Veleno Doré, part of LM Parfums‘ high-end Gold Label Collection, is lovely but also exceedingly familiar. It’s an oriental parfum which is initially centered around vanilla-infused, fruity pipe tobacco, laced with patchouli, enveloped in spices, then drenched in cognac booziness, syrupy sweetness, and caramel ambers. A tiny, early echo of Ambre Loup quickly gives way to major overlaps with Tom Ford‘s Tobacco Vanilla and Roja Dove‘s Enigma Pour Homme/Creation-E and a whisper of Kilian‘s Back to Black, except this is their heavily spiced, chili-flecked brother, and black cherry has been substituted for plums or plum pudding. Over time, woodier, drier, smokier, more leathery, and more woody-ambered elements replace the gourmand-skewing ones for a different twist on tobacco but this, too, feels familiar with echoes of other popular fragrances, like Black Oud and even Black Afgano.
Sensual & Decadent, the latest release from LM Parfums, is a fragrance whose opening blew me away at first sniff and made me do a double-take so fast that my head practically swiveled off. I thought I had finally discovered my Holy Grail vanilla, a sumptuously buttery, creamy vanilla doused in buckets of cognac, rum, and then even more cognac still before being finished off with a lick of lush floralcy. After 5 minutes, I was tempted to lick my arm. After 15 minutes, I actually did so.
In hindsight, it was a foolish idea (that I don’t recommend) but I simply couldn’t help it at the time. Sensual & Decadent’s opening is like an alcoholic gourmand’s wet-dream version of “vanilla,” and I was so intoxicated by its hedonistic extravagance that I rather lost my mind. Technically, the perfume doesn’t fall within the vanilla genre at all and is either a floral oriental (a “floriental”) or a fruity-floral, but that is a distinction that only makes itself apparent later on when Sensual & Decadent transforms. In the first hour, though, I was certain that I’d found my “Holy Grail” vanilla. Unfortunately, Sensual & Decadent subsequently changes quite dramatically, turning into the sort of fragrance that is so much outside of my personal tastes that I came close to scrubbing it off and then, after 22 hours, I finally did so. I’m rather heartbroken about that because the opening… my God, that opening! I licked my arm, people, I actually licked my arm!