Where’s my favorite blog?!

And we’re back… excuse us for the absence but we’ve taken a break, recalibrated and back with much more content and a wider reach than ever before!

WE’VE got great bourbon recommendations, dreat digs for man shoes, easy recipes in “Man Can Cook”, more silly seasonal colognes that matter and a slew of other great content. We’re reaching into the archives bringing some of our best hits, emptying our mail with some great reader questions and are signing up a slew of contributors to round out our pieces. “

Where have you guys
gone!?” was a question we got… fret not, you’re favorite men’s blog is back. Spread the world—let the world know. This is The Young Gentlemen’s Guide.

Smell’s Like Spring/Summer: The ins and outs of seasonal cologne…

The Splash

More than just clothes summer, or the changing of any season for that matter, affords one the ability to also change the way they smell. Your perfume, or cologne, for those sensitive types who feel emasculated by the calling it perfume, is a scent unto yourself.

You’re not supposed to smell cologne several feet away; in fact if a someone with their eyes closed can tell you’ve walked into a small room because of the smell of your cologne you’re wearing to much.

How much is enough (and this goes for the ladies too, a lot of women out there wear waaaay to much of the stuff…)?

The idea is that only when someone gets close to you, snuggle-kiss-close then only then can tell your cologne. So that it is an integral part of you, an integral part of your presence, not an entirely different being that announces itself by its smell. No she (or he) is supposed to smell your cologne as a symbiosis between the perfumer’s art and your own chemistry.

Moreover perfume is like a watch, or shoes, or belts; there are particular ones for different seasons, times of the year, moods, etc. Like the kind of shirt you wear on any particular instance you need to ask yourself; am I wearing this to be comfy? Am I on the prowl? Am I going to a nice dinner? The beach? The Café? Walk the dog? A wine tasting, in which case don’t wear one!

Believe it or not these are all considerations to take- but my fellow one-thing-at-a-time-can’t-chew-gum-and-walk-at-the-same-time kinsmen; don’t fret; we may be getting a bit ahead of ourselves. Let’s stick with the four seasons at the very least; while it may not be necessary to rotate through four different scents a year (unless you REALLY want to, as most regular guys can get away with two) let’s at least, for shits and giggles, discuss the parameters of what “seasonal colognes” may look like:

Spring

You’re just coming our of week of brutal cold (maybe) and all that comes with it; so whatever the scent is it has to make that transition. Here is where “manly florals” come in as well as soft musks. Nothing overly flowery and nothing too dark and spicy; while at the same time leaving the full-blown citrus smells for the summer. Think mild spices (peppercorn, absinthe, juniper, cinnamon), flowers (hyacinth, violets, vetiver, patchouli), and ( I know I’m loosing you…) soft fruits; bergamot, etc.

The Prototype: Polo Black

Ok- enough; let’s keep the rest simple;

Summer

‘Aquatic’ smells; citrus, juniper, mints, think, if smells were colors; green, yellow, and light blue.

The Prototype: Cool Water, Aqua di Gio

Fall

This is where it gets interesting because there is a certain amount of overlap here and with the spring scents, without the floral and powdery notes, only this can afford to be a little headier, a little rounder, more mysterious with brown/baking spices, musk, but still a smattering of flowers and orchard and stone fruits, vetiver et al.

The Prototype: Chanel Pour Homme

Winter

Here we get into deep territory because winter can afford the gentleman a wide array of very cool and exotic scents- (wikipedia these guys) with things like oudh, ambergris, amber, musks, tobacco etc. You want this to smell like you with a bit of mystery, a bit of anticipation…

The Prototype: Tom Ford

From Theory to Actual Practicality:

Is this all necessary—yes and no, read my previous post  here on “ritual”- Ritual makes every day mundane things into elements of pleasure. Trust me. I travel nearly 250 days-a-year and definitely do not carry a treasure chest of perfumes with me, but I do carry one or two choice specimens on me at all times.

Scent Obsessed?

TGG ASKS/ Q: Do you really have to buy four perfumes for the whole year?

A: No. As for myself I actually juggle more like six or five; and not necessarily by season. For most of last summer I wore what has become one of my favorite perfumes of all time; Annick Goutal’s “Mandrigore” (buy here). The website says it’s supposed to be a composition of mandrake and other stuff but what it really reminds me of is a spicy mojito. In the fall I retired the scent, but if I had to go for a week-long trip inot the hot and humid climes of South-East Asia Mandragore was one of my first things to pack and I relished every second of it in a warm respite before returning back to the cold (and to a headier cologne). Another summertime favorite, especially by the beach was “Incontro” by Feragammo, a great little citrus-fresh perfume.

For the cold I have a usual ‘go-to’ which is what I wear the most often and that’s Creed’s Tabarome (buy here); if my girl misses me, this is what she sprays on the pillow. It’s good to have a scent like this, a scent that’s yours and is immediately identifiable with you- a scent, like a lucky shirt or your lucky underwear, that although you might do and try a bunch of other things, you still go back to.

In Delhi for late night partying, clubbing and mixing (or anywhere else for that matter-) my “ay papi” scent became Chanel’s “Pour Monsieur”; a haunting perfume that drives most women crazy, or my partner’s “1211” by Frappin (perfumes are universally unisex; the rest is marketing).

In cool spring and in summer nights, and the one little bottle I travel with quite a bit is Bulgari’s “Pour Homme Soir” which smells of bergamot, candied ginger, metal-aldehydes (sort of like an icy, metallic floweriness), and ends with a touch of leather and amber- very masculine, very cool.

But again, these all stay at home and a may bring one or two with me when I travel, especially if I know I’m going out and I have my “day” cologne and then my “evening cologne”

But, if you’re a one-smell-fits all kind of guy then so be it; I’m not, and subsequently all my toiletries deodorants, shaving cream and aftershave are scentless. But that’s just me, ultimately it adds a bit of fun to your life.

The stuff...

For this Spring/ Summer (accent on summer) TGG brings you a linne-up of some perfect pairings for summer and some of my personal favorites, one smell-inspired post at  time:

The 2011 Gift Roundup!

Well…It’s that time of year again  and if you haven’t rounded up gifts for those special people on your life, then you’re in trouble!

THAT of course does not apply to you, dear reader, you have us, and we at TGG have rounded up a list of fail-safe gifts for either a) that special gentleman in your life (ladies) or b) a young Gentlemen’s father, brother, or bosss…

Read on…

 

Gentleman’s hint: these gifts work well for the other Gentlemen in a Young Gentlemen’s life…

 

For Him

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon

The Watch

From our friends at Gentlemen’s Gadgets

Suit fits like a second skin, shoes are polished perfectly, shirt’s dazzling white, well then there’s an a definite need for an adequate timekeeper to complete the package. Jaquet Droz presents their latest watch, the Grande Seconde Tourbillon, which displays a loud elegance including an astonishing tourbillon carriage crafted from sapphire crystal. The case is made from 18kt gold and measures 43mm, the dial exhibits Grand Feu enamel, and the caliber is a Swiss automatic Jaquet Droz in-house caliber 25JD with 31 jewels, 21.600 vph and a power reserve of 7 days.

A scent to bring that special someone near:

HISTORIES de PERFUME ‘edition rare’ : PÉTROLEUM

The Fragrance

From our friends at Aedes de Venustas NYC:

In all of its precious form Oudh is effortlessly felt throughout the fragrance. Woven with bergamot and orange its fresh top notes unfold, assertively layered with woody and resinous power. Ozonic floralcy lives at the heart as a mystical rose unveils warmed ambered stones. An eccentric chypre character exhales narcotic fumes with an intense signature of leather wrapped in lucid white musk…

It is a potion, a rare elixir that will lead to exalted ecstasy and pure euphoria.

[What?! – it’s smells good that’s what…]-TGG

TOP NOTES: Oud, Bergamot, Aldehyde

MIDDLE NOTES: Rose, oud, amber

BASE NOTES: Oud, civet, leather, patchouli.

CATEGORY: Woody

buy here

 

A Grown Man’s Duffle Bag from T.Anthony

 

From our friends at T.Anthony:

With luxurious leather detailing our stylish canvas and leather carry on is ideal for shorter trips or weekend getaways. Lightweight and spacious, it has a removable shoulder strap and two interior zip pockets. This duffle is a customer favorite and a perfect gift item for travelers of any kind. 22” x 12” x 11”

[PS- they put your initials on it too… if that’s not enough you actually are carrying something distinctive and distinguished – not a tattered all cheap suitcase. If you want an “wheeled duffle” option check one out here]

The Cigar: Torano Single Region Jalapa Serie

The Smoke

From our friends at Cigarfan.net:

The word terroir means “land” in French, but it is most commonly used in the wine trade to indicate the qualities that are imparted to grapes by the growing environment. This basically comes down to soil quality and weather, both of which have a tremendous impact on the quality of the fruit.

The same thing goes for tobacco (and coffee, and probably all agricultural products.) Tobacco is a resilient plant that will grow almost anywhere, but black tobacco suitable for cigar making is much more finicky and is in many ways sensitive to the terroir. A tobacco grower does everything he can to produce the ideal conditions that will result in the type of leaf he wants –  from buttressing the soil with minerals and fertilizers to shading the plants with cloth to create a lighter shade of wrapper leaf.

Cigar blends usually incorporate leaves from several different regions to create a balance of the best qualities of each region. As an example (maybe not a great one), piloto cubano from the Dominican Republic might be used for spice, combined with a milder volado leaf to promote an even burn; a broadleaf binder from Connecticut might be used to give it a round leathery taste, and it might be finished off with a maduro wrapper from the San Andres Valley of Mexico for a chocolatey sweetness. It would be unusual to find tobacco with all of those qualities in one region, let alone one farm.

But that is exactly what the Toraño family has done with its Single Region release. Part of the reason they are able to do this is because it’s a hell of a region — the Jalapa Valley of Northern Nicaragua is one of the most fertile and productive places to grow cigar tobacco outside of Cuba. The Jalapa Valley is known for the sweetness and rich flavor of its tobacco, and is sometimes contrasted with tobacco from Esteli, which tends to be sharper and stronger.

All of the tobaccos in the Toraño’s Single Region come from one farm called El Estero after a stream that runs through the farm.

To buy: Ask you local tobacconist.

 

 

Tequila dressed as Cognac: Don Julio 1942

The Drink

A tribute tequila of astonishing depth, Tequila Don Julio 1942 (a limited-edition tequila) is best appreciated when served in a snifter.

The luxury tequila of choice in Mexico, Tequila Don Julio uses only the choicest, fully matured and ripened blue agave hand- selected from the rich, clay soils of the Los Altos region.

In commemoration of Don Julio’s 60th anniversary of producing the highest quality tequila, Tequila Don Julio 1942 was born. Using a personal selection of prime agave, Don Julio created this unique batch of tequila aged for at least two and a half years in American white oak barrels. Adding even more to its exclusivity, Tequila Don Julio 1942 is made with the distillate in Pot Still 6, which produces only three barrels per cycle.

Color: Deep, bright amber hue with specks of gold; full-bodied.

Nose: Sweet aromas of caramelized cherries and tones of nuts, almonds and chocolate combine with exotic cinnamon and a light essence of oak. The vanilla fragrance is interestingly sweet and enjoyable.

Taste: A silky, smooth character that coats the palate with roasted agave flavors, vanilla, sun-ripened tropical fruits and spiced undertones to create a wonderfully unique tequila experience.

Finish: Beautiful, sweet agave-laced finish with lingering hints of oak and rich vanilla essence; a full-bodied creaminess resulting from distillation and aging

[nuff said] – TGG

FOR the Young Gentlemen with Ladies in his life it is important that such gifts reflect the same class and attention to detail he wishes to embellish on himself.

Ultimately a gift is personal and not all women like champagne and truffles; some may just prefer a vintage cigar with a good bottle of brandy [God bless such women]. Nevertheless The Young Gentlemen’s Guide has rounded up a variety of basics sure to please most Ladies.

As for that ‘special woman’ in a Gentlemen’s life (i.e. not your mother) we always you stick stick to our traditional dictum: some say “…Go big or go home…” with her gift we say “…go bling or go sexy…” [i.e. jewelry or lingerie].

For Mom (grandma, cousin, boss, etc…)

A Box of Serenity: Santa Maria Novella Gift Boxes

The Goods...

From our Friends at Aedes de Venustas:

A beautiful signature Santa Maria Novella gift box filled with the signature Melograno candle, Melograno soap, a small box of potpourri and lemon verbena scented hand cream. Makes a stunning gift for any occasion.

[Guys… trust on this one…]

Buy here

“Happiest of Holiday Box” by John & Kira Chocolates 

 

 

The Sweets...

Local, organic, and sustainable… but just as important: handcrafted, top-notch ingredients and utterly delicious. Sure you can get that same old golden box of factory made Belgian stuff, but then again it’s everywhere and that makes it utterly not special. Know what we mean? For the same amount of dough you can go the quality route while repeating to yourself the golden rule “small is beautiful…”

This 28 piece chocolate box is John&Kira’s most classic and popular holiday gift and features all ten of their award winning flavors.

To make them, they infuse real herbs and spices into fresh cream, such as just picked garden mint or fresh young ginger from the island of Molokai in Hawaii. The infused cream is then heated and poured over amazingly complex Valrhona milk or dark chocolate and mixed until a super creamy ganache is achieved. The ganache is then poured into a frame, allowed to set for 48 hours, and cut into one and a quarter inch squares. Finally, each delicate square is enrobed in a thin layer of 62% dark Valrhona chocolate and marked by hand with a fork. The brown and red box is finished with a letter-pressed card announcing “The Happiest of Holidays To You”.

Buy them here

Ok—So, how bout for that very special woman? Go bling or go sexy (or go home!)

Go Bling: Victorian Mine-Cut Diamond Pendant

Victorian Mine-Cut Diamond Pendant

The Bling

Buy here… (don’t say we didn’t warn you– ultimately it’s a direction…)

Go Sexy: Lingerie from Agent Provocateur

Classic Agent Provocateur; the finest pink lace with a black Chantilly lace overlay in a flirtatious floral pattern.

The Classics - Francoise

The Sexy...

 Buy here

 

The Young Gentlemen’s Guide wishes everyone a Happy Holiday Season!

Winter Fragrance Round-up 2011 – Luckyscent’s got your gift…

From our friends at Luckyscent.com we have a round-up of fantastic holiday/winter-worthy fragrances that are perfect your our Gentlemen squadron and that special ladies in their lives…

From www.Luckyscent.com

Cozy up to our December releases:

New Releases for December

1 Frapin 1697 – “Eau de Parfum Edition” – With the success of the limited production 1697 Parfum, Frapin has now permanently added the 1697 Eau de Parfum version to its main collection. A must try! 2 Comme des Garcons – “Eau de Parfum” – A unique Comme des Garcons creation: At once fresh, and then laundry-like, then part almondy-sweet, the new Eau de Parfum twists and turns upon the first spritz. Strangely addictive! 3 Idole de Lubin – “Eau de Parfum” – New and re-mixed! A stronger, more resinous and intense variation on the best selling Idole Eau de Toilette version. Incredible.

4 Parfum d’Empire – “Azemour” – New! A spicy, exotic orange blossom, one that can be worn all year long. Classic Parfum d’Empire creation: Quality ingredients and gloriously executed.

5 Isabey – “L’ambre de Carthage” – Isabey goes masculine! A mysterious, slightly woody-sweet composition that was brought back to life and re-imagined from the original 1924 formula, where it was first sold at the Isabey storefront in Paris.

BUY HERE

From our friends at Luckyscent.com we have a round-up of fantastic holiday/winter-worthy fragrances that are perfect your our Gentlemen squadron and that special ladies in their lives…

From www.Luckyscent.com

Cozy up to our December releases:

New Releases for December

1 Frapin 1697 – “Eau de Parfum Edition” – With the success of the limited production 1697 Parfum, Frapin has now permanently added the 1697 Eau de Parfum version to its main collection. A must try! 2 Comme des Garcons – “Eau de Parfum” – A unique Comme des Garcons creation: At once fresh, and then laundry-like, then part almondy-sweet, the new Eau de Parfum twists and turns upon the first spritz. Strangely addictive! 3 Idole de Lubin – “Eau de Parfum” – New and re-mixed! A stronger, more resinous and intense variation on the best selling Idole Eau de Toilette version. Incredible.

4 Parfum d’Empire – “Azemour” – New! A spicy, exotic orange blossom, one that can be worn all year long. Classic Parfum d’Empire creation: Quality ingredients and gloriously executed.

5 Isabey – “L’ambre de Carthage” – Isabey goes masculine! A mysterious, slightly woody-sweet composition that was brought back to life and re-imagined from the original 1924 formula, where it was first sold at the Isabey storefront in Paris.

BUY HERE

From our friends at Luckyscent.com we have a round-up of fantastic holiday/winter-worthy fragrances that are perfect your our Gentlemen squadron and that special ladies in their lives…

From http://www.Luckyscent.com

Cozy up to our December releases:

New Releases for December

1 Frapin 1697 – “Eau de Parfum Edition” – With the success of the limited production 1697 Parfum, Frapin has now permanently added the 1697 Eau de Parfum version to its main collection. A must try!

2 Comme des Garcons – “Eau de Parfum” – A unique Comme des Garcons creation: At once fresh, and then laundry-like, then part almondy-sweet, the new Eau de Parfum twists and turns upon the first spritz. Strangely addictive!

3 Idole de Lubin – “Eau de Parfum” – New and re-mixed! A stronger, more resinous and intense variation on the best selling Idole Eau de Toilette version. Incredible.

4 Parfum d’Empire – “Azemour” – New! A spicy, exotic orange blossom, one that can be worn all year long. Classic Parfum d’Empire creation: Quality ingredients and gloriously executed.

5 Isabey – “L’ambre de Carthage” – Isabey goes masculine! A mysterious, slightly woody-sweet composition that was brought back to life and re-imagined from the original 1924 formula, where it was first sold at the Isabey storefront in Paris.


5 Things of the Moment: Fall 2011 Preview

Fall is upon us and whether you’re riling off a blistering summer (in some parts of the world) or a milder one (in others) the temperature has irrespectively cooled. The days get shorter, the sun burns cooler and the day’s now-tolerable balminess melts with the evening breeze.

SOON, a mere three to four weeks, the more full onslaught of fall will, er, fall and by the time the snows come down in November we’ll all have our coats and thick sweaters to protect us, but what about now?! In-between seasons is always tricky and in truth, should all clothes just be white in color, there would be no real distinction between the clothing-of-choice in that cusp between winter and spring than the one between summer and fall.

So what’s the difference since one, unless one fancied themselves Cistercian monks, could not live on white (clothes) alone?

In truth the seasonal cusps as discussed above (namely spring-summer and summer-fall) are dominated by smart layering, thin lightweight sweaters, cotton jackets and a return to jeans and long chinos and/or depending how cool the evenings get, light-weight “pin-wale” corduroys. The MAIN DIFFERENCE between, say, the aforementioned lightweight sweater in the beginning of Spring and the one in the beginning of fall is mainly one thing: Color.

Spring colors, not inadvertently, celebrate and echo the incoming seasons explosion of colors often found in nature- this is where ultra-masculine (and impossibly fashionable) Italian men break out their pastel-colored sweaters and yellow or bright blue pants, loose their socks and roll-up their shirt sleeves. Fall colors follow the same lead and browns, ambers, and ivories dominate. See below for an example:

{The chap on the left is wearing a spring sweater- note light, pastel colors of spring flowers.
The chap on the right, on the other hand, is wearing fall colors and hence a fall sweater…}
Needless to say a man’s style must be timeless and, at the risk of sounding contrived, classic. So it is why we here at TGG seldom play the “This season’s must have sweater…” game: it’s just stupid. We do this, risking the fact that we will often sound repetitive, as year after year, for the most part, save for particular idiosyncrasies of waning fashion-trends, we will always recommend that cable-cashmere sweater (for the Fall) or the washed red chinos (for the Spring and Summer). The men’s fashion cycle is a slow one, and things certainly come in and out of fashion (said red pants are now cropped shorter, fitter and flat-fronted; who’s not to say in then years the norm doesn’t sing back to baggy and pleated?).

In the interest of not digressing (or boring ye…) we shall continue onward with what we are calling our “Fall Preview”: 5 things to keep an eye out for this fall’s line-up. All of these items will fit-in today’s weather as it should November’s (layering may be necessary)

{Remember to leave us comments if you have your own suggestions on our comments page!}

 

 

CORDUROY

The Cord...

Many men fell queasy at the though of corduroy; it get’s a bad rap, especially in the US where it is mostly identified with disgruntled teenagers lugging skateboards heavy with angst. What’s more corduroys are not very flattering on individuals of shall we say, “advanced girth,” pair that with the propensity of larger waist-sizes in America’s men. However, as is evident by the myriad-shaped middle-aged men proudly donning corduroys in the fall/winter from Florence to Berlin it is no doubt the go-to trousers for men during this time. The “lines” and ridges running down corduroy are called ‘wales’ and the rule of thumb (ROT alert!) is the thicker the man (i.e. girth, legs, thighs etc) the thinner the wale should be. A thin, lanky man can afford a thicker wale.

                                                                                              {Non-frumpy cords…}

For the summer-fall-cusp try thin wale, light-weight corduroys in colors that are not too dark (and therefore won’t clash with the still live-green hanging on to trees) but won’t seem out of place: colors such as “blue smoke”, light khakhi, and light gray. Our favorite collection of cords this season are coming from Bonobos and range from 80USD to 105USD. Curduroys are trousers and should use the same “fit” guidelines as any other pair of pants!

THE LIGHT SWEATER (or CARDIGAN)

Summer-into-Fall Sweater

Our editor-in-chief once noted that on his first trip to Verona Italy he noticed

“… all these men, of all age-types, walking around with light, almost see-through, feather-soft sweaters and cardigans thrown on top of their shoulders and back; the sweater sleeves sometimes tied in front of their chests, others simply let the sleeves hang … it was 90F and hot so I was perplexed as to why these men were carrying around sweaters on their backs!? Of course, they knew something I didn’t’—once 6:30PM came around, the sky polarized to a deep shade of purple with pink highlights and the air picked up a pronounced chill. And there I was, sitting at Trattoria Giovanni, overlooking the magnificently illuminated ancient Roman arena that is so ubiquitous with this city, and frankly, freezing my ass off. All around me, the men of Verona sat, carefree, shirt-sleeves once rolled-up the elbow now carefully buttoned at the wrist, confident in the warmth of their sweaters and cardigans…”

Nuff said… so if you think carrying on your back is a bit foppish, no worries, keep it in the car, carry it in your hands or, heaven forbid, stuff it into your rugged man-bag. Keep sweaters and cardigans fit, nothing’s worse than a pillowy fit on a cardigan, it can, beware, add twenty pounds to the wearer. Fall colors, stay awat from pastels…(except for in the spring).

A baggy and ill-fitting cardigan...

Some of our favorites:

–      Hermes Men (jump here)

–       Ralph Lauren (jump here)

–       Billy Reid (jump here)

THE FALL SHOE

Fig.1- The Cusp Shoe

Somehwere between the careless days of sockless loafer trotting and the pent-up boots so necessary in winter lies the something that’s a bit less constricting and more comfy: enter the “Fall Shoe”

The fall shoe is not necessarily tall (indeed should not be taller than a chukkah- below) but should not slope down the sides of your feet the way a driver or moc does (less the coldness of early spring rains or late fall snow dampen your socks). And so, in this way, the “Early Fall Shoe” is more of an idea than a specific shoe in general.

Fall Chukkah

The lovely shoe below the heading (fig 1) is a wonderful balance of something that’s sleek and wearable, with a hint of suede (recalling suede-safe, dry days of summer) yet far above the reach of damaging water/snow.

Indeed this is the time to polish and store away the suede drivers and mocs, the boat shoes (unless one is taking out the boat), and the sandals until next spring. There’s another month or so of wearing darker-ish and high-sided loafers before they go away for the next couple of months. In it’s place comes out the bluchers, oxfords, chukkahs,  monkstraps and, of course, boots.

Some of our favorite stops for shoes:

–       Leffot (jump here)

–       Billy Reid (jump here)

–       Cole Rood & Haan’s oxford collection (jump here)

LIGHT JACKET

Fall-ish Cotton Jacket

Sweaters are not everyone’s game (lest the gentleman mess up his hair taking it off should it get a bit warm) and cardigans area dicey proposition unless the proportions of both the wearer and the cardigan are in perfect sync. So what then?

A light jacket, made out of something more substantial than nylon for the when the wind picks up, is necessary. In the British tradition, hands-on staples like tweed sports jackets and waxed-cotton jackets are de rigeur. Old (British) standbys like Huntsmen, Barbour, and Cording.

Field Jacket

Barbour

Rule of thumb: Cotton wax, although technically “light-weight” can be a bit stifling and ‘feels’ wet when very cold; although if you opt for a lined version it adds a bit more comfort. Also, look for a collar of a different material (corduroy, flannel, fleece, cotton etc…) that’s not waxed: otherwise your check will constantly press onto cold hard wax: not cool.

Layering a cotton safari jacket in cotton or denim khaki, subsequently layered with a hoodie or sweater is also a perfect.

SMELLS LIKE THE CUSP

men's colognes

After Summer Smellings

So you listened to us and relished in crisp green citrus fragrances, marine and aquatic themed colognes and relished in their unobtrusive light. During the days which can still peak at the mid-70’sF a strong upshot of Oud (a fragrant wood), Sandalwood, or heavy Musk can be overwhelming. Likewise too much other ‘stuff’ like vetivers, lavenders, etc can seem out of sync with the season. So… our ROT (Rule of thumb) for summer-fall cusp fragra

nces are the such:

  • Dark Citrus Tones: not so much lime and lemon, but more so orange blossom (neroli), bergamot, andcandied orange peel (without the sweetness)
    • Our pick: “Bergamot” by The Different Company (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Amber: What does amber smell like? Who the hell really knows- it’s more of an olfactory nod to the color amber. The best explanation comes to us from a forum-user at www.basenotes.com which states that the smell hitherto described as Amber is synonymous with a “…resinous scent that can produce a faint prickle at the back of the nose…” either way you look at it, it’s abstract as hell… just go with it…
    • Our Pick:  “Ambra” by Mazzolari (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Dried leaves/grasses: Ok here we’re talking about things like vetiver, again, sure, but vetiver and/or patchouli us a typical summer scent, however, when combined with elements of the above (ambers, bergamot, moss etc…) the results can be outstanding:
    • Our Pick: “Real Patchouly” by Bois 1920 (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Spices: This is dangerous, men usually overkill this element and end-up either smelling like the dessert-side of a Moroccan soukh  or something akin to pumpkin pie and Christmas. Spice: keep it light while still relying on old standbys like cinnamon (acacia), coumarin, burnt vanilla, coriander, etc.
    • Our Pick: “Honour Man” by Amouage (read more about it and buy it here)

Can you do lighter tones of woods and oudhs and musks: sure. But why break your neck trying to find light and wispy renditions of these when you can relish in the real thing come December?

If you can think of flavors and smells as colors stick to fragrances with combinations of dark greens (moss and fern), light browns (spice and amber) and  auburn oranges (bergamot).

Another perfect smell? Fig:

Philosykos  Eau de Toilette by  Diptyque

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

{From Luckyscent.com: One of the best fig scents ever made and one of our favorite scents of all time. Philosykos is an ode to the fig groves of Greece. Created by Olivia Giacobetti, this is a very green fig – a fig on the verge of being ripe. The opening is sharp with the tart freshness of the leaves, and then the fig itself comes into play – sweet enough to tantalize, but not overwhelm. The glossy green leaves and succulent fruit intertwine with a dry wood note and a hint of rich earth. You get the sense not only of the whole tree, but the whole grove – the wood, the earth, the sky, the Mediterranean sun coaxing the sweetness of the fruit along as it ripens. Many a superlative has been used to describe this fragrance over the years and it deserves every one. Outstanding.}


The Almanac of What a Man Needs to Know: Winter Cologne

To many, winter and its smells, are more associated with the celebrations, rituals and foods of the season than with any other particular thing.

THIS, of course, differs depending on your particular cultural and ethnic background, but for most winter means musky tones; burning wood, pine, cinnamon, spices, etcetera. Throw into this mix, a healthy does of celebratory food which can range from the scent of masala and fish sauce, to jerk seasoning and roasting goose and, well, you get the idea… it’s a whole lot of smells thrown in together. So why add more?

The Difficulty of Choice…

Most men’s fragrance-choice gets dictated by 1) what their father wore 2) what they have worn more or less since high-school or college and/or 3) what their partner, girlfriend, wife etc has bought for them. Gentlemen; is this any way to truly choose anything that defines you as a person? We think not.

Man meets Fragrance.

The Ritual

As we covered in the “In an Out of Summer Colognes…(here)” there are some basics in the world of men wearing cologne which we will paraphrase here:

1- You should, but don’t have to, switch-up your cologne/scent two to three times a year; if anything, keep it simple: a scent for when it’s cold, and one for when it’s hot. Also, should a long vacation or trip be in the schedule, don’t be afraid to pick a small bottle of something up to wear during this time—say a Turkish inspired cologne for a month in Istanbul and the Bosphorus… it will always bring back great memories every time you smell it.

2- Buy small bottles. The smaller the better- most scents perform at their peak for 2 years or so, especially those with more natural compositions which bring us to the second:

3- Don’t buy scents at a drug-store: these are often left-over dregs which have been stored carelessly and are often years old. Stick to (yes, annoying) department stores perfume counters (insist you know what you like) or check out www.luckyscent.com where you can browse by scent, producer and even order up as many samples as your heart desires.

4- Wear the stuff- to go to the drug-store, for a date, to lounge around the house: consider it aroma-therapy.

And remember:

5- You’re not supposed to smell cologne several feet away; in fact if a someone with their eyes closed can tell you’ve walked into a small room because of the smell of your cologne you’re wearing to much.

How much is enough (and this goes for the ladies too, a lot of women out there wear waaaay to much of the stuff…)? The idea is that only when someone gets close to you, enough to kiss you, then only then can tell you’re wearing a cologne. So that it is an integral part of you, an integral part of your presence, not an entirely different being that announces itself by its smell. No she (or he) is supposed to smell your cologne as a symbiosis between the perfumer’s art and your own chemistry.

Right! On with it!

Winter perfumes should not smell like a Christmas tree, nor remind you of Santa. That’s not the point- but because of the festivities, food, cold, and associated minutia encircling the winter season fragrances for this time tend to be a bit more substantial: woods, spices and musks.

The Winter Archetype: Brown Spices

Here we may hear such scents are “Orientals” which imply Indian sandalwood, star anise, and coriander, let’s say. Animalist scents, as uncouth as this may sound, is popular during this time, it gives you, its wearer, a bit of erotic mystique. These are namely ambergris (the best way we can put this… think of it as fermented sperm-whale honey), musks (most are synthetic…) and civet (a wild-cat… nuff said).

The Raw Ingredient: Sandalwood (Santal)

Moreover, whereas “fresh” citrus scents are apt in summer, winter (and fall for that matter) call for more cooked, roasted, and/or caramelized flavors: baked apples, burnt orange peel and the ever popular and fragrant bergamot (the orange which flavors otherwise ‘standard black’ earl grey tea.

Leathers have also become popular in fragrances as has, thanks to inroads made into perfumery, smells such as “smokiness”, all of which add a little bit of mystery and anticipation to the wearer, and that’s what you want!

Coming up: Smell’s like 2011 – Gentlemen’s Winter Fragrances

Smell’s Like Summer 2010: Santa Maria Novella “Aqua di Sicilia”

The House

The bright sun has only recently arrived in the Adriatic Coast—months of putrid, cloudy and rainy cold has given way to a piquant sun that makes it quite evident why Montenegro’s coast has become the stuff of legends lately and an up-and-coming destination for the jet set  (don’t hold your breath on the food or awkward Slavic-hospitlaity however).

But as soon as I saw the first warm day and bright sun I though about a cologne I had smelled once upon a time on a trip to Milan. I was sitting in a Café, having a gin and tonic in the heat of summer when a young woman asked me if she could borrow my ashtray, as she came in to whisk it away I caught a very faint whiff of an aroma that reminded me of the bright orange orchards I smelled in my youth growing up in South Florida.

The smell was sweet but fresh and made me close me eyes for a moment while a very faint woody aroma perked me out of my trance to ask her what perfume she was wearing. She laughed “…Oh it’s not mine, it’s some guy’s I met last night…” she said with a matter-of-fact chuckle and then turned back to her girlfriends on the adjacent table. I was stunned.

Back in New York I popped into a department store on a mission to find this perfume. I found the perfume lady and all I had to say was “magical mandarin, oranges and…” but before I could finish she pulled out a flacon of Santa Maria Novella “Aqua di Sicilia.”

The Stuff

Santa Maria Novella has a great story that a romantic like me adores;

Established by the Dominican Fathers shortly after 1221, Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldes pharmacies in the world. Starting out with cultivating and growing herbs which they needed to prepare medications, balms and creams for the monastery’s little infirmary. In 1612 when their products gained renowny even in foreign countries, it was decided that the pharmacy should be opened to the public. In the 18th century, thanks to the efficacy of the many formulas used, the fame of the pharmacy spread as far as Russia, the Indies and distant China. Subsequent to the Italian government’s confiscation of church property, in 1866 the activity passed into the hands of the state, which rented it out to Cesare Augusto Sefani, nephew of the last Dominican director of the Officina. Stefani aquired the name and the property, and since then four generations of the same family have owned and managed the Officina Farmaceutica. Presently under the direction of Eugenio Alphandery, the tradition is being carried on with unaltered success. Production is limited and is meticulously controlled. Only the highest quality natural ingrediens are used, and the procedures continue the founding father’s tradition. Every product of the Officina has a story to tell.

(from the Aedes de Venustas website)

but it’s the smell of sweet sun-drenched mandarins, orange blossom, a hint of lemon, spice and cypress that wooed me over. The price is steep, but worth it. (Buy it here)

TGG Classification: Summer and early fall.

Recommended Uses: Everywhere, all the time, even in bed.