If there is one style of perfume I struggle with it is fruity floral. Part of that is because of the first word, “fruity”. It usually means intensely sweet which lives on the edge of my tolerance for that in a fragrance. There are many times I wish I could smell the version that didn’t make it into the bottle; where the fruit was cut in half. I had a realization a couple weeks ago when I was wearing one of my favorite hot weather colognes which has a prominent raspberry in it. As I was walking in the heat I realized this is a time when this should be at its worst for my sensibilities but it wasn’t. Which made me realize there are a few raspberry perfumes I really enjoy. Here are five of them.
The perfume that opened my thinking up is Carthusia Uomo. Carthusia is one of those perfume brands which is not very well-known but I think Uomo is one of the best colognes I own. Released in 1948 as part of the original set of Carthusia fragrances it is a raspberry, rosewood, and leather cologne. The raspberry is made very dry so that it lays itself like a veil over the soft rosewood which is supported by an even softer leather. This has been one of my favorite colognes ever since I tried it for the first time.
For the flip side the raspberry perfume I pull out when the weather turns colder is Tom Ford Private Blend Tuscan Leather. This has been what I have worn to many formal occasions. Tuscan Leather was one of the original Private Blend releases ten years ago. Perfumers Harry Fremont and Jacques Cavallier created a lovely mixture of fruit and animalic that works. The raspberry is surrounded with herbs and resins to keep it under control. As the leather rises the raspberry also meets it on its ascendancy. This is one of the best sellers in this very popular line. Wear it a few times and it is easy to understand why.
Shay & Blue Framboise Noire also finds the animalic is the right companion for raspberry. Perfumer Julie Masse uses musk as the companion in Framboise Noire. This also sits on a base of dark woods which provide a depth to the entire mix. If leather and raspberry don’t appeal musk and raspberry might.
When I tried Marc Jacobs Daisy the strawberry on top made me rush for the cosmetic wipes. You could have had me on the floor laughing if you told me replacing the strawberry with raspberry would change my opinion. Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau so Fresh did exactly that and you had to pick me up off the floor. Perfumer Alberto Morillas made that change but he also lightened and tightened up the entire construction from top to bottom. It is one of the few fruity florals I point to when I’m at the mall and asked for a recommendation.
Tauer Une Rose Vermeille is an example of what I would do if asked to conspire on a fruity floral. Andy Tauer uses raspberry as a note to fill in around the gorgeous rose at the heart of this perfume it is recognizably there but most of the time it is as part of a greater rose accord that I notice it. This gets richer with a vanilla and ambergris base. This is Hr. Tauer at his best finding the right notes to fill in the spaces.
If you’re a fan of raspberry and haven’t tried these see if they give you a different perspective on the little red fruit.
Disclosure: this review is based on bottles I purchased.
The first stage of my perfume journey took place in the 1980’s and 1990’s and it was pretty much a solitary affair. When the Internet happened I would dive into the online community for a communal experience. One of the problems was information overload. Reading posts from people describing fragrances which I had to try caused me to really become acquisitive. I am sure if I had tracked my purchases the early 2000’s would have been when I bought the most. Which would coincide with finding the vast online community of other perfume lovers. Over time I would discover those who posted who shared my taste. As funny as it sounds in those days the thought of sharing my thoughts on perfume was frightening to me. I was a few years away from thinking I had anything to add to the conversation. So my benefactors had no clue they were enabling me. I was also early in my days of trying to understand the raw materials that went into perfume.
One morning I opened up one of the perfume forums and there was one of my scent twins talking about this perfume with a kelp note and a new wood I had never heard of, rosewood. The perfume was called Carthusia Uomo and I was off to find a bottle.
Carthusia is a heritage Italian brand. It was revived in 2000 with a mix of legacy and new compositions. It was 2004 until Carthusia Uomo would make its appearance. Uomo was one of the original Carthusia releases back in 1948. The four legacy releases carry a classic aesthetic to them. Uomo is the one which has some semblance of a contemporary air to it because of a couple of unique raw materials used in it. The perfumer who worked on these early releases has been lost to time. Laura Tonatto oversaw the early new releases and I suspect she also did the same for the legacy re-issues. I have never been able to source any of the vintage Uomo so I also have no idea how close or not this is to the original. What is here is one of my favorite warm weather perfumes.
Uomo opens with a very familiar Mediterranean accord of green tinged citrus. That all changes rather rapidly as the heart accord consists of notes like raspberry, patchouli, jasmine, and kelp. Here is what makes Uomo stand out for me. Those four notes could be combined to form something very heavy. In Uomo the opposite happens as it is kept very breezy and light. The raspberry is not the cloying ingredient from too many to count fruity florals. The jasmine is ethereal. The patchouli is the magic carpet for all of this to ride upon. Then there is the kelp which imparts a briny green aspect. It is like a stiff breeze off an ocean with the kelp floating on top. The same light hand extends in to the base accord as a trio of woods; cedar, sandalwood, and rosewood combine. The cedar provides a clean frame; the sandalwood the platform, for the slightly sweet rosewood to steal the show. It arises seamlessly from the opaque raspberry to form a fabulously sweet woody finish.
Carthusia Uomo has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Uomo has become more widely available than it was when I first heard about it. I can recommend giving the Carthusia brand a try if you do go in search of Uomo as the whole brand is under the radar. But the brightest light in that collection is Uomo.
Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle I purchased.