Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Issue # 31 - Product Reviews

Issue # 31 - Product Reviews

Hello gents! Well Santa has come and gone, and hopefully he brought you all what you wanted. Me, i got several fantastic fragrances under my tree and a few other surprises! This issue was just going to be a fragrance review, but I decided to give my input on a few other items i have used recently. So without further ado, Check out these items!

Boss In Motion White Edition - Fragrance

This arrived under my tree from my fantastic uncle this Christmas, and it was definitely something I was hoping for. As you all know, I am a sucker for a cool bottle, and this one caught my eye the first time i saw it. A stark white sphere with classic Boss orange accents makes this a can't miss bottle on my shelf. I also really enjoy the BOSS logo engraved into the sphere in the same white as the bottle. Classic. This fragrance boasts notes of Orange, Pineapple, Bergamot, Basil, Cypress needles, Black pepper, Cinnamon, Bark, Saffron, Coriander, Clary sage, Rose absolute Vetiver, Citrus, Labdanum, Amber and Musk, however over half of those notes are nearly indistinguishable in this scent. I have worn it a few times now, and while i do enjoy it, i wish more of the spicy notes made their way through. Upon spraying, the orange notes are bright and clean, but vastly different from the orange onslaught that John Varvatos Artisan delivers. This orange is more muted, with vague basil and bergamot notes peeking through. The mid notes are a combination of the top notes fading and the basenotes coming turns slowly from crisp, just out of the shower to a warm semi spice, reminding me somewhat of an orange chai tea. While several reviews I have read have slammed this scent for being too "chemical" and "fake" smelling, I enjoy it and would recommend it for someone who wants to play it safe with their scent. It's not edgy or attention getting, but it's a great subtle fragrance that can be worn really anytime. The one major downfall i noticed however, is that it's very quick to fade; a trend i am noticing more and more with today's fragrances. I am not sure if this is due to lack of quality in ingredients, or if it's done purposely to cause the wearer to apply more than once a day (thus increasing consumption and buying a new bottle sooner), But this is definitely a bottle to bring with you if it's your choice for the day, as you will most likely need to reapply. I give this scent a 6/10 and recommend it for spring time use.

Head and Shoulders hair endurance for men - Shampoo

You should recognize this from that great NFL commercial with Troy Polamalu. It's for men with thin (read, THIN, not specifically thinNING hair), and it claims to make hair fuller and thicker after using it a couple times. Now if you're a guy with thin hair like myself, this stuff actually works. First of all, it smells fantastic, and staying true to H&S, it's thick and lathers like a champ. If you're a guy that washes his hair every day (which i don't suggest, since the secret to awesome hair is dirty hair), then this is good to use daily. I prefer to use 2 different shampoos, relying on Axe's Deep Clean shampoo and scrub, in the green bottle to take care of the hair product gunk in between using H&S hair endurance. That works for me, but you can find your own routine. As I have mentioned before, if you have a more elaborate or tough to style hair style, try not washing your hair for a few days, and styling it when dry. It makes a huge difference, and you might discover some interesting new looks!

Megalomaniac Homegrown - Wine

I came across this at the LCBO the other day, and being the amateur wine enthusiast I am, I had to give it a shot. I like to try a new wine every week if i can. The label of this one caught my eye right off the bat, since it's a spin-off of the Magritte painting entitled "The Son of Man". This painting has been reproduced and bent in many different ways since its birth. This wine had a very grass roots feel to it, and since it was local, i decided to give it a shot. The one thing i found strange about it was that it was simply called "White Wine"..which was odd to me. Regardless, i cracked it before a pasta dinner, and gave it a shot. It's a very crisp wine, with notes of Grapefruit and apple on the top, and a slight buttery finish. It's not a sweet as a Reisling (my personal favourite), but it doesn't have the bite of a i am guessing it's somewhere in the middle. It finishes well and is a very nice simple wine, great for just socializing with friends or a lady friend. It's price tag is below $15 which is a bonus. Again, as with our basic wine 101 issue a few months ago, this should be paired with white meats and savoury dishes, especially if there is a little, -or a lot- of spice to them.

Henri Bendel Candles -

Henri bendel is a French Designer, and he has a line of absolutely FANTASTIC candles. For those of you who don't know, I am a complete candle addict, and have recently been able to get my hands on one of these. They are readily available in a few different scents at Bath and Body Works, but with a $30 price tag, sometimes they are hard to fit into the budget (Hint, they're half off this week). Bendel uses only top quality ingredients and essential oils to achieve the amazing scents in his room-filling candles, and once you smell them, the $30 price tag seems worth it. I recently got the Fig scent (it's not what you think), and while i haven't lit it yet, just the smell on its own is amazing. If you are fortunate enough to get your hands on his unbelievable "firewood" scent, you will be blown away by its sheer natural aroma. These candles can be burned sparingly because the scent travels fast and lingers a long time. TIP: Instead of blowing your candles out, place a plate or a lit over it. The candle will be extinguished and the lid will keep the smoke inside so you don't ruin your lingering scent with that overpowering birthday candle smell. These candles are totally worth it gents, especially if you're having a lady over.

Well that's it for now, watch for more fragrance and wine reviews coming soon, and stay tuned for Issue #32, why only other bachelors like your bachelor pad.

Until next time gents,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Issue # 30 - A revisit to etiquette

Issue # 30 - A revisit to Etiquette

Well gents, the Christmas season is upon us once again, and that means that the party train is in full force. This time of year is a stocking fully stuffed with gatherings, family events, parties and socials, and it's important for a stylish man to be equipped with etiquette, and all the trimmings. Because remember, style isn't just what you wear, it's how you are.

Those of you that have been reading all along might remember an issue based on proper party etiquette a few months back. I apologize for the redundancy, but I feel that there is an extreme lack in knowledge of proper party etiquette (especially among the younger generations today), and I figured, what better time than the christmas season to refresh everyones memories. So without any further babbling, let us begin.

1 - Always bring something for the host -

This is a rule that I find gets overlooked more and more these days, and It's about time it stopped. When someone is inviting you into their house for a party, whether it's BYOB or Alcohol is provided, it's always a great sign of respect to bring something small for the host. It's not only a sign of respect, but it's also a sign of appreciation. Think of it as a thank you. Like you're saying "hey, thank you for letting me into your home, letting me use your facilities, preparing food for me, and potentially letting me crash on your kitchen floor".
Now don't get all worked up, you don't have to get them a thoughtful gift, a bottle of wine will suit just fine. As mentioned in many previous issues, there are a lot of fantastic wines available for under $15. I suggest a no-thinking-needed white wine like the Gewurtztraminer-Riesling from Open, or the always amazing late autumn riesling by Inniskillin.

2 - Be prepared to share -

All parties are different. Some people supply no alcohol at all, and leave it up to you to bring your own. Some parties are BYOB, but there is a table prepared with small amounts of alcohol from the host. Some are fully stocked with the option of bringing something you want. When i throw parties, i prefer the pot luck method, I supply a small amount of the neccessities; vodka, rye, rum, gin, mix, and each person brings something of their own. Everything goes onto a table, and everyone can drink what they wish, much like a pot luch lunch in a workplace. Regardless of the type of party it is, be prepared to share your booze. You never know when a friend will show up empty handed, or someone runs out of their drink of choice.

3 - Respect your surroundings  -

Unless it is very well known that YOU are the guest of honour, it's important to remember that the party is not about you. It's a gathering of people, selected by the host, in the host's living space. Your host has most likely put at least a decent amount of time into the decor, the food and the music, and it most certainly was not centered around you respect that. Whether the host has taken the time to construct a well thought out jazz playlist, or just put their iTunes on shuffle, it is not appropriate to complain about the music selection, or ask to change it. Chances are, your taste in music will not match the rest of the room's, so just let it be. The same goes for the food selection. If you are not a fan of the food provided, don't eat it.

4 - Don't abuse the open bar -

If the party is BYOB, but there is also alcohol provided, do not manipulate this factor. Don't be the guy that shows up with 2 cans of budweiser, then mooches the free jagermeister. The bar is not there for you to have a field day. It's there as a courtesy and your host was kind enough to supply it, so don't abuse it.

5 - do NOT be "THAT guy" -

This is a very broad rule, but one of the most important. Don't be THAT guy gentlemen. Do not get wasted, become obnoxious, vomit, yell, dance on get the point. Bottom line gents, judge your surroundings, and be classy. It's perfectly fine to catch a solid buzz, but just watch the party, and judge your actions accordingly.

6 - Be an adult -

This one is for the younger guy. Take into consideration the age mixture of the party you're attending, and the overall atmosphere. You will find that there will most likely be very few people interested in doing a beer bong, or a keg stand, so don't even offer.

And perhaps the most important of all the etiquette rules;


Very few things are as tacky as leaving the party with the booze you showed up with. The general rule of thumb is to leave it behind. This, much like bringing the host a bottle of wine, is a sign of respect, and a wordless thank you for a great time. It doesn;'t matter if there is less than a drink in the bottle, or if there's only one bottle of beer left in your case, leave it behind. The host may keep them for another party, or in my case, keep it aside for the next time you visit. This is very important and needs to be adhered to.

Now, before i get emails from people, it's also very important to remember to use your judgement for each party. Each one is different, and you know your friends much more than i do, so just go with what you feel. But please guys, take these points to heart. Nothing is less stylish than a man with no etiquette.

Until next time,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Issue # 29 - My Top 5 scents for winter 2010/2011

Issue # 29 - My top 5 scents for Winter 2010/2011!

Well hello gentlemen, and how are you today? It's the first of December and I have found myself in a very festive mood indeed. It's cold, it's grey and it snowy, and that means that winter is upon us. While most people shudder at the thought of winter, I find myself bursting with energy for some odd reason. Not only is this my favourite time of year in regards to the holidays, but it's also my favourite time of year for fragrances. So many of my personal collection are at their best in the winter time, and I have been waiting to share them with you! Some would argue, but I think that everything just smells better in the cold weather. The scents are crisper and linger in the air and your clothes longer, without the sweaty musk of summer to wisk them away. It's for this reason I absolutely love this time of year for a great scent. So my friends, without further ado, here are my top picks for winter this season!

Burberry Brit -

This has been a winter staple for me for the past 3 years now. It's absolutely perfect for a cold night, whether it be out on the town, or next to a fire with your lady. It's deep, musky, sensual and classic. It's a timeless scent in my opinion, and it almost always evokes compliments. I am almost through my first bottle and this will most certainly be replenished as soon as i use the last drop. I prefer wearing this at night time, and it absolutely rocks formal occasions. Word to the wise though, use sparingly. It's a strong scent so 1-2 sprays maximum. Any more than that and it turns from alluring to appauling.

John Varvatos Vintage -

It's well known that I am a huge fan of the Johnny V family, and vintage is no exception. Following along the same line as the original, this scent has fantastic notes of leather, suede and tobacco, but is also very woody with almost a sweet accord on the topnotes. This is a very manly scent, with a rustic feel to it. It brings to mind big corded sweaters and chopping wood on a winter morning during a brisk snowfall. It's a warm scent that evokes emotions of safety, and has just a hint of the classic manliness that characterizes old school scents. The only drawback of this scent is that unfortunately like many of the JV scents, it wears off much too quickly. Which is a shame since the basenotes of leather and tobacco are just way too awesome to fade that fast.

Lacoste Pour Homme -

This scent is completely different than the one above, but also similar in some ways. It has a hint of vanilla-like sweetness on the top that's just enough to be completely alluring. It's fantastic for day or night use, but i use this almost always in cold weather only. It requires only a couple of sprays, and when paired with a wool coat or cashmere scarf it holds all day long. It's somewhat woody, somewhat powdery, and somewhat fruity all at once. Admittedly I wasn't a fan of this one at first, but it grew on me tenfold. Definitely worth a purchase.

Burberry The Beat -

Some of you may remember this scent from my pics for summer, well it's back and in its proper home now. While it works in summer, it excels in winter, blasting its peppery topnotes into the brisk winter air with unmatched force. It's manly but not overpowering and extremely distinct. The bottle is sleek and classy, and this scent is simply one of a kind. Your nose will get used to it, but it will maintain its head turning power all day long, especially if placed properly. This one is at the forefront of my winter arsenal (i'm wearing it right now in fact). It comes in 3 different sizes, and it does take a little while to fall in love with, so try a tester first...but i guarantee you will love this one.

Carthusia Uomo -

It took me a while to narrow down my list to only five scents, and while i considered keeping this one a secret, I just couldn't. This is a scent directly from Italy, and it has a hefty price tag to go along with it. This was given to me as a gift last autumn, and I did not like it at all upon first smell. It took a little while to grow on me, but when it grew, it grew at breakneck speed. This is an astoundingly masculine scent, extremely woody and undoubtedly european. Although i generally go for the heavier scents, this was a bit deep even for me...but the more i smelled it the more i fell in love with it. It has complexities beyond the naked nose, which leads to its mystery. two sprays is almost too much for this one, and it lasts a very long time....with a price tag of 100 euros, i use this one sparingly, as much as i would love to wear it every day. It's a perfect cold weather companion, and bridges the gap between autumn and winter perfectly. It brings to mind old school christmases and fireplaces and long treks to find the perfect tree. I love it, and if you can find it, and are willing to spend the money, you will love it too.

So there you have it gents, my top five picks for this winter. It was a hard choice, and it was so tough to narrow it to just 5 that i included some honourable mentions....and when i say honourable mentions, I mean I should have just extended the list because they are as good as any of my picks. They are as follows, in no particular order: Kenneth Cole Black - as per my review this one is just fantastic, like slipping on an old, perfectly formed leather jacket, amazing. Gap Blue no. 655. This has been discontinued in Canada, but is still available in select places in the US. it's an amazingly unique and original scent that I was SO excited to find again, since my original bottle is 12 years old this month, and i only have a few drops left. And with a price tag of around $20, you can't go wrong. Also, an old standby, Polo Black. manly, dark and warm. One spray is enough to last the whole day, and it's just a classic, manly scent.

So there you go guys, I hope this helps, and if you have any winter time favourites of your own, let me know!

Until next time,