Le Labo Tonka 25

Le Labo recently released its first new fragrance in three years, Tonka 25. It’s an eau de parfum that was created by Daphne Bugey and it’s available worldwide (as opposed to being part of the city-exclusives line of fragrances).

Though I had high hopes for Tonka 25, I found it as dull as dishwater. There are certain aspects which I could see appealing to fans of a particular, specific genre of perfumery but, for me, it was about as memorable, distinctive, robust, flavorful, and interesting as Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti.

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Zoologist Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex marks the pairing of two popular figures in the niche world: Victor Wong‘s Zoologist brand and Antonio Gardoni, the celebrated perfumer. Together, they sought to create a “gargantuan” fragrance that was not only worthy of the T-Rex associations but also one which they specifically wanted to evoke the smoky, dark, hot, and fiery Cretaceous period in which he lived, a time where ferocious beasts ripped apart delicate florals amidst dark woods set alight by smoldering flames.

Zoologist in its regular and special edition packaging. Photos from Zoologist’s website. Collage, my own.

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Giorgio Beverly Hills Vintage Giorgio For Men: A Bargain Powerhouse

Vintage Giorgio, also known as Giorgio Extraordinary Spray Cologne For Men. Photo: my own.

Rich, bold, powerhouse fragrances for a bargain price, what could be better? There is a definite advantage in going vintage, and Giorgio For Men is a perfect example of why: addictive patchouli is layered with loads of genuine oakmoss, Cuir de Russie-style birch leather, and gales of spices and amber, then lashed with honey, iris-orris butter, sandalwood, citruses, dry cedar, chocolate, vanilla, and silky cream. It’s all presented in a seamless, complex, long-lasting and audaciously intense concoction with parallels to both vintage legends and modern niche, except Giorgio costs a pittance of the price of most fragrances in those categories and it also contains high levels of raw materials now limited or banned in perfumery.

For a mere $30, I purchased a large, 95% full, 120 ml or 4 oz bottle whose scent bore echoes of fragrances which came both long before it and long after it: legends like vintage Givenchy Gentleman and popular modern creations like Serge Lutens’ Borneo 1834, Chanel‘s Coromandel, and Guerlain‘s LIDGE. Throughout its long lifespan, Giorgio’s character changed from the ruggedly polished but elegant 1980s alpha male to the unisex, modern, and addictively, delectably cuddly. While there are a handful of small issues with the fragrance, mostly if one sprays a lot of it, they’re minor in the overall scheme of things and the low price makes them easy to ignore. In short, this is a scent well worth looking up.

Vintage Giorgio. Photos and collage: my own.

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Neela Vermeire Créations Niral

Niral, the new release from Neela Vermeire Créations (hereinafter “Neela Vermeire” or “NVC”), is a play on East and West, India and Europe, and the silken creations which ensued when they met as one with the creation of Tussar Silk. For me, however, Niral is about a very specific, concrete, olfactory interaction: a play on cedar, a play in multiple acts where a variety of other elements — rooty irises, sugared loukhoum/Turkish Delight roses slathered with jam, lipstick violets, sandalwood, spices, creamy magnolia, soft ambrette musk, and even wisps of jasmine green tea — all serve as supporting players in a constantly revolving game of musical chairs.

Niral, its flacon, and box. Photo from Neela Vermeire.

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