The spectrum of jasmines is vast, and varied: I find there is probably more heterogeneity and interpretation within this type of scent than practically any other. Vetivers will still be vetivers; ambers ambers; citruses citrus, and even the other white flowers such as the lily, the tuberose, and the gardenia, seem to almost have inbuilt limitations to their permutations and proportions of ingredients in order to convincingly portray their floral origin.
Jasmines, however, come in a multitude of different expressions. From the barely there ‘jasmines’ of the Bulgari Mon Jasmin Noir range of fragrances, to the horrifying indole monster that is Gorilla Perfumes’ Lust, there is a veritable rainbow of differingly tweaked jasmine formulations thrust in between: from the symphonic, aldehyde jasmines ( First, Joy, Creed Jasmal); the fresh endless fountain ( Il Profumo’s Vent De Jasmin); the sandalwood conceptual ( CB I Hate Perfume’s Where We Are There Is No Here) to the voluptuous and full soliflore (Serge Lutens’ luminously hypnotic A La Nuit). There are vanillic jasmines ( Micaleff’s sweet and seductive Watch); green jasmines ( Grandiflora’s Madagascan Jasmine, Brosseau’s Jasmin Lilas)…….all kinds of jasmines, really, but somehow, no two are really ever alike.
Still, some jasmines are certainly more memorable than others. I like, and wear, Floris’ very English and politely bucolic ( but possibly slightly boring) Night Blooming Jasmine, for example, which is about as sexual as a little flower-covered thatched cottage in the Cotswolds. For a REAL night blooming jasmine, however, a perfume that is really redolent of the heady, fulsomely living flowers exhaling their beautiful nocturnal siren call, you could do worse than to douse yourself in Sana Jardin’s new Savage Jasmine, which pretty much is what it says. Cradled only with almost virtually imperceptible sandalwood and musks, this is probably the most soliflore Jasmine perfume I have encountered. It really is jasmine: jasmine: jasmine: so if you are allergic to jasmine; hate the scent and the soul of the jasmine flower, the smell of this sensurround perfume will probably drive you into suicide.
When I was in hospital I wrote about how Sana Jardin, this new ‘ethical perfumery’, had brightened up my days and my spirits with their sunbeam-infused orange blossom/ neroli Berber Blonde. I like this perfume house’s approach: very natural smelling, modern, but constructed, somewhat minimalistically, along classical lines. Savage Jasmine, to be released quite soon I believe, is more self-contained and simple ( some might even say simplistic) than Berber Blonde. This ONLY smells of jasmine, probably of the Arab variety (dense, animalic, a little bit fruity and rough and extremely sexy), but what I particularly like about it is the way that the perfumer has managed to craft a jasmine soliflore that is somehow both heavy and light at the same time. It floats on the air around you – both a skin scent and a wafter – and would make a fabulous ‘grand entrance’ scent for someone wanting to steal the spotlight – while not being sickly or overpowering. While I almost wish that there were some extra embellishments just to turn the blend into the Full Fantasia, that is probably just my maximalist, Sagittarian self doing the talking. Ultimately I think this is probably just about perfect as it is. Lovers of exotic jasmines and properly indulgent perfume, you need to smell this.
If Savage Jasmine is warm, womanly, and calmly outrageous, Vilhelm Parfumerie’s new amusingly titled Don’t Tell Jasmine is hysterical. Girlish ( or wannabe girlish); bright to the point of searing; practically bouncing off the ceiling with serotonin repleteness, yet actually really quite appealing, I had never even heard of this house ( yes, yet another niche outfit debuting with ten new perfumes in their lineup) but I do rather like their semi-retro futuristic design and concepts and the bottle, bestowed on me by Persolaise the other week when he came to stay, does look nice in my computer room, tucked neatly beside my begonia. The juice inside also most definitely carves out its own, unique little space in the thriving, jasminesque compendium.
Don’t Tell Jasmine is both breathlessly high-pitched and natural, indolic ( Italian or French jasmine?) and simultaneously urban/artificial, with an illuminated and sweet/sharp accord of lemon and Kir (cassis) cocktail, and what Vilhelm Parfumerie refers to as ‘petal musk’. I am a great believer in first impressions in perfumery: as with people, they are as important as the base notes ( the true self, the psyche and id, and the heart ). Ideally, the perfumer, with inspiration and technical precision, will have mastered all these stages to present a fully composite rendering of the fragrance’s soul (unless, like many perfumes, it is soulless),but in truth, these days you are lucky if you even get one. Don’t Tell Jasmine certainly gets the opening right: the perfume passed Duncan’s stringent First Impression Test immediately – he is excellent at inhaling and knowing immediately- even if the later, synthetic lilac notes, quite air-freshener-like, on my own skin began to slightly grate ( on younger, female Skin I can imagine this not necessarily being the case). Still, this is seemingly quite a fun new New York perfume house for us all to play with – I like the sound of their Basilico & Fellini, Darling Nikki ( just because it’s a Prince song), and the apparently very lifelike Modest Mimosa – I want to smell more. Rather than the overreaching and grave overconceptualism of many contemporary perfume houses, sometimes you just want to take a spritz and smile.
Send in the flowers.