Sunday, 3 October 2010

Nasomatto China White

Besides the obvious slang association with a drug, heroin, that China White brings to mind, I didn't really know much about this perfume prior to ordering a sample. I was expecting something quite severe, chalky perhaps, that would end up being a chypre or leather. Instead, China White strikes me as more oriental in nature, particularly in the first half of its development. It opens surprisingly warm and cosy, with an almost caramel sweetness, reminding me ever so slightly of Coze or Aomassai by Perfumerie Generale. Just cutting the sweetness is a hint of violets and what smells to me like vetiver. After the initial top notes fade there emerges a slight spiciness, piquant like cardamom and a bit of pepper. I also detect a fleeting patchouli note, but I'm not entirely sure. Overall China White is much warmer than I thought it would be, as I said. In the heart the vetiver strengthens, but it remains fairly comfy. I wouldn't necessarily call it gourmand, but it verges on it. At this stage I think I can detect an iris note and I kept on thinking that China White reminds me of another fragrance but I couldn't put my finger on it. Eventually it came to me - Antaeus by Chanel. Particularly in the heart there is a graphite, carbon-like smell with powdery, yet earthy patchouli. I was quite surprised to make this association. After all, Antaeus is firmly a product of the eighties, while Nasamotto is the chic, hip, ultra-expensive niche line from the 21st century. Still, I like China White a lot, probably more than I was expecting to. It's not a dead ringer for Antaeus and as development progresses into the dry down, it stays sweeter, lighter and a bit more powdery. 

I don't know how I'd classify China White. Due to the association with Antaeus, I would initially say it veers more towards the masculine, but it is sweeter, especially in the opening, and has a slight powderiness to it that leads me to state ultimately that it is a perfectly good unisex fragrance. I think China White is very good, although it is rather expensive at £100 for 30ml here in the UK.

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