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.
A visit to a French patisserie that turns into a smoky, woody oriental vanilla — that’s the gist of Noir Exquis, the latest fragrance from Bertrand Duchaufour and L’Artisan Parfumeur. Large dollops of whipped pastry cream are squirted atop dark vanilla that is layered with candied chestnuts (marrons glacés), smokiness, and a profoundly tobacco-like note, all above a smoky sandalwood base. It’s actually quite nice at times (and less sweet than you might think), but it’s a fragrance that requires a little patience and some augmented quantities in order to see the traits that lie beyond an initial Tobacco Vanille vibe.
The world of Black is one of darkness where the throbbing blues of Miles Davis might sound against tempestuous storms and dangerous passions. But the world of Tom Ford‘s “black” in his new Noir Pour Femme is one filled with the golden light of floral frothiness and custardy confections where Katy Perry might play a catchy pop anthem highlighted by the strains of a spicy Bollywood chorus. Much like one of her songs, Noir Pour Femme has a certain (earwig?) allure from afar, but it doesn’t necessarily bear up to closer inspection. Still, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little lighthearted glitz, loudness, and excessively sugary fun from time to time, if that is what suits you. There are some parts of Noir Pour Femme that are very appealing, and I can completely see why some might find it to be wholly addictive.
An alcoholic harem master lies drunk in a pool of Calvados brandy in a seraglio made of amber, tobacco, and gold. A hookah lies next to a vat of booze, and wafts a fragrant fruitiness that mixes with the smell of musky cedar from the swamp which circles the harem like a moat and fortress barricade. Within the palace’s high walls is a small apple orchard dotted with bales of hay that are lightly coated with honey. In the lush gardens, exotic Indian davana flowers emit a tiny apricot scent, next to the custardy richness of ylang-ylang. At the palace’s heart is a courtyard where nubile concubines lounge on aromatic woody divans, dressed in thin silks made from vanilla. They dust their bodies with a light sprinkling of cocoa, as they nibble on toasted nuts and puff on a hookah. The sultan’s favorite, Leila, watches with a smile, glowing like a jewel in red and gold fabrics that match the stream of fruited liqueur pouring from a nearby fountain. The air is indolent, warm, musky, sweet, and filled with the smell of decadence, but darkness lies just around the corner. Slowly, shadows of tobacco and dry woods sweep over the ambered gold, covering it like an eclipse does the sun, until night finally falls over the harem. And, still, no-one bothers to help the drunken man collapsed in their midst. They all know what happens when you overindulge in the delights of the seraglio, or l’Or du Sérail.