Tom Ford Bitter Peach & Rose Prick

Bitter Peach and Rose Prick are the newest additions to Tom Ford‘s Private Blend collection. Bitter Peach was simultaneously exactly what I had expected it to be and, yet, also less than. You see, I had some happy expectations because I really do enjoy a good, juicy peach, but I’ve also long learnt to temper my expectations with fragrances from his house over the last five or six years. Bitter Peach essentially falls exactly where I thought it would. Rose Prick, however, surprised me a little because my expectations going in were minimal to negative, especially as I’m not a rose fan. Since I expected to hate it, it’s probably not surprising that I thought it was better than expected.

Be that as it may, there are several reasons why I don’t think either fragrance is worth buying, not unless you have money to burn and are truly obsessed with the largely simplistic bouquets that, throughout their development, are generally dominated by only a two or three notes.

Bitter Peach and Rose Prick. Collage: my own. Original photos: Tom Ford.

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Areej Le Doré Cuir de Russie

Cuir de Russie, the upcoming S6 release from Areej Le Doré puts me in a tricky spot as a reviewer. On the one hand, it is one of my favourites out of the new S6 collection when worn on skin, evoking at different stages Roja Dove‘s Fetish Pour Homme, Jacques Guerlain‘s aesthetic in old vintage classics, and even Serge LutensCuir Mauresque for a brief moment.

On the other hand, Cuir de Russie should NOT actually be worn on skin, due to its core ingredient of crude birch tar which is deemed inadvisable and unhealthy when in contact with the skin. In fact, the use of crude birch tar is flat-out prohibited in any fragrance that is intended for the skin. (Only rectified birch tar can be used, and in highly regulated levels at that.) Consequently, Russian Adam calls Cuir de Russie a “garment fragrance” and explicitly advises that it should only be applied to fabric. I did not follow the advisory and wore the fragrance both ways. I doubt I will be the only one to do so.

Which brings me to my dilemma: How do I write about a fragrance that is a singular monolith when worn in the way that is advisable and when that description would entail three short paragraphs but when the inadvisable, health-dangerous way would yield thousands of words of enthusiasm?

Photo: NASA, the Horsehead Nebula.

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Areej Le Doré Grandenia

I hadn’t planned on writing about Areej Le Doré‘s new, upcoming Grandenia here, but this is such a complex fragrance that I couldn’t do it justice or convey its character and numerous twists properly via simplified text presented as screenshots on Twitter. It’s also a fragrance that, completely unexpectedly, made me think of how Serge Lutens approached white florals several decades ago and his then-revolutionary goal of turning their traditional or quotidian presentations on their head by avoiding Fracas-style, singular floralcy and by playing with dark elements that were traditionally the preserve of “masculine” fragrances. I see the same sort of mission and objective here, albeit taken to extremes.

But this only pertains to one of Grandenia’s many stages. Subsequent twists and turns unexpectedly took me into territory firmly dominated by non-floral, dark, masculine-skewing fragrances like SHL 777’s Oud 777 and Naomi Goodsir’s Bois d’Ascese  before moving on again. In essence, Grandenia morphs across a wide spectrum and it’s not easy to explain how it transforms — from a sweet, bright, white floral gardenia bridal bouquet to a sepia-stained, gender-fluid gardenia-jasmine oriental in the same universe as Serge Lutens’ Une Voix Noire before becoming a dark masculine in the style of Bois d’Ascese and Oud 777, then twisting into further unrelated creatures (some with unexpected, unlisted tobacco and booze aromas) and finally ending up similar to War & Peace (I)‘s drydown—  on Twitter, even in a 13 screenshots of text. So, let’s begin.

Smoke #6 by Stefan Bonazzi. (Website link embedded within photo.)

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Areej Le Doré Musk Lave

It’s taken me three tests to wrap my head around Musk Lave from Areej Le Doré’s new S6 collection and I’m still not entirely certain what I think. The only things that I’m certain of is that Musk Lave has a number of paradoxical aspects and that I’m completely the wrong audience for this type of fragrance. Areej Le Dore ALD S6

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