The combination of violet and oud is like a romance between Doris Day and Cary Grant—one is wholesome and innocent, the other is dark and smoldering. Yet, just as Day and Grant set the screen on fire in the comedy, “That Touch of Mink,” violet and oud can be an irresistible pairing as I discovered through Lalique Hommage à l’homme.
Hommage à l’homme is the newest Lalique perfume created by perfumers Christine Nagel and Mathilde Bijaoui. It’s a masculine fragrance, and while it’s much too virile for me personally, I would gladly smell it on men around me. You will not find typical masculine cologne elements wrapped into the elegant shape of Hommage à l’homme. It’s the fragrance equivalent of a leading man in a classic Hollywood film—dashing, suave, and sophisticated. Hommage à l’homme smells like something worn by Cary Grant, whether he dashes around the French Riviera with Grace Kelly or tries to woo Doris Day with mink coats and champagne.
Its fresh top notes are crisp violet leaf and black pepper, with a bitter twist of bergamot. When the violet petals begin to unfold, they are velvety and sweet and oh so Doris Day. But wait a moment, and you will notice that Hommage à l’homme is laced with enough woody and spicy notes to read on skin as piquant.
On cue, the dark and handsome stranger enters the room, and things get much more exciting. The honeyed warmth of oud takes over Hommage à l’homme slowly, but once it does, the fragrance becomes rich and complex. The violet remains a strong accent, and smelling its soft floral note against the smoldering darkness of oud, I wonder why this combination isn’t explored more often. It has enough contrasts to be interesting, but it’s also elegant and polished.
All other details simply highlight the violet-oud union–the sweet amber, the leathery saffron, the sheer green jasmine and warm musk. Hommage à l’homme is to violet what Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit is to rose—a reinterpretation of a familiar flower as manly and robust. It feels exciting, because it’s so unexpected. Another fragrance that puts me in the same mood is Tom Ford Oud Wood. Oud Wood treats oud not as a heavy, animalic note, but as a woody, luminous decoration. In the unexciting sea of masculine scents, Hommage à l’homme stands out for its charm and ability to surprise.
Lalique Hommage à l’homme includes notes of bergamot, saffron, violet, chili pepper, oud, musk, amber. Available in the limited edition crystal collector bottle (1200€, pictured above), or in 50ml (65€) and 100 ml bottles (85€) from escentual.com and other Lalique retailers.
Sample: my own acquisition