Disappointing, low-rent, and an exercise in banality. Guerlain‘s new L’Homme Idéal isn’t the worst fragrance that I’ve tried this year, not by any means, but it’s certainly the worst thing I’ve sniffed from Guerlain in quite a while. It’s a sub-par, synthetic creation without any distinctiveness or refinement. Furthermore, the extent to which it mashes up almost every single one of the commercially popular genres of male perfumery feels like something that is both intentionally manipulative and driven by basest of financial considerations by LVMH. I haven’t found a lot to admire in the LVMH-era of Guerlain, but I’ve never previously thought that one of their fragrances belonged in a discount shop next to Justin Bieber’s concoctions. L’Homme Idéal does.
Tom Ford‘s new Velvet Orchid feels like a mirror image of his famous, Black Orchid. Their contrasting essences are: light and dark; day and night; an easy, approachable purring, versus bold, overtly seductive growling. One reason why is that the creamy, velvety florals at their core are infused either with bright citruses, boozy vanilla and caramel amber, or by a multi-faceted bouquet of bitter-sweet chocolate, patchouli, and earthy black truffles. Both fragrances are very enjoyable to wear, even compulsively sniffable at times, but which one you prefer will probably depend primarily on your personal style. Some might find Velvet Orchid to be a de-fanged version of its older sibling, while others may think it’s a considerably easier, softer fragrance.
Garnet wine and rubied roses with iridescent flashes of green-black earthiness; tart, tangy cherries with bitter almonds; syrupy fruits and sweet dessert — these are a few of the faces of Sadanne, a new fragrance from Slumberhouse, an indie brand out of Portland, Oregon run by the highly respected, talented Josh Lobb. I found his latest creation to be joyous, bright, and cheerful, not to mention very fun to wear. At times, Sadanne took me deep into Germany’s Black Forest with its tart Kirschwasser liqueur centered on sour Morello cherries and bitter almonds. On other occasions, it conjured up “Old Vines” Zinfandel wine with a dash of fruity Pinot Noir, and Ernest Dawson’s famous phrase about “days of wine and roses.” In short, it feels like an alcoholic’s gourmand interpretation of roses, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Regular readers know just how much I love boozy, alcoholic, or wine-like notes in my perfumes. (I swear, I’m not a lush!)
Theoretically, Sadanne is a rose fragrance, but it was created by a man who shudders at the note and has always avoided making any floral scent up until now. I share Mr. Lobb’s squeamishness, and prefer my roses to be gagged, drowned, and then beaten to a whimpering pulp by other elements — preferably of an oriental nature. So when I heard that a rose-hater had made a rose fragrance that he could wear, partially as a challenge to himself, I knew I had to try it. I’m glad I did.