Bitter Peach and Rose Prick are the newest additions to TomFord‘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.
Exploding roses, 3D roses super concentrated to feel like an attar, divaesque roses that sing arias at such bombastic decibels that Maria Callas would be embarrassed… Cruda from Morph Parfums evoked all those thoughts and more. It is a wild ride that felt like a rollercoaster and, unfortunately, it sometimes feels as crude as the name.
Cruda bottle and box via Parfumo.net
Cruda is an extrait-strength parfum that was released in 2013 by Morph, a relatively new Italian house. Like its iris sibling, Montmartre, Cruda comes with a long story, this time about a woman and the purity of the smell of her skin. Honestly, I see no link between the story and the actual perfume, no discernible point to it at all other than a story for story’s sake. It doesn’t even briefly mention any of the notes in the perfume, so I’ll skip it entirely. Morph doesn’t have any note list for Cruda, but First in Fragrance fills in the gaps:
Garnet wine and rubied roses with iridescent flashes of green-black earthiness; tart, tangy cherries with bitter almonds; syrupy fruits and sweet dessert — these are a few of the faces of Sadanne, a new fragrance from Slumberhouse, an indie brand out of Portland, Oregon run by the highly respected, talented Josh Lobb. I found his latest creation to be joyous, bright, and cheerful, not to mention very fun to wear. At times, Sadanne took me deep into Germany’s Black Forest with its tart Kirschwasser liqueur centered on sour Morello cherries and bitter almonds. On other occasions, it conjured up “Old Vines” Zinfandel wine with a dash of fruity Pinot Noir, and Ernest Dawson’s famous phrase about “days of wine and roses.” In short, it feels like an alcoholic’s gourmand interpretation of roses, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Regular readers know just how much I love boozy, alcoholic, or wine-like notes in my perfumes. (I swear, I’m not a lush!)
Theoretically, Sadanne is a rose fragrance, but it was created by a man who shudders at the note and has always avoided making any floral scent up until now. I share Mr. Lobb’s squeamishness, and prefer my roses to be gagged, drowned, and then beaten to a whimpering pulp by other elements — preferably of an oriental nature. So when I heard that a rose-hater had made a rose fragrance that he could wear, partially as a challenge to himself, I knew I had to try it. I’m glad I did.
“Romeo and Juliet,” by Sir Frank Dicksee. Source: caitaratartaglia.wordpress.com
Tobacco Rose is a rich, saturated, luxurious rose fragrance from Papillon Perfumery that would probably have inspired Shakespeare to write another dozen sonnets or plays. In Romeo and Juliet, he said “a rose by any other name smells as sweet,” arguing that names do not matter, only the essential nature of a thing. He’s right, but I don’t think that his philosophy always holds true for perfumes. Names do matter in the expectations that they create, and “Tobacco Rose” is no different. Yet, in this case, I find none of darkness that is suggested, and I think that the scent would appeal far more to a “Juliet” than to a “Romeo.” That said, if a particular Juliet were a really passionate rose fanatic, I suspect she might swoon far more over Tobacco Rose than any words spouted by a pimply Romeo.