I popped into the ZARA shop before dinner one late evening, I saw the newbies from Swedish Collection, and I spritzed some of the Tiveden on to test it, and for the rest of the night, I could not stop sniffing my wrist. It was masculine, and it was tad feminine, it was smoky, it was woody, it was leathery, it was shape-shifting in my nostrils, it was elegant but edgy, it was sophisticated but down-to-earth. In summary, it was love, pure love.
Now that I've smelled the smoky-powdery-leathery vibes of ZARA Tiveden, I'm addicted. I'm taking solace that, because no one in my office wears it yet, I'm still kind of a special snowflake.
For one thing, despite the Swedish name, I find this to be a predominantly leather-focused scent, with salty, green cucumbers or better pickles quality that is almost aquatic. It opens with a powerful blast of green cardamom, with its pungent yet elusive flavor, resinous and dark with hints of eucalyptus, sea salt, leather, and that aqueous herbal element. Perhaps, there is a tad of tarragon or drill in the headnotes, not listed on the official site.
What makes a fragrance intriguing is when it evokes a specific time, a certain place, or a particular material while remaining elusively vague. ZARA Tiveden is intensely masculine: full of raw, oily leather and balsam. It makes me think of a lifestyle concept store – one of those deep-toned, white empty studio spaces where they place a tangle of dried white driftwood in one corner and a long leather couch in the other. Close your eyes, breathe, and let your mind go in there.
Much later on, in the far dry down, there is the aroma of the raw and brusquely woods, and it is only then I see the reference to sandalwood. But, in general, this is dry and woody-leathery, not lactonic or sweet. The more I sniff it, the more I get the unusual smell of genuine leather exuding from a brand new handmade coat, belt, or pair of shoes.
It reminds me of books, too. In particular in the raw, harsh chemical breeze of salt, which ultimately comes off as a combination of freshly-tanned leather and newly-printed paper.
Oh man, no question about it. With superior performance to boot, this is another winning hand from the house of ZARA. Well done! Be sure to give it a chance before damning it after the first sniff – you might eventually enjoy it!
Ultimately, the smell lies on the masculine side and can be worn well in the fall. It's a warm, woodlike smell that I found surprisingly identical to the way the forest smells after it rains. It captures the scent of damp earth, ferns, creek water, cedar, and wet leather. Woodsy like the aroma of the freshly-cut wood you get in a sawmill or lumber mill, where logs are cut into lumber... Ever been to a lumber yard? It's that scent. Beautiful woods just cut. It's terrific and entirely wearable.
At this point, it's weird if someone doesn't smell like Tiveden by ZARA!!!
Update: longevity and sillage are enormous. I've been wearing it since 8.00 am, and after almost 7 hours, it is still alive and kicking, and I do love it!