this is in a word - lush.

What really amazed me about this fragrance was it's longevity on my skin - it's quite possible the most hardwearing and long lasting of any aftershave I've ever tried before. A couple of sprays in the morning and you can still detect it on pulse points some 24 hours later - that's astounding. 


When testing this out I sprayed my wrists and then a couple of hours later had a shower - even after a good scrub in the shower I could still pick up hints of the tonka bean and vetiver. Wow! 


Expensive, yes, but worth every penny. Sadly, this introduction to Eight & Bob is going to seriously destroy my bank account over the coming years. Since I started writing this post I've had the chance to wrap my sniffing tackle around a few other offerings from the brand and like this they just ooze luxurious quality. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

For information:

  • This product was not provided to me as a PR sample.
  • I have not been remunerated or incentivised to write this post. 
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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Giveaway: Modern Gent's Shaving Kit by The Body Shop

Over two years ago (doesn't time fly?!?) I wrote about the amazing male grooming gift sets available from The Body Shop and just before Christmas I was sent two of the Modern Gent's Shaving Kit to see what I thought of them. At the time I'd completely forgotten that I'd already tested and recommended it.
Modern Gent's Shaving Kit by The Body Shop
Modern Gent's Shaving Kit by The Body Shop
Modern Gent's Shaving Kit by The Body Shop
Modern Gent's Shaving Kit by The Body Shop
With that in mind, and the fact that the products are well worth a look I have a spare kit and rather than let it gather dust at my place (I don't shave that often at all anymore) I'm making it available here for one lucky reader to win. 

All you have to do is follow the Rafflecopter prompts below. So what's up for grabs in the kit?
Modern Gent's Shaving Kit by The Body Shop
1 x 200ml Maca Root Shave Cream
1 x 125ml Maca Root Face Wash
1 x 100ml Maca Root Energetic Face Protector
  • The giveaway will be open to anyone with a postal address in the United Kingdom. 
  • If you are aged under 16 you will need parental permission to enter as I will need your name and postal address if you are selected as the winner.
  • The winner will be selected at random from Rafflecopter.

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Friday, January 26, 2018

SKINCARE: Bulldog Original Eye Roll-On

Not being the healthiest person alive and getting by on around three to four hours sleep a night leaves my eyes looking and feeling a complete mess - dark circles under my eyes at times make me look like I've taken a good pasting from Tyson Fury after he's had a night on the Bolivian marching powder. A couple of products have managed to help combat the fine lines around my eyes, and some have even been successful in making me look as though life still courses through my veins. The latest product to get slapped onto my face in the hopes of resolving this is Bulldog Original Eye Roll-On
A tiny 15ml tube of the product will set you back under £10, yes, under a tenner and says that it will target dark circles (watch out IOC), revive tired eyes, reduce the appearance of fine lines and reduce puffiness. 

This is the product description from the Boots website, where you can buy this direct:
'Bulldog Original Eye Roll-On has a unique formulation which contains a special blend of avocado, cucumber and borage oils and Brazilian ginseng extract, millet seed and oak apple tannins. 
The cooling roller ball dispenser makes it quick and easy to apply the cream to the area under the eye.'
First up, it doesn't smell great, not nasty, just a bit eurgh. Sorry, but it does nothing to float my fragrance boat. That said, thanks to the metal roller only a minuscule amount of the liquid is spread onto the skin so once on the face you actually can't smell it - my smell assessment comes from rolling it onto my hand and giving it a good whiff. 

So, it has a metal ball to apply the liquid eh? Well yes, think of a scaled down roll-on deodorant stick and you are close to how this operates. On the first application I liked how cooling and refreshing the rollerball is on my undereye and it also helps ensure the cream is massaged in, so no need to use fingers.  I had to give the tube an almighty squeeze to get it going but once it's on its way the application process could not be simpler and thanks to the smaller ball, the chances of getting the liquid in the eye are smaller than Arsenal finishing in the top four of the Premiership this season, next season and the season after.....Top marks for packaging and applicator design.

But does it actually work? 

It certainly does, and it works really quickly. The liquid is absorbed in a stupidly quick time, a couple of rolls under and around my eyes first thing in the morning and last thing at night and I'm sorted.

After just a few minutes I personally could feel the skin under and to the sides of my eyes tightening and within ten minutes the bags that had been glaring back in the mirror had reduced - the dark circles were dark no more - don't get me wrong, it hadn't eliminated them completely (I'd need cosmetic surgery for that) it was more of a pale flesh colour (my natural skin tone) rather than looking like an extra from Vikings. 
After an hour the dark circles had all but gone, leaving me with results I was really happy with and much better than I had expected. I have a soft spot for Bulldog products, their hand cream and moisturiser are really great affordable grooming products but this has taken the biscuit (translation: it's much, much better)

In terms of reviving my tired eyes, I can't say I noticed anything other than crippling tiredness but even so, the reduction in the dark rings, the tightening of the skin to reduce the puffiness under my eyes alone is enough for this, hell, I'd pay double.

Affordable and it works - can't say fairer than that.

RECOMMENDED

For information:
  • All Bulldog products are made in the United Kingdom and are certified to the 'Leaping Bunny' Humane Cosmetics Standard.
  • This product was not provided as a PR sample
  • I have not been remunerated or incentivised to write this post. 
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BEARDS: Marbeian Beard & Moustache Brush Travel Kit

As my quest for something of a Viking look continues my beard game is now up to levels where daily care is required to keep both the skin underneath moisturised but also the beard itself conditioned and looking tidy. Nobody wants to look as though they slept in a bush, even if they did. It wasn't until last year that I dipped my toe into the water of beard brushes. My Kent BRD2 brush however seems to have gone and done a disappearing act while waiting for me to regain my mane. I needed a new brush (I turn into a compulsive brusher once fully bearded) - step forward the Beard & Moustache Brush Travel Kit from Marbeian
BEARDS: Beard & Moustache Brush Travel Kit
I picked up this set of beard grooming goodness from Amazon for just under £15, so a real steal, particularly when you consider that you get two brushes and a comb within the kit. You can pick up the kits here.

So, they are reasonably priced, but is it just tat off Amazon? Well, no. 

I'd never heard of Marbeian before, so I did a little look around to see who they were and it turns out to be a family run venture from Spain stocking a range of hairbrushes and grooming tools. Their website here gives the lowdown on the products they have to offer for all your grooming needs. Their customer promise is:

'Our promise is a happy customer who gets only superior quality products. Marbeian products don’t have to be replaced often - some ever! We offer a lifetime guarantee on many products. Style and workmanship last time making Marbeian a sustainable choice. Please consider nature and reduce waste.'

All beard brushes from Marbeian are made using boar hair bristles and the beard brush here is a real corker - the bristles have the rigidity to plough through a thick beard but they also ease out tangles and knots like a hot knife through butter. Resembling more of a boot polish brush the wooden handle makes it perfect for use in either my left or right hand. 
Marbeian Beard & Moustache Brush Travel Kit
Marbeian Beard & Moustache Brush Travel Kit
Marbeian Beard & Moustache Brush Travel Kit 
Marbeian Beard & Moustache Brush Travel Kit
Marbeian Beard & Moustache Brush Travel Kit
If I had to pick up one flaw with the angled bristles on my Kent BRD2 brush it was that I could only use it with my right hand making brushing the left hand side of my face awkward. With the Marbeian brush I have no such problems. 

The smaller brush is also a star in it's own right - it makes 'tache shaping so much easier and means you don't have to get your hands messy with beard oil or balm when moulding into shape for the day.

Last up is the wooden 'tache comb - excellent at de-tangling the old tea strainer prior to trimming. 

All of the items in the kit are really well made, and with the cotton carry bag these are perfect for slotting into my travel bag when I'm off out and about around the country with work. I've had these brushes for just under six months and I get the feeling that as long as I don't leave them in a hotel somewhere they will still be working their boar bristle magic on my bearded face in many years to come.

When you look at the price and look at the goods it's a no-brainer to have this kit in your grooming arsenal.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

AFTERSHAVE: Pure XS by Paco Rabanne


Paco Rabanne, one of the first ever aftershaves in my collection and the original XS version of this aftershave was a staple for a good five years in my early 20s. Invictus was another triumph so when Pure XS fell into my collection after the good lady wife paid a visit to Disneyland in November I was mightily pleased. The massive velvet box of Pure XS by Paco Rabanne also looks the part with something of luxurious start to the testing process. 
AFTERSHAVE: Pure XS by Paco Rabanne
AFTERSHAVE: Pure XS by Paco Rabanne
AFTERSHAVE: Pure XS by Paco Rabanne
Is it worth £47 for a 50ml bottle of the stuff? 

The notes to Pure XS are:
  • Head: Green sap and white thyme
  • Heart: Ginger and cinnamon
  • Dry-down: Vanilla and myrrh
With notes like that I'd have expected a very heavy fragrance, earthy in nature with a sweet base, but I was astounded by how it played out after spraying it liberally across myself. 

First up, it's quite potent, anything more than four sprays and people around you will be gagging for a good hour after you've applied it. The green sap does give something of a earthy fragrance at first and weirdly, I found that it came across a little spicy for the first five minutes, with a warmth on the nose that brought a wry smile to my face - it doesn't give the impression that this is a complex blend but as it starts to evolve and dry down I swear you'll wonder how you did without this in your collection. 

The ginger is barely noticeable but you can pick up hints of cinnamon but only for again a few minutes before the warmth intensifies and it becomes very heavy, but again, for no more than thirty minutes. I started to think this was a little too heavy for my tastes, I'm more of a light, fresh citrus kind of aftershave wearer but just as I expected to be panning this for being a bit too blokey, it lightened and actually becomes sweet, on a par with Eros by Versace. Wheres Eros uses tonka beans for the sweetness, the use of vanilla means that this lasts and lasts on the skin. 

Just four sprays of this and you'll be smelling lovely all day long - it's strength plays out on the skin for a good ten hours plus making it a very hardwearing fragrance. Yes it does come across as a bit too heavy at first but the sweetness of the vanilla takes the edge off making it a perfect blend between masculinity and sweetness.

Nearly £50 for a bottle is a bit steep but this is a perfect fragrance for day wear around the office and with the excellent sillage properties mean you'll be badgered in a good way about what you're wearing today - those around you will be able to smell it, and if like my experience, at least 95 per cent of people will have a positive reaction. It's hard wearing, a bottle will last for months even if using daily which in my view makes it a decent mid-range aftershave.  

RECOMMENDED


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