January is a time for me to clean up loose ends from my desk. This month’s Flanker Round-Up allows me to tie off a couple of those; Dolce & Gabbana The Only One and Prada L’Homme Absolu.
Dolce & Gabbana The Only One
I have been very critical about the number and quality of flankers of the original 2006 Dolce & Gabbana The One. Almost annually I received an example of why flankers are held in such low esteem. This year with The Only One I received something which broke that trend; mainly by following one of the prevailing fragrance trends.
Perfumer Violaine Collas was not working off the blueprint from Christine Nagel’s original. Mme Collas was designing a perfume for the current day. That meant she came up with a floral gourmand.
The Only One opens with a zippy citrus top accord. It gives way quickly to the heart accord where violet and coffee form the floral and the gourmand components. The violet is a slightly candied version which contrasts with a similarly shaded bitter coffee. It adds some vanilla cream to the mix before patchouli brings things to a close. If you are enjoying the floral gourmand style The Only One is a good addition to that genre.
Prada L’Homme Absolu
Perfumers sometimes fall in love with a set of notes or accords. You see it crop up again and again. For Prada in-house perfumer Daniela Andrier it is the triad of neroli, iris, and cedar. It has been hard to improve upon her original Infusion D’Iris. When L’Homme Prada came out in 2016 she returned to this and I wasn’t impressed. Prada L’Homme Absolu is also another interpretation but by enhancing the spices I liked it better.
The main alteration happens right at the start as cardamom and black pepper are given a more prominent place with the iris. I liked this change and it carries forward into the neroli and geranium joining in. The typical ambery cedar which is the traditional base accord is the end. I still haven’t found anything better than Infusion D’Iris but the added spiciness in Prada L’Homme Absolu will be appealing to someone looking for that.
Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by the manufacturers.
I have been enjoying watching the large perfume brands search for the styles of fragrance which will connect with the Millennials. The one piece of agreement based on what crosses my desk is more transparent. After that there seems to be less congruency. One of the styles I’ve commented on in the past which seems to be near the front of the pack is a floral gourmand. I keep rooting for this to be the one which catches hold. One main reason is this is not a style of perfume which has been done to death. Another reason is by making this as a lighter construct it keeps it from becoming cloying. My final piece of hope comes from a place that there is not a great floral gourmand, yet. Which means if it comes, that is when this style could really take off. Which makes my interest in each new one to see if it shows progress towards that goal. The latest data point came from Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Garden.
One reason I was interested in Dolce Garden was it was new Shiseido Group Olfactory Creative Director Stephane Demaison’s first oversight on a Dolce & Gabbana release. M. Demaison has an accomplished career where he has been an active trend watcher. He chose perfumer Violaine Collas to refresh the “Dolce” collection which started in 2014 and in two subsequent flankers basically stood for fresh floral perfumes. In what has become the fate of most of the Dolce & Gabbana fragrances they are forgettable; by any audience. The previous aesthetic has been thrown out as Dolce Garden dives into being a floral gourmand; for the better.
It opens with a nicely executed neroli and mandarin top accord. This is exactly like the trend calls for, a gauzy version of the top accord. The press materials mention this is supposed to be a “Sicilian garden” the heart makes me think it is not Sicily which is where this island garden is located but somewhere in the Caribbean. A tropical floral duet of ylang-ylang and frangipani holds the heart. Then what ends up feeling like a pina colada accord Mme Collas uses coconut, almond, milk, and vanilla. Except in many other cases this comes off as too sweet. Dolce Garden works by playing to a lighter style. Sandalwood provides the base accord picking up the sweet and creamy aspects of the gourmand accord.
Dolce Garden has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
I would be surprised if Dolce Garden is the floral gourmand which sets the world on fire. I do think it is better than what has come prior to it. I’m also hoping that M. Demaison’s influence might also reinvigorate the creativity of Dolce & Gabbana which could use it. For now, Dolce Garden is an excellent floral gourmand which will be nice for the summer.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Dolce & Gabbana.