Champaca Absolute by Tom Ford 2009


Post by Gabriella


Hello fragrant friends!

Well, we’ve been very lucky here in Sydney. It’s supposed to still be winter but we’ve had gloriously warm weather with some days reaching the mid-20 celsius level. As a result, some of my favourite winter perfumes have sadly been neglected and my big white florals that I save for the warmer months have been getting a good workout. Because of this I have been looking for something new for the summer months, something that still falls within the white floral category but has something that is just that little bit different.

Champaca Absolute by Tom Ford 2009

Champaca Absolute Tom Ford FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accordfs:
Top: Cognac, bergamot, dyer’s greenweed
Heart: Champaca, orchid, violet, jasmine
Base: Vanilla, amber, sandalwood, marron glace

My search led me to Tom Ford’s Champaca Absolute. I thought it would be the perfect choice as I already love Tom Ford’s grandiose aesthetic and adore his Black Orchid and Velvet Gardenia. Reading reviews, I was expecting a full-blown diva of a scent akin to the others. Champaca Absolute opens with a big blast of sweet booziness which quickly recedes before the bergamot and champaca come out to play. The citrus tempers the sweetness of the champaca and lends a joyous feel to the composition. One pictures the regal blooms of magnolia petals warmed by spring’s first rays of golden sunshine; their petals creamy but haughty, holding their poise within the liquid warmth and sprays of dust motes in the air.

Champaca Absolute Tom Ford Magnolia Tree Allen McGregor FlickrPhoto Stolen Allen McGregor Flickr

About half an hour in, the jasmine comes to the fore, further sweetening the composition. It is at this point where the perfume becomes lush, heady and vibrant. Despite the sweetness and fullness, Champaca Absolute still remains supremely elegant. It is very much a ladylike perfume and wouldn’t be out of place with a grey cashmere twinset and pearls.

The drydown, on my skin is still champaca, but with just a dab of vanilla. It quietens down quite considerably and I really don’t get the rich gourmand facets that many others speak of.

What I love most about Champaca Absolute is a sense of nostalgia. It takes me back to being eight years old, in my grandmother’s bathroom in England. It was my first trip overseas and it was a big adventure. She has lots of gorgeous bath and body products that I adored to sniff and explore and each morning, after her bath, I’d go in to wash my hands before going out for the day and the humid air would be filled with the most gloriously bright floral scent; a melange of my grandmother’s bath gel and dusting powder. Champaca Absolute is that smell to me.

Champaca Absolute Tom Ford purple bathroom betterhomeandgardenPhoto Stolen betterhomeandgarden

My only disappointment is that it’s not as loud or diva-esque as I’d expected. It wears extremely close to my skin and I want just that little bit more sillage and oomph. Perhaps it will when the mercury gets a bit higher. I expect hot flesh will give me that vava voom I so crave. If that happens, Champaca Absolute will be perfection.

Further reading: Perfume Smellin’ Things and Bois de Jasmin.
Champaca Absolute is available at David Jones in Australia $290/50ml (Most big city department stores with an Estee Lauder counter)
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml.

Have you tried Champaca Absolute? What are your favourite Tom Ford fragrances?

With much love till next time,

11 thoughts on “Champaca Absolute by Tom Ford 2009

  1. I used to have this. Loved it, but I did actually find it really loud, sweet, and cloying. The only ‘fume to give me a headache as a matter of fact. I miss it, it is gorgeous – as is your description – but sadly “not me.”


  2. You write so beautifully Madeleine,
    I wasn’t lemming on this, TILL NOW! I bet my skin sends it TOTALLY gourmand. I will try it.
    Portia xx


  3. Hi Madeleine!
    I had to look up dyer’s greenweed and was surprised to find that it is something similar to broom!
    I haven’t tried Champaca Absolute but you’re excellent review has me thinking I might.


  4. I like Champaca Absolute and enjoy wearing it but it is loud for my daily wear so if I want to put it on for the office I have to apply it really lightly.

    I’m a Tom Ford’s fan and there are about 10 perfumes from the brand that I like.


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