So, my samples have arrived and today I tested Ungaro I and II. I'm guessing Ungaro doesn't get much attention, especially among the ladies. Look on Basenotes and there will be plenty of discussion about both of these, each of which is discontinued and very difficult to find, but this tends to be from a very male point of view.
Not surprisingly, both of these do tend to be more masculine and dating from 1991 and 1992 respectively, they feel a bit more eighties in style. Actually Ungaro I feels very eighties in some ways; II smells timeless to me. Getting a bit more specific, Ungaro I opens with quite a bit of lavender, probably my least favourite phase. Soon after it it develops into what I think is a fougere, but not as typical in style as some better known perfumes in this genre. It tends to be a bit woodier, with hints of rose and leather. I really like Ungaro I. It isn't a particularly loud perfume and in a way smells a bit like what I thought Domenico Caraceni would smell like, for some reason, but never did. It is also slightly herbal, with a touch of earthy patchouli, but well blended.
Ungaro II reminds me in style very much of Guerlain, in particular Jicky meets Mouchoir de Monsieur meets Shalimar. There is also something about it that evokes Di Nicolai's New York, but luckily for me doesn't make me feel ill (I know New York has its avid fans, but it brings me to the edge of nausea, quite literally, and I've never been able to explain why). Ungaro II is essentially a blend of lavender, lemon/citrus, civet and vanilla. It smells great too, but I don't have much more to say about it because if you've smelled the Guerlains in particular, you will have a pretty good idea of what Ungaro II is like. Having said that, it is a very good fragrance and I like it.
The question I'm left asking is why were I and II discontinued? They are lovely fragrances, ever so slightly quirky and superior to some of the dross Ungaro has released since. After 1991 and 1992 came the marine wave, the obsession with clean and fresh. In a way I can see that poor Ungaro I and II had little chance. Still, given the choice, were I able to get my hands on a bottle, I know which perfume I would go for.
Image credit - http://www.basenotes.net/