One of the great things about independent perfumers is they aren’t always trying to find the most crowd-pleasing perfume. They are willing to design to a smaller audience that wants a more expressive fragrance experience. There is a design difficulty in deciding how big to go. For a perfume where the motto is “more is more” you can have too much. Yet you must find that line where a balance is struck versus producing a headache from going too far. I like the perfumers who are willing to work right on the edge of excess. Francesca Bianchi Tyger Tyger knows how to toe this line.
The first rule of working like this is being willing to end up on the wrong side of the line. Over the last four years Francesca Bianchi has seemingly enjoyed designing right at it. Which means sometimes it is just where I want it to be. Sometimes it crosses that line. I’d rather have a perfumer who enjoys playing with this aesthetic over playing it safe.
Tyger Tyger is part of the first line of the poem “The Tyger” by William Blake. Knowing the poem I was thinking a classic chypre-like construct. Then I read her mindset as she began to design it. She wanted a post-Apocalyptic aesthetic of “Beauty and Terror”. She imagined a survivor wearing haute couture within the smoking rubble. She also thinks Mr. Blake was describing the same duality in his poem about the feline predator. I agree she has created a fragrance of two contrasting accords. I also agree with the beauty for one half.
That half is formed around white flowers. I have been so disappointed in perfumes which feature these neutering their power. The white flowers are the ingredients which ask to be seen none more so than tuberose which leads this accord. She unleashes it with most of the other ingredients which make up this section of the perfumer’s palette. To up the intensity honey and peach are added. It is reminiscent of so many of the early white florals of modern perfumery. What I like about Sig.ra Bianchi is she completes her accord without making me think of them. Just the aesthetic it represents. This is that figure wearing an elegant dress in the apocalypse.
The other accord is that chypre I was expecting. Except this a chypre of the smoking crater. She uses the classic triptych of patchouli, sandalwood, and oakmoss. To it she adds leather and oud. That’s the smoke rising from what is left. No matter how much I am asked to see this as “terror” I see it as being a survivor saying “I’m still here!”.
Tyger Tyger has 14-16 hour longevity and above average sillage.
Tyger Tyger feels like what a survivor of an apocalypse would wear. Especially when they wanted to let the others know they were ready to take charge. They would stand right on the edge of excess with their fist in the air.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.