Tag Archives: Yann Vasnier

Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi & Costa Azzurra

I haven’t talked much about Tom Ford and his fragrances on my blog. The reason behind it was mostly the fact that the creations from the high-end Private Blend collection were available only in few places in Poland (mostly in Warsaw, far away from where I live). But that wasn’t the only problem as the selected places in Warsaw offered just a few scents from the growing line.

That has recently changed for the better thanks to Douglas that now carriest most of Private Blend names. The two new ones, Mandarino di Amalfi and Costa Azzurra haven’t yet made it here. I received the samples thanks to a generous friend who send them to me. Since summer is not over yet I thought this might one of the last chances to talk about these effervescent and carefree perfumes before it will be the time to feature heavier compositions on the blog.

Mandarino di Amalfi reveals its cologne character immediately upon application. It begins with a very juicy lemon note that is very energetic, full of joy and makes you want to smile. Lemon in this perfume is nicely balanced, having both sweet and sour flavors. After some time you might also notice a typical zesty vibe of grapefruit. The latter one also adds the scent of white albedo part, it’s somewhere in the background. After 10-15 minutes the composition becomes more aromatic.

The aromatic effect is created with the use of fresh mint and shiso (it’s a variety of mint, commonly used in Asia). These two bring up the feeling that is very refreshing, uplifting and also creating the feeling of being clean. There is also something slightly verdant about the mint note in this Tom Ford fragrance. When tarragon joins the composition it becomes even more aromatic and a tad herbal as well. At this point Mandarino di Amalfi reminds me of the other perfume I know, it reminds of Parfum d’Empire Iskander. Of course they’re similar only to the certain point.

After that the perfume starts effusing a highly saturated, rich, almost heady neroli note. It smells very close to Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino but in this new creation it’s not as chilly and it’s not as screechy. It’s definitely more pleasant and enjoyable. The aroma of white flowers carry some sort of soapiness that I truly enjoy. Later on Mandarino di Amalfi becomes warmer and more spicy, mostly thanks to coriander and black pepper. Clary sage and labdanum add something as well, the first one introduces more herbal tones while the latter adds some more depth. The drydown smells of basil. Additional notes not detected by me include blackcurrant, musk and civet.

Tom Ford Costa Azzurra starts with a weird combination of lemon, mandarin and seaweed. Initially there are only citrus that provide the aromatic start of the composition but as soon as seaweed joins and that happens after 3-5 minutes, the entire blend start to smell kind of sweaty and rancid. After a while the scent becomes more woody and wet with the driftwood accord. My favorite driftwood fragrance is Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris and Costa Azzurra is far far behind it.

After a while the unpleasant sweatiness of seaweed disappears and at the same time the woody tones become stronger, becoming slightly better than just a few minutes ago. The accord of oak additionally provides some dryness and aromatic qualities. When it blends with lentisque (mastic) resin it turns more interesting as mastic is both balsamic, green and fresh. Very mediterranean. At some point celery seeds aroma appears and it’s very powerful, kind of making me think of yerba mate tea. Hints of lavender and ambrette add some (not exactly) clean style.

A little bit of oud and incense in Costa Azzurra provide some tad darker and more balmy tones which later become covered by herbacious smells of juniper, myrtle and artemisia. The drydown has a marine, calone-ish character. There also a bit of mineral, salty olibanum and a pinch of cardamom. Other notes include vetiver and vanilla. Comparing to Mandarino di Amalfi, this perfume failed the exam for being a fragrance that would make you feel great in the summertime. It’s just my opinion.


Mandarino di Amalfi was created by perfumer Calice Becker while Costa Azzurra is a work of Yann Vasnier. Both fragrances have a low to moderate sillage and on my skin their lasting power was around 6 hours. These scents are a part of Tom Ford Private Blend collection, they come in the beautiful bottles in different shades of blue/turquoise. They come in either 50ml spray bottles or 250ml splash bottles with glass bulb stopper. Both are in EdP concentration.

[note] Pictures are from InHautePursuit.com and MrEssentialist.com

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Société secrète, Arquiste The Architects Club

The niche perfume line of Arquiste offers an interesting combination of sensorial pleasures. It sources its inspirations from the history (a pleasure for your mind), from architecture (a pleasure for your eyes) and from different corners of the world. And the latter one offers to your nose a real olfactory experience of a distant place. Founded in 2012 by an architect specializing in Historic Preservation – Carlos Huber, the brand continues to tell the American story of the Europe-derived perfume art, by slowly introducing new compositions to their scented palette.

During the Esxence perfume fair in Milan this March, Carlos presented one more perfume next to the L’Etrog Acqua that I told you about some time ago. This other perfume seems to be especially influenced by Carlos himself. The Architects Club, for that is the name of the fragrance, is different from Arquiste‘s earlier compositions. Not only in a matter of different scent but also in a matter of story that hides behind this perfume. But about that – just a little bit later.

The Architects Club commences with this kind of boozy and alcoholic vibe. When you give it a few minutes to ‘adhere’ to your skin, you will most likely start to notice the dry facet. Couple of minutes more and the gin accord becomes really prominent. It quickly looses its initial booziness but the aroma lingers for a long amount of time. After a while the aroma of bitter orange appears on top on the composition, adding a very nice and a bit juicy flavor to perfectly balance the dryness from the gin. There is also a candied sweetness of the orange rind that I detect.

After 20-30 minutes the composition of The Architects Club starts to change. From the refreshing taste of orange-flavored gin the scent goes into an aromatic territory. A whole bunch of juniper berries quickly takes over the entire blend and adds a big  volume to the scent. As we’re dealing with juniper berries now the metallic vibe is what I was expecting. And the perfume delivered.  Shortly after this note emerged from the new Arquiste fragrance this genuinely metallic vibe appeared. It also gave this really cold feeling to it! It’s like someone poured and ice-cold quinine tonic to your glass. This impression is present for around 30 minutes.

When the juniper chill dissipates I begin to notice a little bit of lemon, especially the peel, emanating its wonderful and mouth-watering aroma somewhere distant, in the background. It’s like you could smell it but you couldn’t see it with your eyes. It’s hidden. Now that we’ve had a really cold drink offered to us by The Architects Club, we’re ready to move forward and accept some warmth. That’s right, at the end of 1st hour the perfume transitions from cold to warm. It’s a very enjoyable feeling.

Among the warm notes the first one that I noticed was the guaiac wood (reminding you once again that this is not the same as oud!) It immediately adds a material substance, almost allowing you to touch the scent. What I smell now has much more density than at the beginning and it’s much more sensuous and enveloping. Guaiac wood brings in some sort of warm smokiness which is hard to describe. It smells awesome – that’s what I have to say about it. The addition of angelica introduces the nice element of mild spiciness that is totally under control.

Angelica and guaiac are in perfect harmony with each other. None of them has a dominant role, instead one highlights the best things the other one has to offer and vice versa. The longer I get to smell The Architects Club in this stage the stronger I have a feeling like I could get ‘absorbed’ by this perfume, that I could sink into it and forget about the entire world. As the time flies the perfume gains an additional portion of warmth thanks to the amber accord. It has some density but is generally light and luminous, adding a delicate resinous quality.

Dusk, March, 1930, Mayfair, London
A group of architects gather for cocktails at Mayfair’s smartest Art Deco smoking room. As they settle in the warm interior of dark woods, leather and velvet, London’s bright young things burst in, frosted martinis in hand, surrounded by a cloud of laughter, white smoke and fine vanilla.

The press release vision of The Architects Club ideally reflects the character of this perfume. Old wooden tables, dimmed lights, huge velvet chairs you can drown in. And a drink. Some swirls of smoke lazily drift in the air until they fade away leaving just a bit of smoky smell behind.

 Probably the most important role in Arquiste‘s new fragrance is the vanilla accord. It starts light and fluffy but when you give it some time it becomes more dense and dark, dominating the composition of The Architects Club step by step. Combined with the earlier notes it has a resinous edge and to me there is something ethyl maltol styled in this perfume as I smell some caramelized vibe with some smoke coming from this vanilla note. List of the ingredients also mentions pepperwood (whoever knows how that smells…) and oak. Possibly I didn’t smell it as there is a chance it overlapped with guaiac wood.

The Architects Club is a great perfume. Cold and a bit ‘keep away from me’ at the beginning, warm, cozy and enveloping at the later stages. The woody-smoky-vanillic combination suggests to wear it in Autumn in Winter when temperatures are lower. That’s when it should smell especially good. The perfume was created by perfumer Yann Vasnier with assistance of Carlos Huber. This new eau de parfum will come in 100 ml bottles (new size) of the same design as bottles of earlier creations. The scent is now available at Arquiste website, international distribution is scheduled for September.

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