Robert Piguet’s Blossom (2012)

Robert Piguet's Blossom (2012) 100ml © Victor Wong
Robert Piguet’s Blossom (2012) 100ml © Victor Wong

Robert Piguet’s Blossom (2012) sounds like it’s made out of many different flowers, but in fact, it’s a very simple, demure, “you don’t like to talk much, do you?” orange blossom perfume. Well, it has more than just orange blossoms, but also neroli (which is also orange blossom but smells a little different), petitgrain (bitter orange leaves), and orange itself – practically almost the whole orange tree. If I were an orange tree in Robert Piguet’s orchard, I would shit all my leaves and run.

Blossom is soft and quite elegant, but I wouldn’t say it’s sophisticated. It’s balmy and fleeting, but not invigorating, because the base is a bit resinous and slightly sweet. Now let me destroy the romanticism by saying a citrus cologne is to Orangina as Blossom is to a diet orange smoothie.

But I want to appreciate Blossom from two different points of view.

  1. From a target audience’s point of view: Blossom is part of Robert Piguet’s “Pacific Line” trilogy (Blossom, Chai, Jeunesse), which caters to the Asian market. My sister and my long time girlfriend living in Hong Kong both told me that Asian women prefer simple, fresh, and quiet perfumes (Crabtree and Evelyn, anyone?). You don’t want to wear heavy-plated armour perfumes such as Angel, Opium or Poison in a perpetually hot and crowded day in Asia, because people will probably stab you all over the body with piercing eyes as you walk down alleys and streets. So it’s understandable why Blossom is relatively simple and quiet.
  2. From an artist’s point of view: Here’s my imagined scenario of the owner of Robert Piguet talking to Blossom’s perfumer, Aurelien Guichard: “I like your work. I want you to be the perfumer of my perfume house and create 20 perfumes for me over the span of 5 years. Make me and yourself proud.” Aurelien Guichard has so far been Robert Piguet’s only perfumer, and he has created a few hits for them already – redesigned Fracas and Bandit, Visa and Knightsbridge, all are very complex, heavy and bombastic perfumes. I imagine Aurelien as an “artist”, given the trust to create a rather big library of scents for Robert Piguet, would like to create one or two perfumes that are different, a little out of his typical style for variety’s sake. In my opinion, Blossom and Casbah (an incense perfume) are his indulgence and small break – minimalistic and ghostly.

I guess I have been thinking too much. Yeah, Blossom is a nice orange blossom perfume.

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Kenzo’s Madly Kenzo! (2011)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Someone on the net once made this comment: “Kenzo no longer makes bold and daring perfumes like they used to be.” I think the bold Kenzo perfumes she was talking about were anything released before Kenzo Flowers. There’s some truth to it, particularly after smelling Kenzo Amour (2006) and Madly (2011), the boldness of their new offerings can’t compare to the scent bombs like Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant (1996) and Ca Sent Beau (1988). At the same time, I wouldn’t blame them for light scent is the current trend (though it’s slowly coming to an end, in my opinion).

I had smelled Kenzo Madly at Sephora, and quickly dismissed it. It’s light and sweet, not unique enough, I thought. Also, Luca Turin reviewed Kenzo Madly Oud Collection and gave it a two stars review, so I thought Kenzo Madly, the predecessor, also sucked.

Well, recently I found Madly in a discounted bin and bought it, for I couldn’t resist its truly beautiful and sculptural bottle. At home, I decided to spend some good time to smell it properly. My initial impression didn’t change much – it smelled like super deluxe detergent to me; it’s fresh, comforting, floral, inoffensive and nonintrusive. (Pink pepper, rose, orange flower, light musk.) I went back to web-surfing, suddenly something hit me. What’s this sweet incense smell? Oh lord, this is the incense perfume I have been looking for forever! A light, sweet incense! How delightful! As much as I like Comme de Garcons’ Incense series, they never hit the mark. I want an incense perfume that’s either very joyful and non-smoky, or very deep, dark and sinister. Madly succeeds in the former category for just $30. Upon further research, I found out that Madly was designed by Aurelien Guichard (Chinatown, Narciso, Fracas reformulation), who is very busy and popular nowadays, pumping out perfumes for big and small perfume houses.

I shouldn’t dismiss a perfume just because of the top notes, but there are so many perfumes out there, it’s easier said than done. May be I should also check out Madly Oud…