Amaretti (plural) are bitter almond flavored Italian macarons that can have a texture ranging from soft, the one I like most, and chewy to crispy. Amaretti can be found throughout Italy with each region claiming to have “the best” version of this cookie. Without a doubt, the most famous commercially sold Amaretti are made by the Lazzaroni family in the city of Saronno located in the Northern area of Lombardy: Amaretti di Saronno. They are beautifully wrapped Amaretti that come packaged in an easily recognizable red tin can.
I know, you 're probably wondering "what's Amaretti got to do with this scent?" Well, bitter almond, what else? That is the star ingredient in New Brand Free Man. It's an unusual material, in the realms of masculine perfumery at least - and suddenly we're nuts for this nut. Noteworthy, bitter almond is not from nut family, yet it is the superior bitter apricot kernel, the source, rather confusingly, for bitter almond.
Let's get back to what we were meant to review, NB Free Man is an aromatic, gourmand, and woody fragrance, yet a bit oriental that moves away from the fresh, zestiness redolences to something much deeper, richer and dare I say, a little bit cheekier, with notes of cedar wood, patchouli, vetiver, leather, vanilla, orange flower, rosemary, bergamot.... and bitter almond, of course. Here the bitter almond is addictive, masculine - but not sweet.
At a first whiff, a pleasant blast of aromatic and balsamic accord caresses your nostril and capture your attention, rich of rosemary, orange blossom, and bitter orange; the resinousness, sweetness, and bitter zestiness are perfectly balanced and offer sparkling and perfectly fresh top notes.
The bitter almond is quite striking at first, coming out of the bottle all dark and bitter with a syrupy orange blossom undercurrent that adds a touch of stickiness to the proceedings. There is some citrus in the opening, something vaguely lemony and powdery, to stop that bitter almond note from becoming too edible, but for the most part, the initial stages are about rosemary and cherry-like accord.
As soon as the top notes calm down, a bittersweet gourmand aroma of bitter almond and sweet tonka bean starts off. Here you get the beauty of an incredibly sensual “amaretto” heart note based on an almond/tonka bean duo. If you are anything like me, you won't stop moving your wrist close to your nose whishing you could bite that fragrant macaron... I might be wrong, but I get a gentle floral note in the heart, perhaps a sort of elegant Bulgarian rose.
The strength of a woody base note is definitely masculine, with a whisper of smoky vetiver, mild cedar, and modern leather, which give a contemporary interpretation. It is an appealing blend of leathery notes and sandalwood, finally lifted by frankincense and vanilla. After the first hour or so, the bitter almond facet fades and the scent becomes the domain of vanilla. It has a tonka bean-like odor with hay-like and anise nuances. lacking sweetness and accented by a hazy splash of cocoa. The overall impression is warm, resinous and rich without ever becoming obnoxious, cloying or likely to cause indigestion. The balance is pretty much spot on!
The bottle, yeah the beautiful and minimal bottle, square shoulders, facetted and streamlined, luxurious. Radical matte black lacquer side faces. A decidedly masculine, heavy cap that is also matte and borrows its guilloché detailing from the world of watchmaking, NB, which is even impressed on top of the sprayer. This the kind of seductive and admirable scent that will no doubt turn the heads of friends and lovers alike... I swear, when I tested it a few days ago I got compliments from the security guard who was sealing my bag before entering a store, "You smell so damn good man, what are you wearing?"... that was a couple of sprays I tested on my forearm... To me, the finished scent has undertones of amaretto, woody, and leather that make it well suited for eveningwear and the coming colder months.