Sunday, November 6, 2011

Issue # 49 - Fragrance picks for Winter 2011

Issue # 49 - Fragrance picks for Winter 2011

Hello gents! How is everyone this fine evening? Well I hope. I've been writing a lot of issues, trying to cover topics I haven't touched upon yet, and I realized that I was so involved in it that I almost forgot the seasonal Fragrance issue! As you all know, I try to give you a head start on what my favourite picks for seasonal scents are, and hope to point you in the right direction so you don't get swamped by the massive wall of bottles at the drug store or the intimidating displays and snooty sales people at department stores. This season is no different, and I am very excited to write about my favourite topic.

Lately I've noticed a very disturbing trend in the fragrance world; the trend of putting out a new scent, and then following it up with an almost instant, barely indistinguishable spin-off of itself. They get around their obvious greed and laziness by calling them things like "intense". It's sadly un-creative, and in all honesty, it's just plain boring. I make frequent trips to both the drug store and department stores to see if there is anything new or exciting hitting the shelves, and lately there really has been very little worth writing home about. I was hoping for at least a few new winter-esque scents to arrive before this issue, but sadly, the designers and scent houses have focused their attentions on a stunning array of mediocre "sport" scents, and left the complex, warm scents on the distant back burner.

That being said, I managed to pull together a list of fantastic winter fragrances for you to check out, and hopefully purchase. I scoured my own collection for scents I haven't reviewed yet, pulled a familiar face or two from last year's list, and managed to (accidentally) find a brand new smell that I am very excited about. So here we go. (in no particular order)

Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beane -

This is one of the more unique scents in my collection, and it is most certainly not for the faint  of heart. It contains notes of lemon, orange, violet, cinnamon and rose, accompanied by woody notes of oak and sandalwood. It has a warmth to it that is unmistakeable, and it's most certainly undeniably masculine.Those of you who prefer sporty, lighter scents this may not be one for you. It is one of the most 'winter' fragrances I own, and brings to mind the sensation of stepping out of a warm house into cold, brisk air, and breathing in your first breath of crisp, clean snow.  Don't be frightened, the top notes come off very strong right off the bat, but it soon mellows from bright winter day to cozy winter night. Seeing as it was created in 1976, it definitely carries a nostalgic nose to it, bringing back memories of Christmas day, and smelling like something my father may have worn while sipping whiskey next to the fire. Like I said, if you're a man that prefers lighter, more delicate scents, this may not be one for you. But if you're a man who wears his charm on his sleeve, and keeps his confidence in the same pocket as his flask, then try it out. The best part? It's ridiculously inexpensive. I scored my bottle for $9.

The Beat by Burberry/Bang by Marc Jacobs -

This one made the list last year, and is still one of my main go-to scents for the snowy months. It's a blast of pepper and citrus, and is quite long lasting. I could go on for a very long time about this one. It's instantly recognizable, and walks the delicate line between being overpowering and being not strong enough. One to two sprays is all you really need with this one, and as it mellows it becomes warm, complex, deep and inviting. Totally a sensual scent, and as most winter fragrances are, it's quite masculine. If you like the beat, also check out BANG by Marc Jacobs. It's similar in pepper notes, although a little less loud about it, and mellows into the same, if not more sensual base notes. They're both fantastic fragrances and will completely set you apart. Tried The beat but aren't sure about it yet? There's a pretty decent generic version called "Riot" available at Walmart for only $13. Test it out, and if you dig it, upgrade to the real thing.

Vintage by John Varvatos /John Varvatos -

There was no chance that these scents weren't making the list again this year. Both of these scents are perfect for winter, and compliment the cold weather better than a hot toddy and a fireplace. Vintage is beautifully rustic and slightly sweet, while being 1970s vintage (duh), and contemporary rock and roll all at the same time. It makes me think of chopping wood at a log cabin, then unwinding listening to The Arkells on vinyl. The original John Varvatos scent is similar while being completely different. It is absolutely retro, as if he somehow managed to fit a perfectly worn in black leather jacket and the entire year of 1978 into one 100ml bottle. With notes of tobacco and leather, there's no doubt that this is a man's scent. It's strong, so one spray will do you well. This is a supremely confident scent guys, so if you're going to wear it, own it. I highly recommend it.

and finally...

Ange ou Demon by Givenchy -

I have not been this excited about a scent in a very long time. I stumbled upon this one completely by accident. It's no secret that I am a very big fan of Givenchy scents, so while I was browsing a little while back, I noticed this bottle, since it was new to the store and I had never seen it before. I sprayed it on a tester strip and was completely blown away. It's dark, complex, brooding and mysterious. It immediately brought to mind the unmistakeable smell of incense, combined with a deep, intriguing scent I still can't place. It is overwhelmingly unique and only got better as it mellowed. I sprayed some on my wrist, and carried on with my shopping, not being able to stop smelling it. Every time I smelled it again, it got better and better. As it mellowed it got warmer, and more complex, almost inviting. It brought to mind a dark, candle lit room with incense burning, a glass of red wine, and the soft orange glow gently bouncing off the curves of a woman eagerly waiting for you. Gentlemen, this is a scent that I truly have fallen brace yourselves. It was an accidental discovery's a woman's scent. Now, before you get all manly man over there, keep in mind that there really is no rule for a manly scent and a womanly scent. It's our own perceptions and our society that differ between the two. There are very many scents designed for women that men wear, and visa versa. I was actually quite shocked that this was deemed as a female scent, since to my nose it was undeniably masculine, and at the very least unisex. I suggest you check it out guys, it's totally what I was waiting for this winter, and may be just what you're looking for as well. It's a bit pricey, but totally worth it.

Well those are my picks this season ,but there are a LOT of winter scents out there that are just as good. A few honourable mentions go out to Lacoste Pour Homme, Kenneth Cole RSVP, and the always delicious CK One Shock.

Until next time gents!

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