Saturday, December 01, 2018

Beauty Advent Calendars - Male Edition

How is it nearly Christmas again?!?!? No seriously, the last time I looked it was March! My other half is obsessed with Beauty Advent Calendars. Not only do I have to listen to her talk about the female calendars (I deserve a medal), but I have to hold them all while she takes endless photographs (some of them are huge - see here) and now every other day there seems to be a new one popping up.

Last year I thought was 'peak' beauty advent calendars but alas I was wrong. You can see my post from 2016 here, 2017 here today will be those I have found for 2018 and I have to say, I was expecting more!

Makind - Not quite an Advent Calendar but it is pretty special. Featuring 12 full sized products from brands such as Hanz de Fuko, Elemis and Omorovicza to name just a few.
Beauty Advent Calendars - Male Edition
This Christmas Collection has an RRP of £475 but is available for just £100 right here.

ASOS - This years Grooming Advent Calendar has twelve doors to open and behind each one is a product from the likes of Lab Series, Clinique, Uppercut and more.
Priced at £30, you can find it right here via ASOS.

Clarins - It is good to see Clarins have been consistent and are back again with their 2018 Advent Calendar.  The 12 days of Christmas Triangle features some amazing products including - A full size Anti-Fatigue Eye Cream, a 100ml Tonic Bath & Shower Concentrate, SOS Hydra Mask and Super Moisture Balm to name just a few.
Beauty Advent Calendars - Male Edition
Priced at £60 it has a combined worth of £110 and is a great way to try out some Clarins products, stock up on your favourites or to simply just treat yourself. You can find it here.

Superdrug Bristle and Smith Mens 12 Days Advent Calendar - currently on offer for £9 (here)

Beauty Advent Calendars - Male Edition
The Bristle & Smith range helps you to tame and maintain your look with a range of dapper toiletries and accessories. An impeccably groomed man always looks smart and dapper wearing these socks. Featuring products such as Body Wash 30ml, Shower Gel 30ml, Beard Wash 30ml, Body Lotion 30ml, Shave Balm 30ml, Body Scrub 30ml, Bath Salts 30g and some handy grooming tools.

Manstuff - The MAN'STUFF 12 day Cube Advent Calendar features a mixture of grooming producta and grooming tools behind each of the 12 doors.
Beauty Advent Calendars - Male EditionHidden behind the 12 doors are items such as Shower Gel, Tweezers, Soap, Lip Balm and a Charcoal Face Wash to give you a little idea as to what you might find. Priced at £12.95 here, this is a great gift.

LYNX Men's Grooming Count Down 12 Days Advent Calendar Kit - Currently on offer for £15 (here)

Beauty Advent Calendars - Male Edition
I am sure every man reading this post will have, at some stage in their life been given numerous Lynx gift sets at Christmas.   This year, Lynx have decided to bring about their own complete 12 day Grooming count down kit and it is packed full products which includes a full size Lynx Gold Body spray, 2 Lynx Black Bodyspray , 2 mini Lynx Black Bodywash , a full size 75ml Lynx Urban Hair Wax and some much needed grooming tools too.

Admittedly, I am hoping there will be more advent calendars for us males out there, but the one product that has really caught my eye comes from Mankind.  How about you?

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets

Aside from my watch and wedding ring, I tend to wear a lot of male bracelets particularly those which feature of a skull and my interest and obsession all stemmed from Pinterest on which here you can see that I have a rather large board featuring bracelets costing anywhere from £5 to £5,000 that I would love to adorn my wrists.Aldi Lacura Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit DupeApollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets
Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets
The Apollon Morpheus bracelet from Gents Bracelet is the latest addition to my collection and it is just beautiful.   Gents Bracelets describe themselves as follows:
In this day and age of price wars in a race to the bottom between brands, quality inevitably begins to suffer. It’s a shame because, for the discerning gentlemen of today, quality is everything. It’s easy to tell when something has been crafted with love, skill, care, and attention. Gents Bracelets are breaking the mould and turning heads with our quality over quantity ethos… We don’t cut corners.
With Gents Bracelets, the word quality is one which features quite a lot descriptively alongside their products and this is because it is of such high importance.  Not only is each individual bracelet made from the highest quality leather, the production of the bracelet is just as important and this is due to the fact that only use leather that accrues at the traditional slaughter as a “Waste product“. At approximately 6mm wide, the bracelet isn't too wide that it excessively heavy, but it is big enough that it stands out.
Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets
Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets
Aside from the bracelet being of the highest quality, it also arrives in a stunning black box which has an pull string opening.  Inside there is a leather pouch which contains your chosen item and again, the presentation is just stunning.

Designed to be adaptable, comfortable and stylish, this bracelet is made of high quality materials.  What stood out to me was the bright white leather of the wristband which contrasts perfectly with my summer tanned arms and it also works well sitting amongst the other bracelets from within my collection, of all which are black.  This bracelet also features two black skulls and it is here that the craftmanship comes into its own.  Made from shiny stainless steal and the details, right now to the teeth is just incredible and to finish the black magnetic fastener is made of stainless steel with the gents bracelets engrave on the reverse.

The Apollon Morpheus Stack is a set of two individual men bracelets that is offered for a special price. Of course, both skull bracelets can be worn individually. Also ideal as a gift and at the mention of gifts and with Christmas on the horizon, the lovely people at Gents Bracelets have given me a bracelet, exactly the same as the one above to give away to one of you.  All you have to do is complete the widget below!  
  • This competition is open worldwide
  • 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.
Competition is Closed and the winner is Archie Welling. 
Archie, I have emailed you.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Matching a shirt and blazer: a man’s guide

The staple blazer and shirt outfit has been at the forefront of men’s fashion for decades. From casual get-togethers to formal affairs, this look has carried men effortlessly through almost every style of event — but are you maximising its full potential? 
 Matching a shirt and blazer: a man’s guide
Here, we’ve put together a fool-proof guide on creating a suave jacket and shirt outfit that’s fresh and on-trend. Not sure which colours, fabrics and patterns got together? Check out our shirt and blazer guide for style tips and tricks. 

Colour - Your suit palette is perhaps the first feature of your look that people will notice — so it’s critical to get this right. Essentially, you can go down three avenues to pinpoint the perfect suit colour: block, tonal and statement. 

Block colouring is your more adventurous option — and it’s a big trend in men’s fashion for AW18. When you colour block your outfit, you go for bright panels of contrasting, solid colours. Think electric blue blazers with canary-yellow ties and pure-white shirts. This is a tough one to perfect, but the trick is to contrast warm and cool colours and then tone it down with a neutral shade. Something like a steel-grey suit jacket with a blush-pink shirt and lemon tie or a red tweed blazer over a forest green shirt. 

Tonal colouring is almost the opposite of block colouring, as you choose a single shade and wear its variants. Say you go for purple. You could throw on a velvet jacket in a rich, dark plum shade over a lighter, mauve shirt and polish off the palette with a bright lilac tie or dickie bow. Pick your favourite colour and just turn up or down the pigments on your shirt, blazer, trousers, etc. 

Statement colouring does what it says on the tin: makes a statement. Similar to tonal colouring but focusing on a single shade surrounded by neutrals — like brown, grey, white, and black — this colour style exudes understated confidence. Pair a wine-coloured Oxford shirt with a rich, chocolate men’s blazer or go for a teal, seersucker suit with a white shirt and skinny black tie. 

Texture - Next up is the fabric. You probably already have a favourite blazer texture, but if you usually stick to the same kind, maybe it’s time to switch it up. Fabric plays a big part in how formal or not an outfit looks, so make sure you get the combination right. 

Go for the staple, lightweight polyester suit jacket and cool cotton shirt for a comfortable outfit during long occasions or try a boxy wool blazer and flannel checked shirt for a touch of old-time style that’s suited for casual events. 

Brown or khaki tweed has an unmistakeably rural gentleman appeal and looks ideal with a plain white, cotton shirt and tweed waistcoat, while a clean and crisp white or silver jacket in linen delivers a laid-back vibe that goes great with a fine pinpoint Oxford cloth shirt — ideal for relaxed, outdoor events. If you’re after something formal but slightly against the grain, corduroy and velvet are spot on. The former is a type of woven cotton with a distinctive, raised texture that looks especially good in a rust or maroon shade with a white shirt in a twill fabric — the slight shine of the shirt will contrast perfectly against the thicker corduroy. 

For the ultimate in masculine luxury, try velvet or satin. If you’re going for this fabric, make sure you do it in style by opting for a dinner suit or smoking jacket in a rich, elegant shade — like royal blue or emerald green. As a thin, light, modest fabric; smooth broadcloth shirts look best with luxe velvet or satin blazers — scarves and pocket squares also look incredible with this jacket fabric. 

Pattern - The pattern can seal the deal on a good and bad jacket-and-shirt combo — and the trick is to not splice different types in a single outfit. Either go for a patterned blazer or keep this plain and enhance your look via your shirt. 

Window-pane checks are large and bold — ideal for making a statement at an event that matters. Pair this style with a block-colour shirt and plain tie for maximum effect. Smaller checks are also in-season, so switch it round — keep your blazer plain and go for an Oxford shirt with a burgundy base-colour with navy gingham checks. 

Vertical stripes create a longer torso and look great on men dressing to impress in a smart jacket and shirt. High-contrast shades are best for stand-out impact — think two-stripe coral and white or multi-stripe red, navy and white — and remember to consider the weight of your stripe choice. The thicker the stripe, the less formal the event. 

For casual get-together with mates, tropical print-shirts are on top form this fashion season — we recommend keeping to the casual tone by pairing it with an ultra-lightweight cotton jacket. Alternatively, panel shirts let you combine multiple block colours that you can tone down with a neutral, wool-blend blazer. 

There are many ways you can wear a shirt and jacket for a knock-out effect that’s on-trend for modern men. Combine the patterns, fabrics and colours above to create a look of your own or pair up with your dates dress at your next social event.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

AFTERSHAVE: Michael Bublé Pour Homme

When it comes to celebrity fragrances I tend to steer well clear, they often smell cheap and nasty and I'm convinced (with zero evidence to back up this feeling) that more often than not it's just cheap stuff whacked in a bottle and flogged to the gullible. I've had to kind of reassess this after being asked by the wife to review Michael Bublé Pour Homme.
 At £39 for a 70ml bottle or £55 for 100ml, this I think sits in the mid-range for aftershaves - anything over £60 and I take a serious whiff of it before forking out my own cash. The attractiveness of the bottle, with its sharp angles and lines, are said to have been inspired by the microphone with the shade of blue being a reference to Buble himself and his usual choice of suit (or so I'm told).
MB Pour Homme is described as a rich signature scent for the sophisticated modern gentleman. The notes to Pour Homme are:
  • Head: Grapefruit, bergamot and pink pepper
  • Heart: Geranium, neroli and blond wood
  • Dry-down: Patchouli, sandalwood and musk
Almost as soon as this left the bottle I was in love with the fragrance - it's unique, fresh and has a depth of fragrance that sits right in the middle of the woody and spicy fragrance familyThe freshness of the citrusy notes really make this fragrance for me and blended with the Patchouli, you have an aroma that seamlessly takes you from day to night and one which is suitable for absolutely any man in your life.
My only question is if you've sold 55 million albums worldwide, why would you branch out into aftershave? You can't be short of a few quid. The many questions that run through my head aside, this is a lovely fragrance that isn't too heavy or warm on the nose. If you are looking for something a little unique this summer then you can do a lot worse than this. 

In terms of celebrity aftershaves and fragrances, this stands head and shoulders above any other I've had the chance to sniff at. 

Perfect for any occasion, this is one where throughout the day you'll close your eyes and think "mmm, yes, this is actually a good fragrance" and you'll be feeling good.


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Sunday, June 17, 2018

BEARDS: Schwarzkopf Got2b Beard Oil

Last week a massive box of the new products from the Schwarzkopf Got2b Phenomenal range was delivered - everything from a beard trimmer, hair paste, wax and sprays. As part of the package was Schwarzkopf Got2b Phenomenal Beard Oil, and for the last seven days I've been slapping it onto my ever growing beard, stepping back and then making the other half feel the results.
Schwarzkopf Got2b Beard Oil
Schwarzkopf Got2b Beard Oil
Given my experience with this beard oil I thought it deserved a post all to itself, so check back over the coming weeks if you want to read more reviews of the range.

What does the marketing blurb say about the beard oil under review?

'Discover the real gentleman in you. The lightweight conditioning oil softens and tames your beard, leaving it well-groomed and non-greasy.'

I had no idea that this sat firmly in the budget range of grooming products (it's RRP is £4.07 for 75ml) but prior experience with the got2b hair styling range meant that I had some pretty high hopes. Had I seen the price beforehand I would have expected little.

So what did the product do? Well, it surprised me immensely from the moment it left the bottle and for hour after hour later. Why? Well, many reasons. The first being the silky smooth oil that really could not be simpler to apply. Two to three pumps from the dispenser should be enough according to the directions but given the longer length of my facial foliage I use two to three on the beard on my cheeks and chin and another two to massage into the shaft of the hair that hangs about five inches down from under my chin and on my neck.

The oil is a lot thinner than pretty much every oil I've ever used before but this helps with the absorption into the hair and within a matter of seconds you'll hardly know that you've applied it - it isn't greasy as promised and washing it off your palms is much, much easier than other premium brands.

The results are out of this world - after three days of using this my beard was noticeably softer to the touch, and I mean really soft so much so that I spent most of last week stroking my beard. Normally if using oil on my beard this would result in residue bein transferred to my fingers and the risk of oil stains on my clothing but not with this - excellent.
Schwarzkopf Got2b Beard Oil
The beard some six hours after using Schwarzkopf Got2b Phenomenal Beard Oil
While much runnier than normal this doesn't detract from the hold it provides when styling the beard - I've found that it keeps my long beard in place for a good seven hours before the hairs start to lift up off my face and look untidy. That's much better than oils you can find yourself paying upwards of £20 for elsewhere.

They say that the Got2b range is truly phenomenal and when it comes to the beard oil I'm inclined to agree. Not only can you pick this up for under £5 when fully priced (you can get it from Superdrugor just £3) it also leaves you feeling like you've just stepped out of the barber's chair. I has a fragrance that will throw you back to your childhood (it reminds me of the smell of Barbicide used by barbers) while also taming your beard - it softens so well, in fact, better than any other beard oil I've used and it keeps my fairly long beard well and truly under control.

Price, availability and results taken into consideration and pow, you have an absolute belter of a beard oil.


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Saturday, June 16, 2018

SKINCARE: Peel & Polish by Pixi

Every now and again I'll play shower roulette, this involves me reaching onto the shelf, picking up a product without looking and then giving it a try. No, seriously, I do.....and that's how I came to try Peel & Polish by Pixi, a kind of peel and exfoliating potion the other half must use. 
SKINCARE: Peel & Polish by Pixi
I've never used anything by Pixi before that I can recall so I had no prior misconceptions or indeed any expectations for this to do anything to my elephant hide like skin. Needless to say, that after the first application I've now been using this twice a week on my face to banish dead skin - but at £26 for a 80ml tube does this really compare with other face washes, scrubs and general exfoliants out there? Read on folks, read on.

This is what they say about the product:

'This radiance revealing enzyme peel resurfaces for smoother, softer skin, and a healthy looking glow. Natural fruit enzymes loosen dead skins cells, lactic acid gently exfoliates, cellulose peels & sugar extracts polishes, lifting away dullness revealing brighter skin. Professional salon peel treatment without leaving home.'

After taking the lid off and giving this a good sniff I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has a rather gender neutral fragrance, not too light and flowery and equally, not too heavy on the nose - the orange, papaya and lemon extract provide a fresh and fruity aroma that can become rather addictive.

Whacking a healthy dose of the cream onto my hands I rubbed it gently into my dry face and neck. First up, the grains within the cream are really fine, noticeable, but this is a gentle exfoliation rather than a full-blown sandblast of the face. As advised, I left it on the skin for a couple of minutes and that is when the tingling started - and it was good. Like a really weird mild burning sensation that tingles rather than hurts you can almost feel the dirt and dead skin cells being removed. Top marks.

As the tingling starts I tend to rub the cream into my face a bit to provide an extra touch of exfoliation.

As the particles/grains are so fine they are washed off really easily, leaving results that can be summarised in one word - "wow". To see the colour of the water after using would make you wretch - it clearly does eliminate built up grime and dirt but best of all, my skin looks radiant after using and to the touch it's smoother than it's been in years. When I say years, I can hand on heart say at least a decade.

This is a lucky find for me and while I wouldn't have ever sought this out or bought it myself I can't honestly see this out of my skincare routine now. It's excellent and does exactly what it says it'll do.


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Sunday, June 10, 2018

HAIR: Just for Men Control GX - Grey Reducing Shampoo

There comes a time in every man's life when the old colour in the hair starts to fade and those pesky grey hairs start multiplying faster than a rabbit colony subjected to Barry White on a constant loop. For me, that time came when I was fourteen, yes, fourteen - WTF!!! I've been dying my old barnet for well over 20 years, but in recent years I've tried to grow old gracefully, that was until the grey got out of hand, and with a longer style it was becoming too much. Step forward Just for Men Control GX, a shampoo that promises to gradually reduce the appearance of grey hairs.
Just for Men Control GX - Grey Reducing Shampoo
Just for Men Control GX - Grey Reducing Shampoo
Rather than being a conventional dye that blasts the hair and leaves a uniform colour, this promises to leave hair looking natural by reducing rather than completely covering the grey.

Bold claims! 

So, for just under £10 for a 147ml tube I set off on my grey reducing journey. If you want to pick up a bottle after reading this (seriously, read the whole post first) you can pick it up at most high street chains - Superdrug, Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury's. 

First up was the 48-hour allergy test - seriously important given the plethora of chemicals and to avoid looking like your face has been attacked by a hive of angry bees.

The instructions advise to run the shampoo into your hair using your palms to avoid staining of the fingers and with that, on went the shampoo and boom, the bathroom smelt like a chemical spill. Pungent is something of an understatement but I'd expected this - it's no more powerful than the ammonia smell you get from permanent hair dyes. 

I thought I'd cocked up after the first application as my hands went a sort of dirty purple colour which only got darker and darker as the day progressed and it was a nightmare to remove. On second, third, fourth and fifth applications I was incredibly careful not to use my fingertips but again, my fingers, nails and the palms turned a dodgy colour just hours later. Not the look I was going for, and scrubbing most of the skin off my hands to remove the stains wasn't a pleasant experience. Could the results redeem this product?

The quick answer is - NO.

After using this fifteen, yes, fifteen times a comparison of before and after across the root, shaft and tips of my hair showed zero effect, in fact, to me the tips looked even more grey than before. In terms of masking this is, to be blunt, appalling. 
Just for Men Control GX - Grey Reducing Shampoo
Less than impressive results after fifteen washes over 6 weeks
Who remembers the original marketing slogan for Wash & Go? "Take two bottles into the shower, not me, I just take Wash & Go. Well in the case of Control GX I not only take the tube in the shower but also gloves, a nailbrush and some serious cleansing agents. It's fiddly to use, stains your fingers and palms and in my case did not one jot to reduce the grey in my hair. While it does leave my hair feeling clean, in term of its primary purpose of reducing grey hairs, this is a lemon.


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Saturday, June 02, 2018

BEARDS: Modern Day Duke Beard Wash & Tonic

Where has he been for months I hear you say? Growing a beard. With that in mind expect one or two posts on beards over the coming weeks and months, but today I'll start off with two cracking products from Modern Day Duke - Luxurious Beard Wash and Superior Beard Tonic.
Modern Day Duke Beard Wash & Tonic

So, who are Modern Day Duke? You can read all about the company and it's ethos over at their website here:

A 200ml bottle of the luxurious beard wash will set you back £16.95, which compares favourably with other beard washes on the market. There are a number of things that I genuinely like about this beard wash - it smells lovely, it lathers up a dream, it cleans away grime and doesn't dry out my skin. 

Those four things above make this a must-have product for any beardy weirdy like me.

But saying that it smells lovely is a bit vague and really doesn't do this justice. It blends together cedarwood (a favourite base note in many an aftershave in my collection), lime and aloe vera. The cedarwood gives it an earthy masculine nose but the sharpness of the lime gives it a fresher tangy citrus waft that personally I've found a touch addictive.

Just two pumps of the beard wash, slap it onto a wet beard and you're away - it's like an explosion of lather that intensifies the fragrance two-fold. Result! 

Last but not least, my beard feels clean, smells clean and fresh while also have a softer, smoother feel. 

Having now come down with a massive dose of OBD (Obsessive Beard Disorder) keeping it in shape and trying to avoid looking like a hobo means carefully oiling and brushing down the stray hairs. Get a crappy oil and you'll be wiping oil it off your face, hands and sometimes clothing all day. I'm happy to report that this is not one of those lemons!

While the oil itself is quite thick any fears that this would just be smeared up and down my face were quickly allayed - a couple of drops from the applicator, a quick warm up between the palms and it's ready to go. Being, well, an oil, it is smoothed onto the hair really quickly and is absorbed by the hair and skin in under a minute. Excellent.

Throw into the mix once again that lovely fragrance, this time with hints of bergamot, patchouli and grape. It's fresh, it's fruity and for some reason whenever I use this I have an urge to grab an axe and chop some wood.

Styling my beard is a doddle using this - the one day I didn't use it my lovely aunt commented "you look homeless", which says it all. 
Modern Day Duke Beard Wash & Tonic
Saving the best for last - my beard does grow quicker using the tonic - in just four months I've managed to grow a beard that would have taken at least a year. Indeed, the people I work with have commented on how fast it has grown. 

50ml of this will set you back £18 and at that price, if you have whiskers, you shouldn't be without this.  

I've been using both products on my ever-growing (and greying) beard now for a good four months. Those four months have seen my beard grow at a speed I've never known before, not a hint of beard itch or scratching and the oil leaves the longer style of beard in a position where brushing and styling is a breeze.

They (Modern Day Duke) say that with a great beard comes great responsibility. Not too sure about that, but when they attach phrases like superior and luxurious to these products I'm more than inclined to agree with the assessment. Both products are reasonably priced, I've been introduced to a brand I will be using again (when this batch runs out) and I know I'll be supporting a company that manufactures here in England. 

Summarising in one word how my beard feels after using? Majestic.

Modern Day Duke Beard Wash & Tonic
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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! 


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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