Perfume Directory

Richard James (2003)
by Richard James


Richard James information

Year of Launch2003
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 142 votes)

People and companies

HouseRichard James
PerfumerYves Cassar
Parent CompanyAspects Beauty Company > Juniper

About Richard James

Richard James is a masculine fragrance by Richard James. The scent was launched in 2003 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Yves Cassar

Reviews of Richard James

Richard James Savile Row (2003) is an interesting fragrance from an interesting "new establishment" tailor whose name is on the bottle. Richard James the person is best known for helping revitalize then-sagging interest in bespoke suit tailoring from the storied street of Savile Row, by utilizing high-contrast fabric colors and modern silhouettes, while the fragrance is not really known at all. Those who do know and appreciate Richard James Savile Row the fragrance see it for what it is: a then-chic "metrosexual" male interpretation of a typically female-oriented floral oriental perfume genre with an odd focus on tuberose. Yes, that's correct: Richard James Savile Row is a "floriental" fragrance with tuberose at the core, styled and sold for the men's market. At the time it made perfect sense because Queer Eye for the Straight Guy had just launched on TV, and suddenly heterosexual men all across the Western world wanted form-fitting clothes, accessories like scarves or messenger bags (the latter to stand in for purses), and other aesthetic choices like music or taste in cinema to show that they were more emotionally sensitive and in tune with their "feminine side". As a queer guy myself, I groaned and went along for the fun, using the "cover" of all these CISHET guys in skinny jeans trading in their Folgers for barista coffee and Pantera CDs for folk music as a way to live comfortably in my own skin a little more until the fad was over and homophobia became the norm again in my home town. Since fragrance so often does follow fashion because the same houses produce both, it's no surprise that sweet gourmands, sour candy ozonics, and stuff like Richard James Savile Row came to pass on the men's market, but this particular blip on the radar did not have the push of something from a designer because it came from a tailoring house. You still see bottles of it around, but this stuff was not a success at all. I do love the very Halston-like "pinched" bottle shape though.

The overall theme of Richard James Savile Row is similar to a traditional barbershop fougère, meaning it's rich and comforting, with sweetness and a bit of spice to counter the austerity of the aromatics and powder, but it's not a fougère. Instead we see the classic women's "floriental" style of something like Houbigant Chantilly (1941) subverted into a barbershop context, complete with some aromachemical magic to replicate the advertised "clean starched shirt accord" (an aldehyde), taking nods from Chanel Platinum Égoïste (1993). The opening is a mix of this aforementioned aldehyde, which offers a clean metallic zing, and some sweet citruses. Bergamot and orange find themselves bringing in ginger and herbs like basil and rosemary. Ginger was not a popular note in masculine fragrances at the time either, making this opening very odd, but soon petitgrain dries things out. Note pyramids across the internet list tea here, but I don't get any of that myself, although the tuberose becomes pretty obvious after the first ten minutes, folding into rose, lavender, and muguet for a dandy floral accord spiced with coriander and cardamom. At this phase, Richard James Savile Row feels like a mix between Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche pour Homme (2003), and Calvin Klein Obsession for Men (1986), but with the tuberose of a Sophia Grojsman perfume. Richard James Savile Row heads into the oriental dry down before too long, becoming a single blended opaque accord once the base comes through. Patchouli, sandalwood, amber, oakmoss, leather, musk, and a "who's who" of rich mulled notes comes through, with just a bit of vetiver and tobacco to steer the ship masculine enough to pass muster. The tuberose is always there, so haters of the note should keep this in mind, but the final experience is one of rich warmth with touches of sweetness, spice, and wood. Wear time on Richard James Savile Row is long enough for a work day, but something this formal and sophisticated feels too dressed up for a standard office environment unless you're the proprietor of the business.

Best in cooler months, Richard James Savile Row also feels more like evening wear because the coziness of the spices and woods, the sweetness of the citruses, and the fleshy musky nature of tuberose. The guy still wearing this stuff long after the metrosexual craze ended must be a guy who has it as a signature or secret weapon for date nights, the genteel fellow who fancies showing a bit of sensitivity in his stylistic choices, or just someone who collects and enjoys oddities altogether. Richard James Savile Row would be discontinued in favor of a "cologne" range of less-blended and more-conventional flavors including lavender this, vetiver that, and you know the drill here. Right alongside Murdock, Jack Black, Penhaligon's, Art of Shaving, and others of this ilk, the current Richard James lineup feels more oriented for the high-end men's grooming craze than as the luxuriant fragrant accessory for a bespoke suit that this scent definitely was. I think more than the gender-bending chic of the day, Richard James Savile Row comes across luxurious from perfumer Yves Cassar (Vice President Senior Perfumer for IFF under Grojsman), who is more known for his commercial releases from brands like Avon. Cassar also make Tom Ford for Men (2007), so I guess this isn't too much of a stretch, and the closest thing to it still available is the much-pricier 1740 Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfum (2000) or hard-to-find Caswell-Massey Tricorn (1941), so that's something at least. An oddly flirtatious but ostensibly formal fluke from a decidedly nontraditional tailor who dresses celebrities, Richard James Savile Row is one of those "inversion of standards" type things you can only appreciate if you're weird enough to want it, just don't pay a lot to try it out. This isn't something I see myself reaching for often because tuberose and me have a complicated relationship, but when it's good, it's right-in-the-pocket good. Thumbs up.
16th August, 2020
A less intense slightly more floral Invasion Babare - which is really odd as there’s no vanilla listed in the notes. But the similarity is extraordinary. This is definitely stands up as a scent in its own right though - the Bourbon vanilla in IB can get a bit over-powering after a while whereas this is softer and more subtle.

11th October, 2019
Remarkable fragrance at a very attractive price. And I'm totally in favour of florals for men. Tempted to buy, but haven't yet: it's just a bit too linear tuberose (or "banana jasmine" as I call it), and I'm not sure I would use it much. But very highly recommended.
01st July, 2019
Really didn't give this one much of a chance when I first tried it. I think I was going through a stage of sampling far too much and it got lost among other fragrances. That was my mistake.

Bottom line is that this is one of the greatest floral's I have ever worn. Also a masculine floral which is quite a rarity.

Before we get to note breakdowns and so on It's important to understand that this is a clean and formal fragrance. There are a lot of mentions of this being a white shirt fragrance and I can see where they are coming from.

Various floral's and a tuberose note are noticeable on the initial blast. Those notes do hang around for the entirety but are dialed back after the first 30 minutes. A soft almost soapy tobacco comes into play along side a very impressive ginger note at the half way stage. The final dry down consists of tuberose/florals, tobacco, ginger and woods. The composition always remains clean and sparkling.

Projection is around average but longevity is excellent lasting a whole work day.


09th February, 2019 (last edited: 19th December, 2019)
Savile Row is easy to like. Having been released in 2003, it was ahead of its time in its heavy use of ginger, a note that would come to dominate the 2000s in similar releases like Dolce & Gabanna The One and Dior Homme Sport 2012. The One toned down the florals and amped up the cardamom, while Dior Homme Sport 2012 removed the tobacco and amped up the ginger to breaking point. This trend peaked with the release of Tom Ford For Men, which is essentially a grown-up Savile Row with high-grade materials and the butch-factor turned up to 11.

Savile Row opens impressively with a rush of supercharged molecules that have a passing resemblance to bergamot, rosemary and cardamom. When this opening accord exits after 45 seconds, the tobacco appears briefly for a few minutes, smelling faintly like cigarette smoke in a room. Then follows a mandarin-ginger accord that also smells great, supported by a floral mix that is pleasant but indistinct, and a tad plasticky or rubbery. Ofcourse tuberose has this rubbery facet, but a tuberose lover will be disappointed by the effort made here to represent tuberose even though the fragrance itself continues to smell good. In the later stages, 5 hours in, a smooth patchouli interacts with amber and suede and a mossy note. Thankfully Savile Row does not falter at these late stages, becoming cozy and seductive.

It’s a shame that discontinued prices are now hovering around the $90-$100 USD because at that price I’d rather buy a discounted bottle of The One or upgrade to a discounted bottle of Tom Ford For Men.
06th August, 2018
I got a decant of this as it's hard to find in the US at this time. I was hoping to like this, and I wasn't disappointed. It is fresh, slightly synthetic, but enjoyable. It's funny, but I get a bit of a dryer sheet vibe from Savile Row...but I still like it. Petitgrain can smell like that to me at times depending on what it's blended with. This has a classy feel to it and I think it would fit well in a coat and tie setting.
15th November, 2017

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Life by James Fox; Keith Richards

US • Buy it now: USD 4.09.

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