Ombre Mercure is a woozy, classical modern – a salted, thicker Apres L’Ondée, diffused with the modernistic fumes of Violet Blonde, a touch of Une Fleur de Cassie, and some of the floral warmth of the first Gucci Eau de Parfum….


‘Reminiscent of loose powder, red lipstick and the classic chypres, it is especially designed for passionate characters’ says Mlle Gunzburg, a renowned makeup artist who released her first collection of fragrances last year, and I can quite easily imagine some people falling for this soft, gauzy perfume, which is definitely shadowy, as its name suggests, though not in the least mercurial.


Essentially an earthy iris butter with powdered violet over a ducksdown of patchouli, benzoin and musky vanilla, it is a very slow, drifting perfume, like mauve-reflected clouds in a painting. Seamless and unjarring; enveloping.











What it lacks, though,  is that indefinable something, or ingredient – wit? – that would take it into the realms of the irisy sublime. On the other hand, its anchored slowness and immediate romantic appeal could easily make it someone’s signature.













Lys Fumé is another immediately likeable perfume, though one that is not remotely worth its extravagant price tag. Having said that, it is an interesting take on the lily. Unlike many spotless, altar-inhabiting lilies, this is more like a lys of the underworld……….


As a part of the Jardin Noir collection, it succeeds in being, if not quite ‘smouldering’, then certainly, at the very least,  shifting and quixotic – a hip young Gucci-clad beauty sitting downstairs in some private members’ club, a bit unsure of herself, perhaps, but defiant. This perfume would rise in coils from her shoulders and slowly seduce.



The lilies are not smoked, as you might expect, but underlying the top notes of lily, mandarin and pink pepper, is a strange dusting of nutmeg and turmeric, an unusual note in a floral perfume that gives it a blurry, caliginous edge. A dollop of rum and a sultry base of styrax, oak and labdanum take this impression even further.




Lys Fumé is not as intriguing as I am perhaps making it out to be – like most Tom Ford perfumes there is something plasticky and self-conscious about the scent. At the same time, I can imagine being sat next to this girl with her fixed, restless gaze, and being intoxicated.


































Filed under Flowers, Iris, Lily, Perfume Reviews, Powder, Violet


  1. ninakane1

    Dear Ginzaintherain
    I have a request and for some reason am drawn to ask it here under the Tom Ford review (which I love). I’ve recently bought my third bottle of Bathouse Spanish Fig and nutmeg – a heady, plummy, proud pirate male arrangement of Cloves, Spanish Fig, Sandlewood (the only bum note for me personally, but it is appropriate and works here), patchoulie and nutmeg – and by far, the ingredient that brings out the Anne Bonny in me is the fig! I ADORE ripe figs – the taste, texture, smell, cheeky seedy interior and raw rough colour ing – such a perfect fruit – and it’s occurring to me that bar this cologne and a slightly basic (but pleasant) Occidentale spritz, I am unaware of perfumes with fig as an ingredient! So in short – please advise where I can look for this! Many thanks and love, Ocarina Nina xxx

  2. ninakane1

    Ps. Re the list of ingredients here for Spanish Fig and Nutmeg – i’m not entirely convinced there’s any more than those two in the perfume – I think the other scents (clove etc) might have come from Internet discussion of smell… Not quite sure how to verify! But these are definitely the dominant two – I’ve found it quite good, when the fragrance gets a bit samey ( which it can do at times, lovely as it is), to add a little drop of Fennel essential oil on top of it on the skin. Anyway, your fig fragrance top tips please me darl xxx

  3. Just discovered that a dab of Grapefruit essential oil totally cuts through the sandlewood of Spanish Fig and Nutmeg and lifts the whole thing in a citrussy smooth n suave way x

  4. I think they’re based in Cumbria. Everything they’ve produced, I’ve absolutely loved! It’s all quite simple and subtle, but well-made. My favourite is their Patchoulie hand cream, which is really distinctive and unusual -it’s got black pepper and bergamot in it, also mandarin and amber. Utterly sublime. For a few years they were everywhere – in all the small boutiquey posh-present, spotty wrapping-paper, Cath Kitsony type shops (which I love) – but alas many of these have folded in the recession (recently bought the last dusty box of Spanish Fig & Nutmeg in a closing-down barn shop – a whole empty floor and one shelf left of this, the odd woven basket and a few embossed n ribboned birthday cards – alas). But Bath House are still churning out their goodies from the Cumbrian hills, so do check them out (and I will send you some too).

  5. brie

    What intrigued me the most was the idea of a “salted, thicker” Apres….which by the way I absolutely adore…so much more so than L’Heure (which was a favorite of mine for quite some time).

  6. I agree 100% with your criticism of Tom Ford scents.

  7. However, I do have to add that I do like Violet Blonde somewhat, as it does give a nod to Apres L’Ondee which I can’t afford a full bottle of. I wrote a review for Violet Blonde last week, where I mentioned that.

    • I want to read it, as I find that perfume perfectly adequate AND YET if you can imagine what I mean…

      There is another Apres rip-off in the new Oscar De La Renta collection as well, but the name eludes me at this moment. What an influential perfume!

  8. Dearest Ginza
    You, sir most definitely have the knack, with you finely crafted and well chosen words, of making scents sound much more seductive than they are!
    Only to let The Poor Dandy down at the last moment, you had me sold on the Lys in particular, and I may still try it as I’ve always liked it.
    But to describe something as ‘a salted, thicker Apres l’Ondee’ and not to expect a man to salivate, well it’s just too much.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. Lilybelle

    Lys Fume, that’s the fourth one I couldn’t think of. Your review makes me want to try it now. I still have the sample pack of the four. And the other one, Ombre Mercure, sounds wonderful, though I need light and air and a sort of elevation in my fragrances these days. If it doesn’t have those I can’t wear it no matter how beautiful. I need to stop dreaming of fragrances yet to be sniffed, and get a move on here.

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