Review – Viktor & Rolf – Spicebomb

V&R SpicebombSo, during a much-required respite from the daily grind of work, I was partaking in a leisurely stroll through Von Maur for lunch when my nose detected an alluring fragrance cascading through the air. With my interest sufficiently piqued, I inspected the surrounding area to ascertain where the unexpected scent was emanating. Traversing my way across the department, I eventually landed near a glass sales counter where select fragrances were housed for display. A fellow gentleman shopper was a smidgen overzealous with his testing technique and blanketed the men’s department with the contents of Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb. Fortunately, by the time the scent gravitated and dissipated towards my section, I was able to receive much gentler notes than the initial blast radius. And speaking of blast radius, I would be remiss if I did not mention the cologne’s presentation – an imitation hand grenade. Sure, the display leans heavily on the adolescent side, however, that should not discourage a gentleman regarding the contents. And the contents…

Observations

Top Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Elemi, Pink Pepper

Middle Notes: Cinnamon, Saffron, Chili

Base Notes: Leather, Tobacco, Vetiver

  • The introduction of the top notes is resoundingly deep and spicy. The warm scent can definitely be characterized as a heavier fragrance, but it is not too heavy to be deemed as overwhelming.
  • Slowly transitioning into the middle notes, the distinct presence of cinnamon, accompanied with faint hints of vanilla, can be appreciated for an extended period of time.
  • The scent settles nicely with sweet tones of tobacco and leather. However, the fragrance begins to slowly disappear after a few hours. Honestly, I wish the cologne’s finale lasted a bit longer.
  • Given that fact, a gentleman will be tempted to administer a few extra applications in the beginning. I would strongly dissuade a gentleman from taking such extreme measures. Given the relative strength of the top notes, applying too much in the beginning with aspirations of attaining a long-lasting ending will only result in a headache inducing nausea.
  • Therefore, I recommend dispensing 4-5 sprays from your glass replica hand grenade, and reserving its utilization for moments that don’t require an extended performance – a late evening engagement would suffice. Trust, it is a seductive scent, but don’t expect it to last from the early morning to late evening.
  • Spicebomb 1.7 oz  $90.00 or 3.4 oz $110.00 – Available at Nordstrom, Macy’s, Sephora, Von Maur or any fine men’s department store.
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Black Thought

carter g. woodson 2“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to live with life as they find it and make it better.”

– Carter G. Woodson

To be absolutely sure, a gentleman’s life earns new significance when he not only identifies his purpose, but he also cultivates that purpose into something tangible that benefits other individuals. It is tragically irresponsible when an accomplished gentleman attains a certain degree of success, only to be miserly and penurious with his blessings. For the blessed gentleman that enjoys prosperity and favor, it is critical that he utilizes his influence to encourage, empower, and educate the under-served, often neglected sects of our society. When benevolence and compassion no longer exists in the hearts and minds of men, the quality of life for both the fortunate and less fortunate gradually diminish. And the best quality of life is something we should all strive to achieve – for everyone. So, operating within your domain of achievement, I urge the gentleman to re-purpose his purpose and seek to promote excellence and success in the lives those whom are underprivileged. And going forward, hopefully, they will perform the same charitable act for someone else.

The Standard #3

harlemThe knowledgeable gentleman comprehends that his image does not begin with how society views him. Rather, the gentleman’s image begins with how he sees himself. He alone determines and dictates the manner in which he is presented to the world. When he gazes into the mirror, the reflection of greatness should readily greet him. It does not begin with the clothing he chooses to attire himself in, nor the vehicle he selects to navigate city streets. Not the place of employment where he makes a living. Not the amount of money presently residing in his bank account. Why? Well, because character starts with his self-worth. His esteem is not erected upon a mountain of biodegradable materialism – subject to decay and waste. No, the gentleman’s image is based on gentlemanly fundamentals that are concrete and certain. Virtue. Honor. Principle. Forthrightness. The Gentlemen’s Standard.

#YourBlackLifeMatters

i-am-a-man-protest1In the interest of clarity for the audience, this blog entry is not an affront to the current nationwide slogan Black Lives Matter. Because, despite some stubborn reluctance to accept historical reality, the systematic campaign that has been waged against Black Americans in this country, to undermine and dehumanize our lives, is ample justification for many to cry out that their black lives do in fact matter. And although this hashtag propelled slogan has attained growing popularity over the past year – to be quite candid here – this modern battle cry is suitably applicable for nearly every decade of the black experience here in the United States of America.

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Standard Recommendations – The Nose Hair Trimmer

Panasonic TrimmerA gentleman’s grooming regimen usually entails the obligatory cadre of routine bathroom rituals: the fundamental shower or bath, the brushing and flossing of teeth, hair management, and the required application of moisturizers and deodorant. However, there are certain grooming requirements that largely go undetected or ignored. And as a gentleman ages, these grooming requirements can become problematic if left neglected. Case in point: A few months ago, I was experiencing a slight tickle inside my right nostril. Quickly surmising that I needed to blow my nose, I proceeded to relieve my nose of any mucosal debris, but alas it did not resolve the issue. Further inspecting my nose in the mirror, I was horrified to discover a long strand of hair swaying back and forth like a kite in a gentle wind.

Panicking, my mind raced – how many people had I spoken to with this unsightly, giant hair hanging out my nose? The resolution was simple: Go forth to a department store and purchase a nose hair trimmer. Sure, I incorrectly thought only men that served in World War II required the use of such a device, but now was not the moment to be prideful. No one would have to know what goes on in my bathroom – although now you do – just as long as I didn’t have hirsute nostrils come the next morning.

So there, I present to you an embarrassing moment in my mid-adult years. If you have this issue, trust, it only takes a few seconds to address, maybe once a month. The investment – the money and time – pales in comparison to the notion of having Cousin It camping out inside your nose. A gentleman can go all out and spend up to $50.00 for one or be frugal and procure a trimmer from a discount department chain such as TJ Maxx. I remember my electronics instructor from 11th grade, he had hair protruding from his both ears and nostrils. Not to mention that his chest hair was on a jail break from his dress shirt, but that is another blog post. But, anyway, I cannot allow myself to go out like that. You should not either.

Brotherly Love – Samuel L. Jackson – The Rake Magazine

samuel l jacksonSure, on a superficial level, Samuel L. Jackson gracing the cover of Rake Magazine may appear as business per usual to the general public. However, from the perspective of an African-American male, namely my own, this cover represents something more powerful than its elementary purpose. Due to its dearth in the mainstream media, the illustration of the black male, regaled in style and distinction, is always a welcome sight. That being stated, I wanted to list a few personal thoughts on contemporary style choices that stand in contrast to the illustration above. Caveat: These are just one elder gentleman’s opinion that has to dress in the business world. So if these statements don’t apply, then let it fly. Nevertheless, some gentlemen are out here doing too much.

  • Nowadays, some gentlemen are compelled to engage in an orgy of accessory adornment; it really is not necessary. Less is certainly more. If you find yourself rocking 6-7 bracelets on one or both wrists – you’re doing too much.
  • In recent years, the endorsement of the skinny or slim aesthetic has pervaded the gentlemanly landscape of style, and the results have been pretty much hit or miss. Some men are simply going too small and the presentation just isn’t working. Thankfully this trend is shrinking – pun intended – and style is gravitating back to clothing that fit appropriately. If you’re shopping in the boy’s section for a pair of jeans that “fit” – you’re doing too much.
  • Style is all about freedom of personal expression through the medium of clothing. However, if all of a sudden, you decide to rock a woman’s blouse or dress just to appear edgy – you’re doing too much.
  • Sometimes a gentleman will have to reach a little deeper into his wallet than desired to procure a stylish item. However, if you are purchasing a myriad of designer brands with no rhyme or reason, no purpose or cohesion – you’re doing too much.
  • Tattoos are fine. Hell, I have tattoos. However, tattoos on one’s face is – with all due respect – ridiculous. If your employment prospects are severely hindered because you look like a serial killer awaiting execution – you’re doing too much with the face tats brother.
  • If you are a gentleman of a certain age, say, 35 years or older; dressing like the latest hip hop, one hit wonder is not in your best interest. The wrinkles, receding hairline, and grey hairs belie your youthful, hip hop attire. From one aging gentleman to another, we’re not Jay Z – you’re doing too much.

Black Thought

paul-robeson“Having been given, I must give.”

-Paul Robeson

Sometimes, when sequestered within moments of quiet solitude, thoughtful ruminations reveal how incredibly fortunate I am. Fortunate, not in regards to monetary value, rather, fortunate in regards to the many blessings I have reaped tremendous benefit. Yes, I have been given much. Now, I understand that some individuals hold fast to the belief that they earn everything with no, if not minimal, assistance required. Well, sometimes success acts as a vanity whose reflection never grows tiresome to the person looking at it. Look, one cannot be merciless, yet expect mercy. One cannot embrace avarice, yet expect generosity. One cannot espouse hate, yet expect love. Only speaking for myself, I have been granted favor and opportunity. I have been afforded mercy and forgiveness. I have been given love and grace. And because of those realities, it is of the utmost importance that I give back. Giving back – it could arrive in the form of your time, an inspirational word, a much needed hug, or an important professional opportunity. No one ever truly does it on their own. Someone, right now, needs you. And you may need someone. Go ahead, give of yourself and surely you will be given.

Standard Recommendations – The Long Handle Shoe Horn

Long Handle Shoe HornRegarding our footwear, at one moment or another in our lives, we have probably committed the same sartorial shoe sin: haphazardly cramming one’s feet into an unsuspecting pair; unfairly treating them like worn, downtrodden slippers. Nothing can ruin an otherwise dapper presentation more than a dubious association with run-over kicks. So, in the spirit of simplifying a gentleman’s life, along with maintaining the appearance extending the life of his shoes, I highly recommend purchasing a shoe horn. Well, not just any shoe horn, I am espousing the virtues of a long handle shoe horn – preferably one with an ergonomic, rubberized handle and spring-aided, flexible head. Excellent for gentlemen with compromised ranges of motion, one can slip in and out of his beloved wingtips without crushing the counter and beating up the quarters. Relatively inexpensive, a long handle shoe horn can be procured at any reputable retail store or fine men’s department store. Definitely a wise investment, your back and your shoes will thank you immediately.

Review – Zirh – Prepare Botanical Pre-shave Oil

Zirh PrepareFor all intents and purposes, a gentleman’s shaving regimen is seemingly relegated to the application of a chosen shaving cream to the face, closely followed by customary hair removal, courtesy of a series of meaningful strokes from a safety razor. It is a relatively standard practice, free of affectation and complexity. However, as my education in the art of shaving advanced, I soon became exposed to grooming details that were wholly unfamiliar. And one of those details: pre-shave oil. Coordinating with a gentleman’s shaving cream, pre-shave oil is designed to assist your razor with an easy, fluid glide across your skin. Today, we are looking at a pre-shave oil offering from Zirh, their Prepare Botanical Pre-Shave Oil. Did I escape with no cuts, razor burn, or nicks. Let’s see how it performed.

Observations

  • Packaged in a small silver squeeze container, Zirh Prepare arrives with a clear appearance and clean, odorless fragrance.
  • Given that this product is oil based, it is pleasantly light with a non-greasy touch. It does not leave a greasy residue and absorbs into the skin at a moderate pace.
  • Depending on the thickness of one’s beard, only a small amount is necessary to prepare the area that is being shaved. I estimate that perhaps a dime-sized amount is sufficient enough to cover an area an inch in diameter.
  • Regarding performance, Zirh Prepare does reduce the friction that may arise when shaving. My shave was noticeably smooth and easy. But aside from aiding my safety razor with an effortless glide across my skin, it was the post-shave feel that really stood out. Not only was there an absence of burn & irritation; my skin felt incredibly soft and supple. So, Zirh Prepare not only provides a smooth shave, it also helps moisturize and calm the skin. Please note: A Gillette Fusion safety razor was used during shaving.
  • Given its moisturizing qualities, I even employed Zirh Prepare as a beard moisturizer. My hair is slightly coarse, so Zirh Prepare really helped in softening up and providing a healthy appearance to my beard. Only a smaller amount is required if you choose to utilize Zirh Prepare in this capacity.
  • Now, I have to exercise a measure of honesty, the price point of $18.50 for just 1 fluid ounce will surely frighten some gentlemen away, especially with less expensive alternatives on the market. Nevertheless, if your shaving regimen is infrequent and your wallet can sustain the financial commitment, Zirh Prepare is a great product to have stocked in your medicine cabinet.
  • As mentioned above, retails for $18.00 at 1.0 fl oz (30 ml). Zirh offers a unique payment plan. A gentleman can choose a one time payment, or an auto-replenishment is available in bi-monthly or quarterly intervals. If anyone has any experience with this replenishment program, please feel free to comment.
  • For more details, please visit http://www.zirh.com/men-shaving-products/prepare-preshave-oil.html for information.

Product Specifications

Zirh Prepare Botanical Pre-shave Oil

Zirh Prepare is formulated for all skin types. Designed to lubricate the beard area and improve glide while shaving. Provides a protective layer that can help prevent razor burn as well as making shaving easier and more comfortable.

Key Ingredients

  • Safflower Seed Oil: Emollient plant oil that contain beneficial fatty acids that help to repair the skin’s barrier and re-moisturize dry skin
  • Carica Papaya Fruit Extract: Has exfoliating properties to provide for a smoother shave.
  • Mango Fruit Extract: Antioxidant.

The Standard #36

Mountain

To be sure, it is certainly not common for self-esteem issues to be discussed in respect to adult males. Surely, any deeply rooted issues regarding self-respect and self-worth should have been addressed and resolved during adolescence and early adulthood. At least that is what some people hold to be true. However, this misguided belief is not grounded in reality. Being a male does not preclude one from experiencing tribulations that weigh heavily on the heart and mind. If there is a certainty that a gentleman can rely upon; it is the certainty that life will continue transpire as long as he continues to live. And as such, there may be a myriad of life events that may call into question the value of a gentleman’s worth, well, at least within his own psyche.

Nonetheless, please understand, a gentleman should never allow adverse circumstances or another individual’s profound insecurity to diminish or corrode his worth. Life is stained with imperfection and no one has been granted immunity from its reach. What a gentleman may perceive as flaw or failure; there is fertile opportunity for triumph and happiness. Embrace your imperfections. Welcome your flaws. And then proceed to put in the work to be a better you. However, do not act to please another individual or individuals. This is for you. Your worth is not predicated upon the integrity of someone else’s opinion. Your worth is predicated upon the fact that you are your own unique individual: confident, strong, happy, successful, and great. You just have to believe. I believe in your greatness, and so should you.

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