Global Lust: Clive Christian

Mimi ON Jun 18, 2012 AT 10:43 am

by Chrissy Iley

Some time last year I was in Neiman Marcus when a very insistent sales assistant sprayed me with Clive Christian perfume. I remembered the brand from years ago when I wrote about the world’s most expensive perfume. Yes, Clive Christian is the vintage port of perfume.

Clive Christian Perfume

She sprayed me with No. 1 for Men which, around that time, Victoria Beckham had allegedly bought as a birthday gift for David Beckham. I remember interviewing David when he launched his own perfume, which I really liked, and he talked about how he liked the classics, how he is a fan of Creed, and how for him it was all about subtlety.

No. 1 Perfume

On the recommendation of his nose I was more friendly towards No. 1 for Men and found it was actually quite sexy. Then I found  out the price – not sexy enough.

Recently Christian was given an OBE for services to the luxury goods industry. Isn’t that a weird reason to get an OBE? I thought OBEs were for mobile librarians. People who raised money for sick children and cats, not people who made extremely expensive perfume.

However this is a statement in itself: Christian is in a league of his own. Staying with his royal theme he brought out V for Victoria as a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee commemorative scent, inspired by Queen Victoria herself. I got confused when I got the press release, I thought it was Victoria Beckham commemorating her purchase for her husband David.

V comes in a bottle with a crown on it. Not that I was sent the bottle. I was sent a smelling card by recorded delivery, and the card was a numbered limited edition. My first thought was ‘Woo, it smells of talcum powder. My Auntie Doris’s drawers.’ Her drawers were always full of knitted things and scented handkerchiefs. And once I’d got over the very old fashioned floralness it was actually quite evocative and nostalgic and not in a bad way.

V for women and men apparently pays homage to the times when Victoria and Albert would commission and exchange perfumes with each other. A ritual which was, apparently, at the core of their marriage. It’s a sweet thought of course although I’m not sure how much of an intellectual sentiment can be translated into an olfactory one.

It costs £230 for a 50ml spray. Which already made me hypercritical. Floral smells are not my bag at all, however I will say a couple of interesting and unusual things about the Christian scent: It’s very complex. It changes very rapidly. And it’s never the same, which keeps you interested. Its staying power and intensity is much greater than most perfumes.

It has what the noses call ‘huge drive’. A signature note that is addictive and changes from being homey to exotic.

It put me in the mood for nostalgic smells, so much so that I tried Yardley’s Royal English Daisy hand cream. It comes in a happy yellow package. It smells of innocence and it doesn’t cost £230.

Yardley Royal English Daisy Collection

Clive Christian, 

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