Niche Fragrance Magazine

When mainstream beats niche: Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Scent Collection

in Reviews/Team Round Up by
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Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Scent Collection, 2014

Once in a while, a designer house throws on the market a high-end collection (or two) of unexpected quality that could perhaps enchant even the most fastidious niche aficionados. I was elated to discover that Salvatore Ferragamo has stepped outside their mainstream field with it`s two Quintessencial Collections, first in 2013 launching the outstanding line of EDT`s in sleek bottles under the name Tuscan Soul (if you`re into amber do try Terra Rosa) and continuing an year later with the black triptych called Tuscan Scent which are all EDP`s. I feel the latter deserves some extra attention because it`s something truly creative and groundbreaking having all the qualities one could hope for and imagine.
Last summer my bestie who is also a perfume enthusiast came to visit me for a week and we literally spend our time together sniffing as many scents we could both in town and from my drawer, laughing, drinking Aperol Spritz, smoking Gauloise Blonde and talking about everything until late at night. It was PERFECT. One day she went alone for a stroll alone and I remember it was raining that day and quite cold. She came home with her coat all soaked up and approaching her neck to my nose she said: SMELL! Oh, wow! The scent she was wearing smelled very natural and had something equally tempting and dangerous to it. It was Golden Acacia applied several hours before and her skin turned it into, well, something quite magical. That raised of course my interest to try it myself and the next day I sprayed it on my wrists and took a deep breath. And it played its magic on me too.

Irving Penn, Bee, 1995

Golden Acacia is an extraordinary rich and uncommon fragrance that could not be easily related to other honey centered fragrance I know so far. It`s impossible to pin it on an imaginary fragrance map or to include it in a specific olfactory family. It`s a stand-alone original piece of art, a strange, pulsating smell and I do not know precisely what it is or where it comes from, but need to keep breathing it again and again eagerly to inhale each of its hidden details, to have it all, all at once, to be mine. I tried to understand it completely, but ended up being obsessed with it, depicting only the smallest part of its mystery until now. It requires an irrational wearing, I suppose. But I`ll try as much as I can to explain what`s going on here.
For about 20 minutes on skin this thick juice seems quite raw due to the animalic facet of honey that pops-up right from the start and this could turn you off. And is way more complex as it`s`small olfactory pyramid does reveal (honey, oppoponax, orange blossom, patchouli and amber). Those skunky, almost ferocious shades of honey that are arousing first caught immediately my attention, as something like this is so unexpected for a mainstream offer. Prejudice. This carnal, voluptuous combination of the intro notes (that unveils hidden shades of musk and civet) smoothes out but does not disappear completely, only to let other aspects of honey to be now magnified one by one and the next new thing I get are the flowers. Now, I have to confess (aside from the mind blowing mint honey that Sjörn gave us to try when we visited them last fall, which was both sweet and very cool in taste at the same time) the smell of Acacia honey has many components and is my favorite one because it`s so aromatic and perfumy with a wonderful gentle floral flavor. Exactly this sun infused white acacia blooms are present in this perfume. And for me is the scent of my childhood. I ate acacia flowers in late spring, no kidding. Their taste could be described as moderate sweet and very pleasant. Some are also frying flowers of acacia and powder them with sugar, but I liked them raw. In the dry down Golden Acacia becomes plush, sensual and grown up with mellow shades of woods, resins and flowers all drenched for a better life in golden honey. So complex, so refined, it smells both natural and perfumy at the same time. There are some well known scents that also explore the smell of honey, but none had the fantasy to create something like this. For example I find Xerjoff Mamluk gives to much space to the caramels, therefore the scent becomes sticky sweet, almost a candy bomb that only several hours later settles down into a more subtle woody gourmand. Then Back to Black, another star in this domain is not necessarily a honey oriented scent, although it is often recommended as one. The tobacco mixed with cherry liqueur are distracting my attention from the core of honey. Nevertheless, it is sexy as hell but that`s another story. We could think also of Lutens Miel de Bois but there Shaldracke amplifies a flavor of honeycomb and as a result the scent has a waxy vibe, quite hard and dry (accentuated by cedar).

Emmanuelle Seigner, The Ninth Gate by Roman Polanski, 1999
Emmanuelle Seigner, The Ninth Gate by Roman Polanski, 1999

The only scent I would put aside Golden Acacia is the old Habanita EDT, which is odd because Habanita does not have actually any honey in its powerful assemblage, but they do somehow smell alike. I guess its the resins that evoke the warm fur smell of a beast in both of them. Deep, dense, majestic, nurishing, Golden Acacia is, in all its glory, the type of scent that wears you instead of viceversa so I would handle this beast with care applying only 1-2 sprays once. As for the vision it conjures, it could be of a demonic creature, perhaps a beautiful succubus with its wings on fire. Ahhh now I know, it would`ve been perfect for Emmanuelle Signer in The Ninth Gate by Roman Polanski, specially in the scene with the burning medieval castle.According to nstperfume it was developed by Antoine Lie (8 88 CdG; Puredistance Black; Sécretions Magnifiques).

White Mimosa is an encrypted scent that hasn`t reveal all its potential to me right away and I have changed me mind a few times at first tests. Compared on a stylistic level with Golden Acacia which magnifies all the facets of single ingredient without transforming much over time, on contrary, White Mimosa DOES change. It reshapes itself constantly, progressing slowly, becoming so different from the opening to the dry down. It creates the illusion of an almost tactile micro-universe of nuances which are rising in 3D on the surface of my skin. Some of its elements are more obvious, right under my nose, others instead are hidden somewhere but I am aware of their presence more on a subconscious level. A multitude of shades of different sizes, dizzling smells and textures are giving birth to an enormous ensemble. It does not disclose a single blossom in the opening, although it carries a flower in its name and comes as a floriental. I had to wait longer to get there. It starts with a blast of spicy particles that brings to resembles the flavors of Garam Masala (nutmeg, cardamon, pepper, cinnamon) and I suspect there is also a bit of Oud here. Oh yes, oud, even though is not officially mentioned I bet on it. It`s His Majesty the Great Oud of Maison Kurkdjian (from his first oud scent, precisely) which is present here in his tiny version. At this stage the scent goes for me as unisex but it will become more feminine over time.

crengi de mimoza2

For about an hour it remains anchored in this warm, round and comforting mixture created by the variety of spices and a blush of oud. I guess you can imagine how good I find this stuff. And fortunately, that combo will stay there, even if, over time it blurrs a bit to allow some space to a floral tone that gently begins to arrise in the heart of the scent. The official pyramid is quite deceiving giving us a vaguely “white flowers” note that my nose translates as a sort of shy, chalky tuberose, withered already, with a powdery aspect to it that I`ve encountered also in the base of Nacre Blanche (of course, at a way more intense level there). And I searched in vain for iris or heliotrope in White Mimosa, because I did not get a single petal of them here, not to mention the mimosa be it yellow or white, this scent does not deliver not even the smallest part of the oily sweet smell of this flower. I have to stick to my Guerlain Champs Elysees extrait for that. But White Mimosa has many other things to offer instead. As it grows and evolves the blend smoothly lends on a fluffy vanilla bed, becoming sweeter but not to the point of giving up its former features. Therefore, the structure seems to fold itself in the end placing aside for the first time the sweetness of vanilla with the opening spices keeping the woody shades in the middle. It becomes even more compact, complex and rich in nuances.The scent was created by Anne-Louise Gautier in collaboration with Christine Nigel (Guerlain Gourmand Coquin; TDC Une Nuit Magnetique; Armani Prive Ambre Soie).

incensesuede

 

Last up is Incense Suede, a meticulously created fragrance dedicated to the raw materials that give its name. In the absence of an official story behind this composition I allow myself the liberty to presume that it was inspired by the traditions of Tuscany. This small region of Italy has one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe and was an important religious and art center during Medieval period and Renaissance. Regardless of your religious beliefs, churches like Il Duomo di Firenze, or Basilica of San Domenico in Siena are a must see.Tuscany is also the cradle of the Italian leather craftsmanship and if you happen to visit this place you have to buy a bag, or a jacket, or a belt, whatever, because the quality of leather is peerless. Before I become a temporary tourist guide, I must tell you that Incense Suede seams to pay a symbolic tribute to all these cultural and traditional aspects that vividly describe this piece of land. It begins with a Holy incense smoke that smells a tad austere, sacral, having dry shades, that will soon be joined by a harsh and pretty raw accord of leather. Is not the type of balmy fruity smell of leather that`s so frequently used these days in niche scents, no, here we are reminded that leather is primarily an animalic element and has something untamed and wild to it. But in time, as the scent evolves and being wrapped in a veil of incense the leather smoothes and smoothes becoming as soft as nice pair of gloves. It is, in my opinion, an entirely masculine scent evoking in the base something very clean along the still perceptible combo of incense & now softer leather, like human skin freshly washed with a bar of amber scented soap pour homme.
The scent was created by Fabrice Pellegrin (Do Son, Dear Rose collection; by Kilian Smoke for the Soul).

Hi, my name is Raluca! I am born in Romania and live in Switzerland for many years. I love perfumes since I was a little girl and now I am an avid perfume collector and totally dedicated to the amazing world of essences. I am always looking for something new and interesting to discover and among my personal preferences are the delicate and powdery notes, but also some bold orientals. I admire both clasic and niche fragrances with a special twist in them. A good perfume for me should be able to put me in a special mood, to complete and inspire me…things I need when I paint or do photography, my other two passions.

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