Pierre Guillaume is back with what could be the perfect scent for the festive season.
Ambery rum, tonka bean, apple, honey, vanilla, pistachio, benzoin.
Tonka Bodykon is the latest release from Pierre Guillaume. It’s a shimmering, glittering fragrance which captures an ethereal olfactory sort of light and gives off a luminescent quality which is perfect for the colder months, and indeed the festive period in general. If you want the olfactory equivalent of perfume sparkle, then this is the scent for you.
“Ambery rum” sounds like a rather delicious fancy cocktail you may order at your Christmas party. In Tonka Bodykon it opens the composition with more than a little festive spirit. It is indeed golden ambery but rather than sticky tree resin here the amber conjured by the scent is an alcoholic beverage, rather like some form of liquid, alcoholic toffee. There are hints of rum in there, but overall it might be better characterised as a sweet, thick cocktail in the opening to the fragrance. It’s not sickly, displaying that molten sense of depth that a good liquor can carry, but it definitely has sweet tones to it. At times we can detect something a little woody in there, something almost treacle-like, thick and languid things all burnished and golden. Another way to think of the opening to this scent would be as bottled late afternoon sunlight, not the kind we get in winter that is all thin and blue, but the kind that comes at the start of autumn where everything is golden. Imagine you captured that, bottled it and are now able to spritz it in the winter months.
In the marketing materials for Tonka Bodykon, the brand talks about how the scent is meant to be a reference to “body conscious” dressing, that is to say hugging the curves of the body, and there definitely is that sense of luxurious sensuality about Tonka Bodykon, but in his inimitable style, Pierre manages to make that feel like something reverential rather than tawdry.
Somewhere between the golden amber start and the serpentine, sinuous base, is sandwiched the masterstroke of this composition, and the single twist which offers most insight into Pierre’s way of formulating scents. It is here, in this section, in which we find a gorgeous apple accord, green, juicy and tart. The apple is both realistic and unexpected and it lifts the whole fragrance up.
If imagining this scent, so far you may have imagined quite heavy, slow moving notes (and you would be right). You may have imagined deep, thrumming notes which are resonant and bass filed (and again you would be right). Then, Pierre throws us a curveball with this bright, lively, quick apple that makes the mouth water and the tastebuds pucker. The experience of this crispness, set against the slow and flowing start to the scent is fabulous. It makes the fragrance dance. Yes, indeed, at times it has touches of a caramel and apple pudding whilst the apple flirts around, but that just adds to the sense of festivity that the fragrance imbues.
There are touches of honey here, but it isn’t overbearing. The honey adds another form of golden sweetness to the scent, and doesn’t skew towards the “dirty” which honey can do at times. Here it’s another strand of warmth and more autumnal tones.
Clearly, with a name like Tonka Bodykon there has to be a hefty dollop of tonka in here, and it does indeed act as a central player around which everything else dances and revolves. The tonka, although present and although we do focus on it, feels a little like it is acting as the ingenue in a Regency drama. It’s coy, trying to deflect your attention to the boozy facet which it has made more boozy, or the woody facets which it has warmed and sweetened, or even the sweeter facets which it has made deeper and more burnished.
The pistachio listed in the notes for Tonka Bodykon is interesting too. There is a slightly oily, nuttiness which creeps in towards the end of the fragrance. It has that slightly aromatic spiciness that hints of vetiver can have. This addition gives more grounding to the fragrance, and gently hints at an earthiness – all very necessary to allow the rest of the composition to shimmer and sparkle as it does, the composition would be less impactful without these counterpoints.
The combination of vanilla and benzoin give a touch of oozy, gloopy unctuousness, darker and deeper than the golden ambery elements we started off with, but clearly still related and following on from them nicely.
There’s a lot about Tonka Bodykon which makes it ideal as a fragrance for the party season. It has shimmer and sparkle, hints of boozy decadence, it’s definitely one for lifting spirits, and it’s a great evening scent. Not only that, but the fragrance itself seems to tell the story of a lovely, winter party, a cocktail or two, a nice outfit. Tonka Bodykon is a luxurious scent which isn’t ostentatious, a cosy scent which isn’t humdrum. It manages to occupy that space that takes you two points more confident than you are when you’re getting ready to go out, and it will add that extra magic and sparkle to any festive event this year.
The other stuff
The perfumer for this fragrance was Pierre Guillaume.
The longevity of Tonka Bodykon is very solid, lasting a minimum of six hours following application, and up to twelve hours at times.
The projection of the scent is definitely there, but reasonably discrete. It goes to perhaps handshake distance, or just under. This is the sort of scent you will catch glimpses of as you wear it throughout the day (or night), but it isn’t ever overly aggressive or annoying, just there, reminding you of its sweetness and your sparkle.
Tonka Bodykon is an excellent party or evening wear fragrance. It will accompany you to festive events and functions beautifully, without being too loud or attention stealing – this is the sort of scent that lifts you up, rather than feeling like it wears you.
If you’ve visited us at all previously then you will know that Pierre Guillaume are one of our firm favourites here at The Sniff and we have reviewed a vast array of his fragrances which combine interesting, modern compositions with a wide range and ease of accessibility. These aren’t the esoteric end of the spectrum, but instead are wearable scents which fit into your daily life with ease, whilst giving you that slice of luxury and uniqueness you may have come to fragrance to find. Pierre Guillaume scents are designed to make you, yes you, feel good and have a little bit of joy in your day, and they do that so well.
We’ve previously reviewed Dialogue with Venus, Oshiso, Intime.Extime, A Une Madone, Alphaora, Morning in Tipasa, Animal Mondain, Lune d’Eau, Sunsuality, PG 9.1 Komorebi, PG 03 Cuir Venenum, PG 04 Musc Maori, PG 5.1 Suede Osmanthe, PG 16 Jardins de Kerylos and the exceptional Bois Naufrage. Also by Pierre Guillaume we’ve looked at Superlady, Sucre d’Ebene, Shermine, Aqaysos, Jangala, Tonkamande, Anti-Blues and Hapyang.
Tonka Bodykon is available from the Pierre Guillaume web boutique where it is priced at €105 for 50ml of EdP or €155 for 100ml.
You can also buy this fragrance from Bloom Perfumery London.
We were kindly gifted a sample bottle of this fragrance by the Pierre Guillaume team, with no strings attached, and we thank them very much for their kindness.
Header image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay. Images of the product by The Sniff.