Heading into 2020 it seems like vetiver is having a moment; again. It waxes and wanes in popularity due to how ubiquitous it becomes. I’ve never tired of good vetiver fragrances because a good perfumer has many tools to make it feel different. Mark Buxton is a good perfumer which means Linari Drago Nero should be a good vetiver perfume.
Linari is one of those underappreciated perfume brands. Creative director Rainer Diersche releases on an infrequent schedule which might be a reason it isn’t mentioned more. I have usually found the time between new fragrances has proven to lead to better results. For Drago Nero he again collaborates with Mr. Buxton. They have been working together on the last four Linari releases since 2012.
For this black dragon they chose to use two sources of vetiver. A cleaner grassier Haitian version and a smoky one from Java. They tend to provide the foundation between the early moments of Drago Nero and the latter stages.
When I saw the ingredient list, I saw pineapple listed which made me groan a little bit. Mr. Buxton instead uses a tart green apple to provide a crisp green fruit to complement the similarly clean green of the Haitian vetiver. There is also a citrus-like undercurrent in this vetiver. With mandarin that quality is given a bit more prominence especially in the earliest moments. A rich orange blossom provides the bridge between the two vetivers. The floral sweetness captures that citrus thread in the Haitian vetiver. The slight indolic core of the orange blossom grabs those tendrils of smoke rising from the Java vetiver. As Drago Nero resets itself a strong amber and woody mix shows the eventual destination. Sandalwood and Guaiac wood provide the woody part. Ambrarome gives a drier amber effect over the final phase.
Drago Nero has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Drago Nero is a different vetiver perfume for the shift which happens around the orange blossom. I liked the tonal change as it made me feel like I was wearing a different perfume than what I had put on in the morning. That made it more a shape-shifting vetiver chameleon than a roaring black dragon. If you are looking for a new vetiver for the spring Drago Nero is a good choice.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Linari.