Ultra Mâle
Ultra Mâle

What do you get when to you take Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Mâle to the gym and tell him to avoid manscaping for a few weeks? Well, you get Ultra Mâle, that’s what. Ultra Mâle is the latest incarnation of Gaultier’s beautifully buffed sailor boy, and this time our beloved seafarer has gone rogue. Launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Le Mâle, and created by the perfumer Francis Kurkdjian (the same dude behind the original) Ultra Mâle brings the (timeless) barbershop fougére bang up to date and places it in a more oriental setting, and a thoroughly rugged one at that. To read my full review on Escentual, simply click here!

WILD [Photo: Steven Klein]
WILD [Photo: Steven Klein]
Recently, whilst putting together my guide to masculine fragrance for MANFACE, I realised that I quite like manly perfumes. This may not sound like much of a revelation, I am a man after all (well, at least I was last time I checked), and it would therefore make sense that I was a fan of those fragrances which sit on the masculine side of the aisle, but the truth is that I’ve always thought I found solace in the world of feminine perfumery. That said, a quick look at the number of masculine offerings in my list favourite fragrances contradicts this, so when it comes down to it, I guess my love for perfume spans all gender barriers.

The problem I have with masculine perfumery is that is often boring and clichéd. As a general rule of thumb, us gents are less adventurous with perfume. Add this to the fact that many mainstream masculine fragrances are dull, synthetic and obnoxious, and you don’t exactly have a recipe for success. This isn’t always the case though, and as you’ll see in my masculine fragrance guide (link above), there are more than a good few masculines out there that are generally interesting and beautiful, and I always feel a sense of joy when I encounter a new fragrance for men that simply smells very good.

One decent (and recent) example is ‘WILD’, the latest fragrance from fashion brand DSquared². Created by perfumers Daphné Bugey and Annick Menardo, WILD is a woody aromatic fragrance that is described by the brand as being “an overwhelming perfume that announces a free and wild soul”. Housed within the fetishistic confines of a leather-strapped bottle, and accompanied by a provocative ad campaign shot by fashion photographer, Stephen Klein (a NSFW example can be seen below the jump), WILD certainly makes a statement – one that surprisingly focuses on the idea of freedom, rather than sexual provocation.

“For us fragrance has an emotional connection to who we are, it uncovers a long-held desire or dream, which is why the concept of WILD has such an intrinsic link to us and the ideaology of DSquared2. The ultimate authentic expression of self is to live with complete freedom of speech and mind – we are fascinated with this concept, especially in today’s society.”

– Dean and Dan Caten, DSquared²

Bayolea - The Film
Bayolea: The Film

A short film from Penhaligon’s detailing the ‘alternative’ story of the creation of their latest masculine fragrance – Bayolea.

In honour of the launch of their latest fragrance, Bayolea, eccentrically British perfume house, Penhaligon’s have teamed up with creative collective, ‘Just So’ to create an animated film. Shot on a “shoestring” and in conjuction with stop motion animator, Daniel Gill (numerous TV ads, Fantastic Mr Fox and Frankinweenie), the Bayolea film takes place in the basement of Penhaligon’s Covent Garden Piazza store and contains a degree of fragrant magic.

“Working with Just So felt right from our first meeting and an initial concept has been interpreted wonderfully by Daniel. The entire project has felt like creating magic and I feel the film will have a life of its own; above product promotion yet still very Penhaligon’s”

– Matthew Huband,
Penhaligon’s Head of Global Marketing

Catch the video below the jump!

Dior Homme Eau for Men

I think it’s no secret that Dior Homme is one of my favourite masculine fragrances and my love for it is possibly due to the fact that it isn’t particularly ‘manly’ in the traditional sense of the word. Using a strong and powdery iris note that is reminiscent of old make up bags, Dior (and more specifically, perfumer Olivier Polge) created a perfume that celebrates the modern man who is in touch with his feminine side. It is nothing short of a masterpiece and easily one of the greatest masculine fragrances of our time.

For 2014, Dior have launched Dior Homme Eau for Men, a lighter and more urban interpretation of the original. What’s interesting about this new Eau de Toilette is that it manages to be lighter in concentration and in character without dumbing down the olfactory profile of its forbearer. If you would like to read my full thoughts on the new launch, please click here to head on over to Escentual. Let me know what you think of the scent whilst you’re there!