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.