The Tom Ford Greens are in town and they are everything I had hoped for. If you think about it, green perfumes have been making a slow, shy comeback for a while. But it was that shyness that made me a bit cautious. Olfactive Studio Panorama for example, was crisply green but sort of apologetic, trying to “rectify” the shortcomings of the genre: the bitterness, the tapered lines, the lack of a smile. In the end it smelled like expensive shampoo, at least to me.
Tom Ford has the tip of his finger on the pulse of the market and he is also not afraid of referencing the past. His “Vert” triptych comes straight from the late 70’s and the biggest compliment I can write about it is that they smell like flankers of Jacomo Silences. And yes, this IS a huge compliment. Silences is the style of the late 70’s bottled, the point in time were the excesses of the past already felt a little tired but the beige-ness and neo-conservatism of the 80’s had not settled in yet. The point in time were self-assuredness had not yet become self-righteousness.
We were getting glimpses of this era in previous TF releases like Plum Japonais (the mixing of languages was a little silly but there has never been a more honest tribute to Shiseido Féminité du Bois) and let’s face it, TF is at his best when he does sombre, not sexy. With the “Vert” collection I dare say that he has crossed the diamond with the pearl, making sombre, sexy as well.
It is difficult to speak about the three fragrances separately as they feel like fine-tuning versions of one seminal bitter green accord. Vert Bohème is the most approachable, with a white floral accord cutting through the galbanum – moss – vetiver accord. Hyacinth is the most clearly defined to my nose and yes, this is spot on Jacomo Silences. And well done to the artistic direction of TF for deciding to get our noses reacquainted with this sublime scent, as it seems that the prototype has been discontinued after 30 years in favour of the new Silences Sublime version. Vert des Bois downplays the florals, and boosts the bitterness with oak wood and patchouli, and this combination could not have worked any better. Bring on the grey skies and Parisian rooftops! In the drydown a matt-ness takes over, almost milky but always bitter and green. Vert d’Encens on the other hand attempts a combination of the seminal green accord with an amber-cumin accord (some of the Plum Japonais gene pool has leaked into it) and although in paper this should rub my nose the wrong way, the respect with which the green spirit is treated allows this to feel unique and inventive. Despite the name I can’t say I get a lot of incense from it. What I do get is pungency. It is the most volatile and heady of the three, the shiniest green in the collection. A green amber scent is not something one encounters very often and Vert d’Encens already seems to draw most of the attention between the three. Vert de Fleurs has also been announced but seems that its release is lagging.
Kudos to Tom Ford for going against the deleteriously gourmand trend and for bringing back the greens. With a vengeance.
Ooh yes I do like the sound of these. And I even get a snapshot of my beloved Brian De Palma (my all time favourite director). Hyacinths: how I LOVE them!
These three feel like “A single man” turned into perfume
Single Man….no thanks. His directorial effort did nothing for em.
I found it was much better than what I anticipated. I admit I had already set the bar very low
…oh, I see……
that’s all I need to know!
I might have to make a trip to the mall after reading your review, Christos. Actually, I’m not sure if any of our stores carry the Tom Fords, but I’ll keep these in mind. You make them sound like green fragrances that don’t give a damn about what the rest of the world thinks … I like how you make them sound unrepentant!!
It is the first time I am smelling perfumes so unapologetically green in a very long while
I gave them a quick sniff at the counter but didn’t pay too much attention. I was looking for warmer fragrances.
It looks like I’ll have to revisit them.
Speaking of green fragrances, what do you think of Italian Cypress by Tom Ford. I don’t see it getting much love but it is amazingly done in a beautiful 70s style.
Bois d’Encens turns out as the warmest of the three thanks to amber and resins. Italian Cypress I liked but wasn’t wooed. Perhaps I should re-visit. Most Private Blend perfumes have this nostalgic feel. And I don’t think Neroli Portofino is a true Private Blend
I agree about Neroli Portofino. I think it was made more as a money grab. It’s a nice fragrance but I think it belongs in the signature collection. A testament to this is that many stores (including Sephora) would carry Neroli Portofino along with the signature line but without the other Private Blend juices.
I also think that Black Orchid should be in the Private Blends, stylistically speaking