Tom Ford is the ultimate ‘lifestyle’ brand: i.e. perfumes, and eyewear, and suits, and high heels, for the moneyed, the jet-set, or at least those who have an eye on such a life. It is the the aspirational house par excellence: stylish to the hilt but not about ‘class’; lacking the history, panache, and Parisian rigeur of a Dior or a Chanel; even the Milanese, high end enigma of a Prada, Tom Ford just goes for cut throat pleasure: a lifeline of products to endlessly fuel your chic, private club hedonism.
I liked Fleur De Portofino immediately, much as I did his gorgeously uplifting Mandarino D’Amalfi. This latest release in the light and citrussy azure-bottled range goes straight for the white floral jugular in the most American of veins; like the original Marc Jacobs, an aqueous ‘gardenia’ that, though sharp and synthetic, I did used to wear as a work perfume on and off for a few years, Fleur has that pool-splashed, white flower sensuousness: safe, yet undeniably uplifting and effective in its execution. In comparison to Fleur De Portofino, though, the Marc Jacobs template is thin and one note: this new perfume is more orchestrally lilted and solar, the gardenia substituted for the Tom Ford jasmine and neroli, but flourished and fleshed, significantly, with the star ingredient that sings at the heart of the composition: acacia blossoms, those white flowers that grace the air in these Mediterrean oases of sunbaked tranquillity: a tolu and cistus vanilla base (though these base notes, also allegedly including civet, are virtually imperceptible), and, in fitting with the rest of the Portofino range, in the opening accord, a refreshingly zesty holiday rainbow of bright citrus notes (lemon, bergamot, tangerine, bitter orange leaf), plus trembling syringa flowers to introduce us immediately, as we spritz ourselves in our immaculately set out room, to the theme of fleurs blancs d’été, notes that cleanly, eventually, dry down to a soft, and unthreatening, note of sweet acacia honey.
The whole feel of this scent is of course very familiar, that typical Michael Kors / Aerin Lauder template of female summertime seduction, but in comparison with Lauder’s recent Rattan Gardenia, for example, with its purse-lipped and over-ozoned uptightness, this new Tom Ford release is positively plush; brimming with the ray-kissed, sun-drinking notes that perfectly conjure up the desired setting: the hotel life; the yacht; the cocktail: the guileless, summertime oblivion.