Clive Christian launches ‘C’

by Katie on July 11, 2010

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For those of you hiding in the wood shed who don’t know who Clive Christian is, he is the designer stubble and black polo neck wearing British designer and parfumier responsible for making the world’s most expensive perfume. Clive Christian No. 1 is priced at whopping £415 for a 50ml spray but if you want one pure ounce of perfume (30ml), that will set you back £2700 all of which are in great demand from Harrods’ Roja Dove salon and Fortnum & Mason. If you happen to be billionaire style rich, however, then you could always opt for the No 1 Imperial Majesty which costs £115,00.

Notably, only 1,000 bottles of the men’s version and 1,000 bottles of the female version are released each year but despite that factor, No 1 is still the top selling fragrance at the noble F&M which tells you a great deal about their ideal client base. No mere wandering around the fragrance dept squirting on expensive niche fragrances with the purchase of a bag of top quality violet and raspberry creams from the ground floor chocolaterier area for ‘el richos’ who buy Clive Christian. Oh no! They probably waft in, in an air of superiority and ermine or more likely, frump wear and block heels and thwack their Coutts card on the counter and say, “I’ll have one for every day, please, serf lady.” At least, that’s how it happens in my head. Not that I’m jealous. Well, only a teensy bit. I’m in love with Fortnum & Mason you see (but don’t dare tell Harvey Nicks or he’ll get jealous).

Anyway, back to our Clive, the black polo necked enigma. He has the hint of a Northern accent and is known, primarily, as an exclusive furniture maker whose stores can be found worldwide. In 2000, Clive Christian bought over The Crown Perfume Company. The company was first opened by an American in London as a corset maker whose most famous client was HRH Queen Victoria; hence the famous crown emblem. Around 1870, the company produced a smelling salt, used at the time to revive ladies who fainted (good marketing move that, tight corsets and smelling salt revivers). From this, the company expanded into perfume. The company was bought out by the Lever Brothers and then in 2000 by Clive Christian. The rest, as they say, is history.

The London launch to a select bunch of beauty journalists (and me) was beautifully set though somewhat multo bizzarro. A spacious room in F&M was gorgeously set for a champagne high tea with macaroons, cucumber sandwiches and scones. Once we we seated, Clive’s daughter, carefully handling each of the previous Clive Christian fragrances in pristine white gloves, started explaining each of the these before (and I kid you not) wafting them at us with a vintage fan while we closed our eyes and sniffed the air. Then we had the revelation of ‘C’, once again wafted at us via ‘the fan’.

Now, I know it’s “all theatah darling” but the over the top prancing around the table on ballet pointes and speaking at the assembled journalists as if conducting semi professional amateur dramatics was a tad too much and a smacked of declasse. I suspect that to squirt each of us individually may have cost an extra few quid but c’mon guys, we’re all adults and professionals and those who write about fragrance tend to do it with passion so playing with the fragrance is a necessity. Take heed. I expect it’s because they’re serious about their work. Not that we’re not.

So, what of the fragrance? Clive Christian’s ‘C’ for women and ‘C’ for men are the first launches for the fragrance brand for 10 years and as always, will have ‘discreet’ availability globally. These complex fragrances are made from the finest absolute ingredients, triple extracted so they are denser and sit on the skin longer and boy, do they each have their own personality.

‘C’ for women smells of anticipated carnal indulgence while wearing a decorative Venetian mask. Plush, heavy and feminine with a rich voluptuousness, the fragrance is like stepping onto the deep, soft, sink your soles carpets within Fortnum & Mason itself. Honeyed amber sneaks through the tuberose and jasmine house accord which is pushed to extreme in this fragrance. Violet lies at it’s heart. It’s like being showered with sweet soft flowers but packs a dangerous intent which dries down to a powdery, lingering amber floral. However, this is certainly no shrinking violet.

‘C’ for men is altogether more manly. It conjurs up a picture of handsome young English squires in tweed caps and rolled up sleeved, Turnbull & Asser shirts and Harris tweed smelling vaguely of expensive cigars and louchness. Very Mills & Boon hero indeed. The fragrance has saffron at its heart with a hint of the extremely rare snow lotus, known for its aphrodisiac qualities.

‘C’ is obviously going to do well in the luxe category. Clive Christian has his devotees and most of them are wealthy enough for new indulgences. Just let the meagre journos play with the goods prior to reviewing. It may well reap dividends.

‘C’ perfume, 50ml, costs £195 and is available at Fortnum & Mason and the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie, Harrods.

Did you like this review? Please leave me a comment in the box below or in the ‘shout mix’ box opposite. If you like the Katie Chutzpah blog, please vote for it under ‘lifestyle’ in the Cosmo Blog Awards by simply clicking the black/pink logo at the top of the page. Thank you.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous July 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Thank you so much for the warm and fantastic review about Fortnums’s and Perfume itself.


Anonymous July 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm

It is x for men with a woody smoky effect the men’s version that is. It takes a while to get used to…takes 4 hours to settle down to a beautiful scent.


Anonymous July 28, 2010 at 8:29 pm

and there’s me believing Clive and Victoria when they told me on the 22nd of july at 8pm in the Burlington room in fortnum and Masons that i was experiencing the first and only launch of `C` mmmm so who is telling fibs then ?


Andy Buck August 15, 2010 at 1:40 am

Neiman Marcus in the US has begun selling it at $375 for 50ml. I can’t say that I dislike it — indeed, is a lovely fragrance, reminiscent of…hmmm…well, actually a brilliant carbon copy of Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather at roughly twice the price. If there were any difference between the two fragrances, it’s so subtle as to be unnoticeable, and honestly, I wasn’t the only one making mention of the similarity. Ok, granted, it’s a pure Parfum and not an Eau de Parfum. Having said that, amidst both the ever-too-subtle difference in the heart and base-notes of the fragrance, and the difference of only $90 USD between the 50ml of C and a flacon of Tuscan Leather, plus my Neiman Marcus staff offering up an atomizer with a blend of the various Tom Ford’s I like, my decision wasn’t difficult.

For the type about this fragrance, you’d think he would have knocked one out of the park rather than simply coming up with a fragrance that’s too reminiscent of an established winner. So much so that I let my wife smell the sample — she adores Tuscan Leather — and her first words were “Ah, Tuscan Leather, I’d know it anywhere”. Ouch.


Anonymous September 22, 2010 at 1:31 am

I just rec’d my Men’s C from NM via Fedex. Can’t keep my wrists and nostrils separated now. But that ‘s me. Let’s see what reaction I get in the office tomorrow…I expect to be swarmed by the ladies…but hopefully the hunk in the next office will be the first to ask me…’Russ, what are you wearing?’ 🙂


Anonymous October 20, 2010 at 3:38 am

I recieved my women’s C for my birthday. It is absolutely the best fragrance that I own. I can’t get enough, I cant stop smelling my self….(LOL )I don’t think I can go with out it.

It is well worth the cost.



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