Hiram Green Arbolé Arbolé

"In Love" (1907) by Marcus Stone. Source: Pinterest.

“In Love” (1907) by Marcus Stone. Source: Pinterest.

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.

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Guerlain Vintage L’Heure Bleue: Parfum & EDP (1960s-2003)

Vintage L’Heure Bleue was my first Guerlain love. In fact, until I tried a really old bottle of vintage Shalimar extrait, no other Guerlain came close. There was just something about L’Heure Bleue for me, something that touched me deeply in ways I can’t always explain. Part of it is that I first encountered the fragrance during a happy time in my life, but mental associations are not the only reason. To me, L’Heure Bleue simply feels special. The way the notes are juxtaposed sometimes feels intellectually introspective in a way that almost rises to the cerebral, and that fascinates me, but at the same time, the fragrance always triggered an even stronger emotional response as well, filling me with joy, comfort, and a sense of serenity in a way that other legendary Guerlains did not at the time.

Vintage L'Heure Bleue, in the Parapluie or "Umbrella" bottle on the left, and in a Baccarat "heart-shaped" bottle on the right. Photo: my own.

Vintage L’Heure Bleue in the Parapluie or “Umbrella” bottle on the left, and in a “heart-shaped” bottle on the right. Photo: my own.

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Tom Ford Vert d’Encens

Source: feelgrafix.com

Source: feelgrafix.com

Tom Ford explores new territory with his Vert d’Encens, transporting you to forest landscapes where mighty pines and fragrant fir trees drop their aromatic pine needles and sweet sap over a leafy greenness. Yet, there is a twist: smoky incense, heliotrope vanilla, and dusty, dark chocolate are layered within, resulting in one of the more interesting and appealing Tom Ford releases in a while. In fact, I found its opening to be so appealing that I pondered buying Vert d’Encens for myself. It’s the first time that a Tom Ford fragrance has tempted me in a number of years.

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Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver

"Fall Hydrangeas" by PatChoffrut at Etsy. (Store website link embedded within.)

“Fall Hydrangeas” by PatChoffrut at Etsy. (Store website link embedded within.)

Winter is in full swing in the Western hemisphere, so Frederic Malle‘s L’Eau d’Hiver by Jean-Claude Ellena seemed like a suitably symbolic choice for today’s review. It is described as a watercolour that intertwines water and coolness with softness and warmth. What struck me was the exquisitely delicate opening that felt like an olfactory visual that captured intangible senses of atmospheric light and quiet moods, and turned them into concrete form.

Painted in translucent colours, the opening somehow manages to encapsulate Zen-like serenity, silence, and elegance in a way that makes the perfume as a whole far more than a mere collection of notes, far more than the sum of its parts. Again and again, the words which came to mind were “hushed breaths” and “translucent light.” The overall effect is more of a feeling than just a perfume. I’m not one of Jean-Claude Ellena’s fans and his minimalism usually leaves me cold, but the opening of L’Eau d’Hiver truly impressed me and leaves no doubt as to his technical mastery or brilliance. If only it had lasted….

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