At $63/ounce for Neroli Portofino Limited Eau de Parfum Ford has an interest in customers pouring it, or we suppose, misting it down the drain. Putting any ulterior motive aside, this advice violates at least two Magnificent Bastard axioms:
We are definitely not opposed to cologne. As we've gotten older we've gotten smellier and sometimes need notes of both spice and woods as a countermeasure. But instead of showering under an atomizer, try a couple dabs of a solid cologne like Alfred Lane's Vanguard. We have procured a large quantity of this and will have it available in the shop someday.
Okay, this is it — our last deal of 2014. From now until December 19, when you buy a tie or belt, we're throwing in a tin of Alfred Lane solid cologne — the Vanguard scent. Eventually we're going to be selling this in our store for $17.95. But it's Christmas time, we're feeling festive, and so we'll be handing them out for free to anyone who gets a tie, a belt, or oil painting.
Until December 19, that is. Then we're headed to Costa Rica to surf for two weeks, and we won't be back until January 3. (You can order merchandise during this time; we just won't be shipping until January 4.)
Okay, got it? Now, we suppose, it's time to address a question longtime readers may have. "Wait," you're probably saying, if you fit this description. "You guys don't like cologne. Why are you selling it in your store?"
And it's true that while answering a question about Axe, we once exclaimed, "We're not fans of cologne per se." And then followed that up a month later with an even stronger declaration: "Ben, no such thing as a 'hot new fragrance' in our book. We've recently made our case against cologne."
But that was in 2008. We're six years older now, which means we're six years smellier. Someone gave us a tin of Vanguard a while back, and we were pleasantly surprised. Unlike traditional cologne, it's solid, which makes it easy to apply with a (literal) subtle touch. Just a dab on our gullet, and its crisp and manly scent — sort of like a filtered pine forest in which a slightly inebriated Nick Nolte is enjoying a bottle of top-shelf bourbon — neutralizes the faint whiff of impending death that now emanates from our wilting telomeres.
What we're saying is we use the stuff, and like it enough to carry in our store. And if you a buy a tie or belt before December 19, you can make your own assessments, on us. Merry Christmas!
Q: What are the hot new fragrances for spring summer 2008? I really like Lacoste Elegance. --Ben
A: Ben, no such thing as a "hot new fragrance" in our book. We've recently made our case against cologne. We don't want you looking (or smelling) like the poor loser fromThe Real Housewives of New York. If you insist on a fragrance other than what comes naturally through standard toiletry and hair product usage, do it subtley in either a deordorant stick or after shave balm.
Q: My roommate wears Axe by the pound. He just won't stop! He says what else is cheap and smells good. I say Chanel Platinum, he says still too expensive. What product can you recommend for the ever so rank Axe crowd? (P.S. I read your page more than I read email.) —Eric
Eric, it's not really a product, but here's our recommendation (for you): sublease. We understand Craigslist works great.
We're not fans of cologne per se, and certainly not the low-rent Axe line. There is fragrance in so many other things these days that we think it's overkill to apply a separate product (as anyone within 20 paces of your roommate would certainly agree). If you like the hints of sage, rosemary, geranium, and lavender in Chanel Platinum, then we recommend trying the more understated approach of the aftershave balm instead.
As far as your roommate and the rest of the "ever so rank Axe crowd," when you start spraying Axe it's like getting behind the wheel of a minivan: you're too far gone for help.
The classic Negroni is simply equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. You can do better.
5 parts Plymouth gin
2 parts Campari
1 part Pimm's No. 1 Cup
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part dry vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
Quick shake or stir and pour into chilled Martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.