Friday, 30 May 2014

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino

I can see why Neroli Portofino is so popular, and if what I have been told is correct, one of the line's bestsellers. 

It simply smells lovely. That's all there is to it. The opening is one of the best takes on a citrus cologne that I know of. It is fresh, zingy and so uplifting.

The perfume, befitting of a cologne, is not long lasting, nor complex, but who needs those on a warm spring day when one simply wants to smell as nice as possible, even if only for a short while?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Thoughts on Tom Ford Private Blend Collection

It took me ages to try Tom Ford's more exclusive line. It isn't particularly easy to find in the UK outside of London, at least in my experience, and it only came to my home town just under a year ago.

Since then I have sampled the line extensively and below have set out my thoughts on some of (not all) the Private Blends. These are really just snap shots, in most cases the first feeling that comes to mind, so don't take any of what follows as balanced and overly objective.

Santal Blush - reviews I've read are fairly mixed. Quite a few harp on about Australian Sandalwood, blah blah blah, how it can't compare to Mysore, but in my opinion the perfume smells good and uplifting, a bit how the Le Labo Sandalwood makes me feel. It is slightly synthetic but enjoyable.

Cafe Rose - not overly complex, but smells rosy with a hint of the Tuscan Leather accord. Again, it smells really good and I can happily wear it.

Noir de Noir - I thought this would be one of my favourites, but for some reason I find it a little dull. Not in the sense of boring, but rather slightly murky and muddled. It does't perform particularly well with my skin chemistry.

Plum Japonais - this one is Lutenesque, in my opinion. It is essentially fruit and woods, with some spice. I think it is a bit of a nod towards Feminite du Bois, but perhaps a bit spicier.

Italian Cypress - one of my favourites. It is one of those rare perfumes that manages to balance the coniferous notes, without being a pine overdose. It is sophisticated, even-keeled and perfect for a summer day, as it has more heft than citrus, but stays fairly cool and fresh, if you know what I mean.

Tuscan Leather - I admit I like it. It is strong and quite forceful, a bit of a hairy chest, but is in my opinion a lovely leather fragrance. I'd be surprised if this is not one of Tom Ford's best sellers.

Tobacco Vanille - I've reviewed this one before. It is best worn with restraint, especially in warmer weather, as it can be overpowering and frankly quite overwhelming at times. Having said that, it is a lovely tobacco perfume and again, I think it is one of Tom Ford's best sellers and I can understand why. It tends to sweetness, with the vanilla.

Arabian Wood - I don't like it at all. There is no logic to this necessarily, but my gut churns when I smell it. I think this is another that is well-loved in the perfume community.

Tobacco Oud - yum yum. I love its slightly animalic opening. It wears beautifully on my skin. It has incense as well, and this balances the oud and tobacco, making it a joy to my nose.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Visit to Paris

For someone who is a fan of perfume, Paris is probably the top destination; some might even argue that it is the spiritual home of perfume.

Some readers may be surprised that I haven't been to Paris on a perfume jaunt, considering it is only two and a half hours away from Kent, where I live, but for one reason or another, the last time I visited the City of Light was in 2005, almost ten years ago.

Anyway, my family and I spent a few days in Paris at the start of April, ostensibly to celebrate my wife and younger daughter's birthdays, both of which are in early April. I'm not going to go into any detail of our holiday, save to say that we were based not far from the Eiffel Tower, and did the usual touristy things that most visitors to Paris do, taking in a lot of the famous sights, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur and Mont Martre, Musee d'Orsay, etc, etc. We did a lot of walking too, strolling along the Seine, the Tuillerie Gardens, Ile Saint Louis and so forth.

As a perfume fan, there was no way that I was going to visit Paris without at least some perfume experiences, and I managed to slip away from the family twice to visit the flagship Guerlain store on the Champs Elysees and Serge Lutens at the Palais Royal.

Starting with Guerlain, it was a pleasing experience to be shown around the store. When I arrived they were conducting a skin clinic of some sort, and I thought they wouldn't let me in to that part of the store (there is a more bog standard sort of Guerlain shop right next door that you first enter) but a sweet lady took me upstairs to show me around. The decor is very impressive, and I loved seeing some of the rare bottles behind the glass, some dating back to the eighteen hundreds, which is rather impressive. The lady wouldn't let me take any photographs, which is a shame, although I can understand why, and she struggled to speak English, and my French was even worse, so most of our discussion was conducted with signals and slightly embarrassed exchanges! I'm glad I went, although I have to confess that I am not a Guerlain obsessive. The prices of some of the more exclusive perfumes are astronomical. I had my eye on Arsene Lupin but couldn't commit to buying a bottle.

My second visit was to Serge Lutens, in the Palais Royal complex on the other side of the Rue de Rivoli, close to the Louvre. One thing that surprised me was how big the courtyard and gardens are. I was expecting, for whatever reason, a tiny, dark cloister, shaded by trees, tucked away mysteriously, to be expected from a man like Lutens. In reality, it is not quite like that, but the area is a delight anyway, and quiet compared to the mania just across the road and elsewhere. The Lutens shop itself was small, dark and quite mysterious, painted black and kitted out in a lot of purple. When I first entered the store I was the only person there, and I struck up a conversation with a charming lady who spoke decent English, so we were able to talk about the perfumes at some length. You may have guessed it by now - yes, I did shell out 150 Euros for a bell jar of perfume! I feel guilty paying that sort of money for perfume, but my reasoning was that the bell jar is iconic (although overpriced really) and I don't know when next I will return to Paris, let along Serge Lutens, so I wanted to be able to say that I bought it from the Salon itself. I purchased Muscs Koublai Khan, my favourite musk perfume.

On the subject of MKK, I must say that I am surprised by how subdued it is dabbed on from the bell jar, which has no spray nozzle. I don't know if MKK has been reformulated, because it lacks some of that famous animalic kick it had from a few years ago in my opinion. When I got home I decanted some into a spray bottle and I must admit that it performed much better sprayed, and had more character, but still lacks a little something compared to years gone by. It is still a lovely perfume mind you.

I could have visited a lot more perfume places, but time was limited and I could desert my family for so long. I thoroughly enjoyed Paris itself, and don't regret my visits to Guerlain and Serge Lutens.


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