New Perfume Review Essenzialmente Laura Lavanda- 5 Shades of Lavender

Very likely as an infant my first fragrance experience was the sprinkling of Florida Water on my crib linens. As a toddler I vividly remember the orange and lavender concoction as the scent of my bedroom. My mother liberally used it to freshen up the room and something to use after a bath. As a result I have always loved lavender perfumes. What I have always enjoyed are the many different varieties of lavender I have come across as they cover a range from more green and herbal at one extreme to sweet floral on the other. Depending on the place in the world it is grown and the technique used to extract the essence there are probably myriad gradations in between the two versions I described above. If you have a good lavender perfume I am going to be interested.

Which brings me to Pitti Fragranze 2015. I have lost patience with these new brands which land with too many releases. When I hear some ridiculous number of entries I am just going to give up before trying because smelling a massive collection is just bound to be mainly disappointing. The nagging worry in the back of my head is always but what if in the midst of all that average perfume there is something really good? This was what happened on Day 1 at Pitti when I stopped at the Essenzialmente Laura stand and heard there were 39 new releases by perfumer Laura Bosetti Tonatto. I couldn’t move away fast enough. On Day 2 while having lunch with Michael Edwards he asked me if I had stopped by the stand. I said 39 new perfumes! I don’t have the time to try them all. Mr. Edwards had tried them all and he also knows of my enjoyment of lavender. He suggested I go try the three lavender ones. That I thought I could handle and so on Day 3 I came back to try 3 not 39.

Laura Tonatto

Laura Bosetti Tonatto

The three lavender perfumes in the Essenzialmente Laura collection are Lavambra, La Lavanda di Leonardo, and Lavanda. Lavambra as the portmanteau name portends is lavender and amber. La Lavanda di Leonardo is lavender and rose. These are both excellent perfumes which are balanced quite nicely between the two main notes. At the end of the day though it was Lavanda which captured most of my attention.

Sig.ra Tonatto keeps it simple as she takes lavender from five different sources. Two from France, one from Morocco, one from England, and one from Torino. The five different versions chosen run the gamut from herbal to floral. Together Sig.ra Tonatto has created a grand lavender accord like no other. On the days I wore this it was like a kaleidoscope which as I turned it a new shade of lavender would take precedence. To balance all five lavenders so that I can detect each of them plus to form the uber accord is not easy. Lavanda is simple in effect but complex in architecture.

Lavanda has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

The lavenders were so good I did delve a little deeper into the line and among the others I tried the vetiver centric VI was also pretty good. If you love lavender all three of the Essenzialmente Laura lavenders are worth the effort to seek out and try. If you are a lavender fanatic Lavanda is a must try for the most complete lavender accord you will find in a perfume.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Essenzialmente Laura at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Pitti Fragranze 2015 Final Wrap-Up Part 2- The Top 10 New Fragrances I Tried

I spent three days at Pitti Fragranze 2015 trying 96 new perfumes. It turns out it is very difficult to reduce that list down to ten. A year ago it felt like there were many brands vying for the same bit of olfactory space. This year as I look over the list below I am really pleased to see no obvious thread of similarity running through it. Here are the typical caveats for this list. These are all initial impressions obtained from a small patch of skin during three days where there is nothing but perfume in the air. Also these are the Top 10 which are new to me. Releases like Arquiste Nanban would have made the list but I had it before coming to Florence. I also did not mention Pitti-only perfumes like Pierre Guillaume’s Lumiere Fauve which would have also been on this list. Here is the list in alphabetical order:

ALTAIA Yu Son– Married creative directors and owners of Eau D’Italie Marina Sersale and Sebastian Alvarez Murena did some ancestral research and found their great great great grandfathers intersected in Argentina. It has produced an inaugural edition of three new fragrances all by perfumer Daphne Bugey. Yu Son is the orange-centric fragrance that cuts right to the heart of their story.

Essenzialmente Laura Lavanda- Perfumer Laura Tonatto has debuted a new line of fragrance with 39(!) new entries. It is overwhelming but buried within all of that new perfume is a trio of lavender fragrances which deserve to rise above the clutter. The best of them is the simplest as Sig.ra Tonatto combines five sources of lavender to create a supernatural lavender accord.

Ineke Idyllwild– Independent perfumer Ineke Ruhland had been focused on her Floral Curiosities collection over the past couple of years and her alphabet series had fallen behind. Ms. Ruhland is about to rectify that oversight with not only I but J coming out in short order. It was Idyllwild which completely mesmerized me. Ms. Ruhland took me through the building blocks which make up this gorgeous smoky rose. It left me more impressed than ever at her ability to construct a perfume.

mcg elephant and roses

Maria Candida Gentile Elephant & Roses– Sig.ra Gentile was daydreaming at her home and she imagined an elephant walking through a field of roses crushing them as it passed. Her translation into a fragrance was to merge the animalic odor of the elephant with the floralcy of the rose. She chose a Turkish rose so that the spicy components would pick up the animalic accord it was paired with. Now when wearing it I see the pachyderm amongst the petals.

Masque Milano Romanza– Creative directors Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi have reached the act of their olfactory opera where the love story is told. Nose Cristiano Canali and the creative team decided on narcissus as the smell of passionate love. Romanza is a narcotic love poem written in bold floral strokes. I broke my first vial and my bedroom was filled with this narcissus swaddling me in its addictive embrace. I never slept so well.

Naomi Goodsir Iris Cendre– This was hands down the most buzzed about perfume at this year’s fair. Knowing nods were traded by those of us who had tried it. Ms. Goodsir and her creative partner Renaud Coutadier working with perfumer Julien Rasquinet created a green iris which never turns powdery on my skin. I already cannot get it out of my head and have been wearing it since my return. It is everything about perfume that I love; creativity, a twist on the familiar, and something eminently wearable.

Nomenclature Efflor_esce– I admit any perfume based on synthetic molecules and packaged in stylized Erlenmyer flasks is always going to have my attention. Creative directors Karl Bradl and Carlos Quintero working with perfumer Frank Voelkl take the synthetic Paradisone, a modern successor to Hedione, and put it at the center of Efflor_esce. Surrounding it are florals osmanthus, tuberose, and neroli paired with bigarade and bergamot. Paradisone is the unquestioned star of the show but the complementary notes chosen by the creative team make it sparkle and shine.

olfactive studio selfie

Olfactive Studio Selfie– Creative director Celine Verleure usually uses a photograph as her brief. For Selfie you are faced with a mirrored surface to see your reflection within. To capture the narcissistic tendency to take one’s picture all the time Mme Verleure turned to perfumer Thomas Fontaine. Together the perfume they created has a fantastically realized heart of cinnamon, balsam, lily and an accord of maple syrup. I am not sure I get the relationship to egotism but I do know I definitely want to see my reflection in a bottle.

Olivier Durbano Chrysolithe- I mentioned this last year that M. Durbano really has grown as a perfumer. Chrysolithe confirms that assessment. M. Durbano returns to naming his fragrances after crystals. There were a number of perfumes I tried this year which contained sage. M. Durbano, by combining it with cumin on top; cedar and vetiver in the base, forms a sage which shows off all of its many attributes spectacularly.

Tauerville Rose FlashAndy Tauer working on his second line of perfumes has created a set of three flash fragrances that are all extremely good. I purposely held off trying these because I knew I could experience them for the first time with Hr. Tauer at Pitti. We saved Rose Flash for last and it just slayed me. If you like Une Rose Chypree this is Hr. Tauer showing you a different face of rose. It carries a definitive signature of the rose bush with the green of the leaves matched with the woodiness of the stems. Over it all a spicy lush rose prevails. There is nothing not to enjoy here if you like rose perfumes. Just make sure you get some before it is gone.  

That’s it for my wrap-up of Pitti Fragranze 2015. Full reviews of all of these will be forthcoming over the next few weeks plus many others which just missed making the Top 10. Thanks for following the coverage of Pitti Fragranze 2015 on Colognoisseur.

Mark Behnke