Tom Ford Private Blend London: Impressions

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The Tom Ford London flagship store on Sloane St.

I’ve had the opportunity to try a few new scents lately and Tom Ford Private Blend London was at the top of my lust list based on the notes. And, okay, lets face it, the exclusivity. Can’t get it anywhere but the new flagship store on Sloane St.? Sign me up!

imagesThe scuttlebutt on the fragrance was that it was Tom Ford’s first coffee scent. The note list also promised cardamom, saffron, incense, jasmine, oud and woods. While all the notes are up my alley, they pretty much had me at coffee. I simply had to know what a Tom Ford Private Blend based on the note of coffee would smell like.

So without further adieu, here’s what it smells like: not coffee.

All the other notes seem to be present and accounted for but coffee, sadly isn’t one of them. It starts very peppery, spicy and complex. The oud and cedar are in the fore from the start. When sprayed lightly, it’s a peppery, spicy (cardamom, cumin) incense and wood scent. Sprayed heavily, it’s very dense like many TF Private Blends can be – dark oud cloaked in spices and smokey incense, and with a sweet almost candied floral heart. It’s unisex, but leans masculine with its dense, woody, smokey darkness. The sweetness at the core allows women in the club, but only the strong, self-assured ones who don’t mind playing with the boys.

Am I disappointed Tom Ford London doesn’t have a prominent coffee note? You bet! But it’s a complex, interesting, sophisticated scent nonetheless that I’m glad to have a decant of. It also has massive longevity and sillage that rivals other powerful Tom Fords like Tobacco Vanille and Amber Absolute.

Will I buy a full bottle? Don’t think so. While it’s a very good scent, the blend seems a bit ‘jagged’ and lacks a certain refinement to my nose. But if you’re in the Sloane Street neighbourhood, it would absolutely be worth having a sniff and checking out the new store (opened at the end of July 2013) while you’re at it. Tom Ford London will be available internationally at the end of January 2014.

Inside Tom Ford's London store.

Inside Tom Ford’s London store.

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Slutty sophistication: Agent Provocateur EDP

Dear Scent Diary,

imagesI don’t like rose except when I really like rose.

There are enough rose fragrances I dislike that if sniffed in a row, one would conclude that I have a hate on for rose. Which is what I honestly thought for a while. But I’ve discovered that there are also enough rose fragrances I absolutely love that if sniffed in a row, you’d come away thinking that I’m a huge fan of rose. Tricky business this rose note.

UnknownOne of the perfumes I place firmly in the ‘love’ column is Agent Provocateur’s first and signature scent, Agent Provocateur. I don’t live in a country where the brand actively advertises, so I had no preconceived notions when I took my first sniff. I believe I vaguely knew it was a lingerie company, maybe “Victoria’s Secret-ish” is what I’d probably have told you.

Agent Provocateur starts with a blast of dark, deep, oily rose, almost black, that second by second gets sweeter and more tangy as it dries. This is not a sheer fragrance – it is a potent and strong, take-no-prisoners type of scent. I expect this kind of quality from Amouage and Serge Lutens, but not from a mass lingerie brand, so it had my attention right away.

As it dries down, the rose melds with saffron and cedar to give it a more abstract, aromatic impression that’s deep, dense and gorgeous. It throws like crazy and I find the projected scent a bit cleaner than what you smell up close. Still, the waft is dark and aromatic with all the notes creating a cedary, mentholated rose feeling. That aromatic quality of the silage gives it a freshness that keeps the scent from being too heavy. A beautiful evening fragrance for me.

HP_florie

Agent Provocateur Spring Summer 2013

When I sat down to start writing about Agent Provocateur, I acquainted myself with the brand’s imagery. Um, whoa! Coupled with the brand’s blatant, ornately sexual aesthetic, the perfume takes on a sultry, bad ass sexiness. Before I associated the scent with french maid ‘playsuits’ and disco pasties, I would have compared it to such sophisticated fragrances as Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady. Now, what? Portrait of a Lady of the Evening?

Since scent is blind, I’ll go with my initial impression. It’s a high quality, dark, aromatic rose fragrance with a wonderful sillage and incredible longevity. If you prefer your roses soft, simple or fresh, you won’t like Agent Provocateur. If you like them edgy, dark and sultry, you can join me in the ‘love it’ corner, prudishly trying to forget it’s associated with the image above.