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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Roja Dove Britannia: A Vintage Floriental for the Modern Gourmand Age

Something that feels familiar yet also unexpected…” — so reads one part of Roja Dove’s official description for Britannia, and it is a somewhat accurate description. This is a fragrance which does indeed smell very familiar, thanks to the way it echoes, at different points in time, everything from vintage L’Origan and vintage L’Heure Bleue to modern gourmand floral orientals and modern spicy-woody oriental ambers, including several from Roja Parfums. For me, the “unexpected” part of the equation arises from the degree to which Britannia’s first stage harkens back to the opulent vintage aesthetic which had originally made Roja Dove so incredibly popular, rather than the mainstream designer or Middle Eastern bouquets which have characterized so many of his recent releases over the last two and a half years.

Britannia Parfum. Source: Roja Parfums’ website.

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LM Parfums Veleno Doré (The Gold Label Collection)

Veleno Doré, part of LM Parfums‘ high-end Gold Label Collection, is lovely but also exceedingly familiar. It’s an oriental parfum which is initially centered around vanilla-infused, fruity pipe tobacco, laced with patchouli, enveloped in spices, then drenched in cognac booziness, syrupy sweetness, and caramel ambers. A tiny, early echo of Ambre Loup quickly gives way to major overlaps with Tom Ford‘s Tobacco Vanilla and Roja Dove‘s Enigma Pour Homme/Creation-E and a whisper of Kilian‘s Back to Black, except this is their heavily spiced, chili-flecked brother, and black cherry has been substituted for plums or plum pudding. Over time, woodier, drier, smokier, more leathery, and more woody-ambered elements replace the gourmand-skewing ones for a different twist on tobacco but this, too, feels familiar with echoes of other popular fragrances, like Black Oud and even Black Afgano.

Veleno Doré photo or advert via Fragrantica Russia.

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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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