Solid State is a company that produces solid fragrances for men. I can’t find too much history about the company online, but they’re based in Australia, and produce a range of fragrances, body and face washes. Their major USP is the fact that their fragrances are ‘solid’, in some kind of a wax base, so the product should last longer, and is much more convenient for taking out and about with you, to ‘top-up’ (which according to almost every review I read), is a necessity.
But then these are the days of the metrosexual male, and there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t too become accustomed to pop off to the loo ‘to refresh’ our fragrance, just as women have been doing for years. Having been bombarded by their UK Facebook advertising campaign, I thought I would give it a go.
They claim on their website to be the ‘world’s only solid grooming company’, if by which they mean that mean that every single product they produce is ‘solid’, perhaps that is the case, but I was able to find many solid cologne alternatives, along with some with very useful buying guides. I look forward to giving them all a road-test in due course.
Other Choices of Solid Colognes from around the World that Have Received Positive Reviews
I couldn’t help noticing from the above reviews, that one name that comes up time after time is Duke Cannon – they have great journalist reviews, and almost faultless consumer reviews.
But reading the reviews of Solid State for Men, Was delighted see some five star reviews.
Back to Duke Cannon, check out their product at dukecannon.com and take five minutes to look up as many reviews as you can find. Now, where is my credit card?..
Comparing Solid State to other men's fragrances
I have always been a fragrance addict (my absolute favourites being Clinique happy for men (a joyful, fresh, citrus fragrance that – no matter what time of year, always reminds me of long, tranquil, summer days), D.R. Harris fragrances – particularly Arlington, which is a complete contrast, described as a combination of ‘a subtle blend of citrus and fern’, but for me, sums up everything that is good about traditional Britishness – not only Arlington, but all of their fragrances are subtle, traditional, smart, and – as far as scents can – carry a distinct air of authority and respectability. The very distinctive smell of Arlington Milk is reminiscent of the lovely scent that hits you when you walk into a high class St. James’ Street gentleman’s shaving emporium.
In fact I never shopped for D.R. Harris via phone or mail order because visiting their St James’ Street shop was such a culturally magnificent experience.
Finally, another favourite is Paul Smith Men Eau de Toilette, similar in some ways to Clinique, a very fresh, citrusy smell with a slightly more peppery hint (Paul Smith’s description is that the fragrance has ‘woody, green and aromatic tones‘, which I would say is spot on. It’s a very distinctive, unusual fresh scent, and not at all overpowering (anyone remember Kouros?!)
I’ve also been a fan over the years of ‘old classics’ such as Obsession for Men, Hugo Boss for Men, Burberry for Men (much more of a woody, musky traditional scent with a hint of citrus – a perfect match for their distinctive Burberry Nova check).
I’ve also always appreciated quality women’s fragrances. To the extent that I’ve often complimented random women on the tube and in the street if I particularly like their perfume. This has resulted in reactions ranging from a ‘thank you’ and surprised, pleasant reaction, to looks of slight bewilderment, all the way to looks as if they think I should be sectioned.
A slight digression, but along with the staples of Chanel No.5, one of my favourite women’s fragrances is Opium, and Black Opium. I’ve never come across another perfume that smells quite so good, so as a result, always used to force this on my mother. Opium also used to be available in ‘solid’ form – and smelt just as great. Obviously designed perfectly to be slipped into a woman’s handbag.
Unfortunately, the solid versions of Opium appear to be discontinued, but I was able to track down this ‘Black Opium smell-alike wax version’ on Etsy.
I obviously haven’t bought it so can’t comment on how well it mimics the wonderful smell of Opium Black, but you can decide by buying some here, or by clicking on the image below.
Which brings me onto Solid State for Men, what could be said to be the ‘male equivalent’. It can easily be slipped into one’s trouser pocket when going on the razz, and ‘refreshed’ at any point in the evening.
So I placed an order from their website. I thought I’d play it safe, and go for the variant which has attracted the most positive reviews, ‘Wayfarer’, which is ‘inspired’ by Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, which is handy because I happen to have a sample of the real article with which to compare it.
I placed the order on 19th January 2020, for one 10g / 0.5oz tin of ‘Wayfarer’ costing AUS $39.95 (£20.25), and it took just under three weeks to arrive in the UK.
The first thing to strike me was the well-designed packaging – very nice branding indeed, with a striking white embossed sleeve enclosing a black box which contained the much-anticipated tin.
The Size of Solid State Solid Fragrances
And that’s where my delight quite abruptly came to an end. Opening the over-sized box, the enclosed tin is at least three times smaller. Granted, it’s not plastic, and it may be partly, or even fully recycled cardboard, but the airline fuel from Australia combined with the over-packaging is already a black mark for its unnecessarily damaging ecological impact.
The Smell of Solid State Wayfarer
But onto the crucial factor – the all-important smell. First, as a ‘control’ an hour ago I applied some of its ‘inspiration’, the Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille to one hand, and the Solid State Wayfarer to the other.
And now, to begin with, my opinion. The Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille has a distinctive, spicy oriental scent. vanilla, musky, with a hint of cocoa and fresh tobacco. I haven’t purchased any up until smelling the sample, but I would quite readily buy a 100ml – even at £240 a bottle without any hesitation. Just give me enough time to sell my second kidney.
How Does Solid State Wayfarer Compare to the 'Real Thing' - Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille?
I wanted the test to be completely objective, so I pulled in my friends and relatives for their opinions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the more pricey Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille was universally liked. Very enthusiastically by cousin Ruth, with an exclamation of “ooo that IS nice!”. My father, who is less of a fragrance fan – of any kind – even liked it, with a very generous ‘yes, that’s nice, I’d wear that’.
Onto the Solid State Wayfarer. Cousin Ruth described it as smelling like ‘ladies talcum powder’, while my father’s comment was that ‘it smells like a bloody candle’ followed up immediately with ‘in fact your mother’s candles smell even nicer’. Cousin Simon’s comment was simply that ‘there is no resemblance whatsoever’, and my mother’s that it’s ‘nothing like it’.
I thought there may a smell bias in the Hunt / Taylor clan, so I ventured next-door to Harry and his wife Margaret. To be fair, Harry wasn’t madly keen on either, but his response to the Solid State Wayfarer was ‘why have you wiped soap on your hand?’ While his wife Margaret simply commented that it smelt like a hand cream she used to use during the war.
“why have you wiped soap on your hand?” asked Harry.
Value For Money of Solid State Solid Fragrances
Value for money is also a very important factor in any buying decision. After all, that’s the reason many people choose ‘imitation’ scents over the real thing, even if their quality doesn’t quite match up.
Again, here Solid State doesn’t fair too well. You are paying AUS $39.95 (£20.62) for 10g / .35oz, whereas for Duke Cannon which came out as a favourite on just about every review website, you are paying US $20 (£15.37) for 42.52g / 1.5oz. Both offer free shipping, but I think it’s obvious which is the clear winner.
One final observation, like many companies, Solid State for Men follow up their sales with an email requesting a review. I sent them my honest observations – without mention of any competing products, and they have not published my review (I know this because their website allows you to search for reviews in date order). Perhaps because they regard my review as being detrimental to their brand.
That, in many people’s opinion, is no way for any reputable company to operate in the internet age.
Update - an email from their CEO following my review
I’ve just received this email from Solid State for Men’s CEO, Anthony Nasr after posting this completely honest review:”
His email reads:”Thanks for the great review. Continue kicking goals from your parents bedroom, Bill.”
Completely unprovoked (aside from an honest review).
Overall Ratings for Solid State Solid Fragrances
The latest email from Anthony Nasr. Now threatening legal action.
Value for Money
No Animal Testing
Ethics of Company