Three new fragrances join the Tom Ford private collection, centered on reintroducing lush green scents for today.
Vetiver is the note most immediately thought of when green is mentioned in perfumery. It is, however, nefariously capricious. Depending on where the plant is from and the extraction methods, you can get a spectrum of crispy astringence to earthy woodiness. Tom Ford’s unisex Private Collection Les Extraits Verts ($330 each, for 50ml) is his foray into unearthing – pun unintended – and savouring the varied qualities of these green notes.
Perhaps the most feminine of the collection, Vert Bohème plays up a gorgeously sun-kissed jasmine and magnolia accord, and juxtaposes that warmth and brightness with the moodier sulk of Haitian vetiver. There’s a lilting quality to this scent – at times, sunbursts of honey break through and lift the scent up again, bringing it life through its impressive lasting power. Bohème simultaneously summons the plushness of footstep-muffling carpets with its inviting floral accords and the wet crunch of leaves underfoot from crisp vetiver – a commendable feat of charming perfumery.
The incense quality of Vert d’Encens is created through a smoky accord of oud and ambergris. After the initial explosion of heavy woods and spiced smoke, a striking note of bitter orange comes to the fore, wrapping up the scent with a modulated geniality. There’s also a crunchy effect of starfruit – you can almost feel the stark bite, swirling ever so slightly underneath the namesake haze of incense. Encens isn’t so much an ode to the religious rituality of Japanese or Indian incense sticks, but leans toward a Lutensian treatment of oriental bases with overripe and sweetened plums. While the opening is polarising and vivid, it settles very quickly into a smoky skin scent with a refined side of complimentary greens.
The woody entry in the range, Vert des Bois brings a more masculine smouldering sensuality to the other’s relative femininity. Its opening blast is redolent of sandalwood and spicy pepperwood. It’s a dichotomising entrance that recalls the sour acridity of dried woods: easy to hate, but rewarding when endured. Minutes in, the floral notes of jasmine, olive leaves, and aged plum come to the fore, smoothing the edges of the opening’s brusqueness. This isn’t a fragrance for fans of evanescence dancing atop skin – rather, it sits with legs firmly crossed. This fragrance has a duality that recalls the great Orientals of the ’70s with its unabashed weight and smokiness, along with modern gourmand tastes (jasmine, poplar seeds, and tonka bean).
This story was first published in l’Officiel Singapore.