Sunday 23 September 2012

G Bellini X-Bolt: Lidl Scores Another Bullseye With A "Bosting" Dupe Of Hugo Boss Bottled For Men

I am sorry my posts have been so sparse of late - now that I have some work again, I sense it will be even trickier to juggle that and the ongoing house renovations. I am mindful that I still haven't written up the remainder of my Belgian sniffing trip, however I was sidetracked the other day by a phone call from my brother. He had just picked up a bottle of Lidl's latest perfume release, X-Bolt by G Bellini. He explained that it was allegedly a copy of the original Hugo Boss for men (the bottle alone is a bit of a giveaway), and was curious to know if I had tried it. I don't think my brother had actually sniffed it himself at that point, because I remember him saying that if it turned out to be awful, it could always be repurposed as bathroom freshener, the fate of Jasper Conran Mister a few years back.

Well, as someone who has tirelessly championed the incredible smell-alike coup which is Suddenly Madame Glamour (a convincing, if somewhat weaker and more watery imitation of Coco Mademoiselle), I had to see for myself without ado, so I picked up a bottle of X-Bolt in my local branch of Lidl yesterday. Then today I nipped into Boots to spray on some Hugo Boss Bottled (to give it its full name), so that I could conduct a side-by-side comparison, albeit on female skin. Which is another reason for posting this right away, while the Hugo Boss is still relatively fresh on.

Hey, I have to say that once again I am very impressed. I don't know exactly what notes I am smelling, other than a vague luminously woody ambery quality and a slightly herbal facet, but I do detect a marked resemblance. The main difference seems to be that when you first spray Hugo Boss, it is soft and refined from the off (as men's designer scents go), whereas the Lidl scent is a little brash at the outset, but quickly settles down.

As you get into the drydown, the Lidl scent has acquired a more elegant character while the Hugo Boss seems to have become slightly more loud. This curious phenomenon may in fact be nothing more than the fact that by dint of wearing off more quickly - or making a bolt for it - X-Bolt has less of that "chemically men's aftershave-y" aspect in its latter stages. It has less of anything to be perfectly blunt. And remains at all times (while it is there at all) vastly superior to any men's fragrance I have ever tried bearing the suffix "Sport". If Hugo Boss Bottled is a 10 I would give X-Bolt a solid 8. I would quite happily sniff a man wearing X-Bolt, despite its naffly butch and somewhat Lynx-esque name; I would think he had dropped some serious cash on this bottle, not the princely sum of £3.99 for 50ml.

So in case anyone is curious here are the notes of Hugo Boss Bottled from the website of The Perfume Shop:

"With fresh, fruity top notes of apple and citrus fruits; warm, floral middle notes of geranium, cinnamon and cloves and base notes of cedar wood, vetiver, olive wood, sandalwood amber and musk."

In the past, I had hell's delight wresting the notes of one of Lidl's first feminine releases, Suddenly d'Or, out of the company's technical department in Scotland (see full saga). I see that Lila Das Gupta, writing about the launch here for Basenotes, has managed to get hold of them - perhaps Lidl has softened its stance on such matters following the huge success of Suddenly Madame Glamour, conceding that public relations is a two way street.

Top - Fresh lemon and limes, the aniseed note of tarragon
Middle - Fresh Fruity apple with a flowery aspect
Base - Vanilla, woody notes and a dry balsamy character

Source: Basenotes

Hmm, comparing those two lists they do seem to be along broadly similar lines. I wonder if the perfumer for Suddenly Madame Glamour pulled off this one too? To get so close to replicating a designer scent of this calibre on a shoestring is a remarkable technical feat, even if it might seem to some like a cheeky manoeuvre.

And as was the case with Suddenly Madame Glamour, X-Bolt has also done a blinder in a blind test, this time involving 108 people. It was carried out in London in June - in Mayfair, I see - so if respondents anywhere in Britain were going to turn their noses up at a cheapo grocery store perfume, it would be there! (Well, assuming they weren't bussed in from other less affluent neighbourhoods, that is - and maybe they were, in the interests of a representative sample.)

Whoever the respondents may have been, they were anything but sniffy...according to this article by PR Newswire consumers preferred Lidl's fragrance over David Beckham Homme (no surprises there...), Dior Homme, D&G The One, and Hugo Boss Bottled. I don't think it can just be coincidence that Hugo Boss featured in the test line up...

Has anyone else out there carried out a side-by-side comparison between the two? If so, let us know in the comments. But I for one am certainly struck by this new star in the grocery store galaxy, this "bossa nova", if you will - or do I mean "bosso novo", with it being for men...? ; - )

Photo of Hugo Boss Bottled from The Perfume Shop, photo of Lidl store from Wikimedia Commons via Clemensfranz, other photos my own

Thursday 6 September 2012

Ergonomic Joy And A Bonkers Interruptus Update

There is nothing like looking at an old “to do list” to fully realise how far you have come.

“Did I pay for train ticket twice?” (what train ticket?)

“Diagnose squeak”

“Another microfibre duvet?”

"Hilary crates"

“Ask fire station re contaminated diesel”

“Say Ryan said wld give me a few pallets”

“If people don’t know whether GCSEs count, shld we tell them?”

There’s even an idea for a blog post in here:

“Eating food with your fingers”, but it may take me a while to recall the exact angle I had in mind with that.

So yes, things have moved on a lot since I wrote those lists, but as regular readers will have noticed, I am still not managing to post very much myself – or read most of my usual set of favourite perfume blogs. This is partly because I am busy addressing the hidden flaws this lovely old house keeps yielding up, and partly because I have been receiving a number of supportive emails back channel with which I am gradually catching up.

But though I am behind on so many fronts, I have a proper desk now, which is a giant leap forward, to come over all Neil Armstrong for a moment. It is technically a table, not a desk, and belonged to a friend’s grandmother – it even boasts an actual indentation shaped like an iron where she used to rest hers face down (which, as a born again lover of antique furniture, I would not recommend). If you look closely at the photo above, you can make out the mark, just down from the succulent. As you might expect, the table also features a robust work surface to – strange but true! – actually PUT MY LEGS UNDER and THINGS ON. Yes indeedy. The sense of wellbeing that descended last weekend when I first pulled up a chair AT the desk was hard to put into words, and was topped off by a rather fine sunset, to which this side of the house is pleasantly prone. Okay, so there are still a few vestigial pink splodges in one corner of the carpet where the radiator valve seeped iron oxide-pigmented sludge the other day, but in the grand scheme of things progress has been made...

So there will be more posts along in due course, including at least one other one from my recent Belgian trip – but for now I will sign off with photos of my new (freshly ironed!) Flittersniffer scarf and the perfume fridges, finally in position in the spare room. (Obviously I pulled the curtains pretty sharpish after this shot was taken!).