Orange Blossom & Neroli: 58 posts

Tom Ford Noir Extreme : Fragrance Review


Elisa on Tom Ford Noir Extreme and olfactory desserts for men (and not only).

First there was Thierry Mugler Angel, widely credited with creating both the gourmand and “fruitchouli” categories; perfumer Olivier Cresp poured ethylmaltol – the smell of burnt sugar – into a patchouli-heavy oriental base, starting a craze for caramel in perfume that hasn’t much slowed in 20 years. Then came Angel’s counterpart A*Men, also released in 1996, making the world safe for gourmands for men. A*Men smelled shockingly like mint chocolate chip ice cream, but retained its masculinity thanks to lavender and plenty of that same earthy, mothball-like patchouli seen in Angel.

tom ford noir extreme

Since its release, it has spawned plenty of variations. In addition to all the A*Men flankers (including my favorite, A*Men Pure Malt), other gourmand-friendly lines like Hanae Mori and Viktor & Rolf have offered up sweet scents for men. Take HM (1997), a crazy but appealing mix of candy notes, lavender and lemon. Later, in 2000, came Lolita Lempicka au Masculin, a delicious licorice fougère. And the release of Spicebomb in 2012, with all its smoky, leathery tobacco goodness, felt like a masculine gourmand revival.

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Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie : Fragrance Review


San Francisco is one of the most fragrant cities. The scents of salty sea breeze and jasmine are the strongest recollections from my visits. So I’m with Elisa on enjoying Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie, an effervescent perfume inspired by California and jasmine. 

I love the idea of perfumes inspired by a place – take Christopher Street, a leather scent named for a street in New York City known for its nightlife. Or any number of Bond No. 9 scents – the connections to the individual neighborhoods have been stretching believability for some time, I admit, but a few – like Broadway Nite, Chinatown, and Fire Island – nail the atmospheres of their respective inspirations. Then there’s a host of perfumes named after spots in Paris, including at least two simply named Paris.


It’s funny, on reflection, that there are so many perfumes named after New York – it’s one of my favorite places to be, but honestly, it kind of stinks. California, on the other hand, seems a bit under-leveraged in perfumery briefs. San Diego, for example, is one of the best-smelling cities I’ve been to; the air smells like sea salt, flowers, and eucalyptus trees.

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Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola : Fragrance Review


Elisa on a new perfume from Neela Vermeire Creations.

Neela Vermeire Creations, a small niche line launched in 2012, includes five fragrances so far, all inspired by India and composed by Bertrand Duchaufour. Pichola is the latest release, a white floral inspired by Lake Pichola in the Rajasthan state of India. I’m a white floral lover, and from the great early reviews to the description, the scent sounded enticing: warm, spicy, and complex. But that’s not quite what I experienced.


Pichola opens with a surprising impression of lemongrass – that distinctive sour/herbal/floral note in Southeast Asian curries. There’s no lemongrass listed in the notes; this uncanny effect must arise from a combination of citrus (bergamot, clementine, and neroli) and spices (cardamom and saffron). At first, it’s intriguing; I’ve never smelled a note like this in perfume before.

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Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender : Perfume Review


Gourmand is a fragrance family I love for its instant mood booster potential. At the same, many contemporary high-calorie blends can test the limits of one’s tolerance for sweetness, and if you’re looking for a luscious, but not cloying, treat, the options can seem limited. One of the good lines to explore for abstract gourmands is Parfums de Nicolaï. Its founder, Patricia Nicolaï, is an heir to Guerlain’s tradition (a house famous for its trademark accord of vanilla, tonka bean and other delicious notes), both as a granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain, Jacques Guerlain‘s brother, and an innovative perfumer in her own right.


Kiss Me Tender, her take on the candy-smelling plant, heliotrope, could have been inspired by Guerlain’s Héliotrope Blanc (1870). It’s a dessert of vanilla and almonds, but the pastry illusion is kept in check by the realistic jasmine, orange blossom and ylang-ylang.

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Tom Ford Velvet Orchid : Fragrance Review


Big, bold, sexy? Elisa is not convinced.

You can learn a lot from reading the comments on perfume blogs. Recently, I learned the term “freakum dress” from a woman who commented that she was searching for a “freakum perfume.” I had to look up the term on Urban Dictionary: “similar to a ‘lil Black dress’…A HOT ass dress that demands ones attention!”

tom ford

I think Tom Ford decided that his mid-range line needed a freakum perfume: something loud and sexy for 20-somethings to wear when they go out clubbing. Unfortunately, it got interpreted as “cheap floriental.” I’ve generally respected Tom Ford’s releases even when I didn’t want to wear them, but with Velvet Orchid, I’m having trouble making eye contact.

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Latest Comments

  • Cornelia Blimber in Books From Around The World: Let me add a Dutch author. Arnon Grunberg’s “Figuranten” and ”Fantoompijn” are extremely funny. Pure slapstick. I bet he has been translated in English. November 26, 2015 at 3:27pm

  • Cornelia Blimber in Books From Around The World: Speaking of Russian authors: long time ago I read the memoires of Paustovsky. I remember how beautifully he described nature. November 26, 2015 at 3:24pm

  • orsetta in Books From Around The World: I’d like to add a Polish author, Olga Tokarczuk. I find her books truly fascinating. She’s been translated into English and Italian November 26, 2015 at 2:39pm

  • Victoria in Books From Around The World: You’re impressive! :) Such a creative way to get some reading done. I do hope your baby adjusts to a schedule that gives you some rest. November 26, 2015 at 12:37pm

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