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The purpose of these olfactory deconstructions (see Iris and Vetiver) is to understand a raw material used in perfumery by dissecting it into its many facets. By experiencing the many nuances, one starts to gain an appreciation for how it is used within a wider composition and how it can be utilised to create interesting and novel effects. Such is the magic of perfumery – where one distinct material can bring so much more to a fragrance than its odour profile, shifting and changing as it tessellates with other notes to create things that are more than the sum of their parts.

Today’s deconstruction is a widely used material: patchouli. I chose patchouli because it’s a material found in so many fragrances, many of which utilise it as a supporting act as opposed to the star that takes top billing. I also picked it because it’s a tricky note to love, due largely to its associations with head shops and hippies, not to mention how abrasive it can be as a smell. But patchouli is so much more than a new age oil, it’s actually a fascinating and multifaceted material that deserves a lot of attention – and today we are going to give it that attention!

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Violet Blonde

I like Tom Ford, I find the overall aesthetic of his brand appealing, I thought A Single Man was a triumph for a first time director and he may just be the most ridiculously good looking man on the planet (a fact that makes me hate him just a little). My thoughts on Tom Ford’s perfumes however, aren’t as glowing, in fact they are quite mixed;

Private Blends: I’ve always thought that the Private Blends are OK, I even quite like one or two (Oud Wood especially) but they are ridiculously overpriced for what they are, thus causing my general opinion of them to simply be ‘meh’.

Black Orchid: Gorgeous, dark oriental that is great for half an hour but then it proceeds to get on my tits, it’s one of those scents that, whilst smelling fantastic, takes a lot of effort to wear. I have to be in the right mood for Black Orchid.

White Patchouli: I wanted to love White Patchouli, you don’t know how much I wanted to, the bottle would look so good in my collection and the ad campaign with Erykah Badu was STUN-NING, BUT I point blank refuse to wear anything that smells like French Onion Soup. That said, I haven’t given up on it just yet.

Tom Ford For Men: My boyfriend/fiancée/long suffering wife’s signature scent. What more can I say?

Grey Vetiver: A really nice barbershop vetiver BUT why bother with that when you could have Guerlain Vetiver? One vetiver is enough for me.

Black Orchid Voile de Fleur: Surprisingly, this short-lived flanker to Black Orchid is the best of the bunch, creamy, dirty and slightly spicy flowers, right up my street!

Violet Blonde is the latest fragrance to join Black Orchid and White Patchouli as part of Tom Ford’s ‘Signature Collection’. I guess you’re now thinking, ‘I know what you think of the others, but what about Violet Blonde? Well, to put it simply; Violet Blonde was love at first sniff.