VIP Room : Fragrance Review



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.



  • Judith (lilybp): I don’t know–I tried a sample of this awhile ago and wasn’t that impressed. It was alright, but a bit sweet for my tastes. I certainly wasn’t moved to search out more. But I just received another sample, so perhaps I will try again–although after reading your review, I’m not particularly hopeful. Oh, well, there are plenty of other leather scents out there for me to love and spend my money on:) December 8, 2005 at 6:09am Reply

  • Sisonne: V, I have a sample of it, too, but wasn´t very impressed. I found it a bit to sharp & it remidned me of a less beautiful version of SL Daim Blond (which I adore). Maybe I should revisit it because it never came to my mind that it´s somewhat similar to Bulgari Black (which I like but don´t wear.
    By the way: I test Costes for the last few days & really considering to buy it 😉 Moreover I was told that the roomspray is also available!
    Oh, there are just too many good perfumes around & it´s so hard too decide 😉 December 8, 2005 at 7:31am Reply

  • Sisonne: I´m so sorry that my post is shown two times, would you be so kind to delete one? Thank you! December 8, 2005 at 7:32am Reply

  • julien: As the name says it in its own way,it is a VIP fragrance and we can’t find it easily in France.
    Jean roch is famous for being a “night people”…
    So,i just don’t know how it is,but thanks to you,i can imagine it.

    Kisses,j. December 8, 2005 at 7:34am Reply

  • Marina: Honeyed sweetness and leather…sounds good to me! Another one goes on the list to sample. December 8, 2005 at 8:47am Reply

  • Laura: Aedes sent me a sample of this when they first got it and I loved it at first sniff. But, alas, it was a passing fancy—lack of verve, vim, vigor on its part (not mine, I assure you.) December 8, 2005 at 5:45am Reply

  • Victoria O: I liked this one and I don’t usually like leather, but it was soft and the sweetness temperted it. But I didn’t buy the bottle. It was lacking oomph factor, and faded quickly on me. December 8, 2005 at 12:55pm Reply

  • Robin: Couldn’t remember what I thought of it and had to go look it up…so apparently it wasn’t memorable to me 😉 December 8, 2005 at 1:02pm Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, what do you think: Are SL Cuir Mauresque & Chanel Cuir de Russie different enough from Caron Tabac Blond to justice a purchase? As you know, I love leather scents!
    Do you know Histoires de Parfums 1740? It´s another leather scent I really like – the beginning is a bit strong, but then it develops in a rather nice way 🙂 December 8, 2005 at 1:27pm Reply

  • mreenymo: I received a sample of VIP Room earlier this year. A lot of my perfume friends like it, even love it, but alas, I do not. I agree with you, V, that Bulgari Black is a much more interesting composition.

    Hugs! December 8, 2005 at 1:38pm Reply

  • KS: V: I just tried this last weekend up in Vancouver at The Perfume Shoppe. On paper it was a tad more interesting than on skin. When I was finally persuaded to spray some on…I was immediately whisked back to childhood and the dreaded barbershop…where a severe crewcut was always on the “menu”! VIP smelled powdery/talc-y on me…I got a whiff of pineapple/fruit and MUCH sweetness…the leather did not make an impression at all. No enthusiasm for this one. K December 8, 2005 at 2:23pm Reply

  • parislondres: Dear V – great review as always. I tested this a number of months ago and was not very impressed. Yes – it is nice enough but sweet but it did not grab my attention enough to buy this.
    I adore and wear Cuir de Russie, Cuir Mauresque and Tabac Blond….. December 8, 2005 at 10:25am Reply

  • KS: HA, OK Victoria: let’s say a
    1. rural, 2. Southern and 3. inexpensive barber shop! (circa 1970). Kevin December 8, 2005 at 3:36pm Reply

  • Tania: I find the fruity sweetness in Daim Blond to be too much for me, paired with the leather; so VIP was just not appealing to me. Like you, I prefer Bulgari Black, Tabac Blond, and Cuir de Russie by a long shot. Although I perceive Cuir de Russie as a warm scent, not a chilly one — as warm as cashmere-lined lambskin gloves.

    When I was at Bergdorf recently, Tom, who runs the Etro counter, gave me a test strip with Etro’s Gomma on it. It was all rubbery leather, very strange, but again, not as complex as Bulgari Black, lacking that warm depth. December 8, 2005 at 10:41am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I would never assume you lack verve! 🙂 December 8, 2005 at 1:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, I discovered that I like my leather accords somewhat drier. The sweetness clashes with my personal idea of what leather should like, however if it is moderate as in Black and Tabac Blond, then I rather like it. December 8, 2005 at 2:01pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, it does remind me of Black, but it is less complex, which might translate into more wearable. I suppose I do not mind being a little bit challenged by Black. Do try it again, and maybe you will change your mind.

    Oh, I am glad to hear you are enjoying Costes. I have been wearing it a lot as well. December 8, 2005 at 2:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: No worries, C! December 8, 2005 at 2:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, yes, I know that VIP Room in both Paris and St. Tropez is rather famous for its fashion and entertainment industry parties. Jean-Roch wanted to capture his vision of life in this fragrance, as one brochure called it. December 8, 2005 at 2:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, I wonder how you might like it. It is on the sweet side for me, but it is pleasant. December 8, 2005 at 2:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear N, thank you. I suppose that it did not grab me either, because the sweetness created a dissonance for me. I do love the leather fragrances in general, however. December 8, 2005 at 2:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, I find that Daim Blond has enough iris to compensate for the sweetness, and it is what gives it a chilly facet I like. The same chilly facet I adore in Cuir de Russie, although yes, the drydown is much warmer than one would expect.

    I have smelled Gomma once, and it was interesting. I should revisit. December 8, 2005 at 2:12pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: V, you are right. It did not have much tenacity on my skin either and faded rather quickly. Black kept going and going… 🙂 December 8, 2005 at 2:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, not being able to remember is a fairly good indicator of one’s opinion on the topic. 🙂 December 8, 2005 at 2:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, oh, Histoires de Parfums 1740 sounds rather interesting, although I admit that I have not tried it yet. I will make sure to seek it out. Thanks for mentioning.

    I think that the fragrances you mentioned are all very different from Tabac Blond, and if you like leather, they will make a good addition to your collection. December 8, 2005 at 2:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, VIP Room makes leather very approachable, as it is not dark or particularly smoky. On the other hand, if one likes just that, one might be disappointed. So, yes, I agree with you. December 8, 2005 at 2:17pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: KS, oh, no. Not the barbershop! 🙂 It is funny, because my stepfather likes to characterize fragrances along that criteria. “This smells like a barbershop.” Then he adds qualifiers–expensive, Soviet (not good), suburban… Most of it is just lost on me, but it never fails to make me laugh. December 8, 2005 at 2:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kevin, ok, now that says quite a bit! December 8, 2005 at 3:46pm Reply

  • Shifts: Funny, I just ordered a bottle of VIP Room Signature last week and updated my own blog about it yesterday. I’m glad to see it get some attention.

    The similarity to Bvlgari Black is certainly striking, but with an added flowery softness I truely appreciate. I’ve tried it from a sample several times and just loved it, so I’m a bit suprised to see so many not liking it.

    I believe I can make room for both Bvlgari Black and VIP Room Signature in my everyday perfume like 🙂

    Good review. December 9, 2005 at 6:42am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Shifts, I expected more people admire it too, even if I personally did not find it fitting my tastes (but I like my leather so dry, I do not presume that others would too). It is a lovely fragrance, and it smells wonderful on a friend who likes it very much. I am sure that it works great on you as well. Enjoy your new bottle! December 9, 2005 at 7:01am Reply

  • Tara: I fell in love with this from a sample vial – BF said it smelled like latekia, Turkish tobacco. But then when I got a whole bottle of it, I didn’t like it so much. 🙁 Had to apply a lot in order to smell it, and it went sharp. I rarely wear it now. December 12, 2005 at 3:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tara’s comment which unfortunately got deleted during the typepad update:

    “I fell in love with this from a sample vial – BF said it smelled like latekia, Turkish tobacco. But then when I got a whole bottle of it, I didn’t like it so much. 🙁 Had to apply a lot in order to smell it, and it went sharp. I rarely wear it now.” December 19, 2005 at 6:31pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, I keep thinking that something is missing here, and perhaps it is the fact that the sweetness is not balanced well, as in the composition not having a full body. December 19, 2005 at 6:33pm Reply

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