The sample of this fragrance was talked up to me in the souk with the same arguments that are commonly used in the souk of Agadir or in the bed linen shop in Berlin-Zehlendorf: You'll have a lot of fun with that one, it's always taken with great pleasure, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Accordingly, I approached the test listlessly, especially as I was bothered by the pompous name: the essence, the epitome, the essence, as if this were the liquefaction of the philosopher's stone. Had I still known at the time that the seven A's, who almost always have the same cologne taste as me (Parma, Yatagan, Salva), Essenza here all rated rather ungädig, the sample might have gone straight into the nomadic box.
Fortunately, I tested Essenza yet (on Christmas Eve), because this substance comes for me very close to the fully realized implementation of the idea of a classic cologne expanded into a full-fledged perfume. Similar to the AdP classic from 1916, it is indeed a colonia in name, but the projection is considerable for it, the fragrance fabric is firm and dense and the shelf life is about six hours.
Essenza opens with a powerful, richly radiant, classic Agrumorama, which vibrates, sounds and reverberates, as if the well-trained abbot had struck the three-meter cologne gong of the temple before dawn with a club swing directly from the Hara. Even at that moment, Frau von Spee, although just engrossed in complete self-absorption in a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle (Toronto city panorama), came forward from the background with her first expressions of enthusiasm.
In the further (very dynamic) course shows even better perhaps than in the recently commented set Hermès classic, how to do it right, the classic simple Farina formula enriched by floral, spicy and woody chords. Namely, in a way that retains the character as a cologne, but adds more color, density and depth, and builds it into a proper progression. And not in such a way that the cologne sinks as such. Compositionally, it's like turning a terse novel (we're not talking The Magic Mountain or The Dream of the Red Chamber) into a redundancy-free eight-hour movie. Chapeau.
I take it in this order, without any discordant breaks or ever completely losing sight of the fresh-citrusy feel, that after the brilliant symphonic-hesperidic opening, the phases are roughly as follows: a citrusy-floral phase (jasmine and rose definitely not distracting, barely noticeable, smells more like cheerful florals to me, adding richness and softness to the citrus, in the style of violets and lilies of the valley), a longer clovey-spicy episode (well noticeable but never dominant, Essenza is no Old Spice), then a gradual turn into green-spicy-woody-mossy (with slight sweetness) and then a cheerful-woody finish.
No unpleasant musky fluffiness or sunscreen on me. An absolutely convincing fragrance experience and a clear: "buy the" vote on the part of the owner of the 50% share package (plus golden share) in the Spee AG. Conclusion: I join this time not the A faction, but Chizza and Fittleworth (and many others, such as Bastian last), who have given this fragrance very good marks.
As a postscript, it seems to me that the fragrance is at least as much an Almairac as a Parma. A closer look at the perfumer reveals that the olfactory equivalent of a frequent writer was at work here. Almairac is listed here with 186 (!) fragrances - and that's practically not a whole series, no, he's worked for about 70 brands (I imagine him as a traveling zampano who certainly needs an agent to handle business). The labels he's touched fragrances for range from "car trash and car crash" (Porsche, Jaguar, Bentley, Mercedes) to "bling bling" (Gucci, Escada, Montblanc), the "models and fashionistas" genres (Jil Sander, Jette Joop, Naomi Campbell) and "chronic bronchitis" (Davidoff, Dunhill) to the respectable "classics" (Rochas, Shiseido, van Cleef & Arpels) and "niche" (Le Labo, L'Artisan Parfumeur) departments, as well as the special "brands I've never heard of" category (Anna Sui, Ghost, Emeshel). His work includes Zen by Shiseido (quasi-signature of Mrs. von Spee) and Bottega Veneta women's version (I love wearing it).
Merry Christmas to you all, especially from the bottom of my heart to those who have to spend the holidays alone, whether once due to pandemic or repeatedly for other reasons!