When YSL (so glad the beauty arm hasn’t yet morphed to SLP) release a fragrance it’s rather big news. When they release three new premium fragrances inspired by the East then it’s pretty much stellar.
It appears that to keep on track with the players such as Tom Ford, Dior and Armani Prive, YSL have finally embraced the idea of niche luxury fragrance collections that are primarily aimed at the Middle Eastern consumer but also engage their loyal Western stalwarts by way of their power, prowess and restricted availability. And, dear readers, they are worth waiting for. In fact, you wonder why it took such a noble brand with such loyalty so long. If anyone had the heritage to host capsule collections pertaining to refined haute parfumerie then it was YSL.
YSL take starting point of The Orient as inspiration for these new gems and have created an individual story for each that certainly gives the (less imaginative) writer a fictional premise but I’d rather go on my own instincts, thankyouverymuch. Saying that, I can understand why YSL want to stage manage each fragrance, conjuring up an atmosphere and intrigue for each, but like I said….anyway, you get my point.
The Oriental Collection comprises Majestic Rose, Supreme Bouquet and Noble Leather, all quite distinct and notable by the quality of raw ingredients and concentration. Have I said what joy it is to smell perfume like it should be experienced instead of watered down to the power of ten in mass market fragrances? Well, I should. And more often. New releases like this jolt the senses. It’s no surprise that esteemed perfumers are behind each of the new creations.
Majestic Rose is big, round, beautiful and the full gamut of intense Rose de Mai with its high pitched pinkness and its intention to seduce all in its wake. Behind this beauty by Alberto Morillas, is a honey-scented sweetness and warmth. Like dribbling runny honey on a heap of May roses in a sweltering, muggy heat. Saffron is added as well as the exhilarating mate absolute. But it is the dry & smokey guiac wood oud mixed with sweet vanilla that comes through in the dry-down that makes this ‘pow’. YSL say the feel is of ‘the sophistication of a literary salon’ and the dryness and mustiness of old papers and intensity is certainly there. But this baby is more akin to Chesterfield sofa type, dimly-lit hotel bars with the hot breathe of intrigue.
When I saw Dominique Ropion was behind Supreme Bouquet, I yelped a little with excitement. Supreme Bouquet is one heartfelt, tender but uplifting beauty of a scent – a delicious, overblown largesse of warm white flowers, gorgeously feminine, gracious and gargantuan. On first spray, the beauty is almost too much. Bergamot and a hint of pink pepper with additional juicy pear notes lift the floral cavalcade of absolutes of tuberose, jasmine sambac and ylang ylang. There’s elements of sweet and spice contained within Supreme Bouquet but she’s more elegantly nice than naughty, but far from restrained. The amber accord combined with the musks and patchouli ensure that Supreme Bouquet’s beauty dries down to quite the most distinctively mature perfume I’ve experienced in a long time. This is one to note.
Julie Masse’s Noble Leather is like walking through a heavy haze of heat in a Middle Eastern market, swiping away flies and pleas from market traders alike, plodding through the mass of sweat-drenched humanity, all the while being attacked by smell. There’s no ignoring Noble Leather. Notes of tobacco, dried fruit and raw, tanned hides collide in a testosterone laden, gutsy fragrance that will divide and rule. For me, spraying Noble Leather on my pale skin was like rubbing a twenty-pack of full-strength ‘American Spirit’ cigarettes on my skin. Big and smokey breathed, Noble Leather would need a few mints before kissing, regardless of cocktails imbibed. The lift is the essence of mandarin and violet leaves but overall, Noble Leather is as husky, dry and intense as any fragrance that was ever created with its boastful He-Man attitude and swagger. The merest hint of vanilla and patchouli soften the blow but Noble Leather packs a powerful punch. One for the boys, methinks.
YSL’s Oriental Collection is currently available at Harrods and launches nationwide on 1st August 2013, priced at £185 per 80ml EDP bottle.