Tom Ford White Patchouli

Today I went to Neiman Marcus to try the newest The Different Company fragrance called Sublime Balkiss by Celine Ellena. To my dismay, Neiman’s had the rest of the TDC line but didn’t have Sublime Balkiss in stock yet. I was so disappointed. I’d been planning this trip to Neiman’s for days and I should have called first.
While I was there I asked the sales associate if she had samples of Tom Ford White Patchouli. She said she only had one tester bottle and there weren’t any samples yet. She allowed me to spritz from the tester; I did so with her watching me, I felt greedy as I spritzed my left arm three, maybe four times. I walked around the store, checked out the new Feerie bottle, and went back to the sales associate with the Tom Ford White Patchouli tester. I always carry some empty vials in my purse just in case so I figured I had nothing to lose and asked her if I could take a sample from the one single tester bottle in the entire store. She looked at me as if I’d asked for her first born child.I gave her a pathetic begging look, told her about Sublime Balkiss and how Neiman’s was an hour from my house, and she finally agreed.She took the vial from me and decanted the sample behind the counter in a guarded fashion as if she were performing a criminal act. I actually felt like I ought to be a look out for her or give her a warning if someone else were walking over. She gave me the vial back (2.5 ml, yay!) and I thanked her profusely and walked around the store a bit more. Since I was there, I decided I was getting low on one of my favorite TDC fragrances, Sel de Vetiver, so I picked up a box and brought it to my partner-in-crime sales associate. That seemed to make her happy; that I was actually buying something now. Then I wandered over to the fresh counter and sniffed Cannabis Rose and Violette. Both are innocuous and pretty, like most freshscents. I also realized that I’m running low on Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir, so I picked up a bottle of that, too, and brought it over to my now very happy sales associate. This was enough damage for one day so paid and exited the store before I thought of anything more I might need….

First, I’ll confess, I’m not a fan of Tom Ford’s last few fragrances.Black Orchid, while definitely interesting, smelled like crotch to me, so I never purchased it. Then I boycotted him after seeing the Tom Ford for Men ads, which to my mind were like someone just took a Marketing 101 class called “how to gain attention for your product by using nudity and sex to cause a stir.” That said, I’m actually a fan of patchouli, the note itself, I love L’Artisan’s Voleur de Rose and Keiko Mecheri’s Patchoulissimo and I decided that I was really quite curious about TF White Patchouli. I couldn’t imagine what a white citrusy floral with patchouli would smell like and I decided to let the juice speak for itself and give it a go. I admit I was really looking forward to trying it.

Well, I’ve had a disappointing day. First, no TDC Sublime Balkiss and now the smell of TF White Patchouli made me nauseous. I’m not exaggerating. For me, for the first hour it smells like astringent, something like Seabreeze facial toner mixed with bug spray. I can’t identify anything even close to patchouli in the first hour or so nor do I smell anything close to a white floral or citrus. I thought about how I adore Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle and how I’ve come to like the menthol/rubber beginning, so I decided to give TF White Patchouli it’s due and wait a full 5 hours before making any sort of decision.

After forcing myself not to scrub it off as much as I really wanted to, it finally dries down to something much less nauseating. I eventually smell a whiff of patchouli, but a very astringent and light patchouli at that. Yes, I can see why it’s called White Patchouli because this patchouli isn’t dirty or dusky or deep at all. After a few hours a faint woody note emerges and an even fainter incense-y note, too. I can’t detect any of the floral notes that are supposed to be here; no white peony, no jasmine, no rose, for me. To my nose everything blends into an astringent aroma laid over a very soft uninteresting patchouli.

In the end, after the full five hours, it’s not horrible, but it just isn’t good, it isn’t what I hoped it would be and I won’t be among those placing their pre-orders. Again, I think of Tubereuse Criminelle, and while I have come to enjoy those initial menthol/rubber moments, I think I do so because I know what’s coming, I know that it develops into a masterpiece. At least Serge Lutens rewards me for wading through those initial awkward moments, where Tom Ford’s White Patchouli, just doesn’t come anywhere close to a masterpiece.

The bottle itself is rather boring and ugly, too. I can’t help thinking that if someone were to stick a cheap drugstore label on it and ask a group of unknowing people to try it they’d all exclaim how dreadfully horrid and cheap it is.

Tom Ford White Patchouli’s press release describes the perfume in the following manner:

“Opens energetically sparkling notes of bergamot blended with delicate white peony
and spicy coriander accents make an instant play for attention.
The alluring and modern heart unfolds in sequence: rich rose absolute,
carnal night blooming jasmine, and the stimulating ambrette seed.
Precious patchouli orpur infuses the finish with exotic depth. Its stimulating
sensual pull is enriched by a medley of blonde woods and the soft eastern
aroma of incense.”

Serge Lutens A Tribute

The luxury of the Beauty

Serge Lutens was born in Lille in 1942. In the early 1960s, he went toParis and started working as a makeup artist and creative stylist. He became the creative director at Shiseido in 1980, and released his first

perfume for Shiseido in 1981: the now legendary Nombre Noir.

The Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido, described by Lutens as “more of  reafined salon for perfumes than a boutique”, opened in Paris in 1992,shortly after the release of Shiseido Féminité du Bois. Subsequent

releases appear under the name Serge Lutens instead of Shiseido. In the late 1990s, Lutens decided to entirely devote his time to perfumery.

There are two Serge Lutens lines: the export line (50 ml rectangular bottle, which you can buy all over the world) and the exclusive 75 ml. bell jar bottle.

A typical Serge Lutens fragrance conjures an almost mystical kind of feeling on its wearers. One of my favourites is Tuberose Criminelle. Tuberose Criminelle is a very interesting note. For a long time, I thought it was a piercingly sweet floral, and perhaps the flower is extraordinarily sweet in real life. Not so real tuberose absolute. Rather, it carries a heavy aroma like rotten flowers and rubber. Perfume being what it is (a recreation of natural smells) the method for putting the sweetness into the tuberose absolute is to add it back via chemicals–or the few sweet natural substances that are strong enough to compete with it. That is why perfume that uses tuberose absolute is always sweet. Without these additives, it would be ghastly. No one would wear it. No more deviating from the point, on to the review of Serge Lutens Tuberose Criminalle. My favorite aspect about this house is that the perfumers often avoid side-stepping the natural smell of the main accord. Instead, they ramp it up with supporting notes. This perfume is no exception. Dispite all other notes, it still smells like natural tuberose absolute. Another beautiful example is Iris Silver Mist, which smells very nearly exactly like orris butter. So, if you like tuberose, you must try this one before you can claim any familiarity with the note. Either that, or buy a sample vial of the absolute–but you’ll never wear it.

Photographer, make-up artist, interior and set designer, creator of perfumes, fashion designer and designer of extraordinary objects, autodidact Serge Lutens is an “image maker” of genius. He first began working for French “Vogue” in 1963 where he worked with, among others, Bob Richardson, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin and Irving Penn. At the age of only 27, already acclaimed for his inimitable style, he moved to Dior to develop the company’s image and create their make-up lines, after which he transferred his talents to Shiseido, where he has been “image creator” for over 15 years. He divides his time between Paris and Ben Youssef, the medina in Marrakech, and his work reflects a sophisticated blend of European refinement and rich orientalism, taking the femme ideale, or ideal woman, as its central motif. His first book – published in 1992 and now a collector’s item – was an “event” in the publishing world. Today, with his second book, produced in luxury edition, Serge Lutens returns to reconfirm his art, which brings together pure aesthetics and a quest for perfection.