Grandpa Smells Good – Happy Father’s Day Henry

by Matthew Tilker on June 14, 2014

Scent is our most powerful sense, a trigger to unlocking vivid memories. Original Old Spice reminds me of my grandpa. He lived until he was 100 years old, and from ninety onwards, he shaved less frequently. But when he did, he always used a few drops of Old Spice. As I type this, the image of his tan, ruddy, freshly shaven skin (except the neck which he seemed to miss as he got older) exuding that “manly” aroma of cinnamon, citrus and musk flashes before my very eyes. It is a memory that I would not trade for anything.

As Father’s day approaches, we naturally turn our thoughts to our Dads and Grandfathers, and hopefully a distinctive pleasant smell comes to your mind. Magazine articles on perfume and “fragrance snob bloggers” (as I like to call them) often try to deride the old classics—Old Spice, Brut, Aqua Velva, Aramis – but for many of us…they ARE embedded in the very fiber of the memories of the men we love. And for good reason, they have history on their side: release dates –1937, 1964, 1917, 1965 – and are all still on the market. So take that Aqua Di Gio!

Today our sense of masculinity is more nuanced. Alpha males, beta males, hipster, techie, SNAG (sensitive new age guy)….the masculine spectrum holds far more personality types that it did in the days of Walt Cleaver and JP Rockefeller. Yes it can be confusing at times, but I am very proud of the five strikingly different Mistral men’s scents. We hear from mom’s that their son got rid of his stinky Axe for a bar of Black Amber or that somebody’s father just loves the fresh clean scent of Cedarwood Marine. From a creative standpoint, the possibilities for men’s fragrances are now endless.

But truth be told, I also feel a tinge of nostalgia for the good old days, the simpler times when the great generation worked hard, fought hard, raised families, and built America into a global powerhouse. They didn’t have the choices we have today but they sure smelled like men.


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Summer Gardens

by Matthew Tilker on June 1, 2014

The great French thinker Voltaire famously said, “iI faut cultiver notre jardin,” and this summer I am blessed to have my three year old daughter as my helper. Each evening we go out to our little “potager” and she waters our selection of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and fresh herbs. I say to her, “this is where our food comes from.” I am not sure she understands the full cycle of Mother Nature yet, but she takes real pride in watering “her” plants.

Mistral - Watering the Garden

We also walk around the neighborhood stopping to enjoy all the plants that are blooming. We always stop and smell the fresh honesysuckle, rosemary and roses in various gardens that we pass. So much so in fact, that sniffing our way around town has become such a part of our walks that my daughter will go over to the same rosemary bush each time to smell the green needles.

Mistral - smelling the Rosemary

“I don’t like Daddy,” she said recently when smelling some pungent night blooming jasmine. Citrus is her favorite – oranges and orange blossoms. She takes after her dad.

In our age of increasing industrialization and technology, it is important for us all to know the basics: where our food comes from, how the planet sustains us, and how the beauty of nature inspires and uplifts us all.


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The Black Bar

May 23, 2014

We are very happy that the guys at Valet. selected our Black Amber bar soap in their feature on fine black bar soaps for men. A perennial favorite of jeunes garçons et hommes distingués, Black Amber is what great soap should be: powerfully fragrant, uber-rich, with a hint of swagger and substance. And for those […]

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Perfume is like wine

May 24, 2013

Perfume is like wine. Both are highly nuanced sensory “experiences” that come in a variety of styles and evoke intense pleasure. “Pairing” is also a key part of wine and fragrance enjoyment – finding just the right protein, starch, vegetable and cheese (in the world of scent: top, middle, and base notes) to harmonize with […]

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Apples in Spring

April 19, 2013

It is one of those spring afternoons in Provence, when the hills are alive with color and the air is full of fragrance. Wild thyme flaunts its delicate pink flowers, the grapevines awaken from their winter slumber, and bees dance from blossom to blossom fattening themselves on rich nectars.  In the city (code for Marseille), […]

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What Is Castile Soap?

February 14, 2011

What is Castile Soap? Castile soap is a type of soap made exclusively from vegetable oil rather than animal fat or artificial ingredients.  It is ideal for the body as well as the environment.  True Castile soaps are the mildest and most moisturizing of all soaps, typically unscented and free of color additives, making it a […]

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