As reluctant as I am to blow my own trumpet, I like to think I have impeccable taste when it comes to men’s fragrances. So I was thrilled to learn that Mankind are now stocking scents from one of my all time favourite fragrance houses, Czech & Speake.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the company was initially set up by Frank Sawkins in the late seventies to sell his exquisite bathroom accessories. Like the fragrances that eventually followed, these accessories combined quintessential Englishness with fine, traditional design and a gentlemanly exclusiveness you’d expect from a company based in Jermyn Street, one of London’s most exclusive fashion districts.
My absolute favourite is No 88 which took its name from the number of the building in Jermyn Street where Sawkins had his original studio. I first smelt in back in mid Eighties (it launched in ‘81) and instantly fell in love with its barbershop talciness, long-lasting sensual dry down (courtesy of vetiver and sandalwood) and cool black packaging. If you’re looking for a masculine fragrance with absolutely bags of staying power I honestly can’t think of a better one! The fact that I still wear it, some 25 years after discovering it, tells you how highly I regard it – not to mention how old I am!
It’s not the only great fragrance Czech & Speake do though. If you like sparkling, fresh citrus fragrances, Neroli is one of the best you’ll ever come across. Cuba, too, is worth checking out. It’s a rich spicy, tobacco-y fragrance sometimes described as being ‘animalistic’ and does tend to polarize people but it’s great if you like uber-rich, warm and sensual smellies. And since it is coming up to Christmas time I cannot go without mentioning Czech & Speake’s Frankincense & Myrrh Cologne. The epitome of biblical luxury it might be but it’s actually a fragrance you can wear all year round if you’re a fan of those rich, evocative insense fragrances. But come on, with a name like that, can you think of a better present? It’s certainly on my Xmas list!
Lee, Mankind Grooming Ed