26th September 2013

Tom Ford Aftelier d’Orient – Plum Japonais and Rive d’Ambre

By Get Lippie

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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