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Mata Hari, Greta Garbo, Portrait Of A Diva

If I think of Rome, the Trevi fountain immediately comes to mind, and its sequence in Fellini’s film “La Dolce Vita”. “Marcello, comes here. Hurry up! “- Five words in English that anyone still recognizes immediately today. We listen to them, and in a few seconds, the image of a beautiful woman taking a bath in the Trevi fountain materializes in our minds. That said, the Trevi Fountain sequence in La Dolce VitaLa Dolce Vita comes close to this definition. So iconic and eternal, capable of being recognized even by those who are not diehard cinephiles. But it is not Anita Ekberg that I think of if I imagine ALV Roma wearing a diva; instead, I attribute it to Greta Garbo. Of an elegant but androgynous, melancholy, and mysterious beauty, Greta will remain in the collective imagination as a veritable goddess who came down to Earth to embody disenchanted and predominant female figures. “Garbo has always aroused great awe in her solemn face of an empress nun who commanded great respect”, Federico Fellini said of her, while Roland Barthes called her a face “of snow and solitude”.

ALV Roma is rich, elegant, enveloping, opulent, and expresses the eternal city: strong, with a thousand faces, always sunny. The development is pleasant, reminiscent of the walks to the Imperial Forums or the Spanish Steps, with memories that emerge from the past and merge with the present. Everything is there, the Colosseum at night, and the St. Peter’s Basilica. Your perfume of Roman holidays.

Its top notes transmit a sensation of freshness while a bright, floral, and woody breeze floats indulgently throughout this scented dream. There is a blast of citrus fruits, with a dominant bittersweet mandarin orange. The hesperidic accord shares the initial stage with warm and piquant pink pepper and sweetish ylang-ylang. The yellow exotic blossom is opulent, pretentious, and noticeable from the beginning to the end; it is very outstanding on me, so stay away if that note bothers you. Right off the bat, I get a kind of minty vibe akin to green cardamom, which lasts for a while. The perfumer threw three spicy notes into the mix. Cinnamon, white pepper, and cardamom mix in bright citrus fruits that shade the sunshine and provide contrast. Many times the spices overwhelm the citrus, but here they hold on and purr with energy, taming the citrus and floral aspects, and the result is agreeable.

From the heart appears a permeating floral burst of dusty iris, closer to baby powder than lipstick, not so too carnal tuberose, perhaps muted by a resinous incense, and sweet cinnamon. All these notes are familiar and reassuring, like the streets of the center of Rome with the shiny asphalt. It is a heady, narcotic, and sweetish floral arrangement, taking its wearer to distant exotic locales. The floral heart seems to last the longest in the fragrance's evolution, providing with it an alluring and sultry charm. The blossoms provide the same effect as the spices did in the top notes by curtailing the expansiveness of the tuberose and keeping it more compact in its effect. This time the tuberose subdues instead of shimmering. This is the trace left by a noblewoman sitting in Rome's most beautiful streets, a coffee Mistress, Greta Garbo of vanity.

ALV Roma ends with creamy, fumy, and dirty nuances. Sweet and milky sandalwood and a sturdy guaiac wood form the foundations, with a hint of filthy patchouli. Here too there is a sweetness, which resonates with all the scent that comes and goes just enough to let the citrus fruits, spices, flowers, and finally the woods pass through.

The super creamy combination of ylang-ylang and sandalwood often feels a little cloying, but the support of the other notes is the turning key that opens up the couple’s sweet vanilla aroma and creates a bright, transparent halo that is anything but gooey. Indeed, those dark and opulent accords make it ideal for the chilly days and evenings of fall. It is a perfume that will go remarkably well with sweaters and scarves on a crisp autumnal sojourn. The sweetness and floral edge make ALV Roma slender and feminine, but I think any man who loved it enough could wear it, also thanks to dirty, earthy, and woody notes.

This review is based upon a 100ml bottle I own since November 2020.


#citrus #spicy #floral #smoky #woody #earthy #fall

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