I'm nowhere near the end of my journey with Francesca Bianchi fragrances, but let me start at the beginning. In the beginning was Under My Skin, which I was immediately blown away by (review then elsewhere, but in short I thought - wow, this is already right off the bat the drydown of Chypre Palatin!), and after hearing that the FBs all have a similar backbone, I was pretty sure, ok, that's all I'll need then. Even when someone on a forum told me, watch out! - you order a sample set and poof you have several bottles of FBs standing at home! Nah, I felt relatively safe there and so (haha!) ordered several samples. Which have stuck with me ever since. (As I write this, there are two more bottles on their way to me from Italy right now. Q.E.D.)
But why is now my first comment of a FB fragrance the one about Etruscan Water? In short, because I fell in love with it very briskly. But not at first sight, not in the morning right after spraying it on, but in the afternoon, after I had already spent a whole day with it and suddenly perceived completely different facets. Also, it seems to me that this fragrance is getting a bit lost in the public perception next to the other FBs, and it doesn't deserve that.
To say it up front: for me, Etruscan Water is a masterpiece. A great chypre with a Bianchi touch, a finely honed David among all the rough-hewn fougères.
Because it starts as a chypre and then becomes a fougère, yes. Would I have thought a few years ago that I would ever wear a fougère let alone love one? No. But first came "Sartorial" by Penhaligons, and then this.
The opening already is a dream. I perceive citric notes and feel reminded of "New York Intense" by Parfums de Nicolai, but as if NYI had once been pulled through a fat liquid. And soon the so Bianchi-typical waxiness appears, what many here call their deoxyribonucleic acid. There's some sweetness (immortelle?) added to the lemony, but at no point does the scent get sticky. It's just sexy, smooth, and sexy again.
In the course, fine leather blows over every now and then when you move, but it's far from leather bangers like FB's The Black Knight (more on that in another place), but it's more like you're walking past a tannery, but it's been closed for a while for operational reasons. Plus oakmoss, which smells as if oakmoss had never been removed from the list of ingredients by the IFRA, flanked by spices and flowers, perfectly orchestrated.
From early afternoon onwards, the oakmoss and vetiver clearly emerge. And yes, I'm not hiding it, from this point on, Etruscan Water is a derringer. I even get a hairspray vibe every now and then. But, and this is the great thing: there's nothing artificial about it. Yes, it britzelt now and then in the nose, so sprays the, but that's just how it is when you press your trunk into the forest floor.
Etruscan Water is very good to wear in winter, even in very cold temperatures, as I have found in recent weeks. This surprised me at first, because I had imagined something cool, refreshing with the fragrance name. Etruscan water, however, is more like one that flows over an ancient stone (e.g. the David in Florence), already slightly mossy, while the salty air of the sea from the Maremma wafts in from afar. Of course, I'm also looking forward to wearing it in high summer, because I'm willing to bet that it will then reveal completely new facets.
My goodness, it's nice when a fragrance really grabs you! One of the two YouTubers from Wafts From the Loft (Joe?) once said - and he's damn right - Francesca Bianchi's fragrances are united by the fact that they don't act like perfumes. When you meet someone wearing FB, you don't say, "Oh, what are you wearing?" you say approvingly, "Wow, you smell good!" That's it. These fragrances become one with their wearer.
"Wow, you smell good!" At least, that's what I always tell myself when I meet myself while wearing Francesca Bianchi.