Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Eau de Toilette (review)

Austrian Tobacco Fields © Digitalpress - Fotolia.com
The problem is, tobacco-inspired fragrances can inspire contrasting associations in each of us. A year or two ago, my favourite was Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille--a fragrance that, to me, smelt rich, inviting and androgynous. There were notes of vanilla, but not so much that it might smell too feminine for a man to wear. And there were the tobacco notes. Tobacco notes have always inspired my imagination. On first spray I’d be transported to a world where I could have been sipping whiskey from a crystal tumbler in a bohemian basement club somewhere. The musical accompaniment would have been Janis Joplin or Nina Simone and the air would have been spiced with the scents of pipe tobaccos and woods and peated whiskies.

I am well aware that not everybody appreciates a tobacco fragrance. What to me smells wonderful might to another smell like the tell-tale signs of cigarette addiction. The key is to choose the right tobacco fragrance. It has to be warm, not cold and damp. And it has to be more tobacco than cigarette. Tobacco fragrances, you see, can either be very bad or great. 

Oh, yes, there are some great tobacco fragrances: Take Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb. Rather than an overwhelming punch of tobacco and nothing else, there are top notes of grapefruit and bergamot which melt into heart notes of pink pepper, chilli and saffron. Lingering afterwards is a rich, sweet tobacco base enhanced with leather and vetiver. It is the pink pepper, saffron, leather and vetiver that add a lovely new dimension. The warmth of these ingredients brings out the sensual elements of tobacco which lifts the atmosphere to bohemian basement club rather than, say, damp, cigarette-smoke-riddled basement flat.

Amsterdam-based fashion house Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb range consists of EDT sprays in both 50 ml and 90 ml; deodorant spray in 150 ml; shower gel in 200 ml; and aftershave balm in 100 ml. In the United Kingdom, Boots currently retail the 50 ml EDT spray at £45.00 and the 90 ml at £60.00. 

It isn’t all good news, though. I have mixed feelings about the packaging that Viktor & Rolf have created. The bottle is, imaginatively (but perhaps controversially), shaped like a grenade. Its glass is thick and therefore very heavy. I can’t help but wonder if the fragrance’s higher-than-average price tag was necessary due to the higher production costs of this kind of bottle. Whilst it is too heavy to comfortably slip into a bag, it looks great on the dresser. 

Olivier Polge, creator of this 2012 fragrance - who describes it as “extroverted and outpoken” - has it right. The fragrance is now a firm favourite of mine. Although Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille is luxurious, it doesn’t capture the traditionally-masculine warmth of Spicebomb. But, beware. Spicebomb isn’t a subtle fragrance. It carries, leaves a trail. And it can be overwhelming if applied in excess. If you really love this fragrance, apply sparingly but periodically if you want it to last. Don’t rely on one initial morning dousing which could wipe out fragrance-sensitive passengers on a train carriage during the morning commute. Enjoy responsibly. 

Rich and luxurious
Heavy bottle
A little goes a long way
Can be overpowering if overdone



Brand: Viktor & Rolf

Website: www.viktor-rolf.com

Size: 50 ml 
Price: £45.00 (£90.00/100 ml)

Size: 90 ml
Price: £60.00 (£66.67/100 ml)

Manufactured: France

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