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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Perfume Review: Tom Ford Private Blend Japon Noir, Moss Breches and Neroli Portofino

Japon Noir

With notes of "spice bouquet", "purple patchouli", "porto noir", jasmine, leather, amber and vetiver, Japon Noir is an interesting little scent, sweetly-piquant, a little earthy, slightly leathery, zestful and rather charming. It begins with an accord that seems to me to combine citrus with the bright and rooty spiciness of ginger. The "spice bouquet", which I believe also includes cinnamon, grows stronger, and, paired with patchouli, amber and woods, creates a very attractive, slightly powdery, warm, balsamic effect, in a way not unlike the spicy-woody accord in Rousse. Japon Noir evokes in my mind an image of ginger-scented tree tells me that apparently there exists a wood species called Gingerwood (Tatajyvá), and, in my imagination, this is how it should smell. Apart from the dry and fiery aspect, the scent also possesses a certain vaguely edible quality, in that at times it smells to me like some exotic, boozy, sweet-n-spicy candy. This almost-gourmand trait is very understated, and the scent overall is not particularly sweet; the lovers of spicy perfumes should pay close attention to this zippy number.

Moss Breches

Chypre Alert! Fans of the genre should take notice of this earthy-green, herbal-spicy, brooding potion. The first accord of Moss Breches is unexpectedly honeyed, it brings to my mind a vision of a very dark red rose. The crimson apparition lasts no more than a couple of seconds, blink, and the rose is gone, as if swallowed by the mossy-green foliage of a witchy forest. And from then on the scent is devoid of even a hint of anything remotely floral. I smell herbs, especially sage, I smell peppery earthiness of vetiver and a sooty patchouli note reminiscent of moist, pitch-black soil. Moss Breches is not one of the glamorous chypres (like, for example, L'Arte di Gucci or Eau du Soir) that possess a dazzling grandeur demanding lime-light and being dressed to the nines. On the contrary, it has a bewitching wildness about it, an untamed feel, something primal and slightly sinister... it is a scent for nymphs, satyrs and all manner of magikal folk...for casting spells and for getting up to no good under the cover of the night, on the mossy floor of the dark woods.

Neroli Portofino

From the moody darkness of Moss Breches to the sun-lit Neroli Portofino, what a contrast! Portofino, a fishing village and resort on the Italian Riviera is said to be one of the most beautiful Mediterranean ports, and I imagine that it might have served as an inspiration behind this "modern intercontinental version of an iconic fragrance theme" (eau de cologne). The fragrance is not particularly complicated (but then one does not expect a multi-faceted structure from a traditional cologne), but it is very luscious. Neroli here has distinctively bitter, even somewhat spicy aroma; it manages to be neither sharp nor in the least sweet. The citrusy-floral accord is rounded and "warmed-up" by an ambery, slightly woody undertone...the overall impression is of an uncluttered and luxurious composition...Neroli Portofino makes me dream of lounging under blossoming orange trees, with a breeze from the see fresh and cool on my face and the sun spreading its golden warmth over my skin. An Eau de Cologne, however impressive, priced at $165.00 is rather extravagant for me, but Neroli Portofino should nevertheless be a must-try for the connoisseurs of the genre.

Japon Noir, Moss Breches and Neroli Portofino, along with other Private Blend scents, are available at Bergdorf Goodman, $165.00 for 50ml, $450.00 for 250ml.

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Blogger tmp00 said...

oh dear, Moss Breches sounds like my downfall...

12:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Trina said...

I didn't think any of these would really call out to me, but your description of JN has me *really* wanting to sniff that one! MB sounds promising too, but the name still makes me picture funny green pants :~D

1:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until this morning I was a Tom Ford-free zone. Then I tried on Youth Dew Amber Nude, and I haven't been able to stop smelling myself. My skin eats perfume, but this one lasts. when I read reviews of Moss Britches (I'm a foresty, fresh earth kind of gal) and Amber Absolute, I feel my resoluteness crumble. I blame you, Marina. The YDAN was your sample! :-)

2:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good mini-reviews of them all.

However, I dont understand your reasoning why EDC and other citrus scents can't be priced at $100 and above. Not all fragrances have to be loaded with benzoin, candied fruit, leather, moss and other "heavy" ingredients to qualify for the price tag. Citrus scents might seem light, but thats because of the nature of the ingredients themselves. That shouldnt take away from the quality of the ingredients used or the artistry showcased in composing the juice.

Ofcourse if the perfume smells cheap, it makes sense to make that comment. But if its an attractive smell with an expert use of fine quality ingredients, well its definitely worth the price because in the category of summer/EDC's that particular fragrance might be a top tier offering.

5:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It probably will be your downfall...along with Tobacco Vanille and maybe Tuscan Leather.

6:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Have you by any chance tried Esteban's scent called Le Bain Secrete Afrique (or something like that)? Japon Noir reminded me of it a little bit. Sort of the same sharp gourmandness.

6:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

LOL at TF-free zone :-)I am so glad the samples arrived.

6:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Very good point! I guess what I meant was, however beautiful Neroli Portofino was (and it was beautiful), it was still a rather simple scent, pretty neroli and not much else. I always have hard time forking out big $$ for soliflores, but that's just me.

6:52 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Hello, my dear !

I remember LOVING Mb and Amber, but don't recall the others as well...

What do you think I'd swoon for ?

[Nice review, BTW]

Hope you're enjoying the weather change...

7:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think you might also swoon for Tobacco Vanille and Noir de Noir...
The weather is wonderful!
Big hugs!

7:02 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm adding Japon Noir to my list, underneath Bois Rouge (on your recommendation of course, my sweet).

7:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

By the end of the week you will hopefully have at least a couple more scents on your list :-) But definitely, definitely Bois Rouge.

7:19 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I love Moss Breches! When I went to BG to sample, this was not even a scent I had in mind as a "possible" for me, and when confronted by the dizzying array of 12 bottles, I didn't even try it. After I had sniffed a bunch, tried some on, and picked one I thought was best on me (more on that another day), I asked the SA whether there was any other she thought I might like. She pulled out this one--and boy was she right! This is an unusual, somewhat mesmerizing scent on me, wonderful green with (you nailed this perfectly), a hint of the sinister that one doesn't usually find in green scents. One by one we asked other SAs to smell various places on my arm:), and they all (independently picked this one. Not that one always trusts SAs--but I think they were right. Perfect for the warm weather. I walked away with a bottle.

And speaking of the warm weather, I think the Neroli, which I am trying now, is lovely. But with you, I would not pay so much for this scent--mostly because it is too similar to other Eau de Colognes and nerolis I have tried (if I were to spring for a pricey cologne, I think I would go with the Chanel)>

I can't seem to find my Japan Noir sample. I'm pretty sure I had one, liked it but didn't love it, but oh, well!

7:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Kudos to those SA at BG!
I knew that you liked Moss Breches before I tried it and when I did try it I understood why and also thought it was very "you" somehow. :-)

7:32 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Moss Breches is definitely one of my faves so far. Damn good thing since I need something to help me cast a magical spell for more money to afford these. Neroli Portofino is reminding me of SL Fleurs de Citronnier. Am I alone in getting that? Given my bizarre skin chemistry, I very possibly am. Have to sniff JN this morning.

7:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I need tore-sniff FdeC. I wouldn't be surprised if they are similar. As with J, somehow I am also not surprised that you liked Moss B. the most so far :-) ...No one seems to love Velvet Gardenia as much as I do...

7:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I really liked all three of these, loved MB, though.

The NP is one I could wear all the time, and it will be great for summer. And I know when July and August come around, every year I am looking for something that makes me feel cooler, and it should do the trick.

Lovely, perfect reviews, as always!

8:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Which one is your most, most, most favorite of the 12? :-)

8:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

Your description of Moss Breches made me think of a huge, DRIED, dark red rose, literally drenched in honey (not a huge rose fan here). Then this tacky-gothic awfulness was quickly swallowed by a frog-like moss monster with a huge mouth, which then innocently melted back into the moss-covered ground lurking for the next victim. Haha, go moss! I'm so going to try Moss Breches and sit through the drydown cheering for the winning team.
And gingered tree bark? Lovely...

8:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That's EXACLY how it goes with this scent- rose swallowed by a mossy monster :-)

8:35 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

No! I *adore* VG. Madly. Tragically. Didn't love it initially, but last night I kept getting whiffs of something truly amazing and realized it was the VG. The drydown slays me. It's FBW w/out doubt.

8:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Aha! Gorgeous, isn't it?

9:02 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not particularly a chypre lover, but your description of Moss Breches has me wanting to smell it quite badly. Maybe I just want to play with the nymphs and satyrs and get up to no good. ;-)

9:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That's what I want to do too :-D

9:24 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Oh I don't know why I thought I'd be able to resist all of these! Thanks to your reviews so far Marina, I have Amber and the Green Pants on my at-least-try list and have a nasty feeling they will be joined by Tobacco Vanille and Noir de Noir. Those bottles look beautiful too, just like the BO ones, sigh.

9:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Resistance is futile :-) The bottles are gorgeous, defintely.

9:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love your image for MB! It is indeed raw chypre. I'm still trying to warm up to it but perhaps I just need to shed my clothes and run around the woods at night to really get it? ;D

11:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Ah, you naughty girl! :-)

11:56 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's kinda sad that I have no chance to get to Bergdorf Goodman (at least, in the near future...).
But then again, it's kinda good as well - since these lemmings are pretty expensive. Well, not sooo expensive if you want to breed just one of them...- but I want them ALL !!! (12* $ 165.00 = $ 1,980.00 - although, with the excellent exchange rate of EUR/$ at the moment...)

Did you hear that as well ? My another self just tried to find an excuse for the purchase...

12:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Lady Jane,
yes, your other self...Lady Jane Black :-) Just imagine how good they would look on a shelf- 12 black bottles like that..ah! :-)

12:57 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, as you said yesterday, Neroli Portofino is probably going to be the only one I like, and as you said today, it probably isn't worth the money. There, I am done with the Tom Fords before I started, LOL...

1:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

No-no, you must do the reviews! I want to read them and feel all EFT-ish :-)

1:20 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Oh, I loooved those mossy britches!

The Neroli I think I am with you on. I like that smell a lot, but I can get something similar for less. Haven't quite made up my mind, though...

1:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Everyone seems to love the Britches :-) I am surprised, it seems like a rather challenging, "take-me-as-I-am-or-get-lost" kind of scent.

1:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU BUY THAT....... YOUR A MUG!!!!! A MUGGGG!!!!!!!.......

12:08 PM EDT  

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