Most of what we think of as modern fragrances can, in part, be traced back to Germany at the beginning of the 18th century when the Italian-born perfumer Johann Maria Farina created the world’s first eau de cologne – naming it after his adopted home city. The fragrance he created was dominated by a mixture of citrus oils along with some additional herbal oils such as lavender and rosemary.
Today these same citrus oils still dominate the world of scent but it isn’t just a simple case of oranges and lemons. There is, in fact, a range of different ingredients derived from the humble orange – fruit, flowers, leaf and all – including bergamot, petitgrain and neroli.
Of these, neroli is perhaps the finest and is steam-distilled from the blossom of the bitter orange (or chinotto). This fruit, which is not edible, is a native of Vietnam and was introduced to Europe by the crusaders in the 11th century and was named in honour of Anne Marie Orsini, the 17th century Princess of Nerola, a small town near Rome, who used it to scent her gloves.
The fragrance itself is sweet, honeyed with a slight metallic tang and blends well with any other citrus oil, making it a natural in unisex colognes. Other than in the perfume industry it is used a flavouring in the Italian soft drink Chinotto, in bitter Campari and is rumoured to be one of the secret ingredients in the recipe for Coca-Cola.
Here’s a selection of some of the very best neroli fragrances for men available right now.
According to cultural cliché, your forties is supposed to be the point at which you’re veering into “mid-life crisis” territory. But this insidious myth (only sometimes true) shouldn’t stop you from exercising a bit of flair when it comes to getting dressed. In this phase of your life, tailoring makes a reliable bedrock for every outfit, a well-cut jacket being both flattering to the figure and age-appropriate. But that doesn’t mean you have to look like a banker all the time. Instead, invest in contrasting separates, like Mr Alasdhair Willis, above, who retains a subtle edge of style in this look with sand-coloured chinos and a navy double-breasted blazer. Avoid fustiness by wearing a T-shirt instead of a shirt and, in summer, try going sockless, or contrasting your smart-casual look with a pair of white Converse sneakers. For more formal events a sharp, slim-cut, single-breasted suit from Italian experts Canali, worn with a pair of round-toed “Shannon” shoes from Church’s, will ensure “cool dad” status.
Your signature fragrance:
Neroli Cologne Spray – Bitter Orange Blossom, 100ml, by Czech & Speake
The manicure instruments have been handmade especially for Czech & Speake in Solingen, Germany. All have rounded edges to conform to international restrictions on hand luggage for air travel. The long-life nail file was developed especially for Czech & Speake utilising extremely high tech and incredibly sharp synthetic crystals which act like microscopic planes in the way they trim and shape the nail edge.
The Teflon coating on all the instruments dramatically boosts their life span by reducing oxidisation and acts as a dirt repellent, making them supremely hygienic.
“We discovered this late 18th-century formula for eau de cologne in the 1970s,” says Czech & Speake’s founder and creative director Mr Frank Sawkins of classic Neroli. The fragrance was eventually released in 1981, and it takes a confident man to wear a floral that’s this shameless (neroli and orange blossom both ride up front), though rest assured that the concoction is grounded by a balsamic note of ylang-ylang (balsams are the watery sap from plants or trees). If you think florals are not for alphas, bear in mind that this particular formula was allegedly created for Napoleon Bonaparte.
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and StyleNest know it’s also an important time to spoil the men in our life.
We’ve rounded up the best men’s grooming gifts, from classic favourites to new brands. If you’re looking for a luxe gift to take care of your beloved, look no further than our men’s grooming edit.
All He Wants For Valentines
Hanging with a sartorial superstar is great 364 days of the year, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day, you could be hard pressed to source a gift to satisfy that dapper gentleman! So once again we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to.
With an nod towards the traditional, these products are more than merely ornamental – a close shave, followed by a dash of cologne and a sprinkle of rose mouthwash can be incorporated into every stylish mans morning routine. So now, with Valentine’s Day sorted you can sit back, relax, and anticipate which delightful treats may be coming your way…
Luxury bathroom accessory retailer Czech & Speake is known for its Edwardian aesthetic, so the sharp, contemporary appearance of its New travel manicure set comes as a welcome surprise. Packaged in a tactile dark grey case, the instruments are coated in Teflon to make them hard wearing and dirt repellant. The set has been designed with rounded ends to pass even the strictest hand-luggage security checks, and nail file, developed especially for the brand, uses very sharp synthetic crystals to trim and shape the nail edges.
Czech & Speake Frankincense and Myrrh, £75 for 100ml cologne spray, czechandspeake.com
If you’re looking for a fragrance that’s fit for a king, then this highly wearable blend of two of perfumery’s most ancient ingredients is a good starting point. Rich, warm and exotic, the frankincense and myrrh are softened (and made a little less overtly Biblical) with the help of cedar wood, sandalwood and basil, along with fresh, citrusy notes of orange and lemon. Just add a bit of gold, christen yourself Balthazar (a name I’ve always liked) and, well, you’re done. Happy Christmas, guys.