After teasing us with a promise of Spring, the weather seems to have gone for one last arctic-cold winter hurrah. Luckily, this is the perfect temperature to test out Tolu.
Tolu smells a bit like Christmas pudding to me; spicy, rich and a little bit boozy. This is an excellent example of an oriental scent done well and elegantly; I don't get strangled by oily sandalwood, and it manages to be sultry but not dirty-smelling. If you've liked fragrances like Obsession and Opium, Tolu is well worth a sniff.
The base of this perfume is the focus of it; tolu (a peruvian tree resin) is blended with frankincense, amber and tonka bean. I don't smell a lot of the floral heart (orchid, rose and muguet) but I can certainly appreciate the juniper, orange blossom and clary sage top notes that give a velvety clarity to the overall composition and prevent it from being overpowering. While it isn't my sort of perfume (I generally prefer less heady/woody scents), I can appreciate the deftness of the blending, and if I had to wear an oriental, I'd pick this one. ;)
I can't imagine myself wearing this if the temperature was anywhere near double digits in celsius - it works in icy cold weather, and is the olfactory equivalent of wearing a layer of cashmere head to toe, but I would find it too heavy on me in warmer weather. If you live somewhere cold, or have a body chemistry that works well with orientals, this is a lovely one to try.
Summary - a beautiful oriental, but definitely an oriental, which rules it out for regular use for me. I was curious about it from the many excellent reviews, which is the beauty of the Discovery Set; I was able to try it out, admire the craftswork in it, but rule it out as full-bottle material for me.
Disclosure: sample is part of a Discovery Set sent to me for consideration for review.