Torrente L'Or (2001): Coffee & Roses {Perfume Review} {Smell-The-Roses-Till-Valentine's Day - Day 19}


L'Or (Gold) by Torrente was released in 2001. It was created by perfumer Jean Jacques for Torrente, a French fashion house that was established in 1969 by Rose Met-Torrente, one of the few women that managed to be at the helm of a couture house. She is also known as Rose or Rosette Lapidus-Met (she is the sister of fashion designer Ted Lapidus). She retired in 2003 after selling her fashion house, and wrote a book of memoirs entitled Le Droit Fil(2005)...

When L'Or came out in the US in 2002, it was described as being a "nontraditional floral" and a "unique scent" that was expected to "do very well in the U.S. market" (WWD, June 7, 2002). Six years later, one could legitimately wonder at the possibility of retrieving a hidden gem from the discounters. The bottle is conventionally gorgeous; it was created by Herve Van Der Straeten and was clearly seen as a selling point by the brand. The perfume boasts a coffee and rose accord, an intriguing combination that made it worth seeking out for the rose-challenge series. The rose note is either described as being " rose absolute", "rose essence", or "rosebuds."

The promise of an atypical rose composition is only partly kept, as the rose note appears more elusive and less categorically about a rose than one could have expected initially. L'Or is not so much about a caffeinated rose as about the consistent pairing of floral notes with woody ones: rose and coffee, iris on cedar wood. Its fruity-floral personality is also more immediately apparent than the core association of coffee and rose absolutes in the middle notes.

The scent offers a fruity-floral opening, with a particularly nice realistic green fresh note of blackcurrant (blackcurrant leaves). These notes then start mingling with a soft vanilla- praline - dragée-like (made with almond) impression while the background remains dewy, a bit aquatic. It is delicious. When applied more abundantly, one can distinguish the vegetal amber from the start accented with a creamy undertone (white amber).

Then woody, chewy licorice caramel notes enter counterbalanced by a citrus-y counterpoint. As the soft woodier notes develop, they feel almost greasy, oily, then soft as flour at some point. The blend is enlivened by an undertone of piquant woods, in particular cedar, further spiced up by pink peppercorns.

The coffee impression is both woody and creamy without feeling gourmand. If a gustatory impression exists, it is more about savoriness allied with pepperiness. What one perceives of the rose is very peony-like initially with a marked aquatic facet. In fact, if we had not been told that there was rose essence in the perfume, we would probably have chalked up the vaguely rosy, floral impression to a more general fruity-floral accord to begin with. We realize also that Burberry of London (2006) contains a quote from L'Or - or from this type of fruity-floral accord.

The development of the perfume is atypically long for a scent these days. The impression of fresh rose petals on a smoky coffee background happens a long time into the progression of the scent to the point where it feels like the rose is a bit fashionably late. It then feels surprisingly fresh and lively and unusual - but not for very long. The coffee accord lets through some beeswax too at this point. The dry-down is resinous and slow to bloom as well. The longer dry-down, which is very long-lasting, is sweetly amber-y with a light floral feel. The coffee absolute is the most enduring element of the perfume.

The fruity-floral personality of L'Or is quite present and should be kept in mind by those who are looking for a characteristic rose perfume. For those who do not like rose, it might be self-effaced enough to become a viable option.

This perfume elicits mixed feelings in us. On one hand, it does make efforts at offering original accords such as rose and coffee and iris and cedar, on the other hand, they can feel a bit forced - like the pretense of originality applied like a mask on a fundamentally commercial and formulaic perfume that can be easily classified as a fruity-floral with a woody and coffee twist. Maybe just one main idea might have been more convincing instead of a few interesting ones. Its kinship with Burberry of London, created later in 2006, also does it a disservice, retrospectively, as it makes it smell less unique. Perhaps L'Or could have resisted better the comparison if its structure had been more thought out and streamlined.

The perfume includes "top notes of baie rose, tangerine, lychee, kiwi, black currant leaves, magnolia leaves and angelica; middle notes of coffee essence and rose essence, and a dry-down of iris on cedarwood, vanilla orchid, white amber and precious woods." This review is for the Eau de Parfum concentration.


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