Updated: Mar 1, 2019

Have you tried these two new releases from Emporio Armani? They're everywhere at the moment. One of the adverts shows a young couple in a very impractical position on a bicycle with their heads pressed together. If you spent Valentines Day last week alone then you may have wished they fell off and injured themselves (only slightly of course). Stronger With You Intensely (for men) and In Love With You (for women) are two fragrances aimed at millennials (or is it Generation Z now?) and seek to capture the essence of young love in all its unbridled, happy, sweet, excitable naivety.

The two fragrances are flankers to the original Stronger With You (for men) and its female counterpart Because It's You, both released in 2017.

Stronger With You Intensely (Eau de Parfum)


Top: Juniper, Pink Pepper, Violet

Mid: Lavender, Sage, Toffee, and Cinnamon

Base: Suede, Vanilla, Amber

Stronger With You Intensely is a warm, sweet, rich scent with prominent notes of pink pepper, toffee, amber and tonka. Fans of modern smelling masculine big sellers such as One Million by Paco Rabanne and La Nuit de L'Homme by YSL will love this one. It’s sensual, inviting and comforting all at once.

The fruity, fresh sweetness of the original Stronger With You morphs into a warmer and richer evolution of its antecedent with less of the apple like brightness of the 2017 release. There is a faint suggestion of booze....imagine the smell of brandy snaps infused with cinnamon and you will have a good idea how this one smells.

The scent doesn't develop much on skin and could be viewed as synthetic smelling with its aroma chemical driven gourmand undertones. However, natural or not, this Eau de Parfum is decidedly pleasant and makes amends with its universal likeability for what it may lack in sophistication or originality.

Let's be clear, I like and enjoy this fragrance and have worn it happily a few times now.

Longevity and sillage are both decent without being overbearing and this would be a great choice for a man in his twenties looking to please or attract a partner.

In Love With You (Eau de Parfum)


Top: Sour Cherry, Raspberry, Blackcurrant

Mid: Rose, Jasmine, Wormwood

Base: Patchouli

The opening of In Love with You is all about sweet red berries. Sour cherry is mentioned and I also detect a peachy note. The opening gives way to the undeniably sweet and floral mid and base. The journey of the perfume over the duration of a wearing is not a complex one. This "pink" smelling scent smells very youthful and extremely feminine. There is a powdery feel and a pleasant floral aura which complements the bite of the berries very well indeed. As with the male counterpart, In Love With You will be very popular with those who enjoy well established and highly popular designer scents for women, such as Prada's Candy. If we are looking for a more prestigious comparison, In Love With You has some similarities to the widely acclaimed niche fragrance Baccarat Rouge by Maison Francis Kurkdijan. Here we have, perhaps, a lighter and simpler take on that theme.

The candy floss accord created by ethyl maltol also plays its part in keeping In Love With You very easy to like. The smell conveys an image of energetic and uncomplicated vitality and youth and there's nothing wrong with that. Young women looking for an easy choice that is a change from their current scent of preference, without being a leap into the unknown, could do a great deal worse than this. In Love with You is a very well made sweet, fruity floral fragrance with a charming bottle design and a scent that is sure to please the average nose.

Performance is good but not spectacular - as with Stronger with You.

Both of these new releases by Emporio Armani are youthful and modern smelling. They are well crafted and enjoyable with lovely bottles. Anyone who likes sweet designer fragrances will find them highly enjoyable to wear. Those seeking art and innovation in fragrances may find them less to their taste, but they are not the target audience of Emporio Armani. Young people interested in smelling good and getting on with life will be very well served by these two perfumes.

I have heard that they can be layered together to create a unisex fragrance. I tried it and it smelled very nice... but so does the back pocket full of tester strips, with 30 different fragrances intermingled, that I throw away after every trip to my nearest department store!

Thanks to for providing me with these two bottles for review. You can buy them there for the following prices:

Stronger With You Intensely:

50ml - £45.90

100ml - £63.75

In Love with You:

30ml - £41.75

50ml £57.80

100ml - £76.50

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  • Dan Naughton

Here are 5 reviews from the upcoming book I am co-authoring with my partner and fellow fragrance lover Claire Sprigmore (aka Smurfygurly). "101 Fragrances You Must Try" is the working title. We feature all kinds of men's and women's fragrances. Designer, niche and cheapie scents are all included and we discuss the good, bad and indifferent.

Aqua Amara - Bulgari ****

A mandarin fragrance for boys and girls that want to smell fresh and get noticed! This is quite the bombastic fantastic freshie indeed. I remember a while ago Dan getting all excited about it and I thought it was OK, quite nice and definitely a strong performer for a fresh scent. He wore it again quite recently and I really enjoyed it. It grabbed my attention fully this time around and I realised there was something a little bit special about this masculine marketed shiny copper pebble. I wanted to wear it for myself and so I did! I surreptitiously crept into Mr Smelly’s chamber of stink and spritzed 10 sprays upon myself (quite unnecessarily by the way, 5 sprays would have easily sufficed). I proceeded about my day with what felt like an amber hued glow surrounding my person for at least an arm’s length. At work my female colleagues agreed that this is definitely something that can be worn by the ladies too. Basically, a mandarin fragrance with a hint of sweet florals and a touch of understated sea breeze with none of that disgusting seaweed that can often be found in fragrances that share this genre. Highly recommended. (Claire)

One Million – Paco Rabanne **

I’m standing in a fragrance shop perusing the designer fragrances and a couple in their 30s are next to me. “What’s that one you like?” the lady asks her partner. “That gold one innit?” the man replies. The answer is now clear... “that’s it ... this one..... millions” the lady exclaims. One Million is a huge success, thanks in part to its gaudy gold bar design and ubiquitous advertising campaign. The smell is a not unpleasant mixture of synthetic apple-like freshness and hubba bubba essential oil. The failure to name the numerous flankers One Billion, One Trillion, Two Million etc was an epic fail.  (Dan)

Portrait of a Lady - Frederic Malle *****

This is a modern classic and a must try for any fragrance aficionado, even if you hate rose you should still experience the magic of Portrait of a Lady at least once.

The lady in this particular portrait is a bold and flamboyant Rose, she is never without her best friend and confidante Miss Raspberry Resplendent. Together they cause a stir at every party. So picture the two ladies sweetly fragrant at a lavish ball. There is a huge baroque dining table laden with spicy delights, you can smell the cumin in these delicious offerings but only just, more so you can smell the wood from the table and the two ladies themselves. Then please notice the dessert table, there are vanilla custard flans sprinkled lightly with cinnamon. In the background incense is burning, offering a sweet, lightly smoky ambiance. The ladies party all night and their perfumes are always noticed, though some of the other female guests whisper behind their hands that the pair are far too loud, I think they are the perfect party guests when the mood is right.  (Claire)

Spice and Wood – Creed *****

Certainly both spicy and woody, this one is also somewhat fresh and very classy. I am sure I pick up on a significant but unlisted vetiver note. Spice and Woods sits somewhere between the crowd pleasing affability of the ubiquitous Aventus and the masculine sophistication of Bois du Portugal. It doesn’t smell like either. Fresh and citrusy with the sweetness of the apple and with an undefinable spicy characteristic plus warming woods in the base. - Spice and Wood is one of the highest quality smelling Creeds. This was a surprise moving in gift from the amazing and far too generous Claire. The constantly increasing price is preposterously high and the fragrance presumably sits in the category of goods where the normal laws of economics are inapplicable and the product becomes more attractive to customers as its price rises from extravagant to extortionate. It’s probably more expensive now than it was when you started reading this review. (Dan)

Sauvage – Dior **

Sauvage is the epitomy of a modern masculine fragrance. Francois Demachy and Dior know what they are doing. This 2015 release was probably years in the making. It would have been trialled on numerous focus groups and undergone countless refinements before the near perfect, mass appealing, fresh smelling early 21st century smell of man was put on the market. Sauvage combines bergamot, lavender and a supercharged aroma chemical called ambroxan which has become the star (or scourge) of modern masculine perfumery. Taking its cues from the highly successful Bleu de Chanel (2010), Sauvage ups the ante and takes the sporty, shower gel meets deodorant fragrance concept to its logical conclusion. This one certainly smells good. It is fresh and clean and with a soapy metallic theme that projects through the air like a patriot missile with an ambroxan tip. 

After a while Sauvage gets a little annoying. The aroma is very monotone and doesn’t really have any charming idiosyncrasies. That’s the idea. There is nothing to offend anyone here and there is almost nothing that might be more to some tastes than others. Therein lies the reason for Sauvage’s success. It is arguably the best of the middle of the road, fresh smelling modern men’s fragrances. It is also a bit boring and doesn’t make any kind of statement about the wearer. It doesn’t transport you to a tropical beach or a smoky gentlemen’s club. It won’t remind you of a smell you remember from childhood and it won’t make you feel like an Arab prince. It just smells “nice”. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you are interested enough in fragrances to be reading this then you surely aspire to something more exciting. Sauvage is really well made and probably deserves at least 3 stars but I’m knocking one off for the fact that you’ll smell like any other Tom, Dick or Harry. Speaking of Dicks, the advertising features Johnny Depp.  (Dan)

We hope you enjoyed these 5 reviews. Look out for more news about the imminent book release on my YouTube channel MrSmelly1977 and on this website.

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  • Dan Naughton

Updated: Feb 8, 2019

The explosion of the niche fragrance market in the last ten years has been seismic. Gone are the days when a trip to Boots in your local high street was all that was needed to purchase the best male fragrances on the market. While the designer fragrance houses continue to pump out dozens of underwhelming sequels or “flankers” to their best known fragrances, it is increasingly the domain of niche fragrance brands that is the destination for discerning gentlemen seeking sophisticated signature scents.

If Aventus by Creed seems too expensive (or too obvious) but you’d like to take a step up from Dior Sauvage or Paco Rabanne One Million then read on.

Here are 5 great masculine fragrances from niche brands that can all be bought for less than £100. Just search around online for the best deals and be sure to buy from a trusted retailer.

Acqua di Parma - Colonia Essenza - Eau de Cologne

Acqua di Parma is an Italian brand with a large range of scents mostly (but not exclusively) emphasising mediterranean citrus freshness. I have tried them all many times and I own quite a few. For me, Colonia Essenza is the most beautiful and alluring of the bunch. Zesty citrus notes, classic herbaceous tones, crisp florals and a weighty undertone of patchouli, vetiver and musk make this the perfect scent to apply on a summer holiday when pulling on a white shirt after a day bronzing in the sun. You will be the best smelling bloke at that foam party in Magagluf! I wear this all year round and it is perfectly suitable for any occasion.

Despite the Eau de Cologne designation Essenza lasts extremely well and is very noticeable in the air around you for some time. The RRP for 100ml is just over £100 but you can find it for well under that with a bit of searching online.

Houbigant - Fougere Royale - Eau de Parfum

First created in the late 19th Century, Fougere Royale was the original fougere (or fern like) fragrance. Now reformulated and revived for the 21st century, this is a fresh yet rich and manly scent with an air of gravitas and reassurance that inspires confidence. The freshness of bergamot mixes with lavender, oak moss, tonka and patchouli for a refined and classy aroma that has a hint of nostalgia without smelling old fashioned. The longevity and scent trail are above average without being in your face. Perfect for dressed up scenarios and a good work scent if you want to smell important. At the time of writing 100ml one is available at Notino UK for £77.

Mancera - Cedrat Boise - Eau de Parfum

This fruity fresh citrus and woods combination is often compared to Aventus by Creed. There is a definite similarity but this is by no means a mere copy of the ubiquitous Creed scent. Cedrat Boise combines lemon, blackcurrant, crisp woods, musk and vanilla for a very long lasting and potent scent that is a real crowd pleaser. Perfect for any situation and in my humble opinion just a bit better than Aventus. Prepare for compliments when wearing this one. Performance is verging on beast mode on my skin. You should be able to pick up a 120ml bottle online for just under £100 with 60ml bottles also available for under £70.

Nicolai - New York Intense - Eau de Parfum

Created by Patricia de Nicolai – great granddaughter of Jean Pierre Guerlain of the eponyomus French fragrance house – New York Intense received a 5 star rating in Perfumes the Guide 2018 by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. On a less prestigious note it also gets a double thumbs up from Mr Smelly.

This is a slightly retro smelling spicy, powdery and woody masculine fragrance. Citrus, lavender, vanilla, styrax, musk and civet are just some of the notes in this complex and classy eau de parfum. Civet is a fragrance note derived from civet musk – a foul smelling scent produced by the anal glands of the male civet cat. Don’t worry – notes like these are often used in small amounts to provide depth and sensuality to fragrances. Wearing New York Intense will make you smell more like the cat’s whiskers than its backside. It’s a gorgeous mixture of fresh citrus notes, herbal aromatics, smooth woody tones and a buttery, sexy sweetness. It somehow hints at barbeshop/dad smells but avoids the medallion man connotations of 70's favourites such as Brut or Old Spice. The scent performs very well indeed.

This gem from Nicolai is a great alternative to the equally brilliant but far more expensive Invasion Barbare by MDCI Parfums. A 30ml bottle can be had for around £50.

Laboratory Perfumes - Gorse - Eau de Toilette

Gorse is a shrub which smells a bit like coconut. That’s a good starting point for describing this fragrance. A bright and breezy combination of lime, coconut with woods in the base. The subtle sweetness of the coconut/gorse accord combined with the zesty lime somehow comes off smelling a bit like a mojito – even though the fragrance contains neither mint nor rum notes - but you get the idea. It’s refreshing, uplifting and makes you feel happy. This one is definitely unisex. Correction – It’s UNISEXY!

Gorse smells very similar indeed to the more expensive Virgin Island Water by Creed. The scent lasts very well on the skin and is equally appropriate for year round daily wear or spring and summer evenings. 100ml is £65 and comes in a great laboratory beaker style bottle.

Seek out these fabulous and reasonably priced fragrances to experience some of the best scents available for just a bit more than designer scent prices. Have fun and remember - whatever we're doing in life - Let's Project!

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