Be my honey

This ended up being a side-by-side post rather than just a review because once I had on what was meant to be the focus of the post I had this ‘oh, is that it?’ thing going. Sadly, I felt a bit let down. So, I needed to pad things out.

We’re looking at Guerlain’s new entry in the L’Art & La Matière line, Tobacco Honey, alongside Hiram Green’s Slowdive from 2017.

I was ludicrously excited when I read about Tobacco Honey and almost forked out for a decant unsniffed rather than doing a sample. But, I managed to restrain myself. Which is good, as you’ll see below.

The notes list for TH is swoon-worthy. Tobacco, vanilla, honey, aniseed, clove, sandalwood and oud. The Guerlain marketing guff is ‘Touched by honey, tobacco turns to gold’.

The opening is a gorgeous strange spicy tobacco: earthy and a bit weird. Not something I’ve experienced with a Guerlain in the past. As it deepens, I get toast – crunchy, delicious buttered toast. This is truly inspired.

If that was it, I already would have a decant sitting on my desk (the bottle price for 100ml is £295).

Alas, it’s not. Once the perfume opens up further we’re in heavy sweet honey territory and the fragrance simply falls off a cliff for me.

After that extraordinary opening, this is heavy, oily, unctuous honey with vanilla. It’s just really really heavy. It’s fairly long-lived and in bed the first day I tried it I thought seriously of getting back up and trying to either wash it off or cover it with something a bit astringent.

But the biggest thing for me with regard to this perfume is it simply doesn’t follow an interesting trajectory after that amazing opening. It might sound strange but sniffing this tired me out. I felt like saying, ‘come on now, do something else – surprise me’. But no go.

This is clearly not my honey tobacco perfume. Thankfully, can strike such a pricey, large bottle from the running.

So, my tobacco honey thing continues to be Hiram Green Slowdive. It’s better on me and it’s simply more interesting throughout it’s development.

Notes for Slowdive include neroli, orange flower, beeswax, tobacco blossom, tuberose, honey, dried fruit and resin. HG’s marketing: ‘… a warm, tobacco-themed fragrance that captures the mood of those languid afternoons when the sweetness of the Indian summer air is almost palpable. The heady scent of summer flowers and the humming of bees surround you as you flee the high summer sun’.

This is slightly (only slightly) lighter than where the Guerlain goes. But that makes a big difference.

With SD, I get florals and a hay-like aspect before we dunk in the honey. I do wonder if the tuberose oddly helps to keep this on the right side of too oily and unctuous (ie, petrol, menthol). I readily admit the Guerlain opening trumps that of SD, but SD does the whole dance much better.

The opening is floral honey – but light – that whiff of honey from a newly opened jar before you eat any. As things develop, it’s honey and tobacco that has a hay-like aspect. All the way along this smells like different sorts of things combined well. So, you get honey but it makes you wonder what these particularly bees ate (ie, clover, wild flowers, lavender). In the drydown, there’s enough pong to keep you awake which also for whatever reason keeps things from falling off the sweetness cliff.

To my mind these are cold-weather perfumes. And I think TH might require a dryer climate than we have here (even when it’s very cold here – as it is now – it’s also damp).

As I finish writing this I’ve got each perfume on a wrist and I’m getting a slight headache. Probably time to go for a walk.

NB: In closing, it appears that Hiram Green is releasing a new perfume this coming week called Philtre. Notes I found: flower stems, rose, carnation, jasmine, resins, vanilla and black pepper. I am really hoping this will be a serious carnation perfume, but we’ll see. Will definitely be getting a sample once I can find one.

Pics: Pexels — I am yet again having trouble with getting pics from my iPhone to my laptop (vs the MacBook). So, no pic this week of the two bottles. 

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    Slowdive has a wonderful honey note, but the tobacco makes me gag, just can’t do it. My favorite non-tobacco honey scents are Viktoria Minya Eau de Hongrie, Ellis Brooklyn Bee, and Ginestet Botrytis.

    • cinnamon says:

      Another positive on Botrytis. I love the bottle too. Will have a look at Ellis Brooklyn. NYT beauty writer?

  • March says:

    Hmmmm, I should try the TH. I love honey frags and it’s nice and dry here! It does sound like something for colder weather … one of my favorite honeys is Miel de Bois so I’m down for something heavy.

    • cinnamon says:

      I recall you could wear MdB. A big big no no for me.I do think TH is worth sampling. And maybe you’d get that marvellous opening.

  • alityke says:

    I remember you were really keen to get your nose on the Guerlain. Sorry it didn’t hit the mark for you. I have never tried any HG scents & I’m not a fan of honey, to eat or smell. Remember Miel de Bois?
    Actually, there is one honey I do like, it’s the dark, bitter herbal honey from the scrubby mountainous areas of Greece & Greek islands. Oops a tad off piste there.
    Honeycentric perfumes though? Hard no from me

    • cinnamon says:

      I think they are a very acquired taste (no pun intended). the Guerlain is just too much honey and not enough other stuff. And I can’t do Miel de Bois at all. I think there are others here who love it.

  • Dina C. says:

    Slowdive sounds better than Tobacco Honey for sure. I’m not a fan of foodie gourmand scents…they just don’t light up my brain the way florals and green notes seem to. It’s disappointing when a scent which looks so good on paper fails to perform on one’s skin. Maybe that new Philtre will work better. It has a nice list of notes.

    • cinnamon says:

      Hmmm, I think SD is sort of foodie but not to the same extent as TH which is just off the chart. I do wonder what precipitated it — did someone in Guerlain development think oooh, this will do us well in winter.

  • Maya says:

    I’ve only tried a few honey scents and did not care for any of them. I am not particularly interested in that category of perfumes. Hiram Green has created some marvelous perfumes but Slowdive is not for me.

    • cinnamon says:

      I have a huge amount of time for Hiram Green. I am sad that Dilettante went good-bye. At some point I want to revisit the whole line but in person. So, will require a visit to shop that has all of them. The one in London is really off the beaten path. So, this will likely wait till a trip to Europe.

  • Tom says:

    I need to try Slowdive. I had read about the Guerlain but it didn’t make me want to try, and since I prefer my buttered toast to be served on a plate with a nice bracing cup of Irish Breakfast I’ll keep looking. Ginestet Botrytis was my perfect honey and I still kind of kick myself that I never popped for a bottle..

    What’s the issue with the photos? Airdrop acting up? Sometimes mine doesn’t play well with my desktop, depending on what kind of file I’m sharing..

    • cinnamon says:

      I think SD is well worth a sniff (I think we’ve had this conversation before). Ah, Botrytis. That was wonderful. And such a great bottle.

      Don’t know what the issue is with the photos except that the laptop is getting quite old (like close to 10 years) and maybe it just doesn’t get along with newer iPhones? It’s something I need to look into more — and maybe ask the nice people at the Apple shop in town.

  • Kathleen says:

    Slowdive is definitely superior. Tobacco honey was just “nice.” I am so looking forward to sampling HG Phitre. I hope for a serious carnation perfume as well.

    • cinnamon says:

      The opening on TH was so awesome. It’s too bad it then moves into something much less interesting. With you on Philtre. Will keep watching for the release (I believe it’s 19 January).

  • Portia says:

    OOOOH Cinnamon, So interesting.
    My first try of Tobacco Honey had me coughing and reeling. It smelled like a used airline sick bag. So I was “PHEW! don’t need too buy that.” Then in Vienna Val was wearing Tobacco Honey and it smelled divine on her. Everything it is supposed to be. We spent the day and evening hanging out so I really got to live the trajectory. Now, in subsequent wears, I love it. How weird is that?
    Slowdive is as close to a modern masterpiece as I’ve smelled. It’s gorgeous.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      Was it cold but dry in Vienna? Will you be buying TH? Green did something wonderful with Slowdive — it’s heavy but so nuanced the oomph of the perfume is manageable. Sigh.

      • Portia says:

        It was cold and snowy in Vienna. Heavenly.
        I may buy a decant of TH, I have Slowdive and a few other tobacco heavy fragrances so it’s kind of extraneous. The price is also a prohibitive factor.

        • cinnamon says:

          Ah, cold and snowy. I recall long-ago NY winters that were like that. Beautiful. Interestingly (or ironically) I can still smell both Slowdive and TH on my wrists mid-afternoon a day after spraying them on — after showering etc. I am happy with my sample of TH. Def don’t need more than that.

  • Tara C says:

    I loved the opening of Tobacco Honey as well, but what ruined it for me was the headache-inducing synthetic oud note in the drydown. I love Slowdive and it is definitely my favorite honey scent.

    • cinnamon says:

      See, no oud for me. After that spectacular beginning it was honey. A lot of honey. And given it’s freezing here right now if it was going to work now would be the time. So, a no go.