Wardasina by Sospiro has been garnering a lot of attention recently, especially on Facebook fragrance groups, where it is frequently mentioned as the ne-plus-ultra of rose fragrances for men. Early reviews are saying that it is the best rose and tobacco combination on the market. Since I am on a bit of a rose quest at the moment, and I like masculine-leaning notes like tobacco, I ordered a bit to see what it was like.
Well, frankly, I am a little stunned. Wardasina is one of those fragrances that make me scratch my head and wonder if I am smelling the same thing as everyone else. First of all, hats off to anyone who can smell tobacco in this. If it is there at all, it maybe makes a brief appearance as a cherry/almond note in the opening – but I’m not sure. Second, the rose is only really perceptible in the opening notes, and I wouldn’t characterize this as a rose fragrance at all. Neither the delicate note of rose nor the usually robust note of tobacco stand any chance against the real power player of this fragrance, which is an incredibly radiant and super-dry woods accord that dominates the fragrance from top to toe.
Let’s talk about the woods aspect, because after the pleasantly almondy/balsamic rose of the opening, this accord is all you can really smell. It is so bone-suckingly dry that I can almost feel my skin tightening, like when you go out into a midday sun. It calls to mind images of dry, bleached logs of wood piled up on the cracked surface of the ground in Death Valley. It is powerfully radiant too, filling the room with a sonic boom that you feel at 50 paces. This is quite attractive and impressive at arm’s length, but up close, the dryness sears my nostrils and makes me think that chemical warfare has been declared. Is there a place for such fierce fragrances? Absolutely. I can see how this might be utterly impressive on a man, or even on a woman who likes to project a message of aloofness or fierceness.
But on me, I find Wardasina to be so huge and dry it exhausts my senses and stupefies my mind. I want to admire it from a distance but not approach it. Kind of like if Charles Atlas walked into my local bar carrying that globe on his bulging shoulders – impressive but intimidating and more than a bit grim. There is something chemically enhanced about Wardasina too. I don’t know enough about synthetics to say, but I suspect either ambroxan or the powerfully dry norlimbanol may be responsible for the extraordinarily dry, woody radiance I am picking up here. I know that all perfumes are made up of aromachemicals, and to be honest, that’s not something I have a bee in my bonnet about. But whatever was used here is extremely potent, and maybe too much so.
I am glad to have smelled Wardasina, though, because it has helped clarify my feelings about a few other fragrances I have been smelling lately and whose core notes I have obviously been misclassifying. I thought that this dry, almost sulfurous woods accord (which also smells like cracked, black leather) was oud. I thought that oud was responsible for this super-sonic dryness I was also picking up in Hard Leather (by LMParfums), BlackAfgano (by Nasomatto), and OudIspahan (by Dior).
But after smelling Wardasina, which contains no oud note at all, I had to conclude that this accord was coming from a powerful, generic dry-woods ingredient rather than oud itself. That actually helped me to distinguish the oud from the other dry, woody, radiant aspects of the other scents I just mentioned. Now when I smell OudIspahan, I can clearly pick out the medicinal oud at the beginning, the leathery labdanum, and the sharp civet running through the whole thing, while keeping it distinct in my mind from the powerfully radiant, smoky woods aspect of Oud Ispahan’s drydown. Likewise, with the different non-woody amber notes in BlackAfgano. And had I not wrapped my sample of HardLeather in HazMat materials and sent it to an unsuspecting friend of mine, I might be able now to perceive the other notes in that one too.
In conclusion, Wardasina is an impressive, powerful fragrance that will likely knock your socks off. I think it will work particularly well with male skin chemistry: it projects confidence and brashness. Personally, I find it easy to admire but not easy to love. And as for that tobacco note, well, lucky you if you are able to pick up on it, but I suspect you may be smoking a certain something that supposedly went into Black Afgano instead!