Guerlain’s Tonka Imperiale (2010)

Guerlain Tonka Imperiale
© Victor Wong

Crème Brûlée Perfume

When I first visited the Toronto Guerlain flagship store, I was overwhelmed by the number of perfumes available and the sales lady who orbited around me within two foot radius. I haphazardly picked up a bottle, which turned out to be the famous Tonka Imperiale, sniffed, and thought it was wonderful! I would buy it! And so I did. I also got a lot of samples from that line to evaluate at home.

Tonka Imperiale, which smells like delicious crème brûlée vapour, is definitely a pleasure to wear. But the perfume, just like a little cup of crème brûlée that is never enough, turns into almost a skin scent in an hour. When I reach the office, I don’t think my coworkers can smell it. There is little notes development. And would you eat the same dessert everyday? It’s hard for me to make it a signature scent. (And I don’t have a signature scent.)

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Le Labo’s Tubereuse 40 (2006)

Le Labo Tubereuse 40, 100ml, EDP
© Victor Wong

Let’s say you have a bottle filled with 70% water and 30% vinegar, Le Labo will call this concoction “Water 2”. Just to make a point.

I got this bottle quite early in my olfactory journey and I didn’t know what tuberose smelled like. Tubereuse 40 has tuberose in it, but like a bad group photo, it is out of focus in the back row with someone a foot taller in the front covering half of its face.

T40 is fresh, green, and filled with scent of orange flowers and a little bit of oakmoss. (People who still remember that I’ve said I quite like Fleur D’Oranger 27, T40 is much better).

When my friend said he’s going to New York for a business trip, I asked him to help me get a bottle. He came back and his face still had an expression of disbelief of how much a Le Labo City Exclusive had cost.

Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady (2010)

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady, EDP, 100ml
© Victor Wong

Portrait of a Lady – no need for introduction, right?

Since Tuesday, Toronto has had gloomy and turbulent weather. I see a lot of discarded broken umbrellas in the street. Portrait of a Lady is pretty but kind of cruel, good for today’s weather. Probably won’t wear it till falls arrives.

Comme De Garcons’ Incense Ouarzazate (2002)

Comme des Garcons Series 3 - Incense (1)

White Pepper Woody

Comme De Garcons’ Ouarzazate (an Islamic city in Morocco) is a spicy and warm incense perfume. The pepper is so strong that I don’t even detect the green tea and vanilla notes as listed in Fragrantica.

But to me, the most interesting aspect of this perfume is that it smells like Le Labo’s Rose 31. In fact, it should be the other way round. Le Labo kept everything in Ouarzazate except incense and wood and added rose and oud, and gave it a much easier to pronounce name and hit it out of the park.

Comme des Garcons’ Zagorsk (2002)

Comme des Garcons Series 3 - Incense
© Victor Wong

Ghostly Melancholic

Wearing Comme des Garcons’ Zagorsk is like walking in a chilly empty church with broken windows, and you can see and faintly smell the tall birch and cypress surrounding this old building. The incense is all ash, sitting still and releasing some leftover aroma.

This perfume has poor projection and longevity, but the opaque aluminum bottle hides the water level and gives me the licence to spray without holding back. (Honestly I feel a bit sad seeing my bottle getting used up, despite they are supposed to be used. That’s why I never buy fancy moulded candles.)

Etat Libre d’Orange’s The Afternoon of a Faun (2012)

Etat Libre D'Orange - The Afternoon of a Faun (EDP, 100ml)
© Victor Wong

Oakmoss Green Man

This chypre perfume is so dense and rich, wearing it is like being trapped in a steamed-up kitchen with all the windows and doors shut and the kettle filled with oak moss, myrrh and amber is boiling.

The Afternoon of a Faun is a distant relative of Mitsouku who lives in the forest and he doesn’t like to talk to anyone younger than 30.