I laud perfume brands for taking risks. For pushing at the boundaries of what artistic perfumery can be. That’s an aspirational effort, taken on by the minority. Most fragrances are just trying to make pleasantly scented things. Nothing wrong with that. What can be nice is when a brand decides to take that approach while working with a bit more focus on the keynotes. Creative director David Benedek at BDK Parfums has seemingly decided this is the way he wants to do business. Over the last five years he has produced perfumes like BDK Parfums Velvet Tonka which are simple studies of compelling ingredients.
Tonka bean is the ingredient which launched modern perfumery. It is the natural source of coumarin which started this age of fragrance. I like when it is used as a core ingredient. The coumarin has a hay-like dried grass sweetness along with a vanilla piece of its scent profile. Over the last few years it has become a staple in gourmand style perfumes. For Velvet Tonka perfumer Alexandra Carlin serves up a nice gourmand version of tonka.
She chooses to make a marzipan accord using tonka and almond. This is a great choice as it keeps it from becoming too sweet and treacly. The almond adds in a nuttiness which lightens it up. It comes together as a realistic accord of the confection it is portraying. It is this which holds throughout the time I was wearing it. What is nice about the BDK way of doing things is that they add in complementary grace notes which add to the main accord. Here orange blossom appears first as a light floral complement. Tobacco coaxes out the hay part of tonka in a way that reminds you that it is there without becoming predominant. The slight spiciness of amber and the woodiness of amyris add the finishing touches.
Velvet Tonka has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I’ve tried all fourteen of the perfumes Mr. Benedek has released. I don’t think there is a dud in the bunch. They are straightforward no-nonsense perfumes which expertly feature a couple of ingredients. Velvet Tonka is a great example of when that is more than enough.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.
In these days of being home bound one of my only outlets for experimentation is in the kitchen. For all the options available I’ve been trying to make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever. It has been my lunch of the last couple of weeks. I’ve gone through many versions. All of them still basically the ingredients of toasted bread and cheese. Perfume has what I think of as their version of grilled cheese perfumes. It is where two well-matched ingredients are given a slightly new interpretation. The latest is BDK Parfums Tabac Rose.
David Benedek founded BDK Parfums four years ago. He had extensive family connections to the fragrance business. It gave him a perspective for his brand where he seemed to want to explore many of the classic perfume pairings throughout history with contemporary twists. I’ve tried all of them. Mr. Benedek has succeeded in that endeavor if that was what he was attempting. It isn’t a collection which surprises you with the focal point ingredients. It does offer pleasures in the way Mr. Benedek and the perfumer he works with choose to augment them. Tabac Rose does this the best of all the ones I’ve tried.
Mr. Benedek asked perfumer Julien Rasquinet to create a variation on the tobacco-rose combination. This is one of my favorite fragrant pairings because when a deep rose is matched to an equally narcotic tobacco it becomes luxurious. M. Rasquinet produces one which seems especially so.
It begins with the Turkish rose. This is the rose which has a prominent spicy core. M. Rasquinet will use that throughout. Baie rose first adds a green stem to this rose. A fascinating set of plum and lemon provide sweet and tart fruit to go with the floral. The sweetness takes a different turn as patchouli and chocolate add a candy shell to the rose. This is where the tobacco comes into play. It flows in waves of dried leafiness which reminds me of the cigar shops in Little Havana. A sizzle of cinnamon brings the titular notes together. This adds a kinetic quality to the rose and tobacco I enjoyed. Labdanum adds the final resinous ingredient to give the tobacco even more depth.
Tabac Rose has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I have a bunch of tobacco rose perfumes. Like my grilled cheese sandwiches there’s always room for one more if it is good. Tabac Rose is.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.