GREEN DAY: What is cool and refreshing on a hot afternoon? (starring OMBRE HYACINTH by TOM FORD, from the JARDIN NOIR COLLECTION (2012))




















It is getting hotter and hotter.


My strangely lizard-like constitution, though, is just warming up in this gorgeous mid July sun, and though people around me are huffing and puffing in the sun, I myself usually feel healthier, incubated, and more alive, in temperatures around 26-30 degrees ( it is not until the full endangering swamp of Japanese August  – 34 and higher, with about 95% humidity, as though life had somehow become a permanent sauna –  that I start to feel a bit debilitated).  Even so, this hot and humid weather needs fresh fragrances, be they light tropicalia; citruses, or the icy, transient leaf florals that take you down a notch, allow you to float more serenely in a poetic envelope of Cocteau Twins blue-green.







Ombre De Hyacinth is a perfume I first tried this last year in Barcelona, which happened to be going through an August heatwave (one local told me it was the hottest she had ever known it to be), and, heat lover though I am, I must admit to having a multidimensional  meltdown outside the Sagrada Familia where I literally overheated, was panicking and barking at Duncan and his parents and had to run into a cheap dollar store to buy hideously unfashionable and unwearable shorts, tank-top and flip flops in a maniacal attempt to cool dow – – –  style had to be immediately sacrificed, or I was about to become human casserole….






I remember later that evening, after a long shower at the apartment we were staying in, pre-Las Ramblas stroll, I decided, as a change, to try Tom Ford Ombre Hyacinth, part of the Jardin Noir collection that I had bought along with me in my suitcase, and I found to my surprise that I really loved the bluey-green blast of hyacinths and galbanum in the top. Like everyone else who has reviewed this perfume, though, I was disappointed by what happened next; a kind of generic, soapy musk that appears fairly quickly after the gorgeous, realistic jacinthes have faded, and lingers for hours, especially on clothes; I remember feeling quite irritated all evening by how I was smelling; a man with no balls, a wimpy, floral cop out.




Yesterday, however, for some reason it was much more enjoyable. The top accord (hyacinth, violet leaf, galbanum, olibanum and magnolia petals) was even more appealing, with an almost netherworldly pull into arcadian groves that at that particular moment was a very real, private, escape; as though I were slightly in a different dimension to the street I was walking along ( I have long adored hyacinths and had a whole rapturous ode to them planned  this spring but it somehow passed me by…it will have to wait until next year instead now…..Borsari Jacinto! Grand Amour! Chamade!!)





This perfume is no Chamade, of course but then nothing could (or should) be; it is a hyacinth more akin to Serge Lutens’ savon metallique Bas De Soie, but rather than a duet with iris, the hyacinth here is all hyacinth, so green and blue, so refreshing. Yes, the base is a nothing, but yesterday it was a nothing, a blank canvas of forget-me-not blue that surrounded me in a way that felt quite pleasant, unassailable…






A true perfumist needs scents for every eventuality, every last craving mood, and you know what, I think I might have to save up and buy this just for the knowledge that on a hot, grimy day, it is there, waiting for me if I need it:  that I can then shower up, spray on this, and enter my own solitary, cooled down, Grecian dreamscape.







































Filed under Flowers

44 responses to “GREEN DAY: What is cool and refreshing on a hot afternoon? (starring OMBRE HYACINTH by TOM FORD, from the JARDIN NOIR COLLECTION (2012))

  1. Lilybelle

    My favorite lemon scent is Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien. It’s very clean and pure (no tea notes, thank goodness) and the cypress wood base is subtle, not blasty and harsh WOODS. It dries down just a tiny bit sweet on my skin, and I didn’t know until I looked up the fragrances notes that ylang ylang is listed. It’s just the merest touch. I especially like Hadrien when I need to cleanse my fragrance palate. Lemon helps us focus, too, so I’ve used it for times when I’ve needed to concentrate. My bottle is years old, an edt that I’ve kept in its box in a dark closet, so it hasn’t turned, surprisingly. Citrus notes are always the first to go. It’s almost empty now. I haven’t tried the recent version, but I will because I haven’t found a citrus yet to replace it as my favorite. I think I read it was reformulated, so I don’t know what to expect.

    I LOVE Grey Flannel! I was packing up the fragrance bottles recently and took a sniff of my husband’s old bottle of Grey Flannel. It’s a small spray bottle that he’s had forever. He never wears fragrance, so I suspect it was a gift. I treasure that bottle. It is old enough that the sharper top notes have mellowed. It is one of the few masculines I truly enjoy wearing because it doesn’t feel alien or rough in that man cologne way. It is leafy, green, mellow, soft, mossy, woodsy – my own little private shady clearing in the woods of Arcadia, as you say. It really is Arcadian. I know what you mean about green fragrances lately. Some of them epitomize that private retreat that we all need at times.

    I haven’t tried Ombre Hyacinth, but I have a sample of it in a pack that a fragrance friend sent me. There is a narcissus one (that one made me afraid to try the others), a rose, the hyacinth, and a fourth one. The French names irritate me, too, as Tom Ford is American. Why not just name them in English? I suppose, however, that the word “ombre” has become part of the lexicon of the English speaking design world. We’ve had “ombre” dyed fabrics recently, and “ombre” dyed hair, so I will cut TF some slack on that one. And much of the English language is French-derived (the parts that aren’t old Germanic, or Latin, or Greek, or…). English is a continually evolving language, and we never stop to think much about etymology. But I know what you mean. And what about Prada? She’s Italian. Why are her fragrances named in French? Not that I don’t like the French language or people – I love them. It’s just that Americans naming things in French seems pretentious and lame. Is French is still the global language of style, as it was once the international language of diplomacy and other areas. I don’t know much about the world of fashion and design. I just observe from the outlands. Apologies for running on. I’m going to sample Ombre Hyacinth soon. You have given me the encouragement I needed.

    • Thanks for your reply! Grey Flannel is quintessential, this is not, but there are most definitely similarities. I plan to wear both together: Grey Flannel as the main scent and then Ombre as a hyacinthian pick me up spritz: I am pretty sure they would complement each other nicely. Yesterday that combo worked beautifully.

      • And regarding the name I have realized that I didn’t even write it correctly. It is Ombre De Hyacinth: I think for a French ( and Italian ) major like me it was too horrifyingly moronic to cope with so I must have subconsciously edited it out.

      • Lilybelle

        Good lord what got into me up there?? ^^ What a nut, going on and on. I don’t think I ever did try Ombre Hyacinthe. But I may wear some Chamade today. 🙂

  2. Martha

    I am unable to offer much insight here as I am unfamiliar with the all of the fragrances in this post. However, I did think about how weather and mood affect perception of scent. For those reasons, and others, I enjoy perfume as hobby and olfactory education. When I sample a new fragrance, I have learned to try it at least 3 times before making a decision one way or the other.

    In thinking about the citrus note, I remember how I used to wear Love’s Fresh Lemon when I was in junior high school. I suppose it was a cologne because I recall respraying often just to get that blast of lemon which faded away much too quickly.

  3. It’s true! This inclusion of musks in cologne is so widespread. I suppose it is done in an effort to make them last longer on the skin? If so it misses the ephemeral point of the uplifting cologne spritz. Something like Escale a Portofino can be quite shouty with all the verbena and musk.

    Have you tried Airborne by Comme des Garçons? It has a lovely shortlived fizzy citrus top followed by delightful cool, dry, almost dusty mastic. Might be just the tonic in the coming sultry months.

  4. Lilybelle

    You’re right, I see it’s “Ombre de Hyacinthe”. In any case, it’s a lame name.

  5. Lilybelle

    I like the purple label on the black bottle, though.

  6. I have to admit that I am not really a fan of Tom Ford’s fragrances. However, I am willing to give this a try. Thanks for the wonderful review!

    When I was last in Barcelona, I remember being passed by a stark naked old man, tanned so orange that he was almost like a handbag, who was running from the Ramblas to the beach. Now that takes balls 😉

  7. Rafael

    Guerlain’s Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat and Eau du Coq
    Monsieur Balmain-Balmain
    The Original Formula Eau Sauvage-Christian Dior

  8. Dearest Ginza
    You had me at hydrangea swimming caps to a symphonic accompaniment of the Cocteau Twins.
    Hyacinths after all would be perfect for cooling down in the alternative to Heaven, or Las Vegas….
    Nothing could ever come close to Chamade, though a friend once remarked that her bottle was strictly reserved for funerals.
    I will try this franglais beast when I no doubt see it in passing.
    But as to the pressing question of citrus, must it be citron, or will oranges or grapefruits do?
    I have rather like Jo Malone’s new Jo Loves range expressly for the renderings of our citric friends.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. Dearest Ginza
    The citruses I have been particularly enamoured with are the Pomelo and Orange and Coriander. Some have described them as accords rather than fully fledged perfumes, but they are so sustained and powerful as to warrant a good sniff.
    As for Chamade, I too feel it has a certain severity reminiscent of a hat and black veil.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  10. ninakane1

    Lovely review! On a citrus note, have you tried Lyn Harris’ Le Cologne? That has Sicilian lemon, Seville orange and bergamot in it and is delightfully light and energising. I was tossing up between buying this and her other fragrance Le Sauvage the other day. Le Sauvage won out (partly due to the help of a sweet, young shop assistant with long blond ponytail who I collared, asking him to sniff my wrists and help me decide!). It has Sicilian lemon in too, but is ruggedly crisp and austere with Grapefruit as its first note and a big sexy whack of Vetiver and oak moss assailing your nostrils with all the warm seduction of a big hairy armpit, snuggled close.

    • I am behind with Miller Harris, but I do love her stuff on the whole. So unsentimental, but bracing. Was it expensive?

      • ninakane1

        It’s part of her new personal range for M&S and they’re all £25 for 50ml. The women’s range is very light and sweet – lots of pastelly, floral concoctions made with raspberry leaf, tuberose, gardenia, peach – and although I didn’t quite take to them, each was quite distinctive and I can see myself suddenly getting into them in Winter strangely! Loved each one of the men’s ranges – quite European, macho and herby. le Cologne is very in that 5711 mould, and Le Noir is softer and drier with patchoulie and lavender; reminded me a little of Habit Rouge. I find lavender in perfumes a strange one actually – it always seems to tame them a little – brings a certain neutralising quality in that takes the edge of the stronger scents, but its own is very persistent and steady. I’m not sure i like it! As such spent a long time spritzing Le Noir and luxuriating in the patchoulie but remained ambivalent on it. Le Sauvage is the most distinctive and I’ve been wearing it ruggedly all week combined with Roger and Gallet’s Gingembre.

      • I love Roger and Gallet: vastly underrated a mon avis. I smelled the Gingembre at duty free once but don’t know it well enough to comment on it. Does it work?

  11. ninakane1

    I agree! They’re really light and simple but feel well-made and quite luxuriant – there’s a calm elegance to them. The Gingembre makes me feel like I’ve fallen in a vat of cool ginger tea initially! It’s really refreshing and uplifting and is a great cologne for slapping on in excess. But then something quite sweet and quiet creeps in (which offsets the coriander in the Le Sauvage well when worn together) – I think it’s the neroli or perhaps a hint of vanilla. It’s working well at the moment with the muggy warm but cloudy Summer in England – it’s cooling for the heat, but the kick of ginger is great for lifting the gloom of grey. Strangely, when thinking about it this morning, the word ‘glad’ came to mind. It makes me feel glad!

  12. Laurels

    Quite late to the party here, but have you tried Thirdman Eau Nomade? Lemon, blood orange, and cardamom. I seem to be anosmic to many musks, so I can’t guarantee there’s not a walloping dose, but usually in those cases the entire perfume disappears. (Infusion d’Iris might as well be water.)

    • I have never even heard of Thirdman. Tell me more!

      Do you wear Eau Nomade?

      • Laurels

        Thirdman is one of the “reinventing cologne” lines that seem to be springing up recently. They have, I think, three other colognes. I’ve only tried Eau Nomade. (I won a giveaway on Ca Fleure Bon). It has great longevity. The cardamom goes through a slightly “sweaty” stage on me, but I don’t really mind. On a man, I think it would be delightful. I’m only about six months into a perfume obsession, with a limited budget and transportation issues, so I’m afraid I can’t be more informative. I would recommend trying it, though, if you’re looking for something lemony that lasts. The orange, for me at least, isn’t overly sweet.

  13. I always feel a little left out when people praise Eau Sauvage as the perfect citrus scent: it last about 2 seconds on me. My Scottish nature is slightly more gratified by the more-enduring nature of Caron’s Yuzu Man…though it doesn’t get a lot of love with perfume lovers.

    • Eau Sauvage I adore at the beginning, but find the next stage less successful on me. As for Yuzu Man, I have never actually worn it on my skin, but I felt the essential structure was a bit generic. Does it have a very pronounced yuzu top note?

      I love Caron’s Eau Fraiche, a perfect citrus for me.

  14. Renee Stout

    “…and, heat lover though I am, I must admit to having a multidimensional shrieking meltdown outside the Sagrada Familia where I literally overheated, was panicking and barking at Duncan’s mother, Daphne, and had to run into a cheap dollar store to buy horribly unfashionable shorts, tank-top and flip flops in a maniacal attempt to cool down: style had to be immediately sacrificed, or I was about to become human casserole….”

    I can’t stop laughing at this paragraph.

    • Seriously, it is the hottest I have ever been in my life. My jeans were clinging to me like a hellish skin: I was so hot I lost all rationality. 95% of the time it is the other way round: TURN OFF THE AIR CONDITIONING! In restaurants I sneakily change the temperature myself: last night at our local Indian the moment I got in I turned it up from 21 to 26 degrees, which I still find unpleasant. I like HEAT.

      But that day in Barcelona was no joke.

  15. Rafael

    If you’re looking for heft in a Summer vein, I suggest Coriandre de Jean Couturier. I’ve been wearing it of late and am loving it.

  16. empliau

    I will expose my ignorance: what’s wrong with the name? I assumed it was something like Ghost of Hyacinthus, the beloved of Apollo – with a double entendre to the flower.

    • empliau

      D’Hyacinthe. Nevermind

    • Just the mixing of the French and the English sounds very clumsy. The ‘Ombre de’ just done for pretentiousness, then the Hyacinth clunking in the brain when a French speaker knows it should be Jacinthe.

      Hyacinthus would be much better. I adore that word.

      • empliau

        Ah, so do I – not only the beautiful youth loved, killed, and lost by Apollo, but probably a precursor to Apollo himself – words ending with the suffix -inthos are thought to predate Greek. I love to think Apollo acquired some of his youth and beauty from the mysterious Hyakinthos, the god of Amyclae (a city so ancient it appears in the list of Greek cities in the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III).

  17. ninakane1

    Well, still standing by last year’s comments re Gingembre, Sauvage, etc but in a different vein, if you need something dry and soft I’m finding Vintage Yardley Pure Silk strangely refreshing! Particularly works for hot feet and shoes – something in the velvety talc quality it has. I’m convinced there’s iris and violet leaf in it – lavender also – though it’s official ingredients are patchoulie, oak moss, Vetiver… Beautifully soft lingering rose, jasmine and I think a hint of geranium and possibly orris root or galbanum… It as a lot very subtly laced through it…. Think of the soft coolness of wild Summer roses and you have it’s texture… A new fave!

  18. Although my collection is rife with Tom Ford creations, I do not own this one, nor have I smelled it. I believe it is a fragrance that has been discontinued in the collection, but perhaps I am wrong?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s