This year has seen a few perfumes where geranium has been the stand-in for rose. As one who has grown a bit jaded on straight rose fragrances this has been a welcome change. I know there are as many beautifully varied versions of geranium as there are of rose. In the hands of a talented perfumer like Bruno Fazzolari it can result in a striking composition like Bruno Fazzolari Zdravetz.
Mr. Fazzolari also didn’t want to make just another rose perfume either. In the accompanying notes to my sample he states this. What changed his mind was his ability to source a species of geranium which grows in the mountains of Bulgaria called zdravetz. As he further writes it is a difficult version to get because the harvest is unreliable. That limited supply is what makes it ideal for an independent perfumer like Mr. Fazzolari. He can use it because he is not under the same commercial restraints as a larger brand. He can feature the two florals of Bulgaria.
Zdravetz takes advantage of the unique scent profile of its namesake. Mr. Fazzolari uses many of the common pieces of rose perfumes you probably have on your dresser. The herbal floral quality of zdravetz touches all of those making them seem new.
A lovely tart flare of grapefruit opens things. Then a duet of Bulgarian flowers begins as the rose comes forward. With a flourish of galbanum the zdravetz arrives. At this point the green of the galbanum allows the zdravetz geranium ascendency. This is where the herbal quality of this version is given its most play. It settles back as the spicy core of the rose finds a harmonic with the geranium. This is the rose perfume you haven’t experienced before. It finishes with a soft leather accord framed by cedar. The leather is an ideal foundation for the florals to rest upon.
Zdravetz has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I enjoyed Zdravetz for the steely floral spine the rose and geranium form. Each ingredient elicits the best of the other. It changes dynamically over the hours I wore Zdravetz. I would sniff and think “not a rose” then minutes later think, “that’s a rose”. It is a fascinating back and forth I found to be among the best perfumes this year.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Bruno Fazzolari.