The bespokesman - the scent of a gentleman-farmer

It is important to retain the capacity to be surprised, and that’s exactly the emotion I felt when recently reading, for the first time, about Equipage, an Hermès aftershave from 1970.

I was surprised because I’d never heard of it before, and immediately ordered a bottle. While waiting for it to arrive I looked it up in Luca Turin’s incomparable book ‘Perfumes The A-Z Guide’.

Turin describes it as “a pre-eminent example of the ‘lived-in’ style of masculine fragrances, those that convey a quiet, slightly rumpled, gentleman-farmer sort of elegance”.

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It’s a challenge for any cologne to live up to such an extraordinary description but amazingly Equipage manages it. That it has immediately found a place on my bathroom shelf next to long-time favourites Colonia by Acqua di Parma and Bois du Portugal by Creed should give you an inkling of what to expect.

£49.50, available from Harrods, (020 7730 1234, www.hermes.com)