The Aftelier d'Orient collection from Tom Ford has been on counters for a little while now. Based on both oriental fragrance types and utilising ingredients from the east, it's an interesting collection, which I personally prefer over last year's "Dark Daffodils" or whatever it was called. After sniffing all four fragrances, I was most interested in Plum Japonais and Rive d'Ambre. Whilst I liked Fleur de Chine, it was a little too flowery for me, and Shanghai Lily couldn't - in my opinion at least - hold a candle to the divine Lily & Spice by Penhaligons, so I passed it by.
Plum Japonais is based around an accord of Japanese Ume plum. I was expecting it to be tart, sharp, and fruity, but what you get is actually a surprisingly smoky scent, redolent with a tiny hit of stewed fruit behind it. It is similar in feel to Serge Lutens Feminite du Bois, but it lacks a little of the spice that the Lutens contains in spades (and that always reminds me a little of Christmas), making it a little softer and rounder than its Lutens counterpart. It lasts gloriously well, and this might well be my least sarcastic Tom Ford fragrance review as a result. It's nice, and I like it a great deal, however, I'm not sure it's original enough for the price tag. It's sophisticated, and gently wearable, whilst being different enough from most things on the high street, but ... you could wear Feminite du Bois for £80 less a bottle ...
Rive d'Ambre I simply fell in love with, in spite of (or perhaps because of) its lack of originality. It's a cologne, essentially, albeit one that opens with fruity, juicy almost photo-realistic orange juice. It's bright, fresh and (oddly) adorable. It's almost the scent of those orange juice ice-lollies you remember from being a little kid. It's not quite as fresh or green or as bitter as a traditional cologne, remaining fresh, bright and cheerful more or less to the end. When you do get to the end, there's a cuddlesome amber at the bottom, which is as friendly and lovely as the top notes. Again, I'm not entirely convinced it's £140's worth of bright friendliness, but it is lovely, and it makes me smile whenever I wear it.
My favourite way to wear these fragrances is layered. I spritz with Plum Japonais first, then a slight spray of Rive d'Ambre over the top. Rive just seems to add a little brightness to the rather smoky plum fragrance, and layering extends the wear of both.
Still, at least none of them are called "Daffodil of the Night", I guess ....
The Fine Print: PR Samples
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