Michael 84

Men's Grooming Tips And Advice

Beauty products are not just for girls! Get tips, advice and guides on everything male grooming related. From the latest in skincare products to men's fragrance reviews and hair style tips, you'll find it all in the grooming blog. The modern gent takes care of himself, start now.

Wednesday, 20th September, 2017

Marc Jacobs BANG! Fragrance For Men Review

Marc Jacobs BANG! Fragrance Review

Today I am looking back at one of my older fragrances, and it’s BANG! from Marc Jacobs. I got this scent back in 2011, and it was a blind buy, so I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I can honestly say that after all this time I have hardly worn it, and it’s never been one of my favourites, in fact it’s a one which is probably one of my worst purchases, I’ve never really liked this scent at all. But now, years later, how do I feel?

First of all let’s talk about the bottle. It’s a really distinctive and nice shape, and it was used in the next scent, Marc Jacobs BANG BANG which is a blue bottle and nicer than this one. It’s a jagged edgy bottle shape, covered in chrome plastic, and has the Marc Jacobs BANG logo to the middle.

The scent itself is an incredibly masculine fragrance. I really like this style of scent, I usually call it a night fragrance because they’re usually too musky to wear through the day, and this is certainly that. But I think it goes too far, and it’s really peppery. I have Gucci by Gucci which is quite a spicy and pepper style of scent, it’s also one I really like, however that seems more refined and toned down to this. BANG! has always seemed too sharp to me, just that bit too much musky.

But now years later and letting it breathe, I have slightly, only slightly, changed my mind. Yes, it’s still very strong, but if you leave it for a while and let it calm down, don’t use too much and it’s not so bad. I think think it’s too much for my personal style, and so I won’t be using it much, if ever again.

I have to say, if you’re looking for something which is sharp, spicy and punches of pepper, this is worth a look. In the colder weather it will work on an evening, if you can handle all the woody notes.

Best season to wear – Autumn/Winter
Scent type – Spicy/Woody/Aromatic
Age Recommendation – 25+
Best Worn – Evening, Date Night, Out With Friends, Casual

Top Notes – Pink Pepper, Pepper

Middle Notes – Woody Notes

Base Notes – Elemi Resin, Benzoin, Vetiver, Patchouli, Oak Moss

Do you have Bang! What do you think of this? As always you can find more of my fragrance reviews and check out some scents which I prefer to this one.

Friday, 4th August, 2017

Calvin Klein Encounter Eau De Toilette For Men

Calvin Klein Encounter Fragrance Review

Here’s another one of my old scents which I have been going through recently, and it’s a really nice one, Calvin Klein Encounter.

I think that Calvin Klein Encounter is a very underrated scent, and probably shown the least love out of all the fragrances from CK. It was released in the Autumn of 2012 and I think I got this back in the Winter of 2012, and I really liked it. I’ve never seen too many people talk about it, it doesn’t seem to get much love from scent lovers or the general public, and I don’t really understand why. Maybe because the marketing wasn’t good? I don’t recall there being much buzz about this one.

First of all as always I will talk about the bottle. It’s a dark blue translucent cuboid shape with the front slightly debossed out, almost like a smashed window, and has the branding small and neat to the front. It’s finished off with silver trimming to the top of the bottle, and a silver atomiser which has a wide spray. The bottle is not a vintage classic style nor is it a huge innovation, however it’s nice and presentable enough, it won’t look out of place on a countertop or shelf.

OK so the scent itself…I would call this a smooth masculine scent which is perfect for an evening, and is a great Autumn fragrance. It’s warm and spicy, and has boozy notes which is an ode to any night out. It is inviting and has the style of the old school musky types of smell, but in a more refined, modern manner.

The good thing about this one is that since it’s not hugely popular you can get it for a very reasonable price, a 50ml or even 100ml bottle for under £20 which is a fantastic price, even if it’s a blind buy. Another reason to get it is that since this one has passed most people by, you’ll not have to worry too much about smelling like everyone else. As always, you can check out my aftershave tips for men and see all the other fragrances I’ve reviewed.

Best season to wear – Autumn/Winter
Scent type – Warm, Spicy, Woody,
Age Recommendation – 18+
Best Worn – Evening, Casual

Top Notes – Mandarin, Cardamom, Rum

Middle Notes – Jasmine, Cognac, Pepper

Base Notes – Oud, Musk, Cedar

Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

Fragrances Revisited: Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme

Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme Review

Do you call it Bvlgari Aqva, or Bulgari Aqua? Actually if you know Bvlgari, it’s stylised in the old roman lettering, but of course it’s pronounced “Bulgari Aqua”. My first scent from the high end fashion house was Bvlgari MAN which I love…I mean it’s one of my favourite fragrances ever. After I got that, I was intrigued by the brand, so I bought a few more of their scents, this being one of them.

First off the bottle…It’s annoying! It’s one of those round disc types of bottles, which means you can’t stand it up, which explains this poor photo I have taken of it. Other than bad photography, it makes it harder to store too, you can’t stand it up as you would with most bottles. It comes in a dark aqua colour to go with the name, and a plastic silver-chrome top and sprayer.

For Fragrances Revisited this time round I have to talk about Bvlgari Aqva which is a great Summer fragrance. If you ever blind buy a scent a lot of the time you’ll not really know what the style of the scent is, sometimes you can take a bit of a guess, one ways to do that is by the colour of the scent, colour of the bottle or name. This one is a complete giveaway of the style of scent, which is a green, marine aquatic type of scent, and that’s exactly what it is.

This was released in 2005, and I picked it up a few years later, making it over 10 years old. To be honest, it’s never really been a favourite, but maybe that’s not because it’s bad, because it’s not, but more because I have not really embraced this style of smell. I have not really been into lighter aquatic scents, although I do like this scent, I prefer the darker, woody scents which are more seductive and powerful.

Having said that, Bulgari Aqua does have a punch to it. It’s not a light citrus type of aquatic, more of a spicy and darker type of this type. I can recommend it as a pleasant enough scent, but it’s not one of my favourites.

Do you own this? Let me know what you think. If it’s not to your liking, check out more of my fragrance tips and advice for another men’s scent.

Best season to wear – Spring/Summer
Scent type – Aquatic, Marine
Age Recommendation – 18+
Best Worn – Day, Evening, Casual, Formal

Top notes: Petitgrain, Mandarin, Orange
Middle notes: Seaweed, Lavender, Cotton Flower
Base notes: Patchouli, Cedar, Amber, Sage, Woody Notes

Wednesday, 19th July, 2017

Favourite Men’s Fragrances For Summer [UPDATED 2017]

The Best Summer Fragrances For Men

There’s no secret that Summer is my favourite season, I love it for so many reasons; There’s so much fashion out there for the Summer which I love, you can be as bright and colourful as you like with your clothing and style options, there’s the weather, which is sometimes sunny and at least a bit warmer 😉 and of course Summer football with the Euros or World Cup at least every other year. Getting your scent right for the summer is possibly more important that other seasons, as everyone is out and there’s probably more socialising going on in the Summer than other seasons, as everyone wants to come out and play. There’s everything from the Summer BBQ to nights out and holidays abroad, so picking out the right fragrance is crucial.

I always separate my scents into seasons and times; Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, as well as night or day. Autumn and Winter scents are all about the dark, musky, warming scents, ouds and woods play a big part. When it comes to Spring, and more importantly for this guide, Summer, it comes down to citrus, floral and fresh styles of scents, which can be pungent but subtle and not overpowering. Here are my favourite fragrances for the Summer.

Read More

Thursday, 6th July, 2017

John Varvatos Dark Rebel Rider Fragrance [Review]

John Varvatos Dark Rebel Rider Fragrance Review

You may remember that one of the fragrances I got for my last birthday was John Varvatos Dark Rebel Rider, so this week I’ve tried it out to add to my fragrance reviews, and this is what I think of this one.

It was first released in 2016, so it is a fairly new fragrance. When you check out the box, bottle and even the name, you’ll know what type of scent you’re in for. Dark Rebel Rider is how it sounds, and the image on the box is that of a leather biker jacket, so it’s not a surprise that it’s a dark leathery fragrance.

But as always I will start with the bottle. It’s wrapped in a faux leather pouch type of cover, which comes with two chunky zips to the side. You can keep the bottle in it’s pouch while using it, or take it out, as the bottle top and sprayer is exposed so you’re able to use it. The spray is nice and wide, so you don’t need to have too many sprays of this to get good coverage.

As for the fragrance itself, it’s a dark, musky and leather type of smell as mentioned above. It is quite smokey and woody, it reminds me of Hugo Boss Bottled Oud, which also has a dry woody kind of smell to it, however this smells more like incense as it’s more smokey.

I would think that this scent is more for an Autumn evening, when the dark nights are closing in, it makes me think of a night by the fire in the countryside with a glass of whisky in your hand wearing a heavy jumper for the chilly nights. It’s a masculine gentleman style of fragrance.

The longevity is quite good, and it has a good range too, you don’t need to use a lot of this for it to be noticed. If you’re looking for a smokey woody type of scent, you should give this one a look.

Best season to wear – Autumn/Winter
Scent type – Woody and smokey
Age Recommendation – 25+
Best Worn – Evening, Casual, Formal

Top notes: Lemon, Bitter orange, Aldehydes, Saffron, Marjoram, Hyssop
Middle notes: Iris, Osmanthus, Black violet, Labdanum, Somalian incense, Benzoin, Tolu balsam
Base notes: Russian leather, Cocoa, Vanilla, Atlas cedarwood, Patchouli

Thursday, 15th June, 2017

Creed Aventus Review [UPDATED]

Creed Aventus Review - Is The Best Men's Fragrance Worth The Hype?

I got Creed Aventus back in 2014, and I still have the same bottle, and it’s still going strong in every sense of the word. It’s still a firm favourite, so is it worth getting?

Updated Review For 2017

Creed Aventus – Worth The Hype?

Is Creed Aventus worth the hype? In my opinion, yes. It’s a very expensive men’s fragrance, especially if you’re not into scents and fragrances as I am (check out all my men’s fragrance reviews). Having said that, it’s not just a scent for fragrance aficionados. It may not be cheap, but it could be your go to bottle and your own signature scent.
What that does mean is that it gives it an exclusivity, not too many people will be wearing this or even consider it, however over the past few years it has become more and more popular because of the hype which surrounds it.

Read More

Wednesday, 7th June, 2017

Black Bold by Kenneth Cole Fragrance For Men

Kenneth Cole Black Bold Review

This is my first ever scent from Kenneth Cole, and it’s a good one, this is Black Bold. They say that this fragrance aims to embody the old essence of New York and celebrate confident individuals who like to live life on the edge. How does it smell? Here’s my review of this eau de parfum.

First of all I have to begin with the bottle. It’s a circular shape and is all black and very smooth and sleek. It has a faux-leather wrap around which covers most of the body of the bottle, which has the simple and clear Black Bold Kenneth Cole branding to the front. It’s a nice clean design which will sit well on a shelf or draw, it’s fairly distinctive so you’ll be able to distinguish it from other bottles you may have.

As for the smell itself…The name is a giveaway for the style of scent this is going to be; Black indicates dark, and it is that. It’s a woody aromatic type of scent, very inviting and a mysterious kind of smell. It’s spicy but not sharp, and has quite a subtle and soft element to it. It’s quite a gentlemanly classic fragrance without being too musky or woody, and is strong enough to leave an impression without being overpowering. There are very slight citrus notes, but I get more woody tones from this.  I would wear this on an evening, and would work in most situations.

Best season to wear – Autumn/Winter
Scent type – Slightly woody and spicy, Aromatic
Age Recommendation – 21+
Best Worn – Evening, Casual, Formal

Top notes: zesty citrus, herbal tones
Middle notes: ground nutmeg, lotus flower
Base notes: wood, leather, musk

Have you tried Black Bold? If you have let me know your thoughts, and as always you can check out all my men’s fragrance reviews if you’re looking for your next scent.

Wednesday, 31st May, 2017

Sandalwood & Clove Cologne From Pall Mall Barbers

Pall Mall Barbers Sandalwood and Clove Cologne Review

Pall Mall Barbers first opened it’s doors in 1896 at 27 Whitcomb Street in London, and at the back end of last year celebrated it’s 120th anniversary and is one of the oldest barbershops in the UK. They sent over their signature scent, Sandalwood & Colve Cologne, which evokes the atmosphere of old-school barbershops.

As always I will start with the bottle. It’s a traditional and classic squared faced bottle made from clear glass, and comes with a squared bottle too too, keeping the overall style of the bottle traditional. The front comes with a simple label detailing the branding, and is a clean design.

For the scent itself it is really inviting. On an initial first spray it’s quite sharp, but moments later it clams down and it turns into a distinctive but clean type of smell. It does have that familiar smell of an old school barbers, warm and spicy but clean and fresh, with sandalwood tones and base notes of sweet vanilla and tobacco and has hints of cardamom and almond. Overall it’s a really nice scent, I can see using this after shaving, if you use other Pall Mall Barbers products or scent-free products in your shaving regime, this will add a nice fragrance and finish off your grooming experience. The inoffensive nature of this fragrance makes it a good one for casual day wear. It can be worn by any age, but will probably be more appreciated by an older gentleman.

Best season to wear – All
Scent type – Fresh, Slightly spicy, Aquatic
Age Recommendation – 25+
Best Worn – Day wear, Casual

Have you tried this? Let me know what you think. You can check this out at Pall Mall Barbers on their site, or if you’re in London you can check out one of their locations in Trafalgar Square, Fitzrovia, Westminster or Bishopsgate. Don’t forget to check out more of my men’s fragrance reviews if you’re looking for a new aftershave or scent for your life.

Wednesday, 17th May, 2017

Only The Brave Tattoo Eau De Toilette Review

Diesel Only The Brave Tattoo Fragrance Review

I never had the original Only The Brave from Diesel, so I can’t compare it to this incarnation, but here’s the one which I do have, it’s Only The Brave Tattoo.

As far as the bottle goes, it’s the same shape and style as the original. It’s quite innovative and original, a fist shape, but instead of a light colour, this is black-blue in colour with Only The Brave Tattoo written on it in a graffiti tattoo style and Diesel branding to the front. It can be stood up in two positions, which is quite unique for a fragrance bottle.

Contrary to the attitude and raw-ness of the bottle, the scent is something different. It’s fresh and fruity, you get a sense of greens which is strong, and a smaller hint of some spicy notes which don’t feel sharp and are quite subtle. On balance it’s a nice scent, it will work well during the day, and if you prefer a lighter scent with just a bit of punch for an evening, it will work in that setting too.

I have had this fragrance for a number of years, and while it’s never been a favourite, it’s definitely not a bad smell at all.

Best season to wear – All Rounder
Scent type – Fruity, Fresh, Slightly Spicy
Age Recommendation – 18+
Best Worn – Day, Evening, Casual, Formal

Top Notes – Red Apple

Middle Notes – Sage, Bourbon Pepper

Base Notes – Amber wood, Benzoin, Amber, Patchouli

Let me know what you think of this if you own it or have the original. You can find more aftershave reviews if you’re looking for a new scent and this one doesn’t sound like a favourite.

Thursday, 11th May, 2017

Fragrances Revisited: Calvin Klein Escape For Men Aftershave

Calvin Klein Escape For Men - A Lookback At A Classic

Hey Guys!

So this week I have been checking out another one of my old scents for fragrances revisited, and I’ve gone all the way back to 1993 and to this, Calvin Klein Escape For Men.

Actually, I did not get this in 1993, since I was only 9 years old back then. In fact I probably first got this one in around 2005, but it does bring back some memories. It’s not as iconic as CK One, which has legendary status, but as soon as I sprayed this the smell of the 90’s came rushing back.

Just by smelling Escape it reminds me of the 90’s, and what people were wearing back then. As soon as it hits you it takes you back, back to going out and wearing your first scent, the music and the times of the 90’s, it really does make you reminisce. Although this was never one of my favourite fragrances, it was worn and loved by so many people, I used to smell this on people a lot so it does bring back some good memories.

The scent is quite a light and fresh one, with citrus notes and very lightly woody. It’s not dark, but can be worn on an evening, the woody type notes are subtle and the citrus, aqua and green notes are the ones which shine through, making it a perfect Summer or Spring fragrance, either during the day or on an evening. If you’ve never experienced Calvin Klein Escape, you should really try it out.

What do you think of this one? If it’s not to you liking, check out more aftershave reviews and find your perfect fragrance.

Best season to wear – Spring/Summer
Scent type – Citrus, Green, Fresh, Woody
Age Recommendation – 18+
Best Worn – Daytime, Evening, Casual, Formal

Top Notes – Birch Leaf, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Juniper, Eucalyptus

Middle Notes – Clary Sage, Cypress, Fir Balsam, Rosemary

Base Notes – Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Oakmoss