Very rarely, only every once in a while, the blurb for a perfume actually matches its quality and effect.

“A perfume for night birds fed by the memory of Parisian nights during the Palace and Bains Douches era, a galbanum top note immerses us in an electric atmosphere with accents of nicotine, on a musky and addictive patina, somewhere between the scent of crimson velvet seats and the sensuality of the nape of a neck fragrant with vanilla.”

That’s exactly how this perfume comes across.

Having been in the mood for Grace Jones all last week when she rarely left my turntable, it was great to then serendipitously stumble across Nightclubbing – as well as other perfumes from Celine – in the Ginza Hankyu yesterday.

The contrast between the dirtily mossed vanilla, and what smells a little like an afterhours ashtray – think Etat Libre D’Orange’s Jasmin Et Cigarette but done more subtly, enigmatically; and a beautiful green galbanum offset (I was hooked immediately) – creates an elegant and understated blend that reminded a little of a perfume that my friend Artemis and I keep hankering after – the original Colors by Benetton.

Dark and light. Freshness and shadows. I really like this.

I also loved Black Tie.

“A couturier’s perfume: the exact olfactory interpretation of his style in relation to fashion – his obsession with black and a tailored silhouette. An androgynous composition, around vanilla as dense and as crisp as grain de poudre or lacquered satin. Fashioned like a dinner jacket, cedar and tree moss structure its allure; while the powdery caress of orris troubles body and mind.”

Again: a precise description. It is this exactly.

Vanilla. In recent years, I have come to almost hate vanilla, particularly in the current, nauseatingly sweet synthetic vein that permeates everywhere and everything. So it was quietly thrilling for me to finally smell a delicate, but absorbingly ‘just so‘ natural vanilla of such a finely delicate compulsion.

This is lovely. And me all over.

So is Rimbaud.

A fittingly poetic lavender – a very high quality, delightful lavender (and how often do such perfumes now come into view, realistically? The Chanel lavenders are vile – for me – their life force sucked out entirely – Tom Ford lacquers up the lavender notes too much as usual with metallic glosses); a true lavender needs to soar into the skies of the sublime to justify being in haute parfumerie in my view and here, in the Celine, all is lilting and effortless: clear, herbaceously soft, balsamically musky; wearable*. The assistant didn’t smile at my Sylvester Stallone joke, it’s true, but that’s ok. Had I had the money (I wouldn’t rule these out yet, but they are pretty pricey in yen), I would have snapped up all three without hesitation.

And then he probably would have.

*An adjective that is applicable to perfumery far less than it ought


Filed under Flowers

13 responses to “BLACK TIE + NIGHTCLUBBING (2019) + RIMBAUD (2022) by CELINE

  1. gunmetal24

    I wanted to try these range in store but was so overwhelmed by the quantity of releases. I think I might try the above three first just to get started.

    Chanel’s Jersey is a strange one. I sorta like it but its like a variation of Lush purpose colour shower gel (I forgot the name, the relaxing one).

    • I can’t stand those Chanels! But I can see the appeal – very ‘put together’.

      And as for the overwhelm – yesterday at Hankyu I was getting quite stressy immediately for that reason. Then we went out and came back again and I found the Celines. They are overpriced but I like the graceful simplicity.

  2. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    At the moment I am submerging in the Paris of the early 1900. With the salons and the artists and the famous demi- mondaines. The book ‘Paris was a woman’ describes it all beautifully.
    As of now I am reading the novel Nightwood and the amusing bookpamphlet The Ladies Almanack, all by Djuna Barnes.
    Nightwood describes the stifling, suffocating but glorious ways of living and love.
    Nowhere is perfume mentioned but I think Celine Paris might have had a chance there.
    As would Grace Jones!! Singing Nightclubbing and La Vie en Rose.. avec elle

    • What a divine image.

      I like these Celines: they are not doused in velvety true romanticism – but they smell very nice, and that is not a given at all any more. Nightclubbing struck a chord with me immediately.

  3. this made me want to smell Nightclubbing, sounds great

  4. Hanamini

    I loved this post. And I loved Grace Jones. I must revisit her, pull up to the bumper, and visit the Celine! Sounds very intriguing. Thank you.

    • In my opinion, Grace Jones is possibly the coolest person that has ever lived.

      The first line of her autobiography ( – recommended- who knew about the horrifically strict Christian Jamaican upbringing and subsequent art rebellion?) “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs” is –

      “I was born”.

      Which is probably my favourite opening line from any book.

      I used to work in a record shop as a teenager, and the owners put me on to her music: the Island years are so brilliant, culminating in the total sensory orgasm that is the 12″ of Slave To The Rhythm, which on the dance floor takes me to absolute paradise. Transcendentally epic. There is no one else remotely like her. And to think she is still performing left right and centre and rocking it sloshing back the red wine onstage at 74 is ludicrous. She is a total life force.

  5. Robin

    Great photos and post, Neil. These sound SO good.

  6. Bee

    Thank you for the great reviews, as always. I’m terrified of vanillas now. But your description of Black Tie is tempting. There are 15ml travel sizes of the fragrances with extremely elegant travel spray cases on the Celine UK website. I might take the plunge after all.

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