TOM FORD is a bit of a legend in the fragrance world. Well, that’s more than just a touch of an understatement, if I’m honest, and it would be fair to say that he is one of the few modern fashion designers that has successful built a fragrance empire that works in complete symbiosis with their clothing lines. TOM FORD perfumes ooze with style and finesse, but they often also boast bold signatures that set them apart from the crowd. Sniffing them, one gets the impression that Mr. Ford is genuinely a fragrance aficionado and his collection offers up its fair share of cool classics and olfactory oddities. In short, the TOM FORD fragrance line is one of the best out there.
The first fragrance to be launched under the TOM FORD name was Black Orchid (side note: we mustn’t forget that Mr. Ford launched a number of amazing scents at Gucci and YSL, namely Envy & Rush for Gucci and Rive Gauche Pour Homme, M7 and Nu for YSL) – a scent that quickly established the brand as a serious contender within the industry. Since then, Black Orchid has been remixed and revisited a number of times, the latest version of which is Orchid Soleil, a fantastically radiant blend of florals and warm, skin-like notes. Without giving too much away, I’d say it’s one of TOM FORD’s best offerings to date. Yup, that sounds about right!
INTRODUCING THE SOLAR SIDE OF THE ELUSIVE TOM FORD ORCHID. A RADIANT AND SENSUAL FORCE OF NATURE, THE NEW SCENT CAPTURES THE SEDUCTIVE WARMTH AND REFLECTIVE BARE SKIN OF THE TOM FORD WOMAN.
“Black, white and nude are my essential colors. Each time I start a collection, I start with these colors; they are the elemental colors we refer to from the beginning.”
– Narciso Rodriguez
Scent often presents itself to me in colours. I am not for one second claiming that I am a possessor of any form of Synesthesia, but like most people I’m sure, I often assign a shade or hue to a particular perfume or ingredient. For example, Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady is the most shocking, ruby-like red, whereas 4160 Tuesdays’ Urara’s Tokyo Cafe comes out of the bottle in strands of fuchsia pink and dark green. Of course, a perfume’s packaging has an impact, leading one to think of a specific colour, and despite the way one’s mind may think they smell, it’s impossible to see a fragrance such as Mugler’s Angelas any other colour other than blue.
On some occasions the colour of a perfume’s packaging perfectly matches the shade of the smell it contains. This aesthetic and olfactory synchronicity can add to the overall experience of a fragrance, joining together the tactile and the ephemeral to make something that is ultimately more enjoyable. NARCISO, the latest fragrance from American fashion designer, Narciso Rodriguez is one such fragrance and it marries a bottle and a fragrance of white, nude and black to create an immersive olfactory experience that, even in its flesh tones, is distinctly colourful.
NARCISO, which takes its name from the designer and the Greek myth of Narcissus, was created by perfumer, Aurelien Guichard (Chinatown, Eros & Petit Fracas) and intends to celebrate “a woman’s powers of seduction with the utmost luxury”. It follows Narciso Rogriguez for Her as the brand’s second pillar fragrance for women and seeing as for Her is already considered as a modern classic, NARCISO has some big shoes to fill. NARCISO may be pale in colour, but does it pale in comparison to Rodriguez’s popular flagship fragrance? Only time will tell.
It seems that the world’s greatest, and possibly only perfume curator is spoiling us. Last year, after four years of long, painful silence, Frédéric Malle launched the extraordinary Dries van Noten – a perfume that genuinely is like no other, and this summer he is generously treating the world to yet another, brand new fragrance. It seem that, much like buses, Monsieur Malle’s perfumes come in multiples and after a lengthy wait. But who are we to complain?
The new edition to the extensive and wonderful Editions de Parfums library is entitled ‘Eau de Magnolia‘ and is penned by venerable perfumer Carlos Benaïm, the man behind scents such as Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb and Dior’s Pure Poison. The fragrance is billed as both an entirely new take on the classic ‘Eau de Cologne’ as well as a beautiful presentation of the magnolia flower, and one should see it as a perfume that sits somewhere smack bang in the middle of these two things.
“This time the conversation between Frédéric Malle and Carlos Benaïm was on the headspace analysis of the magnolia and the fact that the flower is closer to an Eau de Cologne than to a classic flower. Carlos then suggested to magnify the hesperidic equilibrium of the Magnolia to enhance the Eau effect and to add a woody vibration to give it depth and sensuality. The result is a fresh chypre, an extraordinarily transparent and very natural, smelling note, animated by a somber base (vetiver, patchouli) that gives it a touch of mystery. A timeless summer perfume.”
Magnolia blooms sing with a complex profile of odours that range from the zesty smell of lemons to the waxy and almost cheesy scent of gardenia flowers. It’s a truly versatile bouquet that can radiate with freshness or revel in plush creaminess, depending entirely on how it it used. Frédéric Malle and Carlos Benaïm’s take on magnolia errs on the fresher side of things, creating a perfume that veers from eau de cologne to floral chypre in an incredibly enjoyable manner.
This post should come with a disclaimer – I am a Madonna fan, or as I put it ‘a royal subject of her Madgesty’. I just can’t help myself – I love her music, I admire her immensely for doing everything a man can do but better (and for getting away with it), for doing a lot with average talent, heck even this blog is named after one of her songs, so yes it is fair to say that I kinda like the Queen of Pop. I am also a HUGE fan of white florals, which may lead you to think that I was destined to adore Madonna’s first perfume ‘Truth or Dare’, I mean after all how could I not be biased when one of my favourite icons releases a perfume that fits very nicely into one of my favourite genres?
The truth is that the release of Truth or Dare was quite nerve-wracking for me. First things first, there have been many rumours about a Madonna perfume over the years and it would be fair to say that she should have done it a long time ago, back when she was more of a leader and less of a follower. Secondly, aside from a few glorious exceptions (Rossy de Palma, Tilda Swinton and Sarah Jessica Parker etc.) celebrity perfumes tend to be naff, thoughtless concoctions created as a quick cash cow for whoever feels the need to put their name to one. But as news of Truth or Dare startled to trickle into the blogosphere my fears were put to rest and I was particularly encouraged by the fact that her perfume would be a Fracas inspired white floral – a genre that she is known to love.
Truth or Dare, Madonna’s first and long-awaited foray into the perfume market is created in conduction with Coty, it is also part of her new lifestyle/fashion brand of the same name and was developed by perfumer Stephen Nilsen (Donna Karan Gold, Hillary Duff With Love). With Truth or Dare Madonna was looking to create something personal that was an expression of herself and her love for perfume, but could also be accessible to others, she wanted “something classical and timeless and yet modern” . It is aimed at women between the ages 25-45, with the main focus being on the 35-45 bracket, a fact that I find baffling seeing as Madonna is currently 53 (at the time of writing). Anyhoo, on to the fragrance…
Juliette Has a Gun is the spunky niche brand from Romano Ricci – great grandson of Nina Ricci. The name is taken from Shakespeare’s most famous heroin and the gun that she brandishes is a metaphor for her perfume, which she uses as her weapon of seduction. Juliette Has a Gun has a kick-ass attitude, she’s a gal with tons of moxie and takes no prisoners.
There are currently 8 perfumes in the line, well 7 if you you decide not to count ‘Not a Perfume’, which I’m not, because it isn’t a perfume and it gets on my nerves. Anyways, Romantina was released last year and is Juliette Has a Gun’s latest perfume. With Romantina, Ricci adds something new to the line – its very first white floral, that at first seems quite out of place amongst the mixed bag of misfit characters that hang around with Juliette and her Gun.
Romantina (I love that name) is described as “an ode to insouciance”  and is based on a modern love story. Like the other perfumes in the line, Romantina has a strong character, but rather than being a bad-ass bitch, it exudes a confident innocence that if fallen for, can prove much more deadly. When I received my sample set I immediately reached for Romantina, I am a white floral lover after all, and whilst it may be an ode to insouciance, my feelings for it certainly aren’t indifferent.
Rubj The Actress – A talented diva, unconventional in her beauty and full of moxie.
Vero Profumo is the brainchild of Swiss Aromatologist turned Professional Perfumer, Vero Kern. The three Extraits from Vero Profumo are an absolute joy to behold, each one displays a distinct character; Kiki is the cheeky Parisian, Onda is the stoic, yet fragile Matriarch and Rubj is the Actress.
Unusual beauty appears to be a reoccurring theme amongst the three Extraits and none are more beautiful and unusual than Rubj. I see Rubj as an actress, a talented diva, unconventional in her beauty and full of moxie. She is the artist of the three, she appreciates the beauty in all things and whilst she may be hard to handle at times she makes up for it with vivacity and wit.
I think Rubj was always going to be my favourite of the three offerings from this line, I am a sucker for a white floral after all, and Rubj is very different from a lot of the white florals I own, she is much more understated and glamorous. Rubj is proof that amongst a sea of mediocrity within the perfume industry, there are still perfumers and perfumes with the ability to surprise, thrill and move you.
BREAKING NEWS: THE CANDY PERFUME BOY IN TUBEROSE LOVING SCANDAL
OK, OK, so the fact that I love tuberose is hardly a scandal, in fact it is hardly news at all (see The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose), what is news is the fact that until very recently I had never really paid attention to a tuberose fragrance that goes by the name of ‘Scandal’.
As you probably know, tuberose has a bit of a reputation, she is the bad girl of white florals, she wears bright red stilettos, stays out all night and doesn’t give a damn what you think. So if I love tuberose it is pretty shameful of me not to have paid attention to Scandal, but I do have an excuse, the nearest place I can try Scandal is London and whenever I visit the ‘Old Smoke’ I tend to have a list of about a million things that I need to try, I have tried Scandal but only in passing. Thanks to the lovely Vanessa from Bonkers About Perfume I have had the opportunity to spend some time with Scandal to see what makes it so scandalous.
Scandal is one of three original perfumes created by “fragrance specialist, historian, perfumer”  and the man behind Harrods’ Haute Parfumerie – Roja Dove, the others being Enslaved and Unspoken (great names all round). Scandal was released in 2007, and as the name suggests, this perfume is a shocking floral.
Honour Woman and Honour Man are the latest duo of fragrances from Omani niche house Amouage. Both fragrances are inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s famous Madame Butterfly and are said to ‘unfold the tale of love and betrayal, hope and despair’ and are ‘as rich and commanding as Puccini’s score’. 
Both fragrances were created under the direction of Christopher Chong (if you don’t follow him on Twitter you absolutely should, he can be found @cchonguk), and as usual they are both similar in the grand Amouage style, but at the same time they are both remarkably different.