Thursday, 30 September 2010

Eau d'Italie - Sienne l'Hiver

Sienne l'Hiver is one of those perfumes I've read a bit about, but felt very much on the fence as whether to order a sample or not. Reviews have been fairly polarising - it seems like people either love it or hate it. I therefore ordered a sample expecting either to be wowed, or revolted. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised.

The notes include violet leaf, geranium, black olive, white truffle, smoke, woods, coal-roasted chestnuts, autumn leaves, french straw, iris root and white musk. Well, some of those notes seem much like marketing mulch to me, but in any event, the perfume does evoke some sort of winter or autumnal atmosphere. The opening is surprisingly fruity, smelling not generically fruity, but more like musty, slightly fermenting grapes. This fades quickly and a much greener note emerges, which smells, you guessed it, quite a lot like olives. However this is more the smell of the oil to me, rather than the fruit. It isn't sweet, but not exactly dry either. There is a herbaceous feel to it too, but not in a mossy or sappy way. I must admit that as the perfume develops I do not detect any chestnut or truffle accords, at least not in the way that I have experienced these culinary delights. The fragrance does not smell nutty and I don't detect that rich, yet pungent smell you get with say truffle-infused oil. There is a richness to the scent that I also get with Frederic Malle's Un Rose, which is meant to have a truffle accord as well, so maybe there is something there.

The development continues in much the same fashion, still staying quite green, but in a mediterranean undergrowth sort of way, if you know what I mean. In that sense it does smell quite leafy and dry, but I would not necessarily have called it the smell of autumn leaves. I don't detect much smoke, if at all. There's something about Sienne l"Hiver that reminds me of Comme des Garcon Monocle Laurel. This obviously came a long time before Laurel, and is smoother, perhaps more sophisticated than I was expecting. It's also not as oddball as I thought it would be, considering some of the reviews I read. Having said that, I don't think I have smelled anything else like it and I quite enjoyed it. I wouldn't say I fell head-over-heels in love, but I still think it was worth obtaining a sample of it. I think Sienne l'Hiver is quite unisex, but despite the use of notes like chestnuts and truffles, there is nothing gourmand about it to me.

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