In perfume, Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. This strong new voice from Thailand proves just that.
Raisin, dried fruits, rum, mandarin, amber, tobacco, oakwood, vetiver, resin, labdanum, seaweed.
For a scent called Cigar Rum, you may not expect the fruity opening that this fragrance delivers. Rich, dried fruits set an opulent tone which is chewy and sweet. It doesn’t so much leap off the skin as gently slither about, insinuating itself all around, like a fog – albeit a resinous one. It’s an obvious image, but the one it conjures up is of an exotic market, heaps of raisins, prunes, cherries and apricots all piled in woven baskets. Whether a place like that really exists or if it’s just a trope seen in the movies, who knows?
The mandarin in the scent lurks in the background, hinting at the fresh fruit stands which are only a row of stalls away. It adds a hint of juiciness, not too much, just a little, but which stops the dried fruit becoming desiccated and hard.
The smokiness creeps into the scent as soon as you stop paying attention to the tempting dried fruits. Has it been there all along? Perhaps. Or perhaps it is the scent of the darkly clad, enigmatic gentleman who has just walked past you and given you the side-eye.
There’s a really interesting juxtaposition here in the heart of the scent which we really enjoyed. At first everything is hot, sultry, exotic, and then, when you notice the smoke it smells distinctly cool and old-fashioned British. The perfumer behind Strangers, Prin Lomros, also teaches film making, and we really felt that you could really feel this the fragrance. Cigar Rum has this vibe as if you’ve been transported into a film set in the Middle East, but it’s an American-made flick, so the smoke you have just noticed is the scent of the obviously evil British guy, who is out to get you, walking past. The cigar smoke that clings to him mingles with the sweetness of the fruits, but it isn’t fear or threat you smell, it’s excitement and exhilaration.
It isn’t really fair to put the rum accord in the base notes of the fragrance, because really it’s discernible throughout. In the base though it takes on a relaxing, smooth, languid tone. The bad guy is dead so you can chill out with a glass of booze and smoke his cigar, the one you took from him, as you watch the sun set on the horizon.
There’s also a moment in the later stages of the scent when a peculiar saltiness comes through – presumably the seaweed accord making it’s presence known. It doesn’t stick around for ages, but it adds a lively little shot of the unexpected into the fragrance to keep us on our toes. It could well be the salt of perspiration from all that tangling with bad guys you have been doing. Indeed, it smells more salty than seaweedy.
Cigar Rum is a mellow scent. It’s surprisingly, but very pleasantly, sweet, and the fruitiness in the start keeps the whole fragrance on a positive trajectory throughout. There is a distinct chilled-out vibe about the fragrance which we loved. The smoke and alcohol notes add elements of suspense and excitement, but in the end the hero triumphed just as we knew they would.
The other stuff
Cigar Rum is a very wearable and likeable first foray for us into this cinematic perfume house and we can see it having a wide appeal to those who like sweet fruits, smoke and tobacco notes.
The longevity of Cigar Rum was, for us at least, moderate. Lasting until just after lunch from an early morning application – so around 4-6 hours.
Cigar Rum felt to us to be a scent which would perform really well on a warm summer’s evening somewhere exotic; in that sense a holiday scent.
This fragrance felt as if it sat slightly more towards the masculine side of the spectrum, but as always, just wear what you love regardless.
We found Cigar Rum to be hard to pigeonhole into a specific type of fragrance, and we liked that. It’s woody, boozy, sweet, smoky, all these things and more besides.
Strangers Parfumerie are available from Bloom Perfumery London where 30ml is priced at £70.
You can also purchase Cigar Rum from the Strangers web boutique (but they are sold out at the time of writing).
We were very kindly given a no-strings sample of this scent by Bloom Perfumery London, with thanks to them for their generosity.