Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The leather has an effect of adding a certain austere strength to fragrances, grounding the airy sparkle of green notes and the sweet voluptuousness of florals. Wrapped around soft woods and iris, the leather notes make Chanel Cuir de Russie a composition of chilly elegance. Touched by the apricot-like sweetness and the woody violet darkness, the leather impression is softened to suede in Serge Lutens Daim Blond. The darkness of leather under the vivid verdant veil of galbanum is a memorable juxtaposition explored in Robert Piguet Bandit. The indolic jasmine of Frédéric Malle Le Parfum de Thérèse harmonizes with the sensuality of leather underscoring its base.
Leather permeated with fruity sweetness, VIP Room was created by the perfumer Benoit Lapouza, under the artistic direction of Rami Mekdachi, as a tribute to the legendary dance club originally located in St. Tropez and its host Jean-Roch. On the scent strip, the top accord of flowers and hesperidic notes has an airy, sunny quality before it begins to segue into the sweet, subtly rubbery smokiness of the heart. …
However, on the skin, the nuance does not seem to be sustained as well, and over time I notice a rather pronounced sweetness of the fruit competing with the smoky tonality of the leather accord.
The rubbery sweetness is the aspect I particularly like about Bulgari Black, and in some aspects, VIP Room is reminiscent of it, although not as complex. However, where Black maintains an austere, yet very sensual darkness—its sweetness merely an accent, rather than the dominating trait, VIP Room imbues its leather with the pronounced honeyed sweetness. The next stage is an evolution of the sweet notes, which settle onto the woody base. Exotic opulence of tropical flowers laced with the peachy sweetness leaves a mark, and the composition attains an approachable character.
While I have a penchant for the somber darkness of leather, my appreciation for its pairing with the sweet notes is much more recent, particularly due to Caron Tabac Blond (with its lavish dark vanilla notes) and Bulgari Black. I do not mind the fruity sweetness lacing the leather notes of VIP Room, but I nevertheless wish for a somewhat drier composition, which makes me realize that Bulgari Black is a fragrance I prefer instead. However, for those who are not used to the dark, animalic embrace of leather or wish for a sweeter and lighter composition, VIP Room might be a better choice.
Notes include tiare, pineapple, bergamot, tangerine, iris, leather, sandalwood, vetiver, birch, styrax, amber, vanilla, and musk. In addition, the range includes a candle, which explores the same theme as the fragrance, however with more emphasis on voluptuous smokiness of leather. VIP Room is available at Aedes and Luckyscent, as well as directly from VIP Room. European online shoppers can find it at First-in-Fragrance and Senteurs d’Ailleurs.