Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and Bath & Body Works Orange Sapphire

I received a very thoughtful parcel from handsome Lee last week; included were a whack of Humiecki & Graef samples along with a vial of Parfumerie Generale’s new Bois Naufrage, which pretty well sent me over the edge: fig tree, ambergris and “fleur de sel” accord. I can’t decide if I want to strangle handsome Lee or declare my undying devotion to him. I am so enthralled with Bois Naufrage that I cannot yet bring myself to write about it. I will eventually, along with all the Humiecki & Graef loot. I just didn’t have the opportunity to give them proper attention over the past week. Oh, the inconvenience of actually having to work for a living (don’t let the lament fool you – I’m enjoying the crap out of finally getting paid to write!).

In the meantime, I’ve moved on from my general fruit obsession to a more specific one: oranges and orange blossom. I figure it adds to the intrigue by choosing two scents from opposite ends of the spectrum. My $400 bottle of Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and my $30 bottle of Bath and Body Works Orange Sapphire.

Many of us have scoffed at the Tom Ford Private Blend scents, but I have a soft spot for a few of them. I didn’t really need a 250 ml bottle of Neroli Portofino, but in my current fruity mood, I’ve been showing it a lot of love lately. I doubt I’ll ever get to the bottom of that bottle, but knowing I have it provides a strange comfort to me, like an old sweater or a childhood “blankie”. It isn’t what I would consider a comfort scent, but it is a rather potent interpretation of orange blossom. Sometimes orange blossom is paired up with jasmine, which has a tendency to be overwhelming (Armani Code comes to mind), and that can sometimes turn my stomach. Orange blossom has the unique ability to be subtle, yet tenacious, which is what makes it so perfect for warm weather. It doesn’t have that “headiness” to it that tuberose and gardenia do, although I know some of you love to let those scents bloom in the heat. Kudos to you for that; I’d be face down in bed with a migraine.

Neroli Portofino has a bit of amber in it, which warms it up, but other than that, it is orange blossom, straight up and dirty. Not literally dirty, but it’s definitely not doctored up with any additional white flowers. So if that’s how you like your OB, then this is another one Tom Ford did very well.

Now on to the $30 bottle of Bath & Body Works Orange Sapphire. I believe I mentioned a few weeks ago, when I was strung out on fruit salad, that I was somewhat impressed by the newer scents they were trotting out. If you like orange, not orange blossom, this one is fairly interesting. It sort of reminds me of Sarah Horowitz’s Perfect Nectar Perfect Perfume, but it doesn’t have that overripe quality that I found so suffocating. According to B&BW’s website, the notes are…way too long. You can look at them here. My nose gets blood orange, a fair amount of jasmine and raspberry, and a good bit of honey. It’s nice; and pleasant. I could see myself using up the bottle I bought – because if the BOGO deal B&BW seems to always be running is omnipresent, then why not? That seems to be my answer to a lot of questions these days: WHY NOT?

Here’s something for you to chew on this week: Name some scents – high end and low end – that are similar. Tell me what it is you like or dislike about them, and which one you would prefer to own and why. That is your mission, should you choose to accept it. This post will self destruct in 10 seconds.

Disclosure: The bottles of Neroli Portofino and Orange Sapphire are part of my personal collection.

56 Comments
LindaB June 21, 2010

Two comments on this: First to answer your question...I was over the edge with happiness when I discovered that Avon's Rebel Rose (of all things!) smells incredibly similar to my beloved Lancome 2000 et une Roses. It's under $20, for chrissakes!!! :d Secondly, I am so sad to report that I never received my samp of Bois Naufrage that I won from Lee. :-( Lee, if you see this, please, please, please let me know if it was sent and I would imagine lost or if you never received my mailing address--I would be happy to resend!

Katie June 19, 2010

Oh, goody! I love perfume-math! My scent equation is: Harajuku Lovers Sunshine Cuties Lil' Angel = By Kilian Love. They're both dry, woody, not-too-sweet vanillas. As you'd expect, the By Kilian one is the heavyweight in terms of complexity and longevity, but they're not a million miles away from each other.

Cally June 19, 2010

EL Beyond Paradise and B&BW Wild Honeysuckle are very similar. When Beyond Paradise was a fresh bottle, the 2 were identical. Now that my bottle is a couple years old, the heady top & middle with all the honeysuckle is fading and the musky base is coming up, gives it a classier feel (Chanel-ish to me!) than the B&BW scent, which hasn't changed a bit, being indestructable as all B&BW scents are. Of the two, after the aging, I'm going with the B&BW Wild Honeysuckle (am I mad?!) The Beyond Paradise, in becoming a "dowager" has lost all its fun!

Winifreida June 19, 2010

Hmmmm its hard when you are living in the sticks and cannot just go a-sniffing downtown...I think a huge ah-ha moment for me was sniffing a dab from a little cheap (ish) bottle of old Emeraude, and getting that OMG what IS that, and realising it was Shalimar! Another for me was the gorgeous Parf Generale Cadjmere, and realising it is incredibly like Organza Indecence (although not the ultra high vs low in price really). I also decided that after I fell severely for Attrape-Couer, I felt I didn't need either 31 Rue Cambon or the abduction from the seralglio one from MDCI. Regarding Tihota, my last FB, sure its vanilla, but there is something about it, so haunting and nearly invisible...a friend was driving us a couple of weeks ago, and she kept saying...what is that...GREG! What did you do at lunchtime!!!! There's...something, did you have sweets??? WHAT IS THAT?? I stayed mute...

Wendi June 19, 2010

Hmm... I'm still just a perfume baby, so mine's fairly easy: Bond No. 9 Union Square and Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers, which I wore as a pre-teen. I haven't sniffed the EA in years so it would be hard to say which I prefer, but I do think the Bond is lovely, if nondescript. I love it mostly for sentimental reasons though, and not enough to buy the Bond. :)

mary June 19, 2010

Body Time China Rain, and J Lo Glow--they are identical, although J Lo prolly isn't that much more expensive that China Rain. I am very fond of Body Time, and of China Rain-- you can get the nice young counter folks at Body Time to scent shampoo and conditioner products with the fragrance of your choice, so I had some China Rain hair care products made up. I don't think much scent remains on the hair once it is dry, but it is a wonderful shower experience, very rich to literally drench your head in scent. My little girl had them make jasmine shampoo for her-- which is also nice, but off topic. Think I'll make myself that martini, now . . .

nozknoz June 19, 2010

I was surprised by the similarity between Cuir de Lancome and SL La Myrrhe, not so much in the top notes, but later on. If I were forced to choose, I might say that I prefer La Myrrhe, but that might only be due to subconscious snobbery, to be honest. I'm very glad to have both, actually.

odonata9 June 18, 2010

I don't have a smell-a-like for you, but if you are in need of any more orange fragrances, I am currently loving the Guerlain AA Mandarine Basilic.

Ann N. June 18, 2010

Hi Nava! Please tell me your A/C is working. We're flirting with mid to high 90s here in ATL. Yuck! Wanted to tell you I'm enjoying your post on the Tom Ford and the BBW. Haven't tried the BBW yet but I do love me some Neroli Portofino. It's just a great summer (really, anytime) scent and it layers beautifully with many other fragrances. As far as high/low scents, I really love Indult's Tihota but the price leaves my wallet gasping for air. I get a somewhat similar bang for a lot less buck with La Maison de la Vanille's Vanille Noire du Mexique or Memoire Liquide's Amour. Take care and have a wonderful weekend!

Linda June 18, 2010

Puredistance is a (slightly more complicated) ringer for Love's Baby Soft -- which I like! But I've always liked sweet fragrances.

maggiecat June 18, 2010

Body Shops Moroccan Rose is nuanced, pretty, and long lasting - it beats the heck out of most rose scents around and is more than affordable!

March June 18, 2010

I don't have a high/low one to throw into the hat, but you've got me intrigued by the Bois Naufrage, the notes sound lovely.

multitasker June 18, 2010

Flowerbomb smells like B&B Chocolate Amber--but of course Chocolate Amber is not subtle or nuanced. Still a fan of Flowerbomb.

Musette June 18, 2010

Gotta run to a meeting, then pick up some parts. Like you, I'm enjoying the heck out of my lament :-D Busy is GOOOOOD! But! I do want to enable you re: orange. You might love the Orange Sanguine I blogged on a few weeks ago. It's still a bit too juicy for me but I absolutely love it paired with JCE's Bigarade C. If you're loving oranges (v. orange blossom) you might really like this. And while it's not $30, it's not $400, either. xoxoxo >-)

cymbaline June 18, 2010

Un Jardin Sur La Nil and Pacifica's Lotus Garden. It may be ethically illegal, but I wear them together to make the more expensive Hermes bottle last longer!

Lee June 18, 2010

Should you wish for either, Cool Water pour Homme and Green Irish Tweed. Genius, in their own way, but revolting to me. Am happy to own neither. And you're flattering me...:">

Kate June 18, 2010

Hi Nava, I look forward to reading your impressions of Parfumerie Generale’s new Bois Naufrage. I didn't get any saltiness at all. Too much coconut. But what a cozy fragrance!

Suzy Q June 18, 2010

Amouage Gold and Madame Rochas. I prefer MR, which edgier.

Shelley June 18, 2010

Stumped for the moment, though there is *something* tickling at the edges of my brain...I'll come back if I can think of it...

Carolyn June 18, 2010

Habanita (reasonably priced) and Roja Dove Enslaved (expensive) smell almost identical on me. I've worn 'em on different wrists and most people couldn't tell the difference.

Louise June 18, 2010

I'll go for an easy one: Ferre (cheaper) and Iris Poudre'-both Pierre Bourdan, very close. Happy Weekend:d/

Madea June 18, 2010

Dior's Dune smells precisely like Madini's Sahara on my skin. Exactly. I prefer the Madini, simply because it's a quarter of the price and lasts longer, but frankly, I'm not crazy about either. They're not bad. Just not great, and life's too short.