The Different Company L’Esprit Cologne collection ~ fragrance reviews

With rare exceptions (most recently, the Arquiste collection), I’m almost always underwhelmed when a company releases a barrage of perfumes all at once (Keiko Mecheri, Robert Piguet, By Kilian, M Micallef — I’m looking at you…though you are far from being the only culprits). I think: Was the perfumer overwhelmed by too many simultaneous projects? Were the perfumes made to fill banal “slots”: citrus cologne slot, oud perfume slot, fruity-floral slot, oriental amber slot, white floral slot. Were the resulting fragrances “old” ideas that were just hanging around waiting for a bottle to fill, a desperate buyer to placate? I’ve been burned so many times after going to great trouble and expense getting samples, I’ve started ignoring these “group shows” of fragrances. I don’t have the time, or energy, to find and try so many perfumes all at once from a single house. I think we’d all prefer the release of one interesting, well-thought-out perfume to a cartload of forgettable offerings arriving in one ‘lump’.

The Different Company (sigh) just released four fragrances in their new L’Esprit Cologne collection, all by perfumer Émilie Coppermann.

Limon de Cordoza (bitter orange, mandarin zest, mint, neroli, freesia, patchouli, vetiver, gaiac wood)

Limon de Cordoza has an orange-mint opening followed by the swift arrival of neroli. Is that a molecule or two of vetiver I detect? There’s some warm/sweet generic wood in the base. Limon de Cordoza has a sports fragrance character (without the ozone or excessive “menthol”). This is a (too) simple, formulaic, “why-was-this-ever-made?” cologne. At this price, you could do so much better; head to the Guerlain Les Eaux collection!1

Sienne d’Orange (orange, green cardamom, carrot, iris, “white” leather, musk, apricot wood)

Sienne d’Orange is a warm orange fragrance with some interesting gourmand facets: green cardamom, apricot jam, and a carrot note (more “cooked” than “crunchy” carrot). The perfume wears down to a very light fruity leather and balmy, summer musk scent. This is the best fragrance of the bunch; I really enjoyed wearing it.

After Midnight (bergamot, angelica, neroli, iris, lentisc, white jasmine, labdanum, benzoin, amber wood)

As I spritzed on After Midnight, I thought: “This is diluted Poison!” (they even share a color: purple). As After Midnight’s opening notes develop, I smell an aroma that reminds me of artificially flavored concord grape lollipops dipped in candied angelica. During mid-development, if you put your nose to skin, you’ll get hints of jasmine, labdanum, benzoin, maybe even iris, but they are all faint. The people at The Different Company apparently think “after midnight” means dessert time (the perfume’s ‘sweets’ become powdery during the dry-down with a heavy dose of what smells like my bête-noir — white musk). Unfortunately, all this excessive sweetness and fruit candy gives After Midnight an “inexpensive” vibe.

Tokyo Bloom (galbanum, basil, dandelion, black currant, jasmine, cyclamen, gaiac wood, musk, amber)

Tokyo Bloom starts with sheer, peppery greens, especially galbanum. Next up are softer floral notes: sweet jasmine and watery cyclamen. Tokyo Bloom’s base is not an “anchor” but another floating element: superlight, well-blended woods with a hint of musk. Too bad Tokyo Bloom does not provide the promised gaiac wood aroma, so distinctive and beautiful. Tokyo Bloom is a “nice” mainstream/department store-type fragrance; it’s designed to be streamlined and inoffensive to all (it’s CLEAN). Like After Midnight, Tokyo Bloom smells feminine to me. For a fragrance on the light side, Tokyo Bloom has very good diffusion. Overall, Tokyo Bloom is a sheer, polite floral (in the Eaux de Cartier mode)

L’Esprit Cologne collection has lasting power in the 3-4 hour range; the fragrances are $120 for 90 ml (in refillable bottles). For buying information, see The Different Company under Perfume Houses.

1. The Guerlain Les Eaux collection includes Eau Imperiale, Eau de Coq, Eau de Guerlain and Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat.

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30 Comments

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  1. lucasai says:

    Thanks for your reviews Kevin. Samples of Sienne d’Orange and After Midnight are actually on their way to me along with other smelly pals to try.

    • Kevin says:

      L: you’re welcome…you’re on a sampling “roll”!

      • lucasai says:

        Since I started my own perfume related blog quite a lot of people offered to support me with samples and I’m very grateful for that. They really are a wonderful people.

        • Kevin says:

          L: yes, it’s nice to unload samples…more room!

        • dominika says:

          Nice blog :) Congrats, I see it’s doing well and getting a lot of comments.

          • lucasai says:

            Thanks! It’s doing really fine as for young, baby-blog.

  2. Abyss says:

    Thanks for the review, Kevin! Sienne d’Orange does sound rather interesting. No idea when I’ll get a chance to try this since it appears that, for whatever reason, TDC withdrew from UK completely.

  3. Marjorie Rose says:

    Am I reading too much into it that even the one you liked, you only had a single paragraph’s worth to say about it?

    • Kevin says:

      MR: to be honest … Usually a paragraph suffices!

  4. FragrantWitch says:

    I have to say after your opening paragraph, the actual descriptions read like Charlie Brown’s teacher sounded ‘waw waw waw wa waw’.
    Re- reading didn’t help much- they all sound bleh. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Kevin says:

      FE. As I said above, sometimes one paragraph is all it takes

  5. LACKNY says:

    Ha, maybe I need to get the wife to start a blog and get in on the samples. Love these articles . I am learning quite a bit. :)

    • Kevin says:

      Lac: ha! Samples are nice but they can take over your life!

  6. Dilana says:

    “Limon de Cordoza (bitter orange, mandarin zest, mint, neroli, freesia, patchouli, vetiver, gaiac wood)”
    Sigh. I had always thought of THe Difference Company as a perfectly rational firm with well made products (even if they never seemed quite tempting enough to buy).

    However, they apparently have joined the bandwagorn of ridiculous naming. Surely a fragrance called LImon … should have some hint of lemon, not just orange.

    • Kevin says:

      Dilana: easy marketing I guess…name a scent after a “romantic” place or exotic THING and hope it clicks. Usually we all scratch our heads after smelling such a scent.

  7. Emily says:

    I quite liked Sienne d’Orange, especially the carrot, and thought Tokyo Bloom was nice but nondescript. But I didn’t like Sienne enough to even think about spending the $120. For a light, fruity leather/musk scent, I’d much rather put the cash toward TDC Osmanthus.

    • Kevin says:

      Emily: yep…if Sd’O were half the price I’d get it…probably.

  8. sinnerman says:

    Thanks for the link to Eau Imperial ! Sounds like what I have been looking for !! Your the best Kevin !! Going to smell it at lunch today , can’t wait :)

    • Kevin says:

      Sinnerman: it’s a wonderful fragrance, but don’t expect it to last long on skin.

  9. Zubi says:

    Call me inexpensive, but the gourmand monster in me read “dessert” and went YUM! After Midnight!

    Also, how is it almost weekend again? We just finished the weekend! :(

    • Kevin says:

      Zubi: that dessert would give me a stomach ache! HA!

  10. nozknoz says:

    I realize you have to do the needful sometimes and review boring mainstream perfumes, but it’s just sad that a formerly high quality niche line would offer scents that smell like boring mainstream scents at niche prices – and so many at a time that it doesn’t even lend itself to one of your hilarious diss reviews! I just hope that you are planning to treat yourself to something really nice after this summer onslaught!

    • Kevin says:

      Noz: I HOPE SO! While I’m waiting for the new scent that knocks my socks off I think I’ll review some oldies but goodies.

  11. Thanks for the review. I love TDC. I notice the last couple of fragrances have not been created by Celine Ellena. I wonder how involved she is in the company these days? I’ll still go smell these, but I agree, they don’t look as interesting on paper as did other TDCs like Sel de Vetiver. I am not sure about the brightly coloured juice, but that’s just a personal thing.

    • Kevin says:

      Wmssl: don’t mind the colors…as long as I don’t have to see them all at once

  12. dominika says:

    I might be getting lazier with age, but four new releases to sample is just too ambitious a task for my tired limbs.

    • Kevin says:

      Dominika:agree completely

  13. kristinacologne says:

    I tried the Limon and Sienne and actually liked the Sienne a bit. It has a summery feel although I find it to be a little “shampooish”. No reason however to spend that amount of money. I appreciate the efforts of the house but to be honest, I haven’t fallen for any of their fragrances.

    • Kevin says:

      Kristina: I’ve never owned a DIFFERENT CO perfume either

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