Well, yes and no.
Black Tie is part of the Haute Parfumerie collection Celine launched in 2019. Celine is normally known more for their ultra-high end luxury apparel, ranging from clothing to bags. While Celine had dabbled in perfumery in the 1960’s, most people would more likely confuse Celine Dion’s personal fragrance line, Celine, with the fashion house. Which is…. quite a big leap in perceived quality. Fashion trends and branding have become an increasingly significant factor in perfume, so before we jump into Black Tie, let’s talk about Celine’s position in the fashion industry and why it stands apart.
Celine does not fall in the Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada level of luxury on the brand pyramid. No, Celine is up on the Hermès tier (you might even argue higher as Hermès bags have been thoroughly saturated by celebrity culture closet walkthrough videos) with price tags to boot. Y’all, a sports bra from Celine is going to cost you a cool $490. A tweed jacket will run at least $3100. If you’re in the market for one of their logoless bags, look to plunk down at least a few grand.
Yes, this is cheaper than what the brand Hermès can charge for their bags, upwards of $8000+. But it goes back to the perceived value. Right now, Hermès is very popular in celebrity culture which means it’s popular in mass culture, and that “shine” is dimmed a tad as far as “pure luxury” goes.
It follows the same trend of Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton making “affordable luxury” which eventually saw them with the problem of having lost that “true” luxury edge, as opposed to being a trendy name brand to emblazon. Hermès is on the cusp of that, yet Celine has somewhat avoided it staying more firmly parked in the realm of exclusive. They don’t overly label showy goods and still tend to stick with products that you’d see “Old Money” or “ultra-wealthy” move towards.
Long story short, they still mostly trade in making quality, long-lasting items that work for individuals and their lifestyles. They’re not in the game of putting out brand items that people feel compelled to buy just because they’re popular and want to chase after social status. Luxury shouldn’t be about chasing the trendiest labels to keep up with the Joneses and put on an air of “having arrived.” Luxury is getting high-quality, long-lasting items that work for you and your lifestyle.
So off the soapbox and back to the fragrances! Celine launched its first fragrance line in decades in the year 2019. There is no mistaking Celine’s high brand for Celine Dion’s. And, in a later article, I’m going to weigh in on quality between Celine’s line of fragrances and the stuff coming out of Hermès, but I’ve already delved into that too much for this piece.
I’ve gotten my nose on several Celine fragrances, and Black Tie certainly carries the feeling of “quality” to it at first glance, but does it hold up? Let’s look at the notes first.
Black Tie Notes
White orris butter, cedar, tree moss, vanilla, musk.
Seems simple enough, but how does it smell?
Well, honestly, smells like a much sweeter version of one of my all-time favorite perfumes from Folie À Plusieurs, Kafka on the Shore. I still uphold that fragrance is the ultimate book scent, and Black Tie does have some elements of that.
But the vanilla note that offers a hint of old book sweetness in Kafka is far more prominent here, and that makes quite a bit of difference. I’ve said many times that vanilla can be one of my death notes, and here it certainly does turn sickly sweet on me after about 15 minutes.
Unfortunate, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for others! That’s just how my body chemistry works! That said, objectively, it’s a magnificently blended scent that easily fits the name Black Tie – it’s refined, sweet, and woody. Black Tie is something you’d wear to a special event. Also, the performance for Black Tie is nothing to sneeze at, both sillage and longevity-wise. Expect a good 6 hours from this scent.
Now, let’s take a look at the price. They fit what you’d expect coming from a luxury brand of this caliber, and you’re going to plunk down $220 if you want a 100 mL bottle of this. Furthermore, like Chanel, you will not find any of their perfumes on discount sites. This also means the samples are harder to find, and will not run cheap. Rich & Luxe does offer the Haute Parfumerie line, but you’re going to be dropping $15.99 for a 1 mL sample.
While Black Tie didn’t work for me (purely because vanilla is a death note with my chemistry), I could see this being delightful for others who have the funds to spend on it. If you do want an alternative that lacks the sweeter punch but is friendlier on the wallet, (which is still one of only 3 of my 5-star ranked scents) you can check out Kafka on the Shore for $157.
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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based on house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.