A running joke between myself and Aaron Clarey involves him giving me a packet of Irish Spring soap while I tell him that he’s an idiot and I throw it in the bin. I’m not exactly sure how this all started but when he arrived last weekend he performed the trick on no less than two occasions; the second time was a 3 pack of all things.

However, I did have my revenge. On our final afternoon together we had lunch with The Great One in New Orleans in a very nice lounge bar. I made a point of asking each of our lovely and debonair waitresses their opinion on the subject of Irish Spring soap. The verdict was unanimous – it is an abomination best left to those about to celebrate their 100th year on this planet.

Clarey was a little crushed at the responses, but he took it well like the good sport that he is. We had a few other exchanges over the weekend on the subject of men’s grooming products at which I have some reasonable knowledge, and as such I thought that it would be a benefit to my readership to share some of the recommendations that I gave the lads during their stay in Louisiana.

But first, an anecdote. Back in the days when I was a young rafting guide living in Cairns there was a lovely young lady who was a sister of one of the local guides who we all kept our hands off out of respect for our colleague. One evening she was out with our group although I was not present. The conversation turned to the guides and she was asked to give one positive aspect for each of the rafting guides that she knew. I found out about this a few days later and of course I inquired as to what she said about me.

She said that I always smelled amazing.

Lads, I cannot begin to emphasize how important personal hygiene is for men. But as in all things, moderation is required. You could have the best aftershave in the world but if you slather it on like it’s sunscreen then it’s not going to work for you. So a few basic pointers are required.

Firstly, you use aftershaves and deodorants to complement your natural masculine odor, not to overpower it. Of course, you also use them so as to not stink like a pig, but I’m hoping that this point was relatively well known already. I find that the best combination is a stick deodorant together with a spray-on cologne. You want to spray the cologne on your lower neck and chest, but just two or three hits is usually the right amount. Always err on the too little side.

There are many products out there and of course you can go and experiment as much as you like, but I will make a couple of recommendations for those who are interested.

Terre D’Hermes is an outstanding choice, both for the scent itself and the long lasting nature of the stick. I usually get more than 6 months out of one of these bad boys. Here is the accompanying cologne.

Don’t balk at the price; you should be able to get a year out of this.

Another product that I return to time and time again is Acqua di Parma, particularly their Colonia Essenza collection. You will notice that there is a spray and a splash cologne on offer. In case you are wondering which one to use and where, the splash is a true aftershave and is used on the face after shaving as it helps to revitalize the facial pores.

For a hotter climate try their Mirto di Panerea. You will find some colognes work better in warmer of colder times of the year than others. My favorite cold weather cologne is Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather. Yes it is stupidly expensive but this stuff is the shit when you’re in a really cold climate. Tom Ford’s entire collection is ridiculously amazing. Your best bet is to go into a fine department store and sample a few and then I would recommend making your purchase at an airport.

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