As the prospect of a new year looms, replete with new ambitions and resolutions, so does a profusion of new perfumes to mark the occasions ahead. So if you’re looking to abandon your faithful old fragrance in favour of something new, now would be a good time to start sniffing around.
For guys who are (understandably) wary of straying too far from their tried-and-tested favourites, rest assured that the vast majority of 2013’s new releases present opportunities to ‘upgrade’ and yet still stay loyal to the same brand. In the commercial market, 2013 is the year of the 'flanker' (launches designed to capitalise on the success of existing bestsellers). Fans of classics like Hugo Boss, for example, will naturally gravitate towards Hugo Boss Red while devotees of Gaultier’s classic Le Male may look to Le Beau Male. Givenchy’s classic Gentleman has been remixed into Gentlemen Only. In short, you won’t need to stray into unfamiliar territory when looking for something new in 2013.
Elsewhere among the predictable slew of flankers are Guilty Black Pour Homme ,which sits alongside Gucci’s Guilty, and John Varvatos’ Rock Volume Two which – you guessed it – is the sequel to Rock Volume One.
There are also welcome ‘comebacks’ in the form of Eros by Versace, a brand that has laid low since 2008’s Pour Homme. Paco Rabanne who made a spontaneous return to form with One Million (2008) will follow up his success with the optimistic titled Victory. You can expect extravagant campaigns and celebrity ‘faces’ designed to catch your attention throughout 2013 – just be sure to make your decision first and foremost with your nose.Eros by VERSACE
Few brands encapsulate the idea of power and sex quite as naturally as Versace. And Eros, the brand's first men’s fragrance in five years, doesn't veer too far off the standard script. The first clue is in the title: Eros was the Greek god of Love. Most of us will be more familiar with him by his Roman name, Cupid… but perhaps the image of a cherub shooting a bow and arrow wasn't going to shift as much product as a campaign featuring a bronzed, half-naked Adonis draped in a Versace print silk dressing gown. So Eros it is. The juice contained in the flamboyant Greek-Roman styled flask is an unusually seductive mix of mint oil, lemon, apple, tonka, ambroxan and geranium. Fresh, bright and woody and not as 'rich' as you might expect. Available from March 2013
Gentlemen Only by GIVENCHY
Where designer brands often employ ‘obvious’ celebrities (Ryan Reynolds for Boss, Robert Pattinson and Jude Law for Dior, David Beckham for, er, David Beckham…), Givenchy’s choice of Simon Baker seems deliberately random - at least in Europe where his show The Mentalist isn’t particularly well known. Still…
Gentlemen Only is not, as its unfortunate name might suggest, a reference to a seedy strip joint. In fact, it’s a refined fragrance intended to evoke the chivalry of yesteryear. Fragrance-philes will have caught the nod to Givenchy’s classic Gentleman (1974) in both name and bottle design. Consider ‘Only’ a 21st century reinterpretation of the masculine classic with a fresh and spicy opening that gives way to deep and intense woody / smoky character. Nowhere near the genius of the original but close enough.
Le Beau Mâle by JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER
At first glance, it would be easy to confuse the new Gaultier release with its infamous predecessor – the iconic torso bottle and tin packaging remains, as does the magic touch of the original perfumer Francis Kurkdijan. And there’s a pretty high-camp advertising campaign to boot – natch.
But the similarities between the two ‘Mâles’ end there. Olfactively speaking, Le Beau Mâle is so far removed from its predecessor that it could have benefited from a completely original concept and name. The reinterpretation is a frosty and sharp blend, featuring a cool blast of mint right at the front. Le Beau Mâle settles down into a more familiar lavender accord after a while but there are only fleeting traces of the oriental facets contained in the original bestseller. Available nationwide from the 4th February
The Game by DAVIDOFF
Gimmicky bottles appear to be Davidoff’s strong point these days and while the stack of poker chips-shaped flask for The Game isn’t quite as naff as the barbell design used for Champion, it’s hardly a subtle hint that this fragrance is intended for ‘players’ / ‘playas’. The composition is a woody-aromatic blend of Juniper Berries (think of large Gin & Tonic) that fades to reveal an iris heart propped up by a base of dark woods. Not anywhere near as ‘risky’ as the gambling-themed concept suggests, but an accessible men’s fragrance nonetheless. Available from 30th January
Hugo Red by HUGO BOSS
With the original Hugo Boss now 20 years old – and still going very strong – there really isn’t much call for an update / flanker. But, hey, when did that ever stop the guys at P&G from pushing another product? The scent is based around contrasts: hot and cold, solid and liquid. And while the idea of juxtaposing contrasting accords is (somewhat ironically) rather polarising among fragrance-philes, Red manages to fuse a cold and metallic accord (comprised of grapefruit and rhubarb) with a ‘hot amber’ drydown featuring cedarwood. And, yes, Jared Leto is still the ‘face’. Available from January