Monday, 7 May 2012

Persolaise Review: Reckless from Roja Parfums (2011) + Yellow Diamond from Versace (2012)

It’s all very well encouraging fragrance houses to propel the art of perfumery towards the future, but sometimes, it’s beneficial to look back to the past. Most other art forms - literature, movie-making, painting - offer plenty of opportunities for a re-appraisal of what’s come before. After all, it isn’t difficult to hunt down old books or films. But perfume is a slightly different matter. As is well known, fragrances that bear the names of creations from bygone years may not smell remotely like their originals. And the contents of a ‘vintage’ bottle may not offer an accurate representation of what the perfume was like when it was first created.

Thankfully, the number of ‘modern vintage’ perfumes is growing, and one of the most commendable recent additions to the line-up is Roja Dove’s Reckless. Not unlike Tableau De Parfums’ Miriam or Oscar De La Renta’s Esprit D’Oscar, it offers an opportunity to catch a glimpse of things as they might once have been, of a time when scent hadn’t yet been dumbed down to the olfactory equivalent of that scourge of the western world’s dress sense: jeans and a t-shirt.

The aldehydic opening of Reckless suggests that No 5 and Joy may have served as Dove’s chief inspiration, and the scent’s development certainly doesn’t dispel this notion. The glittering, almost effervescent texture that is the trademark of this genre of scents is, as you'd expect, linked with a mellifluous, languid floral aspect, in which jasmine, rose and ylang ylang re-assert their status as the undisputed purveyors of richness and decadence. In the base, a honeyed sandalwood note and powdery balsams attempt to add a suggestion of refinement to the whole, but the civet (one of Dove's favourite materials) isn't having any of it, insistently pulling the wearer closer and closer to the boudoir with every bosom-heaving sigh.

Whether all this spells 'old fashioned' (ie 'dated') or 'classical' (ie 'incapable of being dated') will probably depend on individual experiences and tastes, but I was convinced from the very first spray. Baroque and seductive, Reckless is as clear a statement as modern perfumery is likely to make that actually, no, some of us will not add to the greyness of our surroundings and we will leave our jeans tucked firmly towards the back of our wardrobes.

In brief... speaking of scruffiness, Versace's new Yellow Diamond is at the very other end of the sartorial spectrum. The kindest thing I can say about it is that smells like cheap apple and peach shampoo, which probably means that it's been designed for every timid soul who's incapable of making up his or her mind about anything until the gurus of Twitter and Pinterest weigh in with their judgements. I was always suspicious of the praise heaped upon Calyx from Prescriptives, because to me, it also seems like a marginally more sophisticated older sister of something you'd smell in a bottle from Garnier, but next to Yellow Diamond, it's as bold as a naked dash through a branch of Levi's.

[Review of Reckless based on a sample of extrait obtained in 2012; review of Yellow Diamond based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Versace in 2012.]



  1. Lovely review of the beautiful "Reckless".I don't wear Jeans because I find them uncomfortable . I hate the sea of blue eAngie Cox.verwhere and the ones with pre-torn knees etc.

    1. Angie, I think most people are quite happy to be fish-like.

  2. I adore Reckless - definitely one of my favourite scents. When I'm feeling down, a good sniff of the glass stopper transports me to a much happier, heavenly place! :)

    1. Viola, thanks for writing.

      The power of perfume, eh?


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