Tom Ford Jonquille de Nuit, 2012

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(image Mat Collishaw, Narcissus)

Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux.

The Tom Ford Private Blend Collection sells the the mix-and-match bit. The perfumes are sold as spectacular on their own, but also amazing in combination. I think the pairing the Bloomingdales sales associate was telling me about today was Neroli Portofino and Arabian Wood. Interesting as a cultural notion, I suppose, but really? Really?! I thought the assemble-your-own esthetic was considered fairly dime-store and ran out of steam at about the price point of the Jo Malone line. But then I tried Jonquille de Nuit.

Jonquille de Nuit isn’t a narcissus solifor, but it does seem to paint a the notion of a particular spring floral tone, albeit a very jasmine-like one to my nose. I’ve read others who’ve have called it indolic, dirty. Tom calls it “de Nuit” and in the TF world that means dinner jackets and gowns, or oiled bodies—nothing in between. But to me it’s springtime sunshine. It has that bursting at the cell wall acceleration of Spring flowers that suggests water, oiliness, flow, viscosity, rigid stems, crisp flower and dirt all at once. The topnotes are not terribly complex, but Jonquille de Nuit is balanced and buoyant. As the topnotes fade, though, it gets plucked petal by petal and lands on ‘he loves me not’ with a recognizably floral note, but one that is thinner, flatter and sweeter than the opening Spring still-life. Here, I suppose, is the flower of the mix and match premise.

If these perfumes are to be combined willy-nilly to form ‘personalized’ fragrances, they must be fairly simplistic in construction or the outcome would be a pile-up. So although Jonquille de Nuit appears to aim for a deliberate simplicity that might lend itself to the indiscriminate combining of perfumes, I don’t really buy it.

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