White flowers add a signature to a perfume that is both loved and loathed. Jasmine is perhaps the most widely appreciated white flower but even jasmine has its share of haters. Tuberose has an even more distinctive signature. Although you can trace its use throughout the decades, it has become a popular note in contemporary perfume with names such as Prada and Mona di Orio creating fragrances centred on the late summer bulb. Tom Ford clearly wants to stay ahead of the trend launching four new perfumes that walk a floral path less taken. Of the four, for me, it was Jonquille de Nuit that stood above the others in this collection. I love the complexity of green and white florals, from shimmering muguet notes to buttery tuberose accords and jonquil perfumes are rare. But rare does not always translate into popularity. I was the only one in a group of three that liked Ford’s nocturnal jonquil, which is part of the Jardin Noir collection. This quartet of perfumes belongs to the designer’s Private Blend, a range Ford describes as, “my own scent laboratory; it’s where I have the ability to create very special, original fragrances that are unconstrained by the conventions of mainstream scent-making. Private Blend is designed with the true fragrance connoisseur in mind.” Like most Tom Ford perfumes, these new additions aim to be intoxicating, sophisticated and sensual. Jonquille de Nuit is marketed as a unisex fragrance even though it has all of the hallmarks of a classic feminine floral.
White and green florals are some of my favourite perfume notes. The trouble I often face is that the short-lived heart notes are augmented with base notes that I have no interest in. Van Cleef & Arpels’ Muguet Blanc is one example of a beautiful muguet accord that is filled with sparkle and movement, but for me, the base notes lead the fragrance in another direction. It is a direction that is skilfully directed, but not the reason why I tuned into the perfume to start with. Jonquille de Nuit is a floral perfume that delivers what it promises from the beginning to its end as it is relatively linear in its evolution. The perfume begins with ozonic green flowers, which Fragrantica.com purports as being cyclamen, a close relative to muguet. This accord is coloured purple with notes of violet leaf and leads to narcissus jonquilla, a fresh bouquet of waxy petals. Further on there is orange blossom that could easily be mistaken for tuberose. The base is built around notes of orris and amber. Jonquille de Nuit does not evolve much further than this. Curiously, it manages to extend for hours in the same way Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino manages to offer a traditionally short-lived eau de cologne in a form that is lasting. Perfect for a day in the sun.
Jonquille de Nuit is a vibrant fresh floral I enjoyed wearing on my recent holiday. Maybe it was my holiday mindset, but for me, it is a perfume that feels carefree and adventurous. I don’t see it gaining widespread appeal amongst males as it is overtly floral, but men who enjoy wearing such things should enjoy this novel flower.
Van Cleef & Arpels Muguet Blanc, Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee, Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, Cartier Baiser Vole.
Perfumer: Rodrigo Flores-Roux (Givaudan)
Bottle designer: Tom Ford
Release date: 2012
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Fresh Floral