L’Envol de Cartier EDT Review

L'Envol de Cartier EDT

It was a year of fragrance surprises (Gucci Guilty Absolute), fragrance hype (Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous) and fragrance so-so’s. But this is not a post about the best and worst of 2017. Instead, my first post of 2018 will be devoted to one of the fragrance gems of last year: L’Envol de Cartier EDT.

L'Envol de Cartier EDT

I have a few favourite fragrance brands and Cartier is one of them. All of the Cartier fragrances I have tried have captured the brand’s ethos of luxurious craftsmanship. Jean-Claude Ellena’s classic creation, the supremely elegant Cartier Déclaration, is one of my all-time favourite fragrances. In recent years, much of this prestige is down to the sterling work of Mathilde Laurent, Cartier’s in-house perfumer.

L'Envol de Cartier EDT


L’Envol de Cartier was launched as an EDP in 2016 and I was immediately taken by its rich and complex treatment of honey.  So, of course, I expected great things of the EDT version, which was launched very quietly in 2017. Let’s just say Cartier doesn’t do hype.

L'Envol de Cartier EDT

The EDT opens with a burst of clean citrus notes, with honey slowly developing in the background. When the honey takes centre stage, it’s a light and airy take on the note. Good news for those who might have found the honey in the EDP version too much of a good thing. Artemisia adds a note of herbal interest, while the base of musk and guaiac notes balances the initial freshness of the scent. Unlike the EDP, there is no floral element and L’Envol de Cartier EDT is an altogether lighter and brighter affair.

L.'Envol de Cartier EDT

Mathilde Laurent has created a fragrance of simplicity and beauty with L’Envol de Cartier EDT. Although officially a fragrance for men (not quite sure why), L’Envol de Cartier should definitely be explored by discerning men and women alike.

L’Envol de Cartier EDT, R985 for 60ml and R1 310 for 80ml. 

Floralia (Flowers For You + Me)

Fragroom Flowers

I recently celebrated the first anniversary of my blog and flowers are always a good way to mark a special occasion. I launched Fragroom in December 2016 after leaving the corporate media world due to a bad case of burnout. It’s been a year of ups and downs and ups since then.

Fragroom Flowers

Blogging is high maintenance, especially if you’re a control freak like me. I always have such doubts before I click “publish”. Is this self-indulgent rubbish? Will my readers find this useful and interesting? Must get Photoshop – look at the specks on that bottle!

Fragroom Flowers

Mostly, though, it’s been an enriching experience. Learning new content skills and tricks. Learning from more experienced (and very generous) bloggers. Trusting my instincts.

Fragroom Flowers

The satisfaction of getting likes and comments from my readers is what keeps me going. Yes, we blog for ourselves and about our passions, but no point blogging in a vacuum, is there?

Fragroom Flowers

This collection of flowers from the communal gardens where I live in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, is my thank you to all those who have supported my blog so far.

Fragroom Flowers

As a blogger, I spend way too much time in front of the computer screen. A walk in the garden always puts a smile on my face when I am working towards one of my deadlines.

Fragroom Flowers

It’s time now for me to step back, unplug, spend time with family, friends, myself and a book… I will be back on the other side of 2017. Big thank you again.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg: Skins Cosmetics, Luminance, Dis-Chem Bedford Centre

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Nasomatto Absinth

This post has been on my must-do list for several months since the opening of the Dutch niche brands retailer, Skins Cosmetics, in Johannesburg. As I am a bit of a Christmas Grinch, I didn’t want this post to be specifically about Christmas gifting (naff!). This is not a comprehensive list of all the fragrance shopping options in the city, but it’s a start for locals and visitors alike. I will update it over the course of 2018, with other South African cities to follow, too.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Skins Cosmetics

Suffice to say, fragrance shopping in Johannesburg is an increasingly mixed bag. While designer fragrances still dominate the scene, niche fragrances are at last getting the attention they deserve in the economic capital of South Africa.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Penhaligon's Much About The Duke

PERFUME PORTRAITS: Penhaligon’s Much Ado About The Duke is one of the niche fragrances available at Skins Cosmetics. You can read my review of this EDP here: http://fragroom.com/2017/09/08/niche-fragrances/

We’ll start in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. As this is the wealthy part of the city, most of the fragrance shopping is to be found here, particularly in shopping malls. Oh, we do love our malls in Johannesburg!

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Luminance

DELUXE DESTINATION: Armani Privé, Tom Ford and Frédéric’ Malle are some of the perfume brands to be found at Luminance in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. All store pics supplied. Fragrance pics my own.


Don’t be put off by the intimidating shop front. Once inside this store, you will find top perfume brands among the designer clothing, including Tom Ford, Armani Privé, Frédéric’ Malle, Comme des Garçons and Diptyque. As far as I know this is the only place in South Africa that stocks the venerable Santa Maria Novella range, since the dedicated store closed in Cape Town. These fragrances caught my eye and nose during my most recent Luminance visit.

Frédéric’ Malle Carnal Flower

An exceptional take on tuberose (and other white florals) from Dominique Ropion that casts a sensual (but never suffocating) spell. It also features an utterly gorgeous coconut note.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Comme des Garçons Black EDT

A smoky (almost burnt) composition that intrigues from start to finish. Black pepper, incense, olibanum, leather, liquorice, pepperwood and vetiver are among the stand-out notes.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Comme des Garcons Black

Armani Privé Rose d’Arabie EDP 

Damask rose, oud, patchouli and vanilla get the Middle East treatment. Even if oriental perfumes are not your thing, this top-notch scent is one to be explored and adored.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Armani Prive Rose D'Arabie

Luminance, Hyde Park Corner, William Nicol Drive, Hyde Park, Johannesburg. Tel: 011 325 4765. https://www.luminanceonline.com

Skins Cosmetics

The Dutch niche brands retailer is the newest addition to the Johannesburg fragrance shopping scene. It stocks an impressive selection of heritage and experimental brands. With 36 fragrance brands, it’s easy to get greedy here (guilty as charged).

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Skins Cosmetics

You’ll find the following fragrance brands here: Abel, Aether, Antonia’s Flowers, Atelier Cologne, Boellis, By Kilian, Comme des Garçons, D.S. & Durga, Diptyque, E. Coudray, Escentric Molecules, Ex Nihilo, Floris, Frédéric’ Malle, Heeley Parfums, Keiko Mecheri, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Le Labo, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Memo, Nasomatto, Nomenclature, Orto Parisi, Penhaligon’s, Sabé Masson, Terry de Gunzburg, 27 87 Perfumes, Vilhelm Parfumerie, Widian and Yvra 1958. Roja Dove recently arrived in the store, so even more choices, choices…

“The staff are very helpful and enthusiastic. For serious buyers a personal consultation, refreshments and a generous supply of samples are part of the package.”

The staff are very helpful and enthusiastic. For serious buyers a personal consultation, refreshments and a generous supply of samples are part of the package. It’s also home to a variety of niche beauty and homeware brands, including Marie-Stella-Maris, Algenist, Eve Lom, Fornasetti, MenScience, Molton Brown, Susanne Kaufmann and Verso.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Skins Cosmetics

With so many brands to explore, Skins Cosmetics demands several visits. These are just some of the fragrances I sniffed out during my expedition earlier this month.

Floris Patchouli EDP 

Hmmm… Curious! Although whisky is not an officially listed note, the opening is drenched in it. When the whisky runs dry, notes of coconut milk, iris, patchouli, cedar, amber and myrrh come to the fore.

Widian Delma EDP 

A soft floral (jasmine, freesia, geranium) and spicy (nutmeg) scent from this Abu Dhabi perfume house founded by Ali Aljaberi. Although on the sweeter side (peach and marshmallow notes alert!), it’s surprisingly subtle.

Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi EDP By Kilian

I tried this one because of its ooh-la-la name and seductive notes (ylang-ylang, tuberose, Bulgarian rose, gardenia, sandalwood, cedar). While it doesn’t quite live up to the promise of it name, it’s still a well-executed Alberto Morillas creation.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi EDP By Kilian

Orto Parisi Brutus EDP

Perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri turns up the ante with three notes – bergamot, mandarin orange and patchouli. It’s potent, statement-making stuff.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Orto Parisi Brutus

Nasomatto Absinth Extrait De Parfum

Another Alessandro Gualtieri creation. Deliciously deep and earthy, with wormwood, vetiver and green notes, it’s one of those love-or-hate fragrances. Either way, you’ve got to admire its chutzpah.

Fragrance Shopping In Johannesburg - Nasomatto Absinth Extrait De Parfum

Skins Cosmetics, Sandton City, 163 5th Street, Shop U80, Upper Level, Sandton, Johannesburg. Tel: 011 883 1350. https://www.skins.co.za

Dis-Chem Bedford Centre

Let’s not forget mass market retailers for fragrance shopping in Johannesburg. This branch of the nationwide pharmacy chain is my local spot where I go for a catch-up on all the new designer fragrance releases. What I like most about this store is the friendliness and knowledge of the staff. They actually want your business and don’t treat you like a potential shoplifter if you’re just browsing!

Dis-Chem, Bedford Centre, G6 & G7, Bedford Gardens, Bedfordview. Tel:  011 417 2600. http://dischem.co.za/storefinder/164


Fragrance Reviews: John Varvatos Artisan Blu EDT + Elie Saab Girl Of Now EDP + Boss Bottled Man Of Today EDT + Missoni Parfum Pour Homme EDP + Montblanc Lady Emblem L’Eau EDT + Diesel Bad EDT + Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Him EDT + Montblanc Legend Night EDP

Fragrance Reviews - John Varvatos Artisan Blu EDT

I am frequently astonished by the number of fragrance launches every year. It’s why I spend a fair amount of time loitering with intent (aka market intell for fragrance reviews) in retailers. I like to think of it as an act of public service. What’s new, what’s worth spending your hard-earned cash on? What’s so-so (although, do keep in mind, it’s just my opinion)?

So in this last Fragroom fragrance reviews round-up of 2017, join me as I whizz through some of the year’s new launches. These include: John Varvatos Artisan Blu EDT, Elie Saab Girl Of Now EDP, Boss Bottled Man Of Today EDT, Missoni Parfum Pour Homme EDP, Montblanc Lady Emblem L’Eau EDT, Diesel Bad EDT, Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Him EDT and Montblanc Legend Night EDP.  Where known, I have listed the noses in brackets. We have quite a few fragrance reviews to get through, so let’s go…


Breezy and believable Mediterranean vibe in an uber-cool flacon. An old-school-ish composition of citrus, herbal and aquatic notes make this a must-try. R1 195 for 75 ml and R1 395 for 100ml.

 Fragrance Reviews - John Varvatos Artisan Blu EDT


Such a pretty bottle! Such a terrible name! The juice itself is sweet and luxurious, with accents of almond and pistachio notes, among others. Better than its (millennial-bait) name suggests. R840 for 30ml, R1 330 for 50ml and R1 795 for 90ml.

Fragrance Reviews - Elie Saab Girl Of Now EDP


The latest in the Boss Bottled franchise is an unashamed crowd-pleaser. Nothing wrong with that when this combo of apple, geranium, cinnamon and woody notes is so easy to wear. R1 235 for 100ml.

Fragrance Reviews - Boss Bottled Man Of Today Edition


Med-inspired juice, with prominent notes of grapefruit, lemon, lavender, ginger and apple. Not particularly original, but nonetheless fresh and elegant. R790 for 50ml and R1 060 for 100ml.

Fragrance Reviews - Missoni Parfum Pour Homme EDP


Fruity (peach, litchi) meets floralcy (magnolia, rose) in this lighter, summer garden-inspired incarnation of the Lady Emblem range. Sweet and sophisticated. R745 for 30ml, R995 for 50ml and R1 195 for 75ml.

Fragrance Reviews - Montblanc Lady Emblem L'Eau EDT


Ostensibly aimed at bad boys, it has intriguing notes of tobacco and caviar amid the more familiar (and respectable) bergamot, lavender and woody notes. R670 for 35ml, R950 for 50ml, R1 100 for 75ml and R1 290 for 125ml.

Fragrance Reviews - Diesel Bad EDT


A very accessible and appealing take on incense, with amber, patchouli, vanilla, tonka bean, woody and spicy notes in smooth support. Yum! R845 for 50ml and R1 075 for 100ml.

Fragrance Reviews - Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Him EDT


Who says night-time fragrances have to shout? This reserved EDP features notes of black vanilla, lavender, apple and mint. Give it time to make an impression. R645 for 30ml, R995 for 50ml and R1 295 for 100ml.

Fragrance Reviews - Montblanc Legend Night EDP

Mask And Ye Shall Receive… An Abundance Of Benefits

Face Mask - L’Oréal Pure Clay Purity Mask

We’ve come a long way from the days when only women (and enlightened gay men) used face masks to improve the condition of their skin. There’s been a big change in the last five years, as more men discover the benefits of regularly using a face mask at home. And, hallelujah, no one will question your masculinity. If anything, expect a lot of questions if you’re looking unnecessarily haggard.

Face Mask


In case you need a reminder about the benefits of using a face mask, here’s a recap:

It’s your SYS (save your skin) buddy, if your most visible (and biggest organ) needs a quick and urgent rescue. And the good news is that there are numerous choices for every skin concern (oiliness, dryness, blackheads, acne, sensitivity, dullness, ageing).

It’s a holiday for your face, especially if you’re not actually going on a holiday. Regular use of a really good mask can fool people you’ve just come back from somewhere cool and exotic.

It’s the perfect excuse to slow down and relax for essential self-care/self-maintenance.

It’s messy and fun. It is for me, anyway.

Face Mask Fun

GOOD MESSY FUN: Just one of the perks of using a face mask.

It makes for a great Instagram post, if that’s your thing.

“It’s the perfect excuse to slow down and relax for essential self-care/self-maintenance.”


It’s always best to choose the right face mask for your skin concern (and budget). I have been getting a lot of joy from these three products:

Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Double Action Detox Peel Off Mask (R850 for 75ml)

If you’ve used the Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel & Reveal Mask, you can expect the same top results from this product from its more upmarket Prevage range. This detox mask lifts the impurities (caused by pollution and dirt) from the skin for a brighter, smoother, pore-reduced complexion. It does this through a combo of ingredients that include antioxidants, a polymer blend and tree mushroom extract. The peel-off process (after 20 minutes) never fails to amaze me. What a strange man…

Face Mask - Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Double Action Detox Peel Off Mask

L’Oréal Pure Clay Purity Mask (r149.95 for 50ml)

I used the L’Oréal Pure Detox Mask a few months ago and was impressed with the results. You can read that post here: http://fragroom.com/2017/09/01/beauty-products-for-men/. L’Oréal Pure Clay Purity Mask is another goodie from the Pure Clay range. Featuring a blend of three pure clays and eucalyptus extract, it cleans and mattifies the skin without sucking the life out of it. It’s highly recommended if you’re prone to excessive sebum production and need a gentle oil-slick mop-up. I also like that its packaging features lots of easy-to-understand information.

Face Mask - L’Oréal Pure Clay Purity Mask

Diego Dalla Palma RVB Skinlab S.O.S Gel Mask (r525 for 75ml)

It’s the first time I have tried a product from this Italian brand and it’s well worth checking out if you need big-time and super-quick hydration. Its 51+3 Hyalu Complex contains a cocktail of amino acids, vitamins, trace elements, minerals, ceramides, hyaluronic acids and, um, cellular osmo-protectors. This means a deeply moisturising treatment. Grande!

Face Mask - Diego Dalla Palma RVB Skinlab S.O.S Gel Mask


The Box Of QMS Medicosmetics Tricks

QMS Medicosmetics 24H Cream

Whenever I try a new product (or range) for review purposes, I do my best to ensure that I am not using any other similar products at the same time. This way I am better able to judge the efficacy of that product. After all, I don’t want to confuse any results with another product that’s actually doing all the good work. So for the last month+, I have pretty much been using the QMS Medicosmetics Activ-Skin Travel Kit.

QMS Medicosmetics Deep Cleansing

PORE DEEP: QMS Medicosmetics Deep Cleansing purifies the skin.

I wish I could say I have been using this Activ-Skin Travel Kit because I have been doing a lot of glamorous travelling. The more mundane truth is that yours truly has been ensconced here at Fragroom HQ in Johannesburg.

QMS Medicosmetics Freshening Tonic

REVITALISING: QMS Medicosmetics Freshening Tonic purifies, balances and re-freshens the skin.

I had never heard of QMS Medicosmetics until their PR invited me to try their Activator Facial. It’s highly recommended for tired and lacklustre skin that needs major get-up-and-glow. I am a sucker for a facial, so didn’t need much persuasion to try it out. While the therapist was giving me the 60-minute version of this facial, she gave me the background on the brand.

QMS Medicosmetics Travel Mask

MASK ON THE GO: The QMS Medicosmetics Travel Mask for frequent travellers.


I will give you the quick-quick version. Formulated by top German cosmetic surgeon and anti-ageing expert Dr Erich Schulte, QMS Medicosmetics is a medical skincare system that combats the main cause of ageing – collagen loss. It does this through a combination of scientific research, quality ingredients and highly effective delivery systems. The range includes cleansers, collagens, moisturisers, masks and body products.

QMS Medicosmetics Activator-Mini Travel Face Mask

FACIAL WAKE UP: The QMS Medicosmetics Activator-Mini Travel Face Mask features hyaluronic acid and marine collagens to combat tired-looking skin.

Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the body and, among other vital functions, gives skin firmness and elasticity. Unfortunately, as we get older, collagen production slows down and (darn!) ageing speeds up. Hello, moisture loss, wrinkles and more.

“As we get older, collagen production slows down and ageing speeds up.”


So what about the Activator Facial? It involved a series of thorough steps using various QMS Medicosmetics products. First up, cleansing (Deep Cleansing), exfoliation (Exfoliation Fluid and Gentle Exfoliation Cream) and cleaning off the exfoliation fluid (good ol’ bicarbonate). Then my favourite part: the application of the Algae Mask, which identifies the problem areas and gives them extra attention. The mask entailed covering the eyes and mouth. After five minutes, it was removed in one piece. (I took this mask home for photographic purposes, but accidentally broke it. Doh!) After that, the Activator Mask, Freshening Tonic and Night Collagen were applied.

QMS Medicosmetics

REJUVENATING POWER TRIO: The QMS Medicosmetics Classic Collagen Set consists of Day Collagen, Night Collagen and Exfoliation Fluid.

After that intensive treatment, my skin felt like it had been turbo-charged with much-needed hydration and collagen. I am quite realistic with my expectations in this these things, but I was very impressed with the results on the day and the weeks thereafter. I was also sent the QMS Medicosmetics Activ-Skin Travel Kit to maintain the healthier skin effect.

“My skin felt like it had been turbo-charged with much-needed hydration and collagen.”


The Activ-Skin Travel Kit contains mini sizes of the company’s star performers. It includes the following products: Classic Collagen Set (Day Collagen, Night Collagen and Exfoliation Fluid), Activator Mini Travel Face Mask, Deep Cleansing, Freshening Tonic and 24H Cream.

QMS Medicosmetics 24H Cream

DAY AND NIGHT: QMS Medicosmetics 24H Cream delivers moisture round the clock.

The last month has been topsy-turvy, with various projects and deadlines on the go-go. When I am feeling stressed and not taking care of myself as I should, my skins shows it in a big way. I am happy to report the QMS Medicosmetics Activ-Skin Travel Kit definitely played its part in keeping the worst of it in check.

QMS Medicosmetics Activator Facial, R750 for 45 minutes and R900 for 60 minutes. QMS Medicosmetics Activ-Skin Travel Kit, R1 600.

Female Floral Fragrances For Big Boys: From Fresh To Full On

Floral Fragrances Mood Pic

About six months ago I posted about why men should wear female fragrances, in particular floral fragrances. You can read that post here: http://fragroom.com/2017/06/12/men-should-wear-womens-fragrances. After all, why miss out on so many more options by limiting oneself to so-called masculine fragrances?

“Why miss out on so many more options by limiting oneself to so-called masculine fragrances?”

Since then I’ve been sniffing out some new floral fragrances. While officially female floral fragrances, brave boys should consider giving these a go, too. I have already shared my thoughts on this year’s mega-launch, the much-debated Gabrielle Chanel EDP (http://fragroom.com/2017/09/19/gabrielle-chanel-fragrance-review/). In brief, although it’s not particularly ground-breaking, it’s a good option if you are looking for a well-executed and elegant white floral.

Floral Fragrances - Gabrielle Chanel EDP

Here are my thoughts on some of this year’s other floral fragrances, which range from the fresh to the full on.


The big designer fragrance brands are all hustling for the millennial moolah, with varying degrees of success and desperation. Stella McCartney Pop Bluebell is one of the better young’uns on the market. It features notes of bellflower (using biomimicry, as the bluebell is an endangered species), tuberose, violet, frangipani, tomato leaf, green mandarin and sandalwood. It’s more grown-up than its intended target market suggests. Stella McCartney Pop Bluebell EDP, R815 for 30ml, R1 105 for 50ml and R1 475 for 100ml

Floral Fragrances - Stella McCartney Pop Bluebell EDP


Elizabeth Arden has a reputation for producing worthwhile budget fragrances and Green Tea Mimosa is another goodie. Green tea and citrus notes open this EDT, with mimosa then coming to the fore. There are also splashes of osmanthus, orris root, heliotrope and ambrette seed here. It nails summer freshness oh so well. And because it’s not over-powering, it’s the perfect intro to floral fragrances if you’re still not quite ready to go the full-on florals route. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Mimosa EDT, R425 for 100ml.

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Mimosa EDT


Phew! Never mind full on – this is a super-intense white floral fragrance. It’s a collaboration between master perfumer Alberto Morillas and Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. This EDP features natural tuberose absolute, natural jasmine absolute, jasmine bud extract and Rangoon creeper (apparently the first time it has been used in a fragrance). Gucci Bloom is like being in a hothouse – wonderfully intoxicating or get-me-out-of-here suffocating, depending on your mood. Gucci Bloom EDP, R975 for 30ml, R1 335 for 50ml and R1 710 for 75ml.

Floral Fragrances - Gucci Bloom EDP


There’s no floral fireworks to be found in Yardley Bond St No 8. What you will find, though, is a slightly sweetish take on the genre, featuring notes of neroli, orange flower, white rose petals and musk. It fades quite quickly. But for the price, it’s a good enough cheapie. Yardley Bond St No 8 EDP, R399.95 for 50ml.



The latest addition to the Zadig & Voltaire fragrance range features patchouli, vanilla, white jasmine absolute, tuberose absolute and woody notes. It’s a smooth, soft and creamy floriental, without the in-your-face associations of the genre. It comes in a striking sculptural bottle, designed to fit its male counterpart. I will review Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Him in an upcoming post. Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Her EDP, R785 for 30ml, R1 100 for 50ml and R1 460 for 100ml.

Floral Fragrances - Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Her EDP


My 5 Biggest Grooming Mistakes (And What You Can Learn From Them)

Grooming Mistakes - Not Using Sunscreen Regularly

Just because I am a fragrance and grooming blogger, don’t assume I get everything right. In fact, I am frequently astonished by how many grooming mistakes I make. Some of these grooming mistakes I rectify the more I learn (for example, how to gently apply an eye product), but others I find myself making repeatedly. These are some of my biggest grooming mistakes below. Please tell me about some of your repeat offences.

Grooming Mistakes - Rubbing Wrists Together After Applying Fragrance

APPLY HERE: Spraying the wrists with fragrance is easy enough.


I know this is a no-no, as it breaks down the top notes of a fragrance. I blame this particular habit on my nervy character. Every time I find myself doing it, I correct myself by re-applying the fragrance on my wrists, this time without rubbing, and on other pulse points. These include inside my elbows, behind my knees (yes, really!), on my neck and shoulders. By spraying fragrance on these warmer areas of my body, it activates and intensifies the fragrance.

Grooming Mistakes - Rubbing Wrists Together After Applying Fragrance

X MARKS THE SPOT: Stop that wrist action! Right now!


I started balding in my late 20s and accepted this genetic reality long time ago. My hair stylist does a great job with my limited hair resources. But when left to my own devices, I frequently wash my hair with soap. I know, typing out that sentence, I cringed too. So I have decided to, at least, wash and condition my hair with a decent product.

Grooming Mistakes

GENETIC INHERITANCE: I accepted certain realities a long time ago.

I’ve recently started using Marc Anthony Men Stuff Thickening Shampoo + Conditioner With Bamboo, R139.95 for 380ml. I don’t expect much in terms of hair thickening at this very advanced stage of balding. But I am enjoying how this sulphate-free, nutrient-rich haircare product gives my hair and scalp a regular dose of TLC.

Grooming Mistakes - Not Looking After Balding Hair


I have been going on about this a lot recently. But that’s because I have learned the hard way how it causes unnecessary ageing and pigmentation. And did I mention the risk of skin cancer?

“I have learned the hard way how it causes unnecessary ageing and pigmentation.”

I’m no sun ‘n sports bunny, but Australian Gold X-Treme Sport 50 Spray Gel Sunscreen gets the thumbs up for containing the vitamin C-rich kakadu plum (free radicals protectant), the antioxidant tea tree oil (cleanses the skin), moisturising sunflower seed and olive fruit oils and soothing aloe vera. I like how after I have sprayed this gel on my hands and spread it on my face, it’s easily absorbed. Plus plus, it doesn’t leave a thick, greasy film and smells pretty good.


Me: “Why is this product not working?”

Sensible me: “Well, if you bothered to read the application instructions…”

Me: “Oh, I am now going to take the time to read those pieces of paper inside the box. That way I will know how (and why) this product works.”

Sensible me: “Good idea! Sometimes, you really amaze me…”

Grooming Mistakes - Not Reading The Product Instructions

ON THE PAPER TRAIL: Nothing wrong with a bit of thinking inside the box.


The results speak for themselves: dry, cracked heels that should not be seen in summer sandals. Ugh! Solution: A salon pedicure. Or a bit of home DIY. The latter involves:

  • Soaking my feet in warm water to soften the skin.
  • Vigorously using a pumice stone to remove the offensive skin. (Tip: Better be patient, it might several sessions, if I’ve been a really bad boy.) I am using the Titania for Men Pumice Sponge, R24.95 from Dis-Chem, for this hard, but necessary labour. It’s cardio with a purpose.
  • Applying good ol’ aqueous cream to moisturise my heels. Quite basic, really, come to think of it.

Grooming Mistakes - Neglecting Heels

Blend Of Both Worlds: Interview With Natural Perfumer Marie Aoun, Founder of Saint d’Ici

Marie Aoun of Saint d'Ici

My home town is associated with many things (not all of them positive), but it’s certainly not a centre of perfumery, natural or otherwise. So I was very intrigued to discover that Marie Aoun’s natural perfume company, Saint d’Ici, is based right here in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Marie was most kind to send me a sample pack of her natural Saint d’Ici perfumes. The metal box contained five scents. These included: The Company’s Garden, Myrrha Ambrata, Nomvikeli, Une Mandarine Pour Mon Homme and Mon Coeur Noir. At first I had to adjust to the raw earthiness of Saint d’Ici fragrances. But once I had done so, I enjoyed their unpretentious, almost “dirty” character. I use the word “dirty”, because many modern fragrances are overly sanitised.

Saint d'Ici Natural Perfumes

LITTLE BOTTLES: Samples of Saint d’Ici Mon Coeur Noir, The Company’s Garden, Nomvikeli, Myrrha Ambrata, and Une Mandarine Pour Mon Homme.

On the Saint d’Ici website, Marie explains how the name of her company came about. It also captures her approach to natural perfumery.

“The name, Saint d’Ici, comes from my earliest olfactive memories. I spent a great deal of time growing up at my grandparents’ house near the small village of Saint Jeannet in Provence. I distinctly remember rosemary, lavender and laurel when I think back to that time. It was these beautiful, classic, natural scents that first drew me to natural perfumery. However, as I started to explore African perfume materials, a whole new world of smells opened up to me. Rich, dusty, sweet-herbaceous, animalic and deep scents. Saint Jeannet was updated, it became Saint d’Ici (of here), a blend of both worlds.”

Saint d'Ici's Marie Aoun Lavender

OLFACTIVE MEMORIES: Lavender is one of the classic scents that attracted Marie Aoun to natural perfumery.

I was not able to meet Marie for an actual face-to-face interview, after my initial email questions. She had just become a mother for the first time, so obviously didn’t have much free time. I hope to meet her in the future, as I would love to learn more about her craft. In the meantime, though, this is what she had to say about her love of natural perfumes, “synthetics” and working with natural ingredients.

Marie Aoun of Saint d'Ici

PORTRAIT OF A NATURAL PERFUMER: All pics courtesy of Marie Aoun, except images of sample pack, lavender and sample bottles.

Where does your love for natural perfumery come from?

Quite simply, from my love of nature. My happy place is lying down under the trees in my garden. I believe most of us find nature therapeutic – we’ve been programmed that way. Perfumes are a sensual pleasure. I find that natural perfume ingredients affect me, mentally, physically and spiritually, in ways that synthetics cannot.

Why did you launch Saint d’Ici? And what do you hope to hope to achieve with Saint d’Ici?

I launched Saint d’Ici to create beautiful perfumes made exclusively from natural ingredients. Our perfumes are limited to editions of between 50 and 350 bottles per scent. This way we honour the seasonality and variability of natural ingredients. We also source most of our ingredients directly from farmers and artisan distillers in southern Africa. This way we ensure the purity of the ingredients and the ethics behind their production.

We created the hashtag #farmertofragrance to illustrate the importance that we attach to working this way. The added benefit of directly sourcing from small-scale farmers is that it provides us with access to lesser-known perfume ingredients that are only produced in small quantities. Our goal is to make all of these wonderful natural ingredients come alive through our perfumes in ways that will enchant the wearer.

Saint d'Ici iris harvest

FARMER TO FRAGRANCE: Saint d’Ici sources most of its ingredients directly from farmers and artisan distillers in southern Africa.

Are you totally against “synthetic” fragrances?

I wish I could remember where I had read this so that I could give the author their due. But the gist of what they said was: choosing a branch of perfumery is like choosing a religion. You cannot claim superiority. Clearly my religion is natural perfumes, but I am happy for others to practise synthetics. Having said that, I do take olfactory offence at the proliferation and strength of synthetic smells. I literally have to hold my breath until I’ve passed the candles and diffusers in most home stores.

“Clearly my religion is natural perfumes, but I am happy for others to practise synthetics.”

Saint d'Ici African perfume ingredients

THE OTHER HALF OF THE BLEND: African perfume ingredients.

What’s your favourite natural ingredient to work with?

That is a very tough question! I find that I go through phases. Lately I find myself adding a little bit of omumbiri or Namibian myrrh to most blends. I find that it helps seemingly disparate elements come together. It also lends expansiveness, modernity and masculinity to my mixes. One ingredient I never tire of smelling and working with is bergamot. Although true bergamot is from Sicily, I source mine locally from South Africa’s Western Cape province. It is just as beautiful.

Saint d'Ici Ingredients - Gemmerbos

FOLLOWING THE INGREDIENT: Fresh and dried gemmerbos.

How do you go about creating your fragrances? And how do you select the noses for your saint d’ici fragrances? 

I almost always start with an ingredient. My formula book has titles such as “Opoponax Absolute no. 11” or “Fever Tea no. 8”. I like to see how many different ways I can use a single ingredient and whether it works best centre front or in the chorus. I know that most perfumers start off with a story or fantasy, but I prefer to let the ingredients tell me where they’d like to go.

Saint d'Ici ingredients - clary sage

HERBACEOUS: Clary sage, one of the ingredients used in Saint d’Ici fragrances.

Saint d’Ici currently works with three other noses, all of whom I met whilst studying natural perfumery in Italy. I selected them because they are all talented and each bring a different aspect of natural perfumery to the table. Maurice Val nails unisex perfectly. Andrea Dittler brings vintage, old-world charm. Constance Beck-Treadway has the creativity to try radically new combinations together, with the ability to make them work.

Saint d'Ici Nomvikeli Constance Beck-Treadway

CREATIVE COMBINATIONS: Constance Beck-Treadway is one of the noses Marie Aoun works with.

Do you have a fragrance hero/heroine?

Not specifically. I am much more likely to be inspired by traditional cultures and their use of perfumery. The San’s use of buchu [a South African medicinal herb], the Sudanese matrimonial perfume ceremonies, even the Dogon’s love of the scent of fried onion are far more interesting to me than a fragrance master. They remind me of the instinctive response that we all have to raw and natural perfume ingredients.

Saint d'Ici Ingredients - Orange Bigarade

INSTINCTIVE RESPONSE: Marie Aoun takes her inspiration from natural ingredients.

What’s next for you?

I am currently researching the various ways in which people fragrance their homes that are perhaps a little less obvious than scented candles and diffusers. I am look forwarding to doing more custom projects in the future. All the while I continue to work on new blends, to explore new ingredients and connect with various farmers and distillers across the continent.

Dunhill Icon Fragrance Reviews: Dunhill Icon, Dunhill Icon Absolute, Dunhill Icon Elite, Dunhill Icon Racing

Dunhill Icon, Dunhill Icon Racing, Dunhill Icon Elite, Dunhill Icon Absolute

It’s intriguing to watch the evolution of a fragrance range from the launch of its pillar fragrance (Dunhill Icon) to the roll-out of its flankers (Dunhill Icon Absolute, Dunhill Icon Elite and Dunhill Icon Racing). It tells you something about the heritage of the brand and where it’s now re-staking its claim.

Dunhill Icon, Dunhill Icon Racing, Dunhill Icon Elite, Dunhill Icon Absolute

ICONIC: The Dunhill Icon fragrance collection, from left to right, Dunhill Icon, Dunhill Icon Racing, Dunhill Icon Elite and Dunhill Icon Absolute.

Dunhill has released many memorable fragrances since the launch of the superb Dunhill For Men in 1934. But the quality of releases over, say, the last two decades has been erratic, even for the most devoted fan. The launch of Dunhill Icon in 2014 was the esteemed British brand’s reclamation of all the iconic descriptors associated with its fragrances. “Quality”, “elegant”, “craftsmanship” and “British gentlemanliness”.

Dunhill Icon

CRAFTSMANSHIP: Dunhill Icon was launched in 2015.

With the recent release of the latest addition to the Dunhill Icon range, Dunhill Icon Racing, I sniffed out all four fragrances. These are my impressions of each of the EDPs.

Dunhill Icon Racing

RACING GREEN: Dunhill Icon Racing is inspired by the British brand’s motoring heritage.


Launched in 2015, Dunhill Icon makes its debut with this complex scent created by master perfumer Carlos Benaim. It’s so much more than its aromatic-woody profile suggests. Notes of neroli, bergamot, cardamom, lavender, black pepper, leather and oakmoss feature in this effervescent EDP.

Dunhill Icon


This later 2015 release ventures into more opulent territory. It’s the Dunhill Icon take on the oud trend, while not going the whole shebang. This is a refined treatment of agarwood, with bergamot, black pepper, jasmine, saffron, black rose, leather and tobacco leaf notes adding to its appeal.

Dunhill Icon Absolute


An unapologetically woody fragrance, with ebony and sandalwood notes featuring prominently. There’s also a smattering of citrus, cardamom, black pepper and suede notes in this 2016 release. It’s smooth, seductive and modern, without being overly trendy. We’re talking Dunhill bespoke suit kind of stuff.

Dunhill Icon Elite


Complete with stripes on the top of the bottle, Dunhill Icon Racing is inspired by Dunhill’s motoring heritage. To my nose, Dunhill Icon Racing is not as immediately impactful as its predecessors. Give it time, though, and this Laurent le Guernec composition make an impression with vetiver, lavender, cardamom, citrus and musk notes. I normally like my vetiver dark and dirty, but this fresher and younger interpretation is a winner too.

My conclusion? This is not a range, but rather an evolving fragrance collection that warrants its higher-than-the-average perfume price.

“Mark Eisen’s award-winning cylindrical metal and glass design for the Dunhill Icon collection gets it right on so many levels.”

I must also mention the design of the Dunhill Icon bottle. The fragrance industry has no shortage of beautiful bottles to behold. But South African Mark Eisen’s award-winning cylindrical metal and glass design for the Dunhill Icon collection gets it right on so many levels. Paying homage to Dunhill’s motoring heritage, its solid and classic design is a sophisticated statement that Dunhill Icon is a collection with longevity. You can read more about fashion designer-turned-industrial designer Mark Eisen (picture below) here: http://fragroom.com/2017/09/15/south-african-beauty/.

Dunhill Icon Racing EDP, R1 095 for 50ml and R1 595 for 100ml.