It is refreshing to see a longtime brand make an effort to strike out in new directions. To be sure it can be a risky effort. You might alienate current customers while not adding new ones. For the Italian brand Nobile 1942 that change occurred in the fall of 2014. For 25 previous releases they had all been composed by perfumer Marie Duchene. It definitely provided a brand identity. When I first encountered the brand five years ago it was as a fully formed aesthetic played out over the twenty or so perfumes which had just been released in the US. I don’t know what made creative directors Massimo Nobile and Stefania Giannino decide to move in a new direction with new perfumers. It has almost re-invented what a Nobile 1942 fragrance is. The former aesthetic is gone and in its place is an attempt to seemingly take classical architectures and contemporize them. It has been an uneven effort but I am interested in trying each new release these days to see how the experiment is progressing. The latest data point is Sandalo Nobile.
Sandalo Nobile is the follow-up to last year’s Fougere Nobile. Fougere Nobile is one of these less successful efforts as the attempt to modernize made it murkier and less delineated than I cared for. Sandal Nobile is a success for the same reason Fougere Nobile didn’t resonate with me. I want Sandalo Nobile to have a bit of murky mystery. Perfumer Henri Bergia provides that for me.
Sandalo Nobile gives me something different right from the start. M. Bergia uses saffron and cumin as his openers. Most perfumes would use something to lighten up these divisive notes. Sandalo Nobile embraces them; displaying them front and center in all their pungent glory. I am a fan of both notes and this opening was fantastic to me. If either is a particular annoyance to you this is probably something to stay away from. If you want a slightly dirty spicy opening, spray away. M. Bergia goes for a complete change of pace that might have clunked but instead works incredibly well. The heart is orris, green fig, and gurjum. The gurjum slides in with the cumin. The orris and fig provide opulence and a tinge of green. It has become a little more refined but the rough edges are still present. This all gives way to a beautiful sandalwood full of all the things I look for. M. Bergia uses a bit of benzoin to highlight the sweeter aspects of the sandalwood. At this point the cumin the orris, fig and sandalwood form an accord which lasts all day.
Sandalo Nobile has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
It is an ongoing act of confidence in their ability as creative directors for Sig. Nobile and Sig.ra Giannino to steer Nobile 1942 into new territory. It might be a bumpy ride but it isn’t boring. Sandal Nobile is a successful step towards these goals.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from Nobile 1942.