If you’re reading this review and feel like you have read it before; you have. Bottega Veneta has been one of the better designer brands to make the transition to mainstream perfumes. Two years ago, they decided to release a different collection called Parco Palladiano.
Creative director Tomas Maier was inspired by Italian architect Andrea Palladio’s 16th century villa in Vicenze called La Rotonda. Parco Palladiano is meant to be a collection featuring one of the things growing around the villa. Over nine releases that desire to make a soliflore has been pushed to a literal extreme as most of the collection is just what the bottle promises and nothing else. There might be a few different extracts layered together but overall most of the collection never moves beyond that. The only one which captured my attention from the first nine was Parco Palladiano V because besides sage it also had laurel and rosemary to help make the sage a soaring aromatic.
When I received the six newest additions to the collection I felt the same way I had when experiencing the others. X is a woody olive tree. XI is woody chestnut. XII is woody oak. Sense a theme yet? XIII is the smell of grass. XIV is pomegranate. That is all there is with nothing else. If you like those smells and want a perfume which never changes while you are wearing it; they are well-done just terribly boring to me for not allowing supplementary ingredients to show off the keynote.
In what is an odd bit of symmetry I am again drawn to only one of these new releases XV Salvia Blu. It is also meant to be a soliflore of sage. It is also bracketed by two supplementary notes which provide a softer presence than in V. Perfumer Quentin Bisch makes a soliflore which has more to it than the central ingredient.
As it was in V the sage is present right away, but its greener aspects are more muted for a fresher aromatic scent. Lavender complements and amplifies this effect as its dual nature of herbal and floral meshes with the sage. As this is happening on one side a spicy rose is also arriving on the other side. As the florals appear the sage becomes more extroverted pushing the florals to the background. This is where XV stays for hours.
Parco Palladiano XV has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
Fifteen entries in I am guessing I am not the intended audience and there is a desire for this kind of single ingredient perfumery. As the only two which I enjoyed also had to contain something besides the sage keynote. Just goes to support my hypothesis from the first Parco Palladiano review; soliflores aren’t easy.
Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by Bottega Veneta.
Designer brands which stay true to their roots are preferable to the ones where the connection gets lost completely. Tomas Maier the Creative Director of Bottega Veneta wants to have a fragrance collection which is as luxurious as the leather goods they are known for. Since they started releasing perfume in 2011 I would say the overall collection has lived up to that. Over the last few years there have been two of my favorite designer releases of their respective year; 2017’s Eau de Velours and 2014’s Knot. The latter embraced the idea of the leather weaves characteristic of the Bottega Veneta purse of the same name. Now the second flanker to Knot has arrived; Knot Eau Absolue.
Perfumer Daniela Andrier, who did the original, has returned for Knot Eau Absolue. This is a deeper style of luxury as Mme Andrier goes for luxury with only a few ingredients each of which provide a twist in this olfactive knot.
The fragrant signature of Knot is the combination of lavender and neroli. In the previous releases they were freshened up with partners who made them lighter in style. For Knot Eau Absolue Mme Andrier decides to give them the top accord all to themselves. She also decides to use them in higher concentrations. I have always liked this floral combination and the early going here confirms why I do. The lavender is more floral than herbal while the neroli is more white flower with the green quality also in the back ground. What comes through are two florals singing lead while the herbal and green nature of each ingredient provide backing vocals. After some time, a real diva, jasmine, arrives and the floral amplitude rises. Knot Eau Absolue rests upon this trio of floral ingredients entwining in a knot of beauty. The deep leather of the purse this is named after is provided by myrrh. Mme Andrier allows it to slowly build until a noticeable warmth is simmering underneath the flowers.
Knot Eau Absolue has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
I really like Knot Eau Absolue especially now with chilly mornings and warm afternoons. It seems a delightful shoulder season choice. The original will be better as things get warmer but in the months before and after those days Knot Eau Absolue will be more enjoyable.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.
An emerging trend for 2016 has been the return of the soliflore collection. In particular for the upcoming fall releases I have two other soliflore collections which will be released soon. One thing that I always value is when I get a lot of the same thing is it allows me to clarify my thoughts on what it takes to make something compelling in these most simply constructed of fragrances. The new Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano collection really brought home one lesson very clearly; your focal note needs support to carry interest for an entire day.
The Bottega Veneta designer line of perfumes has been one of the better collections in the department store category. Creative director Tomas Maier has managed to carry the luxury leather goods aesthetic successfully into fragrance. For Parco Palladiano he was inspired by the Palladian style of architecture. Andrea Palladio was a 16th century architect who did most of his work in and around Vicenza, Italy. In Vicenza one of his most famous is the Villa Capra aka La Rotonda. Sig. Palladio designed his structures to harmonize with the surrounding landscape. To that end specific styles of gardens were designed to surround his designs. Hr. Maier visited La Rotonda and was taken with the different plants and flowers growing there which in turn lead to a collection of perfumes based on those plants. The result is the six fragrance Parco Palladiano collection.
Each of these perfumes are meant to be a single scent representing one of the growing things around La Rotonda. Working with four different perfumers the choices were: Parco Palladiano I is magnolia. Parco Palladiano II is cypress. Parco Palladiano III is pear. Parco Palladiano IV is azalea. Parco Palladiano V is sage. Parco Palladiano VI is rose. After smelling these together with the other soliflore collections I have I realized that this collection took the term too literally. Most of the Parco Palladiano fragrances are just what I wrote above. There is little to no other notes present which means that central note needs to be able to be enchanting throughout an entire day of wearing it. This is where all but one of the Parco Palladiano releases fell apart for me. They were just simply azalea or rose with no addition of notes to help enhance or contrast except for Parco Palladiano V.
Parco Palladiano V was composed by Daniela Andrier. Mme Andrier uses sage as her focal point but there are two other near equal intensity notes in laurel and rosemary which allow the sage to interact off of them creating a much richer effect. These kind of perfumes usually go on with everything in them to be detected right from the start and that is true here. A very green clary sage is matched with a lively rosemary and a stolid laurel. I have a little herb garden which smells of stem and aromatics so does Parco Palladiano V. The laurel provides that stemmy quality to allow the sage to attach to. The rosemary acts as green modulator adding intensity early on and then as it fades it allows the sage to be more on its own. Over the course of hours these three ingredients present different facets of the sage which is what sets it apart from the rest of the Parco Palladiano perfumes.
Parco Palladiano V has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I am not sure why the sudden interest in soliflores but if there is one critical component to making a successful one is the choice of a few well-chosen supporting notes is critical for it standing out as something other than just the single note. Which means these simplest of constructs are not that easy to do successfully. When it is done well as in Parco Palladiano V it can be beautiful.
Disclosure: This review is based on samples from Bottega Veneta.
When it comes to designer perfumes on display in the department stores I have found that the ones with clear connections to the brand on the label are the most successful. The Italian leather luxury goods brand Bottega Veneta has flourished under the brand and creative direction of Tomas Maier. Starting in 2001 he turned Bottega Veneta into a complete luxury goods enterprise. This would finally spread to perfume with the release of 2011’s Bottega Veneta. That was one of the best designer perfumes released that year and in the five successive releases since then it has become clear that Bottega Veneta is going to make as big an impact in fragrance as they do in purses.
The most recent release is Bottega Veneta Knot. It is inspired by the line of clutches which have a knot clasp on top. Perfumer Daniela Andrier has created an olfactory Gordian Knot in which she takes four exquisitely constructed accords and brings them together in an orange blossom focused creation that almost seems a bit too edgy for the department store.
The first accord from Mme Andrier is that freshly washed linen evocation. It is comprised of aldehydes and lavender. The aldehydes give that hint of the remains of the detergent used to wash the linen. The lavender adds a crispness to it all with a green tint. The orange blossom arrives on a stiff sea breeze as Mme Andrier uses mandarin to usher in the orange blossom over the top of the ozonic cascade used to mimic the sea spray. This is the cleaned up version of orange blossom. Mme Andrier lets it linger for a short while before adding what she calls a mothballs accord of cedar and indoles. The indoles in particular serve to add a lot of depth to the orange blossom and the cedar frames it. Despite the suggestion of mothballs I mostly get a full spectrum orange blossom. The remaining accord is focused on peony which is supported by a foundation of rose and tonka.
Bottega Veneta Knot has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Mme Andrier has captured the texture of the woven nature of a Bottega Veneta purse as each of the accords acts as its own strip of material to be woven tightly with the others. Most mainstream releases do not have this level of texture and intricacy to them. When I think back to the ones which do it seems like Mme Andrier has also been behind those as well. Bottega Veneta Knot is one of the finest designer releases of the year and an excellent reason to visit the department store fragrance counter.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Bottega Veneta.
One thing I am certain of in the vast wasteland of designer fragrances if there is not a Creative Director who understands the “je ne sais quois” of the brand it is the first step to a poor perfume representing that name. One of the good examples of what to do right comes courtesy of Bottega Veneta and the Creative Director Tomas Maier. Hr. Maier has presided over the resurgence of this luxury brand after Tom Ford appointed him to this post in 2001 after Gucci bought it. His vision has consisted of four guiding principles of high-quality materials, timeless design, modern functionality, and extraordinary craftsmanship. Bottega Veneta does not use a logo but instead relies on a distinctive woven pattern which finds its way onto everything they produce. When it comes to the fragrance all of the four principles are on display and since 2011 with the release of Bottega Veneta this has been one of the more recent successes within the designer fragrance space. As his craftsman Hr. Maier has chosen perfumer Michel Almairac who has composed four of the five releases. The most recent release Essence Aromatique holds up the other three principles as they use the timeless design of a cologne, add in high-quality essential oils, and make this feel completely contemporary.
Tomas Maier (Photo: Matteo Volta)
In the press material Hr. Maier explained that he wanted Essence Aromatique be “an unexpected crisp cologne that lingers like the essence of understated confidence” of whomever is wearing it. To create this cologne M. Almairac went for a traditional opening, a floral heart, and ends with a very modern “amber” to create what they call an “ambery cologne”. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well this works as I have enjoyed wearing this very much.
The traditional opening is citrus matched with herbal and M. Almairac chooses bergamot and coriander as his pairing. I really like the choice of coriander as it adds a bit of bite to the bergamot and makes the opening bracing, as a good cologne should be. The heart is a well-chosen Turkish rose whose spicy undertones complement the coriander perfectly. Patchouli picks up where the coriander leaves off and it all leaves a very sophisticated rose accord in place. Sandalwood anchors the base and vanilla tilts it to the sweeter side. This is where Essence Aromatique gets modern as this is not a traditional cologne finish it has a little more depth and persistence than the traditional cologne base notes.
Essence Aromatique has 8-10 hour longevity but half of that is really the sandalwood vanilla base and how much you like that will inform your enjoyment of this cologne. I liked it quite a bit and so it worked well for me. The sillage is average.
As I’ve mentioned before we are in a Colognaissance and Essence Aromatique is another example of talented creative people taking a venerable form and finding a way to simultaneously honor it and, yet, adapt it for the present day. Essence Aromatique accomplishes this as well as holding up the cornerstone principles of the brand. This is why the Bottega Veneta fragrance line is a cut above their competitors on the department store shelf.
Disclosure: this review was based on a sample of Essence Aromatique provided by Bottega Veneta.