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HOMMAGE a l’Homme – Welcome to Manville! – August 12, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Wikimedia Commons - The Orient Express at Buchs (St. Gallen) on the Swiss border - by Murdockcrc, February 6, 2010

When Lalique Parfums wanted to commemorate their 20th anniversary with a new fragrance, the brief given to perfumers Mathilde Bijaoui and Christine Nagel was, well, brief: ‘man’, ‘travel’ and ‘Orient Express’. From this they created HOMMAGE a l’Homme.

OK, ‘man’ I get and ‘travel’ I get but ‘Orient Express’ requires a bit of an explanation.

Lalique and the Orient Express share a history. René Lalique designed the interiors of the legendary train that ran from Paris to Istanbul from 1883 to1997. The Orient Express became the very definition of luxury travel.

It’s a history Lalique likes to promote. René Lalique’s grand-daughter, Marie-Claude, launched Lalique, their first fragrance aboard the Orient Express in 1992. To celebrate the launch of HOMMAGE a l’Homme twenty years later, Lalique chartered seven private Orient-Express carriages for a trip to Ay, René Lalique’s birthplace in the Champagne region where guests visited wine cellars, tasted rare vintages and enjoyed a gala dinner on board the train back to Paris that night. What an experience that must have been – but back to the frag.

At this point I have to say, any fragrance with that brief created by noses like Bijaoui and Nagel is at the top of my “I gotta smell that” list and from there it was a short journey to my “I gotta have that” list because there is no other men’s fragrance like HOMMAGE a l’Homme. Period.

It opens with sharp bitter bergamot followed by metallic and green violet leaf and soft leathery, earthy saffron. The saffron has a delicious bittersweet aspect that always makes me gasp. Right off the top, HOMMAGE a l’Homme smells manly. As it develops, the bitterness of the saffron is echoed at the heart by chili leaf which beautifully sets up the cool earthy violet that blooms there. And then the magic happens – oud appears, deep, dark and woody. Deftly handled, it’s not pungent nor is it too sweet thanks to the addition of spicy black pepper. Oud is usually paired with rose, so to see it paired with violet is a surprise. It’s the interaction, the back and forth between the cool violet and the warm woody oud that makes HOMMAGE a l’Homme unique. Cistus and musk at the base make the drydown woody, slightly sweet, anilmalic and smooth.

HOMMAGE a l’Homme is the perfect olfactory expression of the perfume brief Lalique designed, from the manly start, to the journey from Paris (violets) to Istanbul (oud) through to the debonair, urbane and sophisticated drydown.

It smells just like the kind of man who would travel on the Orient Express.

Who, by the way, just happens to be my kind of man! Hey, if that’s you and you’re reading this, just contact me through the website – I can be in Paris in eight hours….just saying.

HOMMAGE a l’Homme is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.