This year I was lucky enough to once again judge two fragrance categories at the Stylist Best Beauty Awards. It’s an honour to judge and what I love most about it, is that I always discover something new and exciting that I haven’t sniffed before. This year my discovery was the Tom Daxon line of fragrances. Now these are not new, nor are they fragrances that are difficult to get hold of, in fact it would have been super easy for me to try them long before now, I just didn’t get around to sniffing them with all the other stuff that’s out. So I’m officially late to the Tom Daxon party, but I am super chuffed to have been invited because there is some seriously good perfumery going on here.
Tom Daxon the brand is the brainchild of Tom Daxon Bowers who, at the age of 27 created his very own fragrance line. But fragrance and cosmetics are things that run in the family, and his mother spent time working as the Creative Director of Molton Brown. But Tom Daxon is very much the vision of the brand owner, taking inspiration from individual ingredients to create beautiful fragrances boasting the best synthetic and natural materials around. Working with Perfumers in Grasse, Tom Daxon Bowers has crafted a brand that is cohesive, distinct and abstract, but most of all he has created some truly beautiful fragrances.
There’s a clean, structural quality to the Tom Daxon collection that filters down from the stark minimalism of the sleek, architectural bottles to the fragrances themselves, which present bold accords with remarkable clarity and modernity. As an example of this I’m reviewing the two fragrances that won at this year’s Stylist Best Beauty Awards; Iridium (Best Niche Fragrance) and Magnolia Heights (Best Floral Fragrance). I think you’ll agree that they are very worthy winners indeed!
Top: Juniper, Angelica and Carrot Seed
Bottom: Vetiver, Cedarwood and Iso E Super
How Does it Smell?
Iridium takes its name from the metal so, rather unsurprisingly, it’s a cool and silvery take on the note of iris. You’ll note how I avoided the use of the word ‘metallic’ there and that’s because Iridium is much too soft to be lumped in with the harsh, austere nature of metal. It opens with peppery spice, which is accented by the juicy and fruity note of juniper, which also adds a lovely gin vibe too (I’ve always got time for a lovely gin vibe, let’s be real). It feels ever so slightly fizzy, bubbling as opposed to crackling with the effervescence of spice.
Underneath the spice performance up top lies a hear of iris over a base of soft woods. The texture is smooth but also transparent, with the iris presenting as a light dusting of grey rhizome powder. I hesitate to use the word ‘power’ actually because Iridium’s texture feels more like a watercolour of iris powder as opposed to the real thing. It blends seamlessly with the cedar in the base, creating a foundation of luminous and cool woods. A breathtaking and thoroughly modern iris.
Top: Gardenia, Green Violet Leaf and Ylang Ylang
Heart: Magnolia and Jasmin Sambac
Base: Cedarwood and Silken Musks
How Does it Smell?
Smelling Iridium and Magnolia Heights next to each other is an interesting experience because, whilst they both share that structural transparency, Magnolia Heights feels altogether more full-bodied than Iridium. But it is a floral after all, and what a floral it is! Now, magnolia flowers are intriguing because they have a lot of that waxy, white floral goodness (with a touch of creamy petals for good measure) but they also have a strong citrus profile, boasting a strong lemon character that is refreshing and sharp.
Magnolia Heights captures every aspect of the magnolia flower and then some. It’s no powerhouse but it has a revitalising sharpness in the top notes where the zing of lemon and the indole of white flowers strike up a happy marriage. As it develops it becomes warmer, creamier and softer, but it never feels huge (white flowers are often homicidal – this one is as kind as a kitten), showcasing warm white petals against a backdrop of cedar wood. It’s so soft, so silky and so beautiful.
Iridium and Magnolia Heights are available in 50ml (£105) and 100ml (£155) Eau de Parfum.
Samples, notes and quotes via Tom Daxon. Images are my own.