Canadian perfumer Michel Germain produces a new, affordable woody aromatic…
By Deborah Fulsang
First impression: How gorgeous is this bottle? The faceted glass flacon is like a jewel in itself; a collectible for the fragrance lover and aesthete even before one ventures to sniff. It’s chic but still masculine, like a vintage cocktail decanter from the 1930s filled with a mysterious, amber elixir.
Reminds me of: On first spritz, it suggests sumptuous cashmere sweaters and rich wool packed pristinely in a cedar chest. The fragrance has a powderiness to it, but not in any femme way. It’s more smoky powder than powder puff. (In fact, the accord makes it wearable for women known to apply an occasional eau d’homme.)
The facts: Scent-wise, this is woody, yet soft; an oriental with a chypre leaning. From a perfume geek, deconstructivist point of view, the notes include a top of sparkling bergamot and lush myrtle liquor; middle notes of coffee and chocolate cream; and base notes of cedar and leather. It is rich but not heavy, and so right in step with the mandate of the Puig executives who signed on master perfumer Olivier Polge to mix-master a new classic.
What I really think: This is a perfect choice for a gift this upcoming Valentine’s Day—or for Father’s Day too. There’s a sultry spiciness in this toilette. It’s elegant and feels new, but it also doesn’t seem like it’s trying too hard, which can sometimes be the case with today’s new fragrances that attempt so earnestly to set themselves apart in a crowded marketplace. The restraint is lovely, and reveals the talented hand of Monsieur Polge, who obviously has the confidence (and experience) to be disciplined, and to think less is often more. And in that, there’s something very old-school Italian about this scent as well; and I mean that in the best of ways. (Rome, in fact, figures prominently in the inspiration details of the marketing material.) One imagines that you would notice the man wearing this fragrance; it wouldn’t be the fragrance wearing the man, if you know what I mean.
The rating: ★★★ ½ /★★★★★
Valentino Uomo EDT, $75 (50 ml), www.valentino.com; at The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Holt Renfrew and Sephora
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