Vilhelm Parfumerie is a new fragrance line developed by founder (and former-model-turned-designer) Jan Ahlgren in collaboration with perfumer Jérôme Epinette. I know, I know — another week, another niche perfume collection. It's the new normal, and all I can do is try to keep up. I've tried three of Vilhelm's eight fragrances, aiming for the ones that sounded most suitable for spring and summer, and here are some short reviews.
Opus Kore is a fruity fragrance with notes of Sicilian lemon, acai, raspberry blossom, pink magnolia, violet leaf, sandalwood, skin musks and crisp amber. Its name alludes to Persephone, also known as Kore, the goddess of spring and fertility. I enjoyed this one. Its blend of tart and sweet fruity notes reminds me of pomegranate, which would suit the Persephone theme. The lemon and (to a lesser extent) the magnolia also catch my attention, and the dry down is a transparent amber that still retains hints of fruit. It's a fun warm-weather fragrance, and my favorite of these three.
Room Service is a fruity floral with notes of mandarin nectar, blackberry, pink orchid, green bamboo, violet, black amber, musk and sandalwood. It's meant to evoke a movie star like Garbo enjoying the solitary luxury of her hotel room, and it's the most feminine of these three Vilhelm scents, but it doesn't really have a rich or classic feel. The blackberry note dominates. There's a whiff of something very clean that reminds me fleetingly of hotel sheets (I'm very suggestible!), but I'm left hoping for the flowers or "black amber" to emerge further. Room Service has decent longevity, but the dry down is a sharp skin-musk scent that just doesn't sit right with me.
Morning Chess was inspired by Ahlgren's memories of summer holidays with his grandfather. This is the green fragrance of the bunch, with notes of bergamot, Tuscan leather, galbanum, patchouli and dark amber. It's more traditionally masculine (and more sillage-heavy) than Opus Kore or Room Service, and it feels (to me) like a contemporary version of a fougère: lavender up top (although it's not included in the official list of notes), with some bright galbanum and moss underneath. The leather note is very subtle. I'm not an expert on masculine fragrances, but this one seems focused and well-done.
In some ways, Vilhelm Parfumerie reminds me of Byredo, another well-packaged niche fragrance collection. Epinette has worked with both brands; I happen to prefer his creations for Atelier Cologne, overall, but maybe that's just a question of taste. I just expected something more for this price point; however, Vilhelm is reportedly selling very well in London. Have you had a chance to try the collection yet, wherever you are? What did you think?