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The Very Best Bargain Guy Buys: Scent Shopping For Men

the-dad

Wear What You Like and Like What you Wear

Yes, I’ve just come up with “guy buys”. I tried for ages to find something to rhyme with bloke, but could only manage cloak or joke, so Guy Buys it is. I hope it’ll catch on. But I doubt it.

Now being a lady and liking ladies’ things, I don’t blog much about bloke scent, but I really should. There are two reasons for this: One- it’s nearly Christmas and many people are asking me in real life what’s good and what’s not worth bothering with. Secondly- here on my humble blog there are no gender walls (despite the flannel above about lady’s things). The only rule is wear what you like and like what you wear. In fact, yesterday found me wearing my son’s deodorant (don’t tell him) and my husband’s Coty Aspen for Men. (He won’t know, he never reads this). And I wore his slippers, actually. And ate his Kitkat from the fridge. That’s how sure I am that he won’t read this.

I have collated a list of cheap and cheerful male scent that are all so good that I would happily wear them myself as well as dousing my nearest and dearest with them too. The  list keeps a beady eye on budget, so if like me, you have loads of people to buy for and no money tree in the garden, this page is for you.

aspenCoty Aspen for Men

This is cheap as chips and a beautiful green pine and lavender scented cologne. You can read my review here.  It’s very long lasting and has the freshness of an open window in winter. I found my bottle on Amazon and Mr IScent wears it well. You can find it on Allbeauty.com for the bargain price of £9.80. It has often been compared to Creed Green Irish Tweed, which is rather more spendy.

Library of Fragrance

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Library of Fragrance has a fabulous range of unisex scents: many of which would make the perfect gift for any hard to buy for man. I particularly like Mountain Air and Fireplace, but this year’s Blue Spruce (fresh pine needles) and Myrrh (resin-y spices and incense) are also excellent. You can buy Library of Fragrance scent from their website. Prices start at £10. Alternatively, try Boots for a seasonal selection.

David Beckham Classic Blue

I’ve yet to come across a David Beckham scent that I wouldn’t recommend. DB classic-blue Classic Blue is a refreshing ozonic scent that passes the office test (and, it would seem, the Year Six test for the dandy ten-year-old).  My only bugbear is that longevity isn’t as good as it could be, but at prices  under twelve quid, you can afford a top up between double maths or a board meeting. It’s versatile and good quality. You can find this on allbeauty.com for 11.95

Avon Destination Grand Canyon

grand-canyonThis is a terrific, warm, leathery scent from Avon that reminded me of Hermes Terre D’Hermes yet only costs £11 a bottle. I adored its deep woody notes and would happily wear this myself. Mr IScent can expect one in his stocking. Available from Avon UK or your Avon lady if you’re lucky enough to have one, like I have.

Obsession for Men

Calvin Klein Obsession For Men is another bargain, often to be had for under £20. Obsession For Men was the scent my obsessionhusband wore on our wedding day and it always reminded me of those early first dates we went on when, after a taxi ride home, I too would smell of Obsession for Men. It has its critics, but I love the warm, musky spiciness of it and longevity is excellent. You can find it on allbeauty.com at prices which start at 11.95 for 30ml.

Lynx Urban Daily Tobacco and Amber

lynx t and ambI reviewed this one earlier in my blog and I love how the warm vanilla unfolds as the day wears on. At the shockingly low price of under £4, this “daily fragrance” is perfect for winter. Warm, spicy and woody, this manages to strike a note of cosiness without getting too heavy or sweet. I’ve noticed it comes in gift packs around this time of year. Honourable mentions also go to Lynx Iced Musk and Ginger and Lynx Oud Wood and Dark Vanilla. The range is available from Superdrug or Asda. prices start at £3.98.

Jovan Musk for Menmusk4men

You can’t go wrong with a good musk and Jovan has been doing good musk since the seventies. When you just want a  musk with nothing else chucked in the mix, reach for Jovan Musk for Men. It’s currently only 6.99 on Fragrance Direct. Perfect for layering too or for “musking up” something that needs it!

tabacTabac Original

I’m going to introduce an old classic into the mix here: Tabac Original by Maurer and Wirtz. Opening with a soapy, cologne feel, and with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it floral note, this beds down into a classic, clean sandalwood finish. My late father wore it and was always immaculately turned out. Some might say old-fashioned, but I say “classic” You can buy Tabac Original from Amazon UK. Prices start at just 8.45

Avon Black Suede

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Another Avon bargain at just £6 (correct at time of publishing). With warm amber, spicy cloves, and yes, even a hint of oak moss, this powdery gem won’t project in everyone’s ace, but offers a very snuggly, suedey scent with a clean musk base. You can buy Black Suede from Avon UK. Prices currently start at £6 for 50ml.

Davidoff Championchampion

Slightly out of season (unless you’re wintering overseas?) Davidoff Champion impressed me no end. I bought it sort of randomly for my nephew and when he opened it we just couldn’t stop sniffing the air. It’s green, light and citrussy, yet beds down into a galbanum/oak moss finish that smells like it should costs around three times the price. Utterly divine- I would totally get my own bottle. Available from allbeauty for 12.20

So, there you have it. My ten favourite man bargains. None of these will break the bank, and I have tried and tested all of them. My poor long suffering husband sits next to me of an evening, obediently “sticking his arm out” night after night. I can tell you with certainty that he is one hot smelling guinea pig!

Happy shopping!

Or you can just buy these again…

socks

Photo credits:

Top photo from Ladybird books, bottom from Pringle. All others from the sites mentioned in the review.

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National Fragrance Day: A Round up of the best Nostalgia Scents

#smellfie
#smellfie

Today is National Fragrance Day! I hope you’re all wearing something that makes you feel fabulous. I can’t make my mind up and have about five on each arm. Check out my #smellfie! Jolly hard without a selfie stick.

National Fragrance Day is the perfect time to look at the role that our sense of smell plays throughout our lives. Carrying on the theme of scent memory, I have rounded up ten of what I feel are the most evocative and triggering scents around. Smelling the fragrances below is like using a time machine. If ten scents could tell my life story, it would be these.

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1. Library of Fragrance Baby Powder

Although I never used baby powder on my children, the smell of this brought back what I fondly call The Wet Wipe Years. Little peachy baby bottoms and those chubby hands that gripped my finger- all brought back in an instant. They were the most magical years of my life. I have forgotten the torture of sleeplessness. All I remember is how entranced I was with everything they did. And yes, I was a crashing baby bore and I don’t care.

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2. What I Did On My Holidays 4160 Tuesdays

This fragrance from Sarah McCartney captures the smell of peppermint rock, sun lotion and the unique vinyl smell that says “seventies caravan interior”. Despite it’s playfulness, it’s worth taking seriously. However, it definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing to accessorize this with a Kiss Me Quick hat.

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3. Library of Fragrance Grass

I once described this as smelling like fairytale grass. This is the opulent green grass that was coveted by the The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Sweet, juicy and green, this is a knockout on a hot day. An honourable mention must go to Library of Fragrance Tomato which took me back to my late grandfather’s greenhouse faster than a TARDIS.


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4. Christian Dior Poison

Although I never wore this myself, one sniff transports me back to the sixth form common room in 1987 when Poison was still new and much beloved of my fellow sixth form girls. It was indisputably iconic and despite me not liking it at the time, one sniff today sends me into raptures that make think of Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter. More than any other fragrance around at the time, Poison WAS the Eighties.

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5. Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey

In a similar vein the Nineties could be summed up by one fragrance. Most of my friends smelled of it and I can never smell  L’Eau D’Issey without thinking of those carefree years in London. I wore Chanel Cristalle unwaveringly during this era, but I remember what my friends smell like more than what I smelled like. No responsibilities, very few mobile phones and dog eared copies of Time Out to get my social life in order.

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6. Library of Fragrance Salt Air

This is a magical fragrance that does exactly what it promises. This is the salty air of the harbour in Tenby, without the fish. It has that unique tang of sea spray and seasides. Refreshing and addictive, Salt Air will take you back. And make you fancy a bag of chips from the paper.

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7. Cacharel LouLou

There I was, arriving at Exeter University in October 1988, having marinated myself in LouLou to tell this new world I was coming. You couldn’t miss me. It’s ironic that I thought Poison was too strong, but wore half a gallon of LouLou to breakfast. Belated apologies to my fellow diners.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (1350527r) Anita Roddick of the Body Shop Various
Photo by Rex Features

8.The Body Shop White Musk

This is another Eighties scent I wore, which along with Dewberry, scented every bus, train, home, school and High Street throughout the decade. I yearn for the long gone Body Shop Perfume Bar. Huge bell jars of perfume oils with long glass dipping sticks. Sit and sniff and then go up and get a little plastic bottle filled from the counter. Sadly there are no plans to ever bring it back, but think how popular it would be if someone did! (hint, hint). Out of every perfume I have ever worn, this gets the most misty eyed comments.

millerharris jardin denfance

9. Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance Collection

A beautiful capsule collection of three scents inspired by childhood memories of gardens. It’s spot on too: in Cassis D’un Feuille there’s earthy tomato and blackcurrant and fern. In Coeur de Jardin there’s pear, flower petals and moss. Poirier d’un Soir is very, very pear indeed, and has a lovely innocence about it.

19/10/2012 Product photography for Local Morsels web magazine which showcases local products and suppliers in the Bradford on Avon and Bath area.

10. Christmas

And finally, let’s not forget Christmas. For a trip right back to the Christmases of childhood, Serge Lutens Arabie is a rich gourmand that is saturated with rich dried fruit like my mother’s whisky drenched Christmas cake. It also smells very much like Nigella’s Black Cake, in which the fruit is so drunk it has to spend a night in the cells. If you can’t get hold of any, then Library of Fragrance Gingerbread or Fireplace will give you that fireside moment that says “is it cooked yet Mum? I don’t mind it warm.”

fireplace

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Stockists:

All Library of Fragrance scents are available from the Library of Fragrance website. Prices range from £9.99-£15.00. 4160 Tuesdays What I Did on My Holidays is available from the 4160 Tuesdays website. Christian Dior Poison is available from Debenhams, Amazon UK and John Lewis. Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey is available from allbeauty.com, Boots and John Lewis. Cacharel LouLou is available from Boots and allbeauty.com to name but a few. The Body Shop White Musk is available from The Body Shop. The Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance range is available from the Miller Harris website.  Serge Lutens Arabie is available from allbeauty.com and Escentual.

Photo credits: Smellfie and photo of me and Leo- my own. Photo of misshapen lollies by Alison Oddy for World of Oddy. Photo of Christmas cake from www.localmorsels.co.uk. Photo of green grass from ravishingraw.com.  Photo of Three Billy Goats Gruff from Goodreads.com. Photo of Anita Roddick by Rex Features. Photo of sea- my own. Photo of Alexis Carrington www.der-denver-clan.de.

Library of Fragrance Bonfire: Smokin’

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Library of Fragrance really does have a scent for every occasion. For Christmas you can have Cranberry, Gingerbread and Fireplace. For Spring there’s Wet Garden, Peony, and of course , being the UK, Rain, There’s even birthday fragrance with Vanilla Cake Batter and Gin and Tonic.  And now, right in front of me, there’s a bottle of Bonfire.

When sprayed on the three members of my family here tonight, ranging in age from five to forty nine, I’m afraid none of them liked it, one said “Pumpkin”, one said “Halloween” and one said “Yuk, Gerroff”. Well I liked it. What do they know? Huh.

Bonfire encapsulates the exact smell of a bonfire, which seems like an obvious thing to say but to me,  it smells like someone has been playing with matches in my living room.

Over on basenotes, several commentators have remarked that it reminds them of hotdogs and I’ve no doubt that a variation of the same liquid smoke used to flavour hot dogs is likely to be used in scent as well as flavour. There is most certainly a smoky note, that is almost bitter on first sniff. However, bear with it, because this is worth hanging on for. After a while the smoke beds down into a sort of scorched maple, and what was once bitter fades down into a layer of smoky spice. In fact it seemed like a good idea at this point to fish out two of my favourite Library of Fragrance scents- Pipe Tobacco and Mahogany- and do a bit of layering.

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Bonfire and Mahogany gives a lovely combination of both smoke and incense- and it is perfect for Autumn. It’s on the masculine spectrum but I like to smell a lot more butch in Autumn and Winter than I do in Spring and Summer.

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When I blended Pipe Tobacco with Bonfire, the effect was even more interesting and equally pleasing. The cosy warmth of Pipe Tobacco gave smoky Bonfire a warm nuttiness that gave the impression of the wood surround of a fireplace in winter. You have smoke’n’cosy all in one and I really liked this combination.

In conclusion, Bonfire may not be for everyone, but for me that pang of Seventies childhood it gave me (sparklers, baked potatoes, real bonfires) was the portal that got me interested. A bit of blending with other woody and warm scents, and my bonfire was under control and made for a pleasant Autumn evening.

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Stockists

You can buy Library of Fragrance from the Library of Fragrance website.  There is also a selection of Library of Fragrance scents in branches of Boots

Library of Fragrance Fireplace:  The Last Word in Winter Warmers

www.boots.com

 

Now that we’re properly cold and wearing woollies it’s time to bring the rabbit out of the hat.  If there is a cosier, warmer smelling scent than Library of Fragrance Fireplace I have yet to come across it.

Somehow the exact smoky dustiness of a real log fire has been captured in a scent. If I’m not mistaken, something extra has been added too:  not quite spice, but more of a peppery note.  I name it old wood beams in a rustic farmhouse as the wind whips the windows outside.

Fireplace is a delightful wintry fragrance that is equally good on women or men. In fact, this would smell amazing on a man wearing a warm jumper as if to say “I am all capable and manly and have big strong arms”.

www.3planesoft.com

I have mentioned Fireplace briefly before in my review of Library of Fragrance Gingerbread, and I will reiterate here how well Gingerbread and Fireplace go together.  These two were simply made to be worn on freezing November evenings.  Longevity is pretty good too at around five hours. To make it last even longer, spray your hair and clothes as these will keep the scent longer than skin. This is especially good on scarves.

Play Bing Crosby and pour yourself a sherry.

Stockists:  Library of Fragrance is available from the Library of Fragrance website or Boots in the UK, online or in store.  Prices are £15 for one or £25 for two (one for you, one for Christmas presents). Photo by www.3planesoft.com