Having three teenage sons around the house, smell is something I feel I know quite a lot about. I can tell the moment I open the front door if there's a freshly used sports kit in the hallway, or if there are more than two visiting male friends in the house (every boy smells different), if said boys have their trainers on their feet or off and how close we are to needing to change the towels in the boys' bathroom. I know that a largish group of teenage boys-when confined in a small bedroom to play hours of Playstation-creates a heady mix of pheromones and sweat that can be aromatically toxic; consequently, I use a lot of scented candles. No wonder the first thing my cleaning lady does when she comes into our house is to open the bedroom windows.
But I can put up with all of these smells and more, so long as none of the visiting teenagers or teenage sons are experimenting with wearing cheap perfume.
Picking your first smell is always tricky, my youth is peppered with memories of males wearing Old Spice (my dad), Blue Stratos (my first boyfriend) and Brute Original (seemingly everyone else). The seventies was not a good time for male scent, it was still considered a bit gay to talk about and it was called aftershave (more manly) rather than perfume. All the TV adds seemed to feature alpha males with dodgy hair and cheap suits, where scantily clad women swooned after sniffing the air. Chinese martial arts was another favourite theme, as if the right aftershave might enable you to slice through piles of planks with one hand. Cheap perfume is just horrid and I wanted to make sure teenagesons learned at a young age the importance of investing in a quality smell.
Which brings me to Wode, by Boudicca, brought to my attention by the lovely Pippa from Nom de Plume, an excellent independent fashion boutique in south London and one of only three stockists of the perfume in the UK. What catches your eye with Wode and what makes it fantastically appealling to teenage boys is that when you spray it from the bottle, it comes out of a graffiti paint-can container and is bright colbalt blue. Woad blue infact, the war paint colour Queen Boadicea used on her army's faces to scare the living daylights out of her enemies.
Magically, the colour fades completely, leaving just a musky, leathery amber perfume which is gorgeous and a sophisticated starter-smell for teenagesons (or teenagedaughters, it's a unisex smell). But it's the spray-paint ability that really gets them going, it looks particularly scary when sprayed down white shirts (the colour can be safely sprayed onto even the finest of silks and no trace is left) across the face or even on white walls.
For perfume geeks, Pippa informs us that the same 'nose' who invented the delicious Escentric Molecules, Geza Schoen also collaborated with the Boudicca team to create Wode. The Paint version is the one to buy teenagesons, but there is also Scent (this one doesn't turn blue) which Pippa says is a more grown up, slightly headier version. One to graduate to, perhaps, when the joy of spraying everything bright blue wears off.
It's not a cheap present, at £65 a can, but it is money well invested if it helps make 'em smell better. To purchase Wode, telephone Pippa at Nom De Plume on 0208 878 7077
To find out more on Wode see www.boudiccawode.com/