Christmas gifts for him: 5 best aftershaves
Fragrances are a festive staple, whether for him or her, but picking the right one can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. So we've come up with some ideas for scents that will knock your fella's socks off, whether he's 18 or 80...
1. Eau Sauvage by Dior, £46.80
Introduced as Christian Dior's first fragrance for men way back in 1966, Eau Sauvage was ground-breaking in its combination of a citrus top note with earthy, woody base notes to create a scent which still holds its own today. The fragrance commands a loyal following, being regarded by some as the male equivalent of Chanel No 5. Lemon, rosemary, basil, oak moss, vetiver, musk and amber are all in evidence and it was the first perfume to use hedione – a synthetic chemical which has been shown to stimulate an area of the brain which releases sex hormones in women. You have been warned.
2. Acqua di Gio by Armani, £70
Another classic scent from the 20th century, Armani's Acqua di Gio Pour Homme is an invigorating, maritime-scented fragrance that was supposedly inspired by Giorgio Armani's holidays on the rugged Italian island of Pantelleria. Launched in 1996, it swiftly became one of the world's most-popular aftershaves. It does have a hint of sea spray - and also mixes sweet and salty notes of citrus, jasmine, basil and cedar, among other things, to create one of the all-time great men's male scents.
3. Blackpepper by Commes des Garcons, £90
If you're looking for something bang up to date for your man, Commes des Garcons' achingly cool Blackpepper might be just the job. As the name suggests, it's a spicy number that mixes notes of black pepper, basil, cedarwood and tonka bean to create a sophisticated fragrance marketed at both men and women. Blackpepper has been widely praised since its launch in 2016, cementing the reputation of the Japanese fashion house as a major player in the scent stakes.
4. Blenheim Bouquet by Penhaligon's, £45.10
While some of the scents above are rightly considered classics, they are all mere whippersnappers by comparison to famous London perfumier Penhaligon's esteemed Blenheim Bouquet. First created more than a century ago, the fragrance is undoubtedly traditional, combining top notes of lavender, lemon and lime with base notes of musk and pine. But it's so well-balanced and cleanly executed that there's not a whiff of old fuddy duddy about it. As classic as a Barbour coat or a pair of brogues, it's the perfect cologne for a gentleman of a certain age.
5. Invictus by Paco Rabanne, £39.99
Another thoroughly modern fragrance, Invictus takes its name from the Latin for "unconquered" or "invincible" and could be the perfect choice for the sporty chap – and not just because the bottle is shaped like a trophy. Combining top notes of grapefruit and sea spray with bay leaf and a base of patchouli and ambergris – the scent has an outdoorsy, active feel.