GreysolonGreysolon's Perfume Reviews

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Greysolon 6 years ago 6
6
Scent
7.5
Longevity
5
Sillage

I've hiked this Iso E cedar forest before...
The perfumes of Farmacia Santissima Annunziata are a mystery to me. How can the house which created a beautiful, luxurious perfume like Ambra Nera also turn out lackluster fragrances like Isos, Regina and Takis? So it's somewhat a relief to try Arabico which manages, at least, to occupy the middle ground between the extremes of the line.

Arabico can best be described as a peppery, resinous, dry cedar fragrance. It’s quite pleasant and when it comes to projection and longevity it holds its own just fine. Unfortunately, as Arabico dries down it becomes obvious Iso E Super will provide the dominant accord in its cedar base. Why do I say “unfortunately”? Because as much as I like the scent of Iso E, it lacks subtlety. Even at low levels there’s no way to really turn down the volume or alter its monolithic character. Natural essences have shades and subtlety enabling them take on the character of the overall fragrance. Iso E, on the other hand, isn’t going smell like anything but Iso E and its take charge character keeps it from truly melding with other notes. When it is used successfully, as it is in Terre d’Hermes, Iso E is juxtaposed with strong, contrasting notes. Arabico lacks that counter balance in its structure. It seems to be built with the idea of highlighting Iso E’s already dominant qualities.

And that’s the trap with Iso E.

When a fragrance like Terre d’Hermes strikes commercial gold it’s easy to attribute its success to the novel aroma chemical at its heart. It’s no wonder, because Iso E is a kind of mega-accord that can come across like a fully formed perfume. Molecule 1 anyone?. It’s an essence that needs special care so it doesn’t smell like every other perfume that contains Iso E.

Now that I’ve made Arabico out to be something of a synthetic monster, let me backtrack a bit. As I said, it’s a pleasant fragrance and not at all big or overbearing. It wears very easily. But for the full bottle price of €115/$130 I would expect something with a more developed character and composition along the lines of Terre d’Hermes or Divine’s L’Homme Infini.

Greysolon 7 years ago 8
8
Scent
5
Longevity
5
Sillage

The South of France distilled
Just as winemakers pride themselves on the terroir of their vineyards to contribute particular notes and flavors to their wines, Richard Lüscher Britos utilizes this concept to instill a particular sense of place to their Terroir Perfumes. Each perfume in the line is named for map coordinates that specify the region of the world from which its natural ingredients are harvested. In this case, 44°N 03°E is meant to embody the terroir of the South of France.

44°N 03°E is formulated with wild lavender, juniper and pine native to the region. It's a beautiful, uncomplicated fragrance created by, I was pleasantly surprised to learn, Andy Tauer. It opens with lemon and a slight candy sweetness which I assume is the “glazed chestnut” note. It’s not long before lavender joins in and eventually becomes the dominant scent. As the lemon fades gracefully into the background, pine and juniper rise up, filling in the gaps and blending seamlessly with the lavender. And I mean seamlessly. If there is any aspect of lavender that can connect with conifers, or vice versa, Tauer has managed to do it. A little sharpness in the lavender finds its mate in the conifers while the resinous quality of the conifers finds its mate in the lavender. It’s really beautiful how everything blends.

I'm probably being hyper-aware but there is one scent component associated with natural perfumery I don’t care for and it's ever so slightly detectable in 44°N 03°E. Sometimes essences from all natural plant extracts can go flat and meld into a camphorous, sappy amalgam. If you go to a health food store and walk along the shelves of natural cosmetics and perfume oils you will smell what I’m trying to describe. There seems to be a LITTLE bit of that odor in 44°N 03°E. However, the lavender and conifers maintain plenty of dominance and never go flat so this issue is unlikely to be detectable away from the skin. Again, this is a very minor complaint and aside from that, 44°N 03°E is a wonderful perfume.

A big thank you to MiaVonTrost for providing US Parfumo members with samples for a pass around!
2 Replies

Greysolon 7 years ago 3
4
Scent
5
Longevity
2.5
Sillage

Clouds
Even though Isos suffers from some of the same issues of projection and longevity that plague other fragrances from Farmacia Santissima Annunziata, it also has unique qualities I find appealing. Whether or not those qualities are unique enough or appealing enough to pay the full bottle prices of this house is another matter.

Instead of focusing on Isos's shortcomings, there is a particular aspect of the perfume some may find to their liking. If you live in a warm weather climate you may find it suitable as a deep, yet cooling sort of cologne. That is, as long as you don’t expect Isos to perform like a more potent, longer lasting edt or edp.

It fills this cologne-like requirement in two ways. The first is that Isos provides an actual cooling effect, felt as a slight tingling, mint/menthol sensation when spritzed on the skin. Similarly, each time I catch its scent I get a slight sensation of menthol. Now, before I put anyone off, let me emphasize the word “slight." It really is just a VERY mild sensation.

Isos also has a textural aura I find cooling. It's a rough, gray scale quality that I experience like the shades of white to gray seen in a cumulus cloud as it passes in front of the sun on a hot day. That shadowy gray is built on Isos’s woody base and leans towards a balanced blend of juniper, cedar and vetiver as its dominant accord. Its pleasantly rough edge comes from pepper and clove which are well blended with the base.

Now, after mining Isos for all those attributes we come to the issue of cost: 95€/$130. If you decide to try Isos and find you like the effects I’ve described -but are allergic to the price- I would suggest trying Eau Profonde by Thirdman. It's a cologne with an unusually deep base that is less expensive and has a similar gray scale cooling sensation of clouds passing in front of the sun.

Greysolon 7 years ago 4
5
Scent
2.5
Longevity
2.5
Sillage

Vivat Regina! Oops, she died.
Even though I shouldn't put too much stock in the notes listed for a perfume, those listed for Regina are pretty vague: fruity notes, floral notes, amber notes… whatever...

Unfortunately, that’s how Regina comes out of the bottle; kind of weak, vague and nebulous. Thankfully, the rose essence doesn’t wait for its turn in the developmental queue. It makes its stand right out of the sprayer. It’s really a nice rose note too and, for a time, it saves Regina from being an insipid, ambiguous, not very fruity floral.

Speaking of notes, what really captured my attention were scents NOT listed in the pyramid. As the amber accord begins to appear Regina develops notes reminiscent of slightly bitter honey and boozy rum. When combined with the rose that has managed to hang on, they create a great match to the amber. Too bad the overall longevity of Regina isn’t better. With a life expectancy of about 2 hours there isn’t much time to enjoy this aspect of the fragrance.

I will say this for Regina, some might enjoy it as a warm weather amber. It’s light, wears close to the skin and perks up a bit in the heat. The temperature today was about 80 f and each time I thought Regina had gone flat, I was surprised when a little exertion or perspiration brought it back to life. To be honest, however, I wouldn't be swayed to buy Regina hoping its middling fragrance might be resuscitated by a summer breeze.

Greysolon 7 years ago 4
4
Scent
5
Longevity
2.5
Sillage

Banal bois
I know that the pyramid of notes for a fragrance exists only as an analogy of scent. A kind of metaphor for the experience the house wants us to believe we're buying. Really, it's nothing more than the first line of advertising aimed at those of us who should know better. But being an optimist (i.e. a sucker), I looked at the pyramid for Takis and my imagination immediately concocted a woody perfume with floral highlights and subtle notes of absinthe.

Takis opens with a metallic, brassy citrus accord. It’s almost clangorous, like the pealing of bells. Not a bad start. Then thyme enters the fray and helps settle things down. Since this version of thyme is more woody than herbal it creates a nice link through the heart down to the base. Another sign of a well thought out fragrance. But the good news is short lived. Not long afterwards, rose makes an all too brief appearance and that brevity marks the beginning of the end. So much for Takis being the unique floral fragrance I originally imagined.

When artemisia and the “woody notes” start welling up from the base it turns out to be a full scale takeover bid for the entire fragrance. It’s also when Takis begins evaporating away into a skin scent.

Artemisia is wormwood, the source of absinthe. But this not the medicinal, absinthe liquor version of artemisia. This is a distillation of the shrub's woody bits which creates a dry, aromatic, camphorous accord. Combine that with all the other “woody notes” and there’s not much of a chance for flowers to grow. Occasionally, a single ylang-ylang blossom might manage to bloom here and there but it can't provide enough fragrance to perfume this lumber yard. Thankfully Takis is so anemic by this point that no one will notice anyway.

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