Sunday, 6 July 2014

A perfume house under a bushel - Tom Kosmala Rose Amber Musk review

Couldn't find a bushel
As mentioned in my last post, my friend Clare surprised me with a birthday gift of a bottle of a perfume from a house I had never heard of - Rose Amber Musk by Tom Kosmala. Kosmala is a British independent perfumer, whose scent collection seems to be available exclusively at the Apple Tree Market in Covent Garden, though I found the odd additional outlet for his cute looking soaps at least. These are shaped like cupcakes, and may be the products for which Kosmala is currently better known.  They feature a goodly number of what we used to refer to in my food marketing days as 'particulates'. Oh, and judging by this photo, he is also rather easy on the eye, in a dashing, Tom Ford / Terence Stamp kind of a way..

I didn't manage to find a note listing for Rose Amber Musk, for example, but I am assuming there is a clue in the name.  To my nose it reminds me vividly of Ralph Lauren's extravagant rose perfume, Love, that I once tried in Harrods and have never seen since - perhaps a tad less sweet, but plush and opulent like Love.  


Notes: Chinese magnolia, mimosa, Bulgarian rose, ylang-ylang, May rose, amber, iris root, patchouli, vetiver, musk and vanilla.

Photo courtesy of Ian Phillips-McClaren
If you are not familiar with that particular fragrance, imagine the 'love' child of the original Stella McCartney and Narciso Rodriguez For Her, give it a luxe twist, and you won't go far wrong. Shades of Guerlain Idylle as well - the original one I mean, if anyone can remember that far upstream.

All three key notes are readily discernible, and while Rose Amber Musk smells straightforward like its name, it does come off as luxurious. I could almost picture it as a Roja Dove creation - 'Rose Amber Musk Extrait', say ;) - for the ingredients feel very high quality. Yes, I will wear it quite happily - good spot, Clare!

Rose particulates ~ Source: Lang Yee via Pinterest
Now not only is Tom Kosmala very much under the perfumista radar, but his footprint in Google is light to point of imperceptible, and I was able to glean next to nothing about this house on the Internet. I found a Tom Kosmala who is a a field engineer with 1'st Rail, but I am guessing that isn't our man. At the time of writing the brand doesn't appear to have its own website, and I can find no note of prices on the Covent Garden page for the store. I guess I could ask Clare, but that would be rather impolite! When I compare Tom Kosmala's low key marketing approach to Liz Moore's careful nurturing of her brand on social media in the run up to the Papillon Perfumery launch, the contrast couldn't be more marked. Though maybe that is all about to change...?

Well, I ended up ringing the professional portrait photographer who took this shot, Ian Phillips-McClaren - first off to ask his permission to use it, for he seemed to be the only source of images on the Internet(!) - and secondly to ask him if he knew any more about this rather reclusive nose.

A pro like Ian would have lost the bit of teal sofa in the corner

I learnt from my chat with Ian that Kosmala has a new range in the wings, soon to be launched in the Middle East, and comprising two scents - one for day and one for evening - in an extremely high end presentation. The scents come in highly lacquered boxes - one white, one black - lined with sumptuous red velvet. Perhaps Kosmala will be majoring on the export scene and the UK perfumes - why, I don't even know what other scents are available here! - were more of a toe in the water before the big push overseas. Time will tell, perhaps.

Ever the interviewer, I quizzed Clare herself about her visit to the store. She confirmed that she had met Kosmala, who was very chatty and friendly and surrounded by an eager throng of customers / admirers. She recalled there being other scents in the line, but couldn't name a single one. Half a job, Clare!

So... if you like rose scents in the general territory of Vera Wang, Chloe, RL Love, Stella, NR For Her or Guerlain Idylle, I would imagine there's a good chance you'd like Rose Amber Musk. Like a fragrant Ronseal, it 'smells what it says on the bottle'.


Asali said...

Wow, a great buy from your friend. It all sounds very interesting, even if perhaps this rose centred perfume might not be for me. And it's always nice when an independent nose has a good eye too, the bottles are beautiful.

Vanessa said...

Hi Asali,

Yes, although I am always warning people off blind buying perfume for friends, this one worked out great - I don't possess any of the perfumes I said Rose Amber Musk resembles, or at only in sample / small decant form.

I like the bottle too and such a handy size - I am guessing that it is probably 30ml but there is absolutely no writing on the glass whatsoever except for the name of the perfume. ;)

Tara said...

Clare did good! I can really imagine what it must smell like from your comparison with those other perfumes, albeit of a much higher quality. Maybe we could check out the shop and visit Nick in Covent Garden when we get together with Val.

Very unusual not to have a presence on the web these days. I bet those cupcake soaps are popular though!

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Didn't she just! Ooh, it might be fun to pop in if Covent Garden is on our likely circuit. It is close to Nick as you say.

Yes, I did find it odd about the website, but maybe a new one is about to spring forth, also including the new export collection?

AustralianPerfumeJunkies said...

I would be WAY TOO SCARED to buy you a frag Vanessa. What if you hated it, or worse it was MEH? The shame.
This looks like the real deal though, how lucky.
Next time I'm over I will trot down to Covent Garden and have a sniff, instead of getting stuck in the purple tea store that I can spend hours sniffing in.
Portia xx

Vanessa said...

Hi Portia,

Haha - I think we fumeheads are rather reticent in that regard, and I would be the same. I am glad, however, that Clare took this leap of faith, as it all worked out fine in the end.

Hmm, I am not familiar with the purple tea store in Covent Garden but am thinking I'd quite fancy being stuck in it myself!

Undina said...

Your friend is so brave! I wouldn't dare to gift you with a perfume. But I'm glad it worked out.

I've never heard about that brand before but I'm always rooting for small houses. Go Tom Cosmala!

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Brave is the word! I think it shows that Clare is not so far along her perfumista j****** to have developed a hang up about giving perfume to people. ;)

Yes, it is nice to support small houses. Will try and look in next time I am in Covent Garden.