Arbolé Arbolé, the latest fragrance from Hiram Green, weds spicy woods and powdery, sweet, floral-vanillic elements in holy matrimony with rings of dark resins. It was interesting to observe how the relationships at the core of the scent unfolded like a musical piece where the courtship took place during an unexpected overture or prelude, followed by a march up the aisle, a post-wedding reception dance where everyone joins in, and then, finally, the couple retires to cuddle in a cozy haze on the first night of their honeymoon.
Arbolé Arbolé (hereinafter spelled without the accent or just called “Arbole”) wasn’t my thing despite my love for many of the notes at the center of the composition, but it’s also one of those fragrances that seems to manifest itself quite differently from one person to the next. How it turns out on your skin, particularly in its opening, is likely to shape how you view the scent.
Arbole Arbole is an all-natural, handcrafted eau de parfum that was released two weeks ago. On his website, Mr. Green calls it as “a warm and woody fragrance that takes its name and spirit from Lorca’s eponymous poem.” He describes its scent and some of its notes as follows:
Arbolé Arbolé opens with a burst of earthy patchouli that slowly merges with rich cedar wood and velvety sandalwood. Vanilla and tonka bean anchor the fragrance and provide a sweet and powdery base.
As I’ve learned in the years of trying Mr. Green’s fragrances, his note lists are the merest synopsis of what’s in the fragrances, a broad brush stroke of the basics, even though he creates his rich, strong, perfumes by layering materials one upon another. He never states all the materials that he uses. In the case of Arbole Arbole, just like his other fragrances, what appears on my skin goes far beyond the stated notes. Heliotrope is a big element, in all its many and varied facets, and so are the resins that were such a prominent part of Shangri-La, Voyage, and Dilettante. In fact, I’m starting to recognise a base patchouli-resin accord as one of Mr. Green’s signatures. So, if I had to guess the note list based upon what appears on my skin, I’d estimate it looks something like this:
Patchouli, Heliotrope, Lavender, Cedar, Sandalwood, Mixed Resins (benzoin, possibly styrax), Tonka, Cade, Vanilla, and perhaps drops of Bergamot and Petitgrain.
Arbole Arbole opens on my skin with dark, fungal, musty, earthy, and slightly camphorous patchouli shot through with musty, dusty cedar that smells like an antique wooden chest in an attic. The wood is quickly overshadowed by other notes, starting first with something that smells exactly like lavender. It’s an aroma that goes far beyond any possible herbal or camphorous aspects to patchouli; it’s aromatic, fresh, bracing, and extremely medicinal. I’m not keen on it one bit.
It’s followed by an equally strong wave of what will turn out to be a central element in Arbole Arbole: powdered sweetness that smells like a tightly coiled double helix of heliotrope with creamy tonka. The tonka smells creamy, vanillic, and, occasionally, has a nuance of sweet hay to it.
As for the heliotrope, all of its facets are on display here from its vanilla meringue and marshmallows to Play-Doh putty, floral powder, sweet pollen, and almond marzipan. While I adore heliotrope, the one aspect that I always struggle with is present here, too: clean, cool baby powder. It’s a powerful note that smells identical to the one at the center of Oriza L. Legrand‘s Heliotrope Blanc, and it cascades in force over the juxtaposed contrast of the medicinal aromatics, dusty woods, musty, earthy, camphorous patchouli, Play-Doh, creamy coumarin-ish tonka, vanilla, and heliotrope marshmallows. On my skin, the cumulative effect feels disjointed and discordant. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long.
Arbole, Arbole quickly shifts. The musty cedar retreats to the sidelines, followed by the patchouli which sheds some of its fungal earthiness and mustiness. At the same time, the lavender (or whatever is replicating its aroma) loses its harsh, medicinal aspects, thanks to the taming influence of the creamy tonka which smoothens it out and turns it into lavender ice cream that is sprinkled with a few strands of hay. The result reminded me of Jicky‘s lavender, tonka, coumarin accord, and the impression is underscored by a brief, passing whiff of something citrusy. It’s a tiny, indeterminate touch, but felt like petitgrain mixed with a drop of bergamot.
Whatever it is, the citrusy brightness and freshness doesn’t last long, and other notes take its place. First, there is a whiff of something that smells exactly like cade with its aroma of campfire smoke woods and smoked meats. That is short-lived as well and disappears within a minute or two, swallowed up by a dark, woody oiliness, a puff of a herbal floralcy almost like chamomile, and a surprising lactonic note, like almond milk that’s been poured over white, creamy biscuits. I’m guessing the latter is the result of the tonka and the sandalwood.
Roughly 10-15 minutes into Arbole’s development, the patchouli becomes a mere backdrop against which a chorus of lavender, tonka, and coumarin-like hay kneel in a circle before their new star, the heliotrope. Like a flirtatious white-clad ballerina, she twirls before the patchouli’s gaze, jettisoning vanilla powder, clean baby powder, meringue powder, sweet milk, sweet almondy cream, sweet Play-Doh putty, and a touch of powdered floral pollen. Around and around she goes, twirling like a dervish, the speed of her movements spraying her multi-faceted scent far and wide.
I’ve tested Arbole Arbole three times now, and its opening consistently followed the same path. It’s like a courtship and mating dance between two central elements on a stage that is initially crowded with other suitors or bystanders. On an olfactory basis, I was reminded me of a classical patchouli-woods/cedar composition combined with Heliotrope Blanc and a few drops of Jicky. The comparisons don’t last, however, because all of this turns out to be like the members of an orchestra warming up before the start of the overture and the main act.
The overture begins about 25 minutes into Arbole Arbole’s development, and the dynamics change noticeably as a result. The patchouli begins to reassert itself, followed by the first signs of dark resins, and the two together add a powerful spiciness and golden warmth which affect the innate coolness of the heliotrope’s cool, clean, baby powder tonalities. An ambered hue falls over the notes, not only coating the heliotrope but also silencing the lavender. There is a treacly, dark, balsamic, and smoky quality to the “amber,” and it becomes as tightly coiled and indivisible from the patchouli as the tonka is with the heliotrope. It’s the exact same spicy, sweet, smoky, and musky patchouli-resin accord that marked past Hiram Green fragrances, particularly Dilettante, and it’s starting to feel to me like Mr. Green’s signature in the way that plum-cedar was once Serge Lutens’ mark.
The overture lasts about 15-20 minutes, and Act I of Arbole Arbole begins near the end of the first hour. Imagine it as a wedding announcement: the patchouli and heliotrope have been joined together in holy matrimony. The bride is romantic in a white frock in the classical style, its folds woven from heliotrope Play-Doh, meringues, almond marzipan, tonka, vanilla, creamy powdered milk, and creamy, milky sandalwood. A floor-length veil of sweet, vanillic powder covers her; under it, a few springs of lavender adorn her hair. The groom is resplendent in a black tuxedo from the latest in smoky, dark, haute couture resin fabrics, cut tightly against his ripped, bulging, patchouli body.
The wedding ceremony lasts until Act II begins at the end of the second hour and the start of the third, and it’s set during the wedding reception. The groom takes over, dancing with the bridesmaids and groomsmen, while his powdery heliotrope bride looks on from the dais table on top. The darker notes have coalesced into a single, smoldering mass, dominated by the patchouli-resin accord, followed closely by a dark, smoky vanilla.
Everything else has turned into a blur that feels hazy and generalized: mere woodiness, resinous spiciness, resinous smokiness, resinous muskiness, smoky sweetness, fluffy creaminess, and powdery meringues. The dance goes on and on, the bride fluttering her dress to cascade sweet powder over the proceedings, while the groom’s resin tuxedo wafts both a smoky and a leathery quality. When smelt up close, Arbole’s resins-patchouli casts such a long shadow that it swallows up the powderiness, although its certain a major component on the scent trail floating in the air.
At most weddings receptions, the bride and groom’s dance often starts the festivities but, here, they take place later, in Act III, which begins at the start of the 4th hour or roughly 3.25 hours into the fragrance’s development. The heliotrope-tonka and the patchouli-resins waltz together. It’s a mix that is fluffy, spicy, sweet, powdery, musky, smoky, golden, ambered, woody, treacly, slightly floral, slightly leathery, and slightly creamy. More and more, the heliotrope and patchouli’s individual contours and shape are melting into one, its powdered vanilla marshmallow and almond Play-Doh indistinguishable from the patchouli’s woody side. The sandalwood’s butteriness, the benzoin’s cinnamon spice, and the vanilla’s cream serving as a glue that blends them together seamlessly. The end result has nothing in common with Heliotrope Blanc; instead, the fragrance now feels like a more heavily powdered, heliotrope-infused cousin to Loree Rodkin‘s Gothic I (in its later stages).
This is the real heart of Arbole Arbole, and it lasts for a while until the drydown begins in the middle of the 7th hour. Basically, the bride and groom spoon together in their honeymoon bed, their limbs dissolved into a blur, a simple golden haze of powdered sweetness, spiciness, vanillic creaminess, and resinous smoke. When the sun slowly rises, all that’s left is powdery sweetness.
Arbole Arbole had very good longevity, average projection, and initially strong sillage that took a while to turn more moderate. I was sent a little atomiser sample, and I used several spritzes equal to 2 good sprays from an actual bottle in all my tests. Arbole Arbole consistently opened with about 3-4 inches of projection and sillage that was around 5 before it grew to about 8-10 inches after 20 minutes. At the end of the 2nd hour, the projection was roughly 2 inches, while the sillage dropped to about 5-6 inches. When the 4th hour rolled around, the projection was 0.5 to 1 inch, and the sillage was at 2-3. In total, it took Arbole 6.5 hours to turn into a skin scent, and it consistently lasted over 11 hours on my skin, usually somewhere between 11.5 and 12.5 hours except in one test on my right arm where it only lasted 11 hours and was a somewhat softer scent as a whole. Still, as compared to the majority of all-natural fragrances on the market, the numbers are very high, as they are for all Hiram Green creations. With many natural brands, I’ll be lucky if I get 6 hours longevity, and they usually cling to the skin like a silent vapor after the 2nd hour. None of Hiram Green’s fragrances are like that. They’re bold, often chewy in body, rich, strong, and long-lasting.
One thing that I’ve noticed for all Hiram Green fragrances after his tuberose Moon Bloom is that there isn’t always a consistency in how they smell from one person to the next, and that completely unrelated notes can appear on each person, almost as if there were three or four fragrances at play, not just one. That’s the case for Arbole Arbole as well.
The strange divergence of notes experienced by people in the opening may explain why reviews on Fragrantica thus far seem more mixed than they have been for past Hiram Green releases. For me, it was a mix of medicinal, bizarrely musty, fusty, and earthy notes under a cascade of baby powder but, for others, it was olives, vinegar, moldy bread, or vetiver. For example, “K1” described Arbole, in part, as follows:
Olive oil and honey [….][¶] It opens with awry sticky sweetness and kind of musty dry greenness redolent of moldy bread and kind of vinegary smell like newly cut tree’s syrup. A hint of sweaty skin covered with dust under sharp sun warmth. I’m not sure what exactly it is but I guess there must be a boost of honey to keep the semi-animalic side of patchouli up. It also merges perfectly with cedar.
Anyway, Arbolé Arbolé is a damp warm green fragrance with strange yummy taste and skanky sweetness. Not everyone’s nor every where’s fragrance. It’s kind of hard to communicate but it is intriguing and it is the way it charms.
“Akawanis” also experienced olives. To be precise, an “olive in a soap” smell combined with tonka and the other notes in the pyramid. He or she loved it.
For “fillifelle,” however, Arbole’s opening was not about olives but all about vetiver. She wrote: “The opening is a very strong vetiver accord […] like badass Sycomore stuff. Green sweet grass vibe. […] The drydown is more my style with the tonka, vanilla coming to the foreground amidst a vague sandalwood sweetness.” I’ll let you read the full accounts later on your own because I want to move to other reviews to show you how much things differ.
On Basenotes, there is only one review at the time of this post, and it’s very positive. “Claire V.” says Arbole Arbole is Hiram Green’s “best work yet and the one that I would race out to buy in a heartbeat.” For her, it was all about the patchouli and woods, and the patchouli had “a pleasantly stale, waxy chocolate softness that recalls vintage make-up, heavy silks taken out of storage in cedar trunks, and huge beeswax candles dripping over everything.”
For The Scented Hound, Arbole Arbole was also a patchouli scent. His description of the patchouli in the opening phase as being like “putty” makes me think he experienced the heliotrope with its Play-doh putty tonalities as I did. And, he, too, experienced a whiff of citrus and citrusy woods in the opening. His review reads, in part, as follows:
Arbolé Arbolé opens with a putty like chewy patchouli that feels encased in a light rubber or elastic. […] Soon, the opening kick to futuristic nostalgia adds a citrus and woody edge that moves the rubberized consistency away, although there is still a bit of a putty edge to the perfume. After some more time a warmed base emerges with a chewy, thickened vanilla… […] calming lightly sweet rich vanilla that’s tamed by the tonka bean [….][¶] In the end, the perfume deepens, still smooth, still creamy with a light powder. I absolutely love this perfume.
As you can see, Arbole manifests itself quite differently from one person to the next, so it is a fragrance that you should test first with a sample to see if you like what ensues. The highly abbreviated note list won’t tell you what to expect, because it’s not complete. The unlisted notes and how they interact are likely to influence your opinions a lot.
In my case, what appeared on my skin should have made Arbole Arbole a slam dunk, but it wasn’t. I’m such a “patch head” that I not only own a ton of soliflores, but patchouli is also common to many of my other fragrances as well. In addition, I adore heliotrope, resins, and vanilla together. So Arbole Arbole should have been the perfect scent for me, but something got lost in translation on my skin. While I enjoyed some aspects of it, I felt apathetic about the scent as a whole. Even bored. Perhaps heliotrope-patchouli is simply not a combination that works well on my skin. In the past, I’ve tried layering Oriza’s gorgeous patchouli Horizon and its Heliotrope Blanc together; the result was pretty bad. So was Heliotrope Blanc or Guerlain’s lovely heliotrope-heavy Cuir Beluga with Loree Rodkin’s patchouli-vanilla Gothic I.
Quite separate from the combination issue, however, something about Arbole on my skin lacked pizzazz and a bold, compelling, head-turning character for me. It felt lifeless, prosaic, and surprisingly mundane which surprised me since I think Mr. Green has a masterful knack for handling and layering his patchouli-resin accord with other things. I’m a huge, huge fan of Mr. Green’s creations, so the only explanation that I can come up with is some quirk of my skin sabotaged the notes to result in something so dull and simplistic.
So, it may be wisest to test Arbole Arbole before buying a bottle because who knows what will transpire. If it ends up as an heliotrope-patchouli-vanilla fragrance, then it will appeal to women (and some men) who love soft, sweet, powdery, and romantic floral-woody fragrances. If it manifests itself as patchouli, woods, and resins, then it will suit men and some women who like darker scents. If it skews to olives with creamy vanillic sweetness and some greenness, then I guess the Slumberhouse Pear+Olive fans would like it.
As a side note, Hiram Green has debuted an affordable alternative to his full bottles. He now offers 10 ml travel sprays for all his fragrances, priced at $45 or either €39/ €32.23, depending on whether you have to pay VAT tax. Most of his retailers sell small samples as well.
If you’re a fan of either patchouli or Mr. Green’s creations, give Arbole Arbole a try for yourself.
Disclosure: My sample was provided by Hiram Green. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.
Hello dearest K,
So glad you reviewed this one quickly, I love Hiram Green’s fragrances and only discovered them through your wonderful blog ;). I was curious about Arbole; like you I figured this would be a slam dunk based on the notes, so it’s good to know that a sampling is in order first! The colour is a little arresting too – I wondered if there was a much bigger list of actual notes in this, which it sounds is the case. I shall look for it when I’m next in a retail store that carries the line. LA in December, so perhaps a detour to Luckyscent 😉
Anyway, just a quick one to say hello, and hope all’s well with you and the hairy German 😉
I think ALL the Hiram Greens have a much bigger list of notes than what is officially said! In this case, more than many of the others, the opening seems to diverge enough to make testing a wise choice than leaping blindly into a full bottle.
Perfume aside, how have you been doing? It’s lovely to see you. Did you have a good Thanksgiving? It’s kind of you to ask about The Hairy German. He is finally doing well and, for the first time in more than 8, he doesn’t have a single one of his many (many) maladies plaguing him. It’s such a relief. I better go knock on wood immediately before I jinx it. 😀 😛
Just a quick comment, to say that I wasn’t impressed with Arbole. I was expecting a rich earthy patchouli scent but on my skin it was nothing more than musty dusty tonka over a vanilla base. I found it simple, linear, and unfortunately boring. When will I learn not to blind buy. Sigh. 😀
I’m sorry the blind buy turned out as it did. My experience was different in terms of the actual notes and it sounds like you didn’t experience a difficult opening, but I felt as you did. It was simple and boring, without an interesting character or pizzazz . :/ Oh well, we can be the minority weirdos together.
You know, I just thought, since you have a full bottle, perhaps you can salvage it by layering Arbole with a vanilla that you love. Something very spicy and rich. You own and love David Jourquin’s Cuir de Reve, don’t you? That’s boozy, spicy, leathery, floral, powdery, and sweet. And it has patchouli, too, if I recall correctly. Maybe layer Arbole Arbole with that? It’s just a thought. 🙂
I also thought about layering. I have Reminiscence Patchouli Elixir on the way, that might do the trick. Reminiscence fragrances are fairly linear and excellent for layering. I hadn’t thought of Cuir de Reve, I’ll give that a try. Thanks.
Heliotrope! Of course it is, God I can’t believe I didn’t get that 🙂 I am wearing it again on the back of your wonderful review, and yes, I can definitely smell heliotrope. I love it even more now! It’s such a wonderfully waxy, smutty kind of playdough note, almost as thick as fudge. A few reviews picked up a lot of rose in this, but I didn’t get any rose at all.
Sorry you weren’t as enamored of it. It’s one of the standouts of the year for me – but maybe my nose was just so brutalized by some of the more mainstream niche ones that this stands out for being natural, warm, and soft. Sheiduna was….painful. And Grand Soir only marginally less so. More and more this year, I have found solace and creativity in the naturals section of niche. Hope you are well and that you are enjoying the holiday season. Cheers, Claire
Haha, we all have those sudden light bulb moments with a fragrance where a note suddenly coalesces into an obvious shape and identity that it didn’t have before, and it’s certainly happened to me, too.
In terms of the “rose,” I wonder how much of it is a mental scent association in people’s mind? I’ve tried a few fragrances that had a strong patchouli note and something about them skewed quite “rosy” or rose-like in both feel and scent to me, and I’m pretty sure it’s because patchouli so often accompanies rose in various compositions.
With regard to some of the recent fragrances you’ve tried, it’s such a relief to hear of your reaction to Sheiduna because I think most people think me quite mad for my views on that scent, let alone the impact or effect of its Amber Xtreme on me. God, I can’t even bear to revisit the thought of it. Simply ghastly. But most people think it was a total over-exaggeration or have no idea what I’m talking about for reasons much like the ones you you described in your review for Grand Soir where your views were so completely apart from the common reaction.
For what it’s worth, you’re not alone there. I felt exactly as you did about Grand Soir. I thought it was such a disappointment and for the exact same reasons. I haven’t even wanted to write about it, not only because I lack motivation to retest it again, but also because I just know most people will have no idea what I’m talking about when I describe the flood of Ambroxan with not a whole lot else. There are so many gushing, adoring reviews out there, but I thought it was a complete scrubber. I can take some degree of Ambroxan, but the amount in Grand Soir… Holy Cow!
Bottom line, I know exactly how you felt with both those fragrances, as well as how hard it was to review Grand Soir and why. You’ve turned for solace, creativity, quality, and character in niche naturals; I’ve reacted by going back to vintages. We’re both in the same boat, alas for us.
On a completely unrelated note, Bravo for your Ambergris article on Basenotes. It was wonderful, as well as wonderfully detailed. Truly fantastic work, Claire, and you deserve endless praise for it.
Kafka, I knew you’d understand me on the Sheiduna and the Grand Soir, thank you! I haven’t reviewed Sheiduna because you said it all, really, and to date, you are the only one saying it publicly. I can’t believe that this is the same perfumer who did the masterful Epic Woman when she was so young. I guess the signature here is “radiance” but Epic Woman’s radiance is not chemically-powered, or at least does not feel that way to me.
Thank you for your kind comment about the ambergris article! That means a lot coming from you, as you wrote a fantastically comprehensive ambergris and amber article that is a benchmark, and recommended warmly to anyone who inquires about amber or ambergris on Basenotes!
It is interesting to me that you are turning to vintages and I to naturals as a reaction to chemically-overloaded niche stuff. Your Shalimar and LHB articles were amazing pieces of olfactory journalism, and although I don’t know where you find the energy, I exhort you to keep going, on all of our behalf, please!
The first couple of reviews I read made me want to jump on a full bottle. Glad I waited for your review. There are enough warning bells here to make me less than eager. I’m not a big fan of Heliotrope (I think that is why I’m not bowled over by Teint de Neige as much as I thought I would be). But it was your mention of Slumberhouse Pear + Olive that was the final coffin nail (I still shudder at the memory of that one, which I couldn’t scrub fast enough). I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.
Rich, I honestly don’t think you’re going to encounter a Pear + Olive similarity. I really don’t. Nothing that I’ve read anywhere else mentions olives and this is primarily a woody, powdery composition. The heliotrope is a much bigger stumbling block, though. That said, a few people have found Arbole Arbole to be primarily a woody fragrance, so all of this is going to be highly dependent on your skin. If you’ve been tempted by the reviews thus far, it can’t hurt to test Arbole for yourself.
Happy holidays to you, too, my dear. I hope it’s a peaceful, joyous time surrounded by those you love. xoxo
Very happy to read his royal hairyness is finally doing well! Coincedentally I am wearing Arbole today for the first time, and it was love at first sniff. To me it is one of those very few scents that give me the deep sense of life’s inherent goodness, not that everything is allright, because clearly it isn’t, but life is good. I smell a similarity with Voyage, but Arbole is more subtle to me, which makes it for me a perfect choice, it has a very good presence but doesn’t ask for attention if I don’t have any to give. I don’t find it boring at all, to me it is like a well cut gemstone, depending on many things it shows a different facet.
Thank you for the extensive review, educational as always. And the great posts of Shalimar and l’Heure Blue, don’t always comment but appreciate lots.
Thank you for stopping by to share your experiences and your love for the fragrance. It’s nice to see you but it’s been quite a while, so thank you also for letting me know you’re still reading.
Reading often but often too busy to comment, life is a lot of work for me at the moment. I did sent you a pic of Angela M. some time ago, maybe it got lost on the way?
Did you send it over the summer? If so, it may have fallen through the cracks and be my fault. I was receiving three times the volume of emails to the blog this summer, and was quite overwhelmed at times. I will do a search through the folder I have for you and see if it’s there. I’m sure it’s a problem on my end or something that I did, and not that the email vanished into the ether, but I don’t know what happened. Either way, I’m sorry if I didn’t respond.
No worries, I’ll mail it again, it was just such a funny pic meant for a laugh!
I am getting a sample of Arbole Arbole shortly from Twisted Lilly . So this article with be very helpful in identifying the heliotrope . I see that you mentioned Oriza’s Heliotrope Blanc. I will have to sample that one too for the same reason, to be able to pick the note out. I’l order Horizon for the patchouli also. Oh, just ordered Oriza’s Royal Vetiver Bourbon from LuckyScent. They are sending a bunch of samples with the order . It should be here tomorrow, excited. My new quest is to better understand certain notes in their many aspects Mainly ylang ylang, heliotrope, mimosa and tuberose. I have sampled Von , I can’t spell his last name, Classic Mimosa and I did enjoy it. It just didn’t last a long time. Recently I sampled House of Matriarch’s Forbidden . The opening was incredible . Then I read about the indolic tuberose that’s in it . So I’ll need to study what all that’s about. I realize that these notes are feminine , but it doesn’t mean that I still can’t enjoy them. Yup, this weekend I’ll be hunting some of the antique stores to see if I can find something that someone else didn’t . Hopefully something of the vintage fumery kind. Your article is very helpful in my pursuits . Oh, I really like Voyage from Mr. Green . Thank you again Kaf.
I think it’s an absolutely fantastic idea to explore the same note across different fragrances in order to educate your nose on all its facets and aromas. It’s a superb learning tool for a lot of notes that pop up less frequently than, say, rose, vetiver, or oud. You chose some great flowers to explore because they actually have a lot of varied facets. Plus, you’re absolutely right that simply having a floral ingredient doesn’t automatically or necessarily mean that the fragrance itself will turn out to be “feminine.” It all depends on how its treated, the notes which accompany it, the respective ratios, and a host of other factors. So, bravo to you, Eddie. I hope you have a lot of fun during your explorations.
I enjoyed this review so much even though you didn’t like the fragrance that much. I am always so amazed by the amount of notes, details and nuances you pick up from a scent. I couldn’t do it in a million years.
I actually thought this one would be too “simplistic” for you. I too expected something stronger and more patchouli dominant, but this actually worked out well for me as I’m not a patchouli fan and was prepared not to like this at all. I expected a much stronger scent,while in fact, after 15 minutes or so,when it settles it is actually quite soft and it is pretty much a skinscent on me after 2 hours. And indeed it is very skin chemistry dependent as I also note differences when wearing it on different days. What shows up on my skin could pretty much be summed up in 3 phases; first blast is chamomile tea with honey then less honey more heliotrope and vanilla with some clean patchouli and sandalwood showing up. I smell the sandalwood very distinctly, it even dominates the composition for like half an hour, and then the last phase pretty much only heliotrope vanilla sweetness.
I know there is no honey in there as he doesn’t use animal products but the impression is unmistakably there. I don’t get any of the olive smell – good for me! 🙂
I feel in love with it pretty much on first sniff, even more so for being so far away from what I expected and patchouli being so soft and tamed. Two negatives for me were the slightly unbalanced part where sandalwood seems to jump out of the composition, like it isn’t blended well with the rest, and the overall softness of the scent. I’d prefer a little more strength. However, I am bound to love this perfume being a lover of heliotrope and vanilla and this is pretty much all it’s about. It is also a very calming, somehow soothing scent which I like very much. I also very much appreciate that you can smell this was made with love and care, and not solely for commercial purposes.
Even though this one suits my tastes best, I don’t think this is his best work so far. I think his best work is Moon Bloom, closely followed by Dilletante. And the difference I made between these two is probably due to the fact that I prefer tuberose over orange blossom, but they are both excellent and easily among best in genre. Also, both of these are much stronger and louder than Arbole.
Arbole has excellent longevity on my skin but as I said before, it soon turns into a skinscent but it’s a beautiful sort of “my skin but better” scent and sometimes you just need a perfume like that.
Hurrah for a fragrance that worked so well for you and your tastes, and on your skin. After some of the other ones we’ve talked about in the last weeks, I’m so happy to hear this! And I thoroughly enjoyed all the details in your comment. That was wonderful, so thank you for taking the time to share them. You gave me an excellent sense of how the fragrance manifested itself, its feel, its reach, and its longevity. I must say, chamomile tea with honey, heliotrope, and vanilla sounds lovely and, yes, very soothing indeed. Enjoy, my dear!
Sounds really interesting. I hope it smells like an olive tree, as I love that smell. I don’t like patchouli much at all but I love heliotrope. I’ll sample it for sure. Wonderful review as always!
Your articles are beautifully written, thorough, and most enjoyable to read, not only about the fragrances, but the food and history as well. I’ve not commented before and am relatively new to appreciating fragrances, but I wanted to thank you for your writing, and especially for introducing me thereby to Hiram Green’s gorgeous scents. If I were to be stranded on an island with only one fragrance house, I would probably choose Hiram Green. Every one brings to mind good memories, and each is different and yet seems to contain some elements of the others. They are fascinating.
With Arbole Arbole I get a rich, earthy patchouli with woods, those fabulous resins, and some vanilla and sweet powder at the edges. Some dusty attic mustiness does appear sometimes, but that has not been bothersome, especially if I wear larger amounts of the perfume. There is a bit of a vegetal and a floral quality that reminds me of the airy fragrance of olive tree blossoms. A few years ago I had the good fortune to be standing among the branches of a flowering olive tree in a hill country orchard, with the breeze carrying the scent of the blossoms. A pleasant memory and a lovely perfume to remind me of it.
Welcome to the blog, Holly, and forgive me for the delay in replying. It’s been a little hectic with the holidays approaching. Thank you for your kind words on the blog. I’m delighted that I was the one to introduce you to Hiram Green’s fragrances but, most of all, that you found a brand that works for you so well. A desert island brand!! That’s exceptionally high praise, and I have no doubt he’d be very touched at your words.
I hope you’ll stop by again and give me the opportunity to learn more about your tastes. In the meantime, happy holidays!
Oh wow! I’ve just sampled this and it’s gorgeous. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you Kafka but on me it’s everything you wished it had been. It’s beautiful and very similar to Fourreau Noir! It’s a sumptuous balance of Lavender Vanilla Patchouli and Heliotrope and they blend seamlessly. Am really impressed and more so than with Shangrila which I thought was just a weak shadow of Mitsouko. Oh the mysteries of skin chemistry. But Arbole is one of those where I can’t stop sniffing my wrist. Definitely worth a bottle…..maybe even a big one. But thanks for a detailed review Kafka and a great reference point.