Archive for the ‘Tom Ford’ Category

I blame Left Coast Nose for this one.  She mentioned a scent she liked in a comment, and then helpfully pointed out that it’s discontinued.  Which got me to thinking… how much of the stuff I actually own and wear is no longer being produced and sold at retail?  A bunch of it, that’s how much.   Edit:  I should explain, I bought nearly all of the following at online discounters, where most of them are indeed still available at the time of writing.  Exception Shalimar Light, which is getting scarce as alligator feathers.

I had titled this post “Love’s Retail Lost,” and then when I went looking for a photo to accompany it, I found this:

which, although not precisely on topic, was too good not to share.

I checked my Excel file, where I keep notes on what I’ve tested, what I’d like to test, and what I’ve bought, to find out.  To be fair, I excluded my (extensive) collection of vintage miniatures, which I bought primarily because they were vintage/discontinued/hard-to-find.

Mariella Burani edt.  I think Mariella Burani is still making some kind of fragrance, but the eponymous one is no longer produced.  When you find it at the discounters, it’s likely to be very cheap because stocks have been dumped.  This does not reflect its quality.

YSL Paris Pont des Amours Printemps Edition 2008   Again, another LE.  I can’t really complain about limited editions not sticking around, however much I’d like to (I’m still mourning over the L’Artisan Jacinthe de Bois I never got to smell).

Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur   I have seen Black Orchid recently in a retail store, but not VdF, and I can’t find an online listing for it at a retail establishment. 

Balenciaga Rumba.  Another “let’s just dump it at cost” scent because it’s been discontinued and there’s tons of old stock sitting around.  It’s a very 80’s style fragrance, big and rich and vampy, and that is quite unfashionable these days.

Donna Karan Gold.  Recently discontinued, along with a slew of other Karans.  I am saddened to report that they are still making the (hideous, IMO) Be Delicious and all its sugary little flankers.

This one’s in question: I can’t find Givenchy Organza Indecence, whether the original or the Les Mythiques version, anywhere.  But March says in her comments to me on this post she was told it’s not discontinued, just really hard to find.  Givenchy should get its act together – this one was a both a big seller and hugely popular among perfumistas.

L’Arte di Gucci.  It doesn’t surprise me that this one’s kaput, to be honest.  It’s too… too big, too lush, too animalic, too shrieking, too everything  for current tastes.  (Except marshmallowy and fruity.  It’s not fruit-flavored-candy enough for current tastes.  And now I’ll stop snarling about the fruity gourmand fad, at least for now.   I admit to liking Hanae Mori.)

Stetson Rich Suede, which was probably an LE to begin with.  Oh, well.

Ines de la Fressange 1999, the Calice Becker fruity floral  – there’s a newer version in a tall bottle with gold leaves, a gourmandish thing by Alberto Morillas, but I think it too has been discontinued.  I know I snark about fruity florals from time to time, but this one is done just right: light-hearted, tangy, a bellini in a bottle.

Okay, okay, fine, I’ll cop to this one: Victoria’s Secret Pink.   This would be the original Pink, not Pink Beach or Pink Angel or Pink Panties or whatever the heck those ever-sluttier Victoria’s Secret execs are coming up with these days, an airy green peony-freesia floral that is still pleasant to me, and which I bought another mini of this past year, to replace the old one that was getting really low.  My excuse? The CEO likes it.

Victoria’s Secret Victoria.   The very first fragrance VS released, waaaay back in the… late 80’s, I think, a beautiful floral chypre that nonetheless has a difficult opening due to age.  I’ve now smelled three different bottles of this, and all three are off in the topnotes – decayed bergamot, or something.  I never owned this when it was new – I couldn’t afford it.  But it’s lovely, when the weird top burns off.  VS used to carry really beautiful, elegant nightwear – I had a gorgeous teal satin spaghetti-strap nightie that I wore for years – heavy satin, with four-inch-deep soft ivory lace.  Victoria smells like that thing felt – elegant, luxurious, pretty.  

Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet.  I hereby curse Clive Christian to live, without diamonds and Lexuses and cash, sleeping in a tent and eating local food, in a miserably poor place for three months.   Perhaps he’d give up this ludicrous “most expensive perfume in the world” nonsense, and all the teddibly posh trappings of his current perfume business, which just annoys the %#** out of me. 

Cuir de Lancome.  A perfume with brains and beauty and a backbone?  Of course it’s discontinued, because no one under the age of 21 bought it.  Look, I’m not being ageist.  I think young women should wear what they like, even if I happen to find the popular fruity-sweet style ditzy and unpleasant.  It just burns my shorts that Lancome should decide not to continue producing a beautiful scent and selling it to “mature women” because they’d rather concentrate their efforts on selling things like Miracle So Magic and Tresor In Love.  Which I doubt very much will sell better than Cuir – they’ll just sell to the right demographic.

Shalimar Light.   News Flash: Eau de Shalimar is not an acceptable substitute.  Whose bright idea was it to bottle the smell of lemon baby wipes?

Guerlain Terracotta Voile d’Ete.  This may have been intended as limited edition as well, but I can’t find anything that says so definitively.  (Note to self: Aha!  This is what Agent Provocateur Strip was reminding me of!  Not an exact match, of course – this is spicier – but similar in the floral-amber category.)

I’m not even including reformulated things like Ralph Lauren Lauren – the reformulation of that one was like taking Sigourney Weaver and turning her into, oh, Blake Lively* – and Kenzo Parfum d’Ete – which has been changed into a different, but still pleasant, scent.  (*Please don’t hate on me for the Blake Lively comment.  Blake’s fine as she is, but in my opinion, Sigourney is Too Much Woman to be turned into someone young, blonde, and… hmm, how to say it?  Naive.  Blake should aspire to be Sigourney, not the other way round.  RL Lauren used to be kind, interesting, beautiful, classic and strong.  Now it’s merely pretty. )

So if I count up the discontinued scents, ignoring the reformulateds and the vintages, that’s, like… (frantic scrambling to get the calculator) a whopping 28.6% of my full bottle wardrobe.  This is a little scary.  You think so?  On the other hand, it might tie in to the fact that I am a Total Sucker for stories of lost love.  This is probably even more scary when you consider that I bought all of these bottles knowing that these fragrances had been discontinued.

Anybody else as crazy as me?

Image is I’d rather be a perfect sinner by theilr at flickr.com.

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First up, a Stealth Tuberose – betcha didn’t know it was one! Unless you’ve worn it, of course, upon which the tuberose is like the face of an old friend, at an event where you never expected to see her.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur eau de toilette
Date released: 2007                        
Perfumer: David Apel
Sample provenance: my 1-oz bottle, bought on ebay from individual seller, not perfume distributor

Subcategory: Gentle white floral with tuberose

If you smelled the original Black Orchid edp, and you’re thinking that Voile de Fleur is simply the edt version, you’re mistaken. The listed notes for each only overlap a little, and the proportions are different, so that each fragrance has a different focus. BO is, well, weird – a plum-cucumber-dirt-cocoa thing, with a touch of Dior Poison and another of Youth Dew. It’s intriguing but not wearable, in my opinion. A check of the reviews on basenotes.net and fragrantica.com reveals that there are very few people that liked both BO and VdF; most commenters loved one and not the other. (Some people hated both.)

Voile de Fleur shares the plum and the white flowers, and the woody base, of BO, but it has a whole different take on the matter: it’s pretty.

Here’s Tania Sanchez’ review from PTG:
           **** Fracas gardenia. A smiling, bonny tuberose halfway between Fracas and Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, fresh and lovely with a sleepy languor, simply beautiful in all its parts.

I think she’s right on the number of stars – and right on its being primarily tuberose, a lovely natural one blended with ylang and lily – but a little optimistic on the description of the feel. I never get “sleepy languor.” I get “edgy white florals.” In fact, at times I feel a little worried that VdF is going to whip off her stiletto pump and nail me in the eye. For what? Just because.

(Digression: Ever see “Single White Female”, with Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh as the crazy copycat roomie? Scared me for weeks. Admittedly I have low tolerance for Scary Movies, but I like to think that’s because I have sufficient imagination to feel the effects keenly. Or I could just be a chicken, there’s that possibility.)

Here are the notes for VdF:
Black truffle, ylang-ylang, bergamot, blackcurrant, honeysuckle, gardenia, lily, plum, black pepper, lotuswood, succulent fruit, hot milk, cinnamon, vanilla tears, patchouli, sandalwood, balsam.

No mention of tuberose, did you notice? And how kind of Mr. Ford to specify that the fruit note is “succulent.” The milk’s hot, by the way… Oh, well, I suppose that the tuberose + truffle could be close to gardenia, so I’ll buy that one. And the blackcurrant and plum warranted mentioning on their own, so I’ll stop whining about Tom Ford’s I’m Way Cooler Than Thou-ness now. (Bonus: this one’s in wide distribution, and therefore very affordable. I’m regularly seeing 1oz bottles on eBay for about $20, and 1.7oz bottles at online discounters for $50.)

On my skin, though, VdF is mainly this: plum, white florals, cream, wood, and a mysterious dark thread (leather? balsam?) that winds its way through the scent like vaguely threatening kudzu tendrils. Some days I get more Dark Thread; some days I get more creamy floral pudding; other days it’s all plum followed by white flowers and no wood at all. I never know which face will present itself. I’m not the only one to get darkness out of it, either – see the reviews at PST and Aromascope in the Review Report.

Voile de Fleur has turned out to be a sleeper hit for me. It doesn’t make me swoon or eat my head; I can wear it to work, feel beautiful, and still get my tasks done. There’s enough interesting stuff going on in it besides the tuberose (plum and wood), that I don’t wind up feeling like a 50’s pinup girl with a tropical flower in my hair while trying to calculate the early-pay discount for the truck-repair shop down the street. Perfectly suitable for work. If I apply a little more heavily after dinner, The CEO enjoys snurfling my neck, and that’s pleasurable too.

The Bottom Line (see below for explanations of my eclectic judging criteria):

Quality A-
Grab-scale score 8
Short description Plum tuberose; interesting but doesn’t distract.
Cost $           * Note: this one is out of production, apparently, and unavailable at retail, although you can buy it on ebay and online discounters)
Earns Compliments? Yes
Scent presence Persistent (2 spritzes last 10-12 hours), mild to moderate sillage.
Review Report: Perfume-Smellin’ Things, Now Smell This, Aromascope, Blogdorf Goodman (brief)

(The Bottom Line criteria:
“Quality” refers to how well-made I think the fragrance is. Does it smell natural? (I freely admit that I don’t have any background in chemistry, and at times I may be totally and completely wrong.) Does it flow from one stage to another seamlessly? Are all the stages pleasant, or just the top? Do the notes have synergy and smell good together? Scored on an A-F scale.
“Grab-scale score” simply means, Does the fragrance “grab” me – please me? I’m the only person reviewing, so mine’s the only opinion that matters with this score. I don’t care if Luca Turin or Patty at Perfume Posse loves it, this one’s all about me, me, me. Also, frequently I’ll notice that some really well-made perfume just does nothing for me emotionally, and I don’t want to waste my time with stuff I don’t like.
“Short description” – self-explanatory. Lifted from PTG.
“Cost” is also lifted from PTG, and in fact, I’m using the Turin-Sanchez model for the “standard US retail price for the smallest full-size bottle of the lowest concentration in standard distribution.”  If it’s NOT available at retail price, I’ll let you know where it can be found, and for how much.  I’ll be honest, sometimes it’ll be ebay, because I like vintage. 
$ 1 – 50
$$ 51-100
$$$ 101-200
$$$$ over 201 (yeah, right, like I’m gonna review one that expensive!)
“Earns compliments?” – another self-explanatory criterion. Am I the only one who likes it?
“Scent presence” – how long does it last with my standard two spritzes (one wrist, one base of neck)? How far does it radiate? Do I smell it a lot, or do I have to snort my skin? Can other people smell me beyond my standard 3-foot radius?
“Review Report” – links to other blog reviews I found worth reading.)

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