The Tom Ford Greens are in town and they are everything I had hoped for. If you think about it, green perfumes have been making a slow, shy comeback for a while. But it was that shyness that made me a bit cautious. Olfactive Studio Panorama for example, was crisply green but sort of apologetic, trying to “rectify” the shortcomings of the genre: the bitterness, the tapered lines, the lack of a smile. In the end it smelled like expensive shampoo, at least to me.
Tom Ford has the tip of his finger on the pulse of the market and he is also not afraid of referencing the past. His “Vert” triptych comes straight from the late 70’s and the biggest compliment I can write about it is that they smell like flankers of Jacomo Silences. And yes, this IS a huge compliment. Silences is the style of the late 70’s bottled, the point in time were the excesses of the past already felt a little tired but the beige-ness and neo-conservatism of the 80’s had not settled in yet. The point in time were self-assuredness had not yet become self-righteousness.
We were getting glimpses of this era in previous TF releases like Plum Japonais (the mixing of languages was a little silly but there has never been a more honest tribute to Shiseido Féminité du Bois) and let’s face it, TF is at his best when he does sombre, not sexy. With the “Vert” collection I dare say that he has crossed the diamond with the pearl, making sombre, sexy as well.
It is difficult to speak about the three fragrances separately as they feel like fine-tuning versions of one seminal bitter green accord. Vert Bohème is the most approachable, with a white floral accord cutting through the galbanum – moss – vetiver accord. Hyacinth is the most clearly defined to my nose and yes, this is spot on Jacomo Silences. And well done to the artistic direction of TF for deciding to get our noses reacquainted with this sublime scent, as it seems that the prototype has been discontinued after 30 years in favour of the new Silences Sublime version. Vert des Bois downplays the florals, and boosts the bitterness with oak wood and patchouli, and this combination could not have worked any better. Bring on the grey skies and Parisian rooftops! In the drydown a matt-ness takes over, almost milky but always bitter and green. Vert d’Encens on the other hand attempts a combination of the seminal green accord with an amber-cumin accord (some of the Plum Japonais gene pool has leaked into it) and although in paper this should rub my nose the wrong way, the respect with which the green spirit is treated allows this to feel unique and inventive. Despite the name I can’t say I get a lot of incense from it. What I do get is pungency. It is the most volatile and heady of the three, the shiniest green in the collection. A green amber scent is not something one encounters very often and Vert d’Encens already seems to draw most of the attention between the three. Vert de Fleurs has also been announced but seems that its release is lagging.
Kudos to Tom Ford for going against the deleteriously gourmand trend and for bringing back the greens. With a vengeance.