Peppered Tomato Leaves, a ‘scented mist’ from Perfumes Longmarch that comes in great big bottles of 250ml to be sprayed everywhere (‘on t-shirts, tulips, Tintin, tissue, trapezes and tomahawks…’ ) is a stern, pared down tomato; bitter green, brusque and ruddy kneed from being dragged – through the hedgerow backwards – by a lock-jawed, hardbodied sex fiend. In contrast to the tomate charmante we looked at the other day, the likeably extrovert but innocuous Vice Versa, this is a more attention-seeking, spiced matrix of green pungency.
After a beautifully fresh-leaved, anise-twisted opening of peppercorns, orange, cassis, and photorealistic tomato vines, the scent quickly loses tomato kudos and proceeds, nimbly, on a more rough and ragged Lady Chatterley path of outside sex. The musky, almost acrid, absinthe-green of Frederic Malle’s French Lover, immediately apparent and familiar, is here in the base of the scent: a deep, hardened ferret of no sweetness that I imagine will leave some people shuddering slightly, yet others yearning to be taken again outdoors to be savaged.
My earliest scent memory probably involves the headturningly sour-fresh scent of the flowering blackcurrant. I would hide behind the big blackcurrant tree, my imaginary haven, when I was three or four years old and I can still see myself, crouched down at the bottom of the garden, inhaling and sometimes eating, to the horror of my mother, its heavily scented flowers.
It is a smell that many people hate because of its obvious allusions to cat piss (Perfume Shrine did a brilliant article on this olfactory connection), but one that some people, and particularly my younger brother included, really like. The combination of Greg’s two favourite smells in nature (tomato leaves and flowering blackcurrant) in this perfume thus made me buy it for him impromptu when I found it one day in Tokyo recently.
The dry down in Feuille De Tomate Poivrée might be a touch too angular, macho even, for me personally, a touch tight and humourless, but this is nevertheless a rather sexy scent, in a focused, direct and unpretentious way, and I feel pretty sure that my brother, much more a ladies’ man than your host, will carry off this particular tomato with aplomb.