Italian Cypress by Tom Ford

Woody and aromatic. The epitome of Italian class.

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© 2014 Liam Sardea


The overlooked prodigy in the Private Blends line by Tom Ford, this chypre is a living relic of what the seventies was (from what I’ve been told).

Italian Cypress has a soft yet powerful aura to it that makes it instantaneously appropriate for formal occasions. It’s also very retro, as Italian Cypress is very different to many other fragrances I own and on the market today; I dare say it is green, but that evokes a sort of ‘clean’ freshness that isn’t really what I’m looking for. It wraps itself in robust citruses, herbs and spices and eventually reveals the heart of Italian wood.  It’s somewhat a ‘slow-burn’ or a gradual release fragrance that changes – but changes very little and very slowly. I think the ingredients in this blend is elaborate but homogenise together nicely to present fewer things than what you’d expect.

Italian cypress delivers an air of Italian coolness; and in contrast to say, a French cool or mild quasi-pompousness, we have the deadly, but very minimal gentlemanly Italian style. A man who is rooted in tradition; with a barbershop haircut slicked with brylcreem. The silent, but present type with a demeanour so assertive no words are needed, but perhaps just a deadly glare from across the room (sipping negronis of course).

The heart of the fragrance, cypress and woods; sways away from the coniferous archetype. It isn’t dry, piney or bitter in the long run, but very smooth indeed, as the dark woods create a hearty and mellow edge in contrast to the tantalising top notes. Italian Cypress opens with the coniferous archetype however and this only lasts for a moment or so. It’s a blast of everything to come that is invariably discordant and a little contentious, with a bit of savoury basil at the top, spicy clove in the mix, woods asserting themselves and happy-go-lucky spearmint sending a shock-bang reawakening to the senses.

The robust Italian bergamot works beautifully with the lively pepperiness of fresh green basil with its mildly anise-esque scent profile, of course this is propped up even more with refreshing and exotic spearmint. The most impressive part of the opening is the herbaceous note of basil that (whilst it is a little discorded) shifts from the soapy scent of an Italian barbershop, tickled with the dry arrangement coniferous woods.  Very green; in an Italian way.

The clove then asserts its presence but never discriminates. It’s incredibly warming and shifts away from the Italian side of things. The clove gives the fragrance a gourmand light cinnamon vibe, with the natural intoxicating sweetness of clove aromatically shining. It wraps itself in the heart of woods and resins around a beautiful cypress body.

Just on that note, this fragrance also has a cinnamon doughnut vibe (don’t laugh) – warm, fresh, sweet (not sickly!) and flavoured with piquant spice. Concurrently, the barbershop sense I receive, in which I envisage hot towel shaves with straight razors and ‘ol fashioned scented pomade reminds me of Old Spice Cologne. Nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, or collectively warm spice notes. Old school never smelt so good.

If you don’t like to be the centre of attention, but of course want to smell undeniably good, groomed, clean…etc Italian Cypress is the way to go. Graceful and humble. This certainly isn’t lax either, don’t look like a slob wearing this.

A welcome retro coolness; people always say it was better back then, if 1970’s Italy smelt like this I’ll be aghast that I missed my chance to experience this. Nasally pleasing (basil is contender for my favourite note, lavender being my favourite); I am very impressed with this one.

Totally underrated. Classssssssssy. 

Subjective rating : 5/5

Objective rating: 4/5

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