I thought 2014 was a fantastic year for designer perfumes. Part of that wellspring of mainstream fragrances was Narciso. Perfumer Aurelien Guichard used a creamy accord of big florals over what has become the signature note for the Narciso Rodriguez brand, musk. I really liked the way the musk sort of sprung out like something dangerous from among the gardenia and rose. When I received my press sample of the new Narciso Eau de Toilette I was wondering if making a lighter version of Narciso was going to be interesting.
M. Guichard was again asked to be the perfumer for Narciso Eau de Toilette. One of the things about the two fragrances is they share a description of the top, heart, and base notes. The description is “Tender Floral Accord”, “Sensual Musk Accord”, and “Assertive Woody Accord”. For Narciso I would have switched the adjectives in the top and the base. The florals in that fragrance were very assertive and the woods had a tender simplicity. For the Narciso Eau de Toilette M. Guichard does live up to the titles of the phases much more literally.
For Narciso Eau de Toilette the gardenia has been replaced with peony. In the original the gardenia carried an intense green tinted floralcy. The peony is one of those fresh florals and the green is nowhere to be found. Rose again provides some foundation but it is secondary to the peony. The musk in the heart has been changed for Narciso Eau de Toilette. This time M. Guichard has added some of the higher register white musks to the deeper more animalic musks. This still retains the sensuality of the animalic but with the addition of the cleaner musks it seems tamer. The base notes return to cedarwood and vetiver but for Narciso Eau de Toilette it is a much more transparent accord. The vetiver in particular has less presence than in the original but it provides a more diffusive green veil to the clean lines of the cedar in keeping with the lighter tone throughout.
Narciso Eau de Toilette has 6-8 hours longevity and average sillage.
If I was forced to choose only one I would opt for the original Narciso because I like my musk a little more feral. Narciso Eau de Toilette civilizes it a bit too much for my taste. Even so if you found the original a bit too much to bear the Narciso Eau de Toilette quite possibly is pitched at the right volume for you. It is a worthy follow-up to the original as M. Guichard made some significant changes to the eau de parfum formulation of a year ago without losing the plot.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Narciso Rodriguez.