It is always interesting when the famously creative cosmetic brands decide to branch out into fragrance. Francois Nars has waited 25 years to add a perfume to the NARS beauty collection. I was interested from the moment I heard this was happening early this year. What really sharpened my anticipation was the announcement that M. Nars would be working with perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. They have produced a provocative perfume which lives up to its NARS pedigree; NARS Audacious.
They say if you keep doing something long enough the trends come around to where you are. This could easily be true for Mme Giacobetti. Back in the mind 1990’s when M. Nars was revolutionizing the lipstick palette; Mme Giacobetti was composing transparent perfumes. Both met initial resistance from their respective worlds only to succeed despite that. The NARS success story is on display at any luxury department store you visit. Mme Giacobetti’s is less apparent as she has mostly made perfume for her single Paris storefront, IUNX. Audacious is the first perfume she has made outside of that in five years. It seems like the right time for the way Mme Giacobetti makes fragrance because transparency is one of the predominant trends.
M. Nars and Mme Giacobetti wanted to use contrasting notes of light and dark throughout Audacious. That the theme is coherently expressed while working in an opaque style is testament to the skill of Mme Giacobetti.
That skill shows up right away as the tropical floral frangipani and incense are combined. This is an exuberantly sweet floral shaded by smoky incense swirling among the petals. I can see a single flower of frangipani against a black background as an incense stick sends swirls of smoke to surround the bloom. This is all as if it was etched on a fine silk veil as you lean into it expecting it to get louder and it enchants with a whisper instead. In the heart the sparkle of tiare is fortified with a touch of ylang-ylang. While an austere sandalwood provides the shading. This is a more traditional light-dark dichotomy. It gives way to a brilliant base accord. Mme Giacobetti returns to the smoke as she uses cedar smoke. Through that she expands the lightness with a set of white musks that form a pillow soft musky pillow for that smoke. So often smoke is used to blunt effect. The base of Audacious uses it as a foil to the lightness of the white musks.
Audacious has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Audacious is setting NARS on another challenge to the current fragrance common wisdom. M. Nars believes that a consumer who goes to NARS for cosmetics to stand apart will also want a fragrance which provides the same. Audacious is that perfume.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by NARS.