It was wonderful, after a rather trying time recently – to say the least – to wake up in Shinjuku on Saturday lunchtime after a fabulous dreamlike time the night before, to leave the hotel; have brunch with friends (now is the oyster season in Japan), and leisurely peruse the perfume counters at Isetan.
A personable, attractive (if still coldly gracious) assistant at the Guerlain counter led me through the latest perfumes to arrive at this hallowed establishment, including the hand-crafted, Arita-porcelain flaconed Fall Flowers – see above – bottles of which retail for 85,000 yen plus tax (about 800 American dollars), and which are apparently selling quite briskly.
‘First, our customers enjoy the beautiful container’, the lady told me, earnestly, ‘and then the scent itself is very elegant, and is intended to be worn solely at this particular time of year’.
Fall Flowers, is, in fact, rather nice. Soignée, subdued and pretty – alive, yet society-conscious – a sharp, melange of jasmine, magnolia, ylang ylang, rose; a gently green tea-like backdrop tinged with gentle peach tones, but something older, almost putrescent, that lingers under the flowers like mulch under decaying Autumn leaves. Unessential, yet not unappealing either, I still rather like the idea of some older Japanese woman in Tokyo, treasuring her stratospherically priced item, gazing at it on the glass dresser, and occasionally applying just a little (just a little) to her well kept person as she wistfully gazes out of the window onto the unhorizoned, neon labyrinth of the city and decides on a spontaneous walk in the park to ponder the changing leaves.
Her daughter, on the marriage market and secretly despondent, might be wearing, at her mother’s behest (after a long consultation at Isetan), the latest in the Art et Matière collection – by Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk – Tubereuse Joyeuse : a revitalizing, green, youthful neo-tuberose in the current style: semi-photo realistic shots of the flowers on the stalks with their leaves. If I hadn’t experienced a ton of the flowers in Indonesia; in vases, in pots, placed on tea trays, sleeping with the cut stems on my pillow, I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the different facets of the flowers but now I am able to, and I recognize this perspective of the tuberose from memory.
What is certain is that the creamy, buttery prima donna Fracas tuberoses of yore have been now replaced, in the new style : dewier, saptastic, zesty white flowers that on the right wearer, I think, have the potential to smell positively delightful. I am just a total sucker for sambac jasmine, it addicts me, and that note, combined with a tropical lily and living tuberose stem accord with green notes and a light touch of Guerlain vanilla, makes a very enjoyable and contemporary take on the uplifting and luscious white floral.
Tubereuse Joyeuse feels neither retro nor blandly synthetic, nor cod erotic and drowning in unnecessitated musks and woods and all the usual crap. Instead, it feels quite freed up – and indeed happy, and liberated ; crisp, self-consciously optimistic, and up to date.
The same thing can not entirely be said about the just slightly disappointing Lui, the new ‘unisex’ perfume from our beloved grand masters of the Champs Elysées who are on a real release spree at the moment (hate that word though, ‘unisex’, and Guerlain is really clumsily plugging the trending gender topic with this one in a quite laboriously vacuous advertising campaign – ‘the perfume for a new gender order’ ; it sounds vaguely Nazi-ish to me somehow, and funny that the perfume’s name means ‘him’ but there you go). It is a scent that might indeed suit either of the sexes (as virtually any perfume in fact will do), quite nicely blended and warm, but to me, this is merely a Guerlain take on Prada’s popular Candy release from a few years ago, a sweet, overly insistent benzoin (oh! the benzoin!) and tonka festa blended, quite originally, into a smooth, old fashioned carnation accord, creamy and zoned out; over, in the final stages of the scent, a warm, ice cream pure vanilla base note that is rather charming but difficult to imagine on your average bloke working by the water fountain at the office. Lui is in fact quite nice, and I did rather enjoy the cute smell of vanilla extract that lingered on the back of my hand as we took the train back home to Kamakura, but ultimately I think I find it flat and one note, too thick and opaque – it needed more feeling and interest up top.
I do quite like the bottle though.
I don’t know about you, but there is something about ‘Twilly’ (is that not a slightly ridiculous name for a perfume?) that does not quite compute for me for some reason – the bottle, the label design, this picture. I have hated all of the Hermès mainstream releases for quite some time now, even if I still retain some affection for several of the Hermessences and love many of the original, undoctored classics in the stable. Horror in fragrance for me is a metallic, synthetic rose and ‘leather’ composition dressed in Jean Claude Ellena’s limiting color palettes and gaunt, modeled cheeks, and for years these releases have quite honestly just repelled me. Twilly, however, is a little different, again riding the nouvelle vague de tubéreuse that is young and chic right now, and fusing a very high pitched, and quite original, watery, fresh bright scintillation of tuberose flowers and ginger over a somewhat generic base notes of light, air-fashioned sandalwood. I will say that to a certain extent, it kind of pleased me. And while I was not 100% convinced that Christine Nagel’s relatively uninhibited creation will be a hit – (I did feel that something was missing), both Duncan and I did give the perfume an initial ‘that’s quite nice‘ two thumbs up: I will certainly be going back to try it once again on my own skin.
For a more true Autumn feeling, a scent that gets you in the mood, if you are more inclined towards fragrances that seem more obviously suited to the weather rather than wide-eyed, laboratory trained, hot house tuberoses, you could do a lot worse than the new offering from Il Profumo, a perfume house that doesn’t often get spoken about but whose perfumes have a richness, and osmosed smoothness that is very Italian and has always been rather appealing to me. Silvana, ostensibly an iris and pink pepper scent, is actually almost completely all about cedarwood – the Virginia kind, not the Moroccan Atlas, and the type I vastly prefer. There are not many wearable cedarwood perfumes available on the market, and the essential oil is too harsh to be worn directly on the skin, but I sometimes do use it in the house when visitors come and attempt to transform my living space into a holographically invigorating and healthful wood cabin (there is something about cedarwood – so moth-trashing, lung-busting, so powerful and alive, yet simultaneously calming that really speaks to me : it feels both physically and psychologically useful to the body and spirit). Here, the hale, wood-ringed essence is quelled and powdered and subtly, deftly eroticized, with iris and musks and pink peppercorns, a warm yet light-suffused facet that makes you want to snuggle up close. It is not a complicated perfume, and some might find it simplistic, but it drew us both in, and it smelled really nice on the D’s skin. And as the temperatures continue to drop here and the rains fall unabated, that is, essentially, exactly what I want.
23 responses to “NEW! ! FOR AUTUMN : : : SILVANA by IL PROFUMO (2017)+ TWILLY by HERMES (2017) + TUBEREUSE JOYEUSE by GUERLAIN (2017) +LUI by GUERLAIN (2017)+ FALL FLOWERS by GUERLAIN (2017)”
Highly enjoyable, as always. You have inspired me to track a few of these down. In fact, I might go and do that right now. Thankyou x
Which ones take thy fancy? I am really pleased you have embraced your inner tuberose since we met up last year – still think Tom Ford Boheme Vert is more you though. x
Well yes the Guerlain tuberose does initially appeal, but i’m unlikely to catch a whiff of that one outside London. I haven’t worn much tuberose recently- it’s unseasonably balmy again so i’m drenched in Goutal Eau du Sud, i’m all about the citrus. X
The refined, herb laden citrus. Lovely.
Sounds a lovely weekend and I love your vision of the Fall Flowers customer. Do you include Galop in your recent Hermès release hate? Such a darling bottle. I thought the scent was ok but too fruity-rosy for that bottle.
I really really didn’t like Twilly though – the tuberose and ginger were just an axis of evil. It’s the opposite of Histoires de Perfums Tubereuse 3, which I really like, where immortelle (normally not my thing) just blends perfectly with the tuberose and warms and softens it.
By the way I bought a bottle of Iris Tubereuse from someone on Basenotes and it’s lovely – thanks for the recommendation. It’s down to £94 on notino now…
Interesting that Guerlain still has a counter in a Japanese department store; here in the U.S., they have been shutting down their in-store counters, even at Neiman Marcus, which was where I went occasionally to try the scents you won’t find at Sephora.
Really? No, in Japan they are something of a legend, actually, expanding rather than shuttering. A big new store has just opened in Shanghai too.
All very interesting. Was also reading about Guerlain’s Le Frenchy, evidently a reworking of Eau de Verveine added to the Parisien line. I’d imagine we’ll be hearing from you about this one in due course. Verbena and sage sounds kind of nice.
Wish you could visit Ric’s. The cast-iron wood stove that heats the cabin is stoked mainly with fir, maple and hemlock, but for kindling he uses split yellow or red cedar, piled up on either side for easy access. Oh, the scent.
I would love it.
We would too.
Ric used to split cedar rails for rustic fences and after an afternoon working in the hot summer sun, he said the scent of fresh cedar oil made him positively punch drunk. Wonder how our Western red cedar compares with Virginia? Technically ours is a kind of cypress. Hmm. Probably inferior. But. Heady stuff, anyway.
I like all varieties. I don’t really like coniferous smells – for some reason they just make me think of death, too stark and real, but cedar is more benign, happier. I enjoy the Lutens treatment of the Atlas cedar note, but I find it sweet, syrupy and totally different to what I think of as the classic cedar wood scent.
I do hope Ric is up to getting back into all the wood chopping and is feeling stronger.
Very kind of you to think of Ric’s recovery. He’s feeling stronger and stronger. Two steps forward and one step back, and sometimes two. Recovering from surgery ain’t no walk in the park . . . as you know, unfortunately, dear Neil. Ric and I hope you’re feeling better more days than not. Patience isn’t Ric’s strong suit, and sometimes he gets . . . well, “frustrated” would be the polite word. He takes it out on the kindling.
I took it out on the dance floor on Friday night…. judging from my knees today, not sure it was the right move, but it certainly did feel good!
Lovely post thank you! I can so clearly see the Japanese lady at her dressing table. I do like tuberose very much but unfortunately most tuberose perfumes often give me a headache. Damn! I have a small bottle of Fracas that I sniff occasionally to remind you of what perfume is capable of – that is one ballsy tuberose. I may try the Guerlain TJ you mentioned, am ever hopeful. Years ago when the EL Private Collection Gardenia Tuberose came out I was able to wear it without any problem, but alas with recent sniffings, not so good.
What happened to it? I quite like that too but it is stronger and more strident than it seems at first (
and possibly headache inducing as well).
Joyeuese is very sheer and green – a very different interpretation of the flower, possibly too shampooey for some people but sometimes I really enjoy a clean floral, particularly if it is as lush and full as this one.
“shampooey”. . . . hmmmm (steps back). “Green”. YES!!! Sold, will give it a go, except here in Sydney, god knows when it will be released, next year some time. Might be time for another perfumed court decant order.
I LOVE green florals too, and never smelled a green tuberose before which is why it interested me. It’s a bit ‘busy’ and possibly even a tad prissy up top though which is why I suggested it for the woman’s unmarried ( shock horror!) daughter. This is not a perfume to have wild sex to ( unless the shimmering Eden maiden thing is what gets your partner all riled up).
Also, in terms of beautiful sambac jasmine and fresh tuberose, I already have the divine Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum, which is ylang-tactic and coconutty and perfection as far as I am concerned and is a fifth or sixth of the price, just heaven in a bottle. Joyeuse is more vernal and uptight, pretty – Terracotta is running naked on the beach.
Yep, I think running “naked on the beach” appeals somewhat more than “uptight”. Now you have me intrigued. Unfortunately neither Perfumed Court or Surrender to Chance have samps, never mind. Speaking of green tuberose, have you ever smelled CB I Hate Perfume’s Cradle of Light? BIG. HUGE. WHITE and GREEN.
I have always wanted to smell that one actually. Maybe one day when I finally get to New York.
I would have thought that Terracotta would have been relatively easy to find. It’s their cheapest (and one of their best) perfumes. An absolute gem.
Your reviews are always so personal and insightful. Had a good chuckle reading your comments about your experience with the Guerlain Fall Flowers assistant.
Usually I am more damning when they are especially snobbish and iced, but this one was able to tread a delicate balance between dignity and helpfulness quite well ( without me having any homicidal urges).