There’s something in the air. With a new decade, there’s the promise of a new you (we know, we heard it). But, clichés aside, it’s true. Whether you’re still plugging away at your fitness resolutions, dedicated to broadening your horizons or looking to live a more inspiring life, 2020 is ripe with possibilities.
But there’s also something a little more literal in the air. With a new year comes new product launches — and some of our favourite grooming brands have spritzed their way into the new decade with some fresh fragrances. Here are six of the finest we’re currently wearing at Gentleman’s Journal…
If you want a multi-layered fragrance, spritz on Chopard Amber Malaki
You can tell Chopard makes jewellery. Just look at the bottle into which the French brand has decanted the newest addition to its Malaki Collection. There’s definite shades of watch bracelet in that cap. And, happily, when you pop the lid off and give it a spritz, you’ll remain impressed. Warm and sensual, Amber Malaki is the perfect scent for the cold start to the year — with smoky notes of papyrus, wood and rich, spicy incense.
It’s one of those fragrances that just gets better as the day goes on; releasing and revealing more layers as it settles onto your skin. So, although you may get a waft of voluptuous orange blossom when you’re first leaving the house, and be enjoying aromatic vanilla by noon, your day will draw to the close with all of the above; a heady, exotic swirl of addictive scents.
Chopard Amber Malaki
If you want a stripped-back, earthy scent, try Floris Vert Fougère
The latest fragrance from Floris is the new bad boy of the aftershave world. Moody and tenacious, this unisex fragrance is punchy and pungent; ready to redefine everything you thought you wanted from a fragrance. Blindsiding us with an olfactory curveball, Vert Fougère delivers a blast of green, mossy scents rather than soft, floral notes — not to mention a bittersweet blend of grapefruit and bergamot.
While it might take a couple of mornings to get used to, there’s something pleasingly stripped-back and simple to this bottling. Where else could you find earthy patchouli, cedarwood and the zing of ginger without any tempering from softer scents? It’s a bold move from Floris — but the British brand has a history of making scents for bold men.
Floris Vert Fougère
If you want a softer scent, opt for Acqua di Parma's Note di Colonia I
If the thought of an aftershave inspired by an opera has you rolling your eyes, bear with us. It might sound a little high-brow, but that doesn’t mean you should be raising your eyebrows. Because, while the concept may be contrived, this cologne — influenced by Giuseppe Verdi’s tale of tragic love, La traviata — is light-hearted and lovely enough to take your mind off the dark days of winter.
If you’re yearning for summer, this is the ideal New Year fragrance for you. It’s imbued with bright, sunny nuances of bergamot and neroli, while notes of lavender, rose and violet (ingredients perfumers aren’t usually brave enough to market to men) offer up an unexpectedly floral feel. Even so, to reassure the traditionalists, Acqua di Parma has added in an accord of cedarwood, the perfect way to cap off this Colonia with a classic feel.
Acqua di Parma Note di Colonia I
If you want a leathery, oriental scent, uncap Penhaligon’s Terrible Teddy
There’s much not to like about Penhaligon’s Terrible Teddy. First up: why is it called Teddy when it’s clearly a rhino? And, even so, why ‘Terrible Teddy’ anyway? It sounds like a bad children’s book. But don’t fret — because while the branding may be off on this one, you can rest easy knowing that the aftershave itself is top class.
Give it a spritz, and the prevailing scent will present itself as grainy, rich leather — looking to be a big trend in 2020. But TT is deeper and darker than your initial impression, and will bleed out further fragrances; including those of spiced incense and ambroxan — the sweet, earthy substance produced by sperm whales. (There’s another animal that could have featured on the cap, come to think of it.) It’s a good thing the oriental scent outshines the bottle; because we really don’t have the horn for that rhino.
Penhaligon’s Terrible Teddy
If you want a lightweight, subversive scent, try Creed Aventus Cologne
‘New, modern and urban-spirited’ was the brief for Creed’s reinvented Aventus. It was a tall order. But, while it may be impossible to make something smell ‘urban-spirited’ (the Jubilee line on a Wednesday?), the storied perfume house has created a timely, moreish fragrance that sits incredibly well alongside its more heritage offerings. It really is impressive; a front-runner for our scent of the year.
What makes it so special? It’s the effortless blend of some very disparate scents. There are top notes of ginger, mandarin and pink peppercorn: so far, so autumnal. But then the heart notes take a lighter turn, sprinkling the scents of patchouli and vetiver into proceedings. And then there’s an even softer spin to finish — with feather-light styrax and birch as the traditionally load-bearing base notes.
Creed Aventus Cologne
If you want woody, there’s only Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey Wood & Wood
Wood. It’s a classic men’s scent. And Issey Miyake, the Japanese fashion and perfume house, has literally doubled down on the fragrance with its new release. Wood & Wood is an aftershave that threatened to be overpowering, but we can’t get enough of it. Firmly rooted in nature’s deeper, darker notes, there’s a feeling of strength and sophistication about this bottling, and it’s become our daily go-to.
But don’t think it’s all strong and silent. There may be a broad base of patchouli essence, upon which intertwining touches of Virginia cedar essence and sandalwood combine, but an unexpected top note of grapefruit adds some fizz to the olfactory party — sprinkling a zest into the spritz that we never knew we needed.
Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey Wood & Wood