Message in a Bottle: Fendi and Elie Saab

luca turin reviews fan di fendi and le parfum l’eau couture





not recommended


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Fendi has been exploring an interesting ambery-spicy territory of fragrance for some years, and has turned up a treasure. Theorema [1998] was to orientals what Nutella is to chocolate: rich beyond reason and very addictive. Palazzo [2007] had one of the most original top notes in recent memory. This one is an odd combination of its two predecessors. Unexpectedly, they add up to an idea reminiscent of Patou’s Sublime [1992], i.e. a precarious but arresting balance between sweet amber and fresh woods, bridged here by a suede-like leather note that works perfectly as a go-between. There is a confident, eclectic complexity to this fragrance that in my mind embodies a specifically Italian chic, all smiles, pliant softness and welcoming warmth. My reference in this genre is Lubin’s Korrigan, which manages to be at once austere and appetizing, somewhere between burning incense and warm gingerbread. Fan di Fendi is less poetic, more staid, but still a very nice fragrance.

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Somewhere in one of Len Deighton’s novels the hero drives his girlfriend to a party and, once there, senses he is expected to circle the car to open her door. He comments: “When she wore those shoes she liked to be treated like an elderly invalid.” This is a fragrance for that sort of occasion, say a posh-frock evening at the Horticultural Society where the Best Small Garden Award is to be handed out. This style of fragrance, ultimately derived from Jean Carles’ 1946 Ma Griffe, radiates a deliberate dowdiness demanded by young women who need to act older. It was revived in the late 70s with Guerlain’s Jardins de Bagatelle and produced few masterpieces, among which Balmain’s Ivoire (1983) as well as a string of stupefyingly conventional fragrances like Eternity (1988) and Poême (1995). ESLPLEC smells like a 50-50 mixture of the last two and is beautifully crafted in a dreary sort of way. I feel the time for this stuff may at long last be over.'s perfume critic, Dr. Luca Turin, wrote the world's first perfume guide in 1992. Parfums Le guide, a collection of perfume reviews, went on to become a cult classic. Luca Turin has since co-written Perfumes: The A-Z Guide with Tania Sanchez, a book collecting over 1,800 reviews; Luca is also the subject of Chandler Burr's novel, The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession. One of the world's most revered perfume critics, Luca Turin is the winner of two Prix Jasmin, the highest honor for perfume writing in France. The reviews from Luca Turin's bi-monthly column, Message in a Bottle, will be featured in Luca Turin's and Tania Sanchez' forthcoming book of fragrance reviews.

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