Reviewed by Bharti Patel
With the run up to Christmas and so many items on the market what do you buy a man for Christmas?
My husband is forever neglecting his skin and hates spending lots of money on products, the Aldi Lacura Men’s Skin Care Gift Set is a great gift. It comes in a simple yet nice gift box with a serum and a cream in masculine style packaging. I asked my husband to try it for 7 days, day and night, and tell me if it made any difference to his skin. He said it was really good! This is high praise indeed, after a few days of not using it he noticed his skin felt tighter and drier and he could really tell the difference. Not to mention it smells lovely! I kept thinking he had put some aftershave on when getting into bed. You only need a small amount of each, it seems to go far. The revival serum feels instantly refreshing on the skin and the 24hr hydro cream is easily absorbed and does not leave a greasy feel to the skin. This is a great gift and is very well priced at £12.99, this makes me want to try out the ladies creams from Aldi next.
If you are looking to splash out on a gift a pair of sunglasses from Maui Jim are a great present. Maui Jim have released a new style called Maui Jim Snapback, these are a fashionable yet practical sunglasses that come with polarized lenses. They are available in 4 different colours, I went with the black option as this is a different style to my husband’s normal choice of sunglasses. The sunglasses come packed in a Hawaiian style box, inside there was a hard case and a soft bag/lens cloth along with the matt black sunglasses. They come with a super thin glass making them very light to wear, they are double hinged making the fitting really comfortable and fit well on any person. Driving in them in on a sunny day, they were really effective on reducing glare without effecting colours, they are scratch resistant lenses and have high UV protection. Due to the lightness of the sunglasses and the well-fitting you can hardly tell that you are wearing a pair of sunglasses. They are pricier then the other items but a good pair of sunglasses are worth it, protect your eyes and look great, and at £175 these are a great purchase!
For the man who likes to take pride in his hairstyle a hair product is a good purchase and makes a good stocking filler too. Moosehead Demon Dust Thicken-Up Styling Powder comes in a very masculine style container and is a very smooth fine dust. Because it is so fine it doesn’t get clumpy or gooey on your hair like some dusts and serums do, but it does go everywhere when you shake the pot and doesn’t smell particularly nice. However, it gives a really good matt look, the hold is fairly average, certainly not strong as suggested and the suggestion that a little goes a long way depends possibly on the amount of hair you have or hair length. As soon as it touches your hair you can’t ‘dust it around’, it clings to your hair which is not a bad thing but it does mean that you end up using a lot of it to get a strong, even hold unless you are very accurate with it. My husband did use this on his hair and play sports on the same day and despite all the running around and sweating the product lasted well without clumping or going sticky.
All of this aside it is a great product and would recommend it, certainly as a product for nights out or special occasions but at the price of £4.99, given the amount you need to use for a strong hold, but I wouldn’t recommend it as an everyday product unless your partner likes to spend a lot of money on his hair.
Of course another option for a gift is always alcohol! We tried a variety of gin’s both straight and then with fever tree tonic water which itself has an elderflower taste, it’s not a dry tonic water so did somewhat change the experience of all. My husband is more of a gin fan then I am so this was an interesting test to see what we both preferred.
The first of the gins that we tried was Thomas Dakin Gin, this has won 3 awards in its 1st year and is distilled at the oldest gin distillers in Warrington, Cheshire. This looks like a very serious gin when looking at the bottle, actually very different from the taste… the bottle gives nothing away.
When trying this gin straight: This gin smells very zesty and has a very citrus taste but is very smooth. Not a dry gin in comparison to others making it quite nice to drink and has quite a floral after taste, this is probably dues to the cubeb berries and red cole.
When mixed with Fever Tree Tonic Water: This gin may have been better with a dryer tonic water than a flavored tonic water as the Fever Tree made it a little too sweet. If you were to then add cucumber or lime as G&T is usually served, it would be far too sweet. But mixed with another tonic water such as Schweppes, this would be the perfect accompaniment.
This gin is available to purchase from a number of online places but also Waitrose and Harvey Nichols stores nationwide, priced at RRP £29.00 for 70cl.
This is a very nice gin, I would definitely recommend this for both a gin and non gin drinker and definitely worth a purchase this Christmas or anytime! I would give this gin a rating of 9/10.
We tried the number two everyday gin in the UK, Greenall’s The Original London Dry Gin. This is the world’s fastest growing everyday gin, exported to over 70 countries globally so we had quite high expectations for this one. It has won over 30 international awards since 2008.
When trying this gin straight: This is a very dry gin as labelled, not particularly flavorsome. It does have a slight hint of citrus to it but it was not very strong and would be lost when mixed with a tonic water.
When mixed with Fever Tree Tonic Water: The Fever Tree Tonic Water did sweeten this up a little bit as expected, this made it easier to drink. It is very similar to a lot of the standard gin’s that are available on the market that I suspect it competes with however this gin is not for my palate and did not give me any sort of wow factor. As I said I am not a gin drinker therefore this was not really to my taste, my husband said it was a standard gin and he could drink it on a night out but wouldn’t necessarily buy it to have in the house.
This is a very classic gin, and if that’s what you are looking for then this is a great purchase, it would be great in a cocktail as you do not want anything too over powering in a cocktail. This is more reasonably priced at RRP £15.49 for 70cl.
If you are looking for a gin to add to a cocktail or for an everyday gin then it is worth a try, it was not to my taste so I am giving it a 4/10.
The next gin we tried was Bloom Gin. This gin comes in a very pretty looking bottle and is made with chamomile, honeysuckle and the citrus fruit pomelo to give it a fresh flowery taste.
When trying this gin straight: Despite the look and the smell it is quite a strong gin with a harsh, dry taste, not really to both mine and my husband’s taste.
When mixed with Fever Tree Tonic Water: It lightened the drink up a little but again, much like the above, this gin was not particularly flavorsome and I would not choose to drink it again. My husband said it wasn’t too bad once mixed with the tonic water but it was still not to his taste either.
This gin seems to be quite popular in lots of London’s bars so I wonder if there is a specific way it should be served to enhance the flavors and maybe just mixing it with the water was not the best way. If you want to give this gin a try it is available to purchase from a number of supermarkets as well as Ocado and Harvey Nichols at RRP £24.00 for 70cl or a gin gift pack with a scented candle for RRP £49.50 from Harvey Nichols.
Unfortunately, as this was not to mine or my husband’s taste I would rate this as 3/10.
The last of the gin’s we tried came in the nicest bottle of the four, I think the elephants made me feel like this was going to be an exotic gin. Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin comes in a very nice looking bottle and is the world’s fastest growing super premium gin.
When trying this gin straight: This gin has strong hints of spice, very oriental flavour, smooth to drink and a very different flavour in comparison others we have tried. This was exactly as the bottle described and suggested so I wasn’t too shocked with the flavours that came through.
When mixed with Fever Tree Tonic Water: This gin goes surprisingly well with Fever Tree Tonic Water given that the flavours are somewhat contradicting. The spiced taste comes through the elderflower in the tonic water, giving it a bit of a flavour explosion in your mouth, however I would say that this gin would be better served with tonic water as an aperitif, not a ‘bar drink’. The flavours are too strong for you to drink more than one. Perfect if this is a gin you are drinking at home or at Christmas when you are with friends and family.
I really loved the bottle, it looked special and I was not disappointed with the taste, as I mentioned it’s not the kind of drink where you would want too many but perfect if you want to drink at home with friends and family. This make a great gift as it’s an unusual gin, and not something you would necessarily buy for yourself. Saying that this gin is available at all good supermarkets and served in a number of bars and restaurants so I would recommend ordering one when you are out next if you like a gin drink. I would rate this 8/10 and say this is a great gift for the gin drinker in your life.
Overall, I would definitely buy Thomas Dakin and Opihr – however Bloom and Greenall’s I would not purchase myself. Everyone’s gin tastes are different, some people love extra dry gin, but personally I like a bit of flavour in my drinks and the two particularly dry ones really had no flavour at all, they would be perfect in a gin based cocktail though!
The final item on my list of gifts for men this Christmas is Rubis Chocolate Wine, this is a new take on port. This is a blend of red wine and premium chocolate flavour and yes it really is as good as it sounds. Now I am not a huge fan of red wine but I was so excited to try this and I was not disappointed. My husband does like red wine however I think as a gift for a man I am not sure I would buy it so much for him as I would buy it for myself. This is the kind of bottle you open at the end of a meal and share a lovely glass with everyone, more of a dessert wine or a relaxing wine to have a glass of each I can’t think of a better time to open this bottle then at Christmas. I am sure just reading his makes you see how great this tasted, I urge everyone to buy a bottle! This is available to purchase from a few places online, the main online store being 31dover.com. You can buy this in the 50cl bottle at RRP £9.85 or you can buy it as a stocking filler 5cl RRP £2.95.
Both my husband and I liked this, we do like chocolate too so that helps but I would say go buy this for your husband, friends, mother, father… just anyone but make sure you get to share it with them! Or just buy it for yourself as a treat for getting through Christmas!