The debut fragrance from new perfume and skincare brand, Alford & Hoff would have escaped my notice completely if it weren’t for the presence of venerable perfumer, Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s name on the ticket. Flores-Roux is responsible for some exceptional work on behalf of the likes of Tom Ford (Fleur de Chine, for example) and Arquiste (Boutonierre no.7 and Flor y Canto etc.), amongst many others. So it was with a keen sense of interest that I approached this oh-so-masculine-sounding fragrance penned by Flores-Roux, for an entirely new brand.
Alford & Hoff is the brainchild of athletes, Barry Alford and Jefferson Hoff. They aim to create luxurious fragrances and skincare products for “a new generation of men”, positioning their wares at the higher end of the designer market and at the lower end of niche. Their first fragrance, Alford & Hoff Eau de Toilette is described as being “confident, passionate, stylish, successful, [and] masculine in a modern way”, and reportedly contains “95 of the finest ingredients.”
That’s all well and good, but how does this modern ode to masculinity, created by one of the industry’s most exciting perfumers, smell? Well, it’s described as being a “fresh, woody” fragrance, and it most certainly lives up to the standards expected by the genre. Will it be a defining scent for the modern generation of men, or does it ultimately fail to break through the cliches of its style? You’ll have to read on to find out….
“A juxtaposition of light and dark, clarity and richness, texture and polish, Alford & Hoff EDT is a modern scent, luxurious and fresh on top, smooth with an ultra-sexy core and deep, rich woody background.”
– Alford & Hoff
Top: Citrus and Herbs
Heart: Rum, Vanilla and Tonka Beans
Base: Amber, Leather and Suede
How Does it Smell?
Alford & Hoff Eau de Toilette opens with a sepia citrus accord that feels decidedly retro. There’s tartness and sweetness in equal measures here, both linked together by the savory tones of dry herbs such as basil. The citrus accord itself is relatively abstract and doesn’t conjure to mind any particular fruit, instead hinting at a super-citrus that displays subtle impressions of orange, lemon and bergamot all at once. The balance here is exquisite, ensuring that the sour facets and the more sugar-filled nuances never tip over into being prominent.
The fragrance’s trajectory is fairly linear but in the dry down, Alford & Hoff Eau de Toilette appears as a translucent amber shrouded by leather smoke and wood chips. Some of the dry herbal quality carries through into the base, allowing for a subtle contrast to the plushness of the sandalwood (which feels almost spongy at times) and suede-like leather. All feels suitably rounded off and smartly presented, and as the fragrance fades away from the skin, one is left with a comforting trail of wood spice and smoke that really is very handsome indeed.
Alford & Hoff Eau de Toilette takes me back to the times when I was a kid and I would splash on my father’s Dolce & Gabbana or Armani ‘after shave’. Most of the time, this would illicit screams of pain as the alcohol would meet the shaving cuts I had earned whilst trying to trim my non existent facial hair. Such is the pattern for a young boy who wishes to emulate his father’s masculinity (in fact, I’m still trying). It has a wonderfully retro vibe that hints at hairy chested men of the ’80s, but it never feels like a pastiche or a caricature – in fact, it’s well polished enough to fly under the radar as a conformable masculine fragrance that would fit perfectly with a sharp suit or a relaxed pair of light blue jeans.
Alford & Hoff is exclusively available to Harrods, in store and online, in 100ml Eau de Toilette for £95.
Sample via Alford & Hoff. Notes and quotes via press release. Image 1 via drnorth.wordpress.com. Image 2 via Alford & Hoff.