Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Acqua di Genova la Superba: Rovo Nero.

My caffeine addiction is quite a known fact.
I was looking for some coffee fragrance with coffee notes and miserably failing. When Thierry Mugler's A-men Pure coffee appeared, I was very eager to try and when finally, in one store, they had a tester that actually contained something, I was happy that I had the chance to try. It was however a major disappointment because I could smell the coffee for around 0.03 seconds and then the fragrance changed into a cake. That cake my mom could make, with recipe starting with Take a pound of butter and one and half dozen eggs. Caramel, maple syrup, butter, maybe something chocolatey and a touch of fresh coriander. No coffee.
I love Guerlain's AA Gentiana. It' been discontinued but I found some online place that offered a tester, ordered two (lifetime supply), the guy had none and I had 30 euros credit, out of sudden, so I picked Rovo Nero instead, because the name sounded pretty, whatever it might have meant, and the emerald green bottle on the picture looked enchanting. I did look for something online, I decided that it may be a decent fragrance and when it arrived and I gave it a try, it was an utter shock.
Some resin or something.
I mean, I love the soapy cleanness of Rive Gauche, the incomparable freshness of Liberté Acidulée or even something totally plainly floral like Rose du Maroc. But, I tend to fall deeply for complicated and dark scents. Now, Rovo nero (means black blackberry in lingua franca(1)) is dark (2). And dry, it creates an image of a dusty floor in a long abandoned place.
When the Onda arrived yesterday, I had this feeling that it may well match with Rovo Nero. Neither Vero nor the site (both all flash, you have to click your way around. The Genovese don't offer neither much information nor the visual fun of Vero) give a detailed description of notes - but, hey, "Black Bramble: an aromatic and flowery melange, woody and mossy, fresh green" is... nothing. It's another way of saying "it smells somehow"(3). Well, yeah, sure, whatever. Coumarin, I guess, is the the aromatic bit, some cedarwood and a hint of strawberries. The rest - well, no green freshness, oakmoss may well be but, what damn flowery melange? I wouldn't want to see the flowers, I guess.

I generally put perfume on my shoulders. So that I could smell it. We were going to Museo Bandini, I definitely wanted to wear Onda (4) but since Onda may be a bit unwearable (5), I wanted some nice counterpart. There's nothing indolic about Rovo Nero although I wouldn't say it's an easy one... and hey, these two go so well together! I yet have to try and blend them directly but the aggressive, juicy and lush Onda on the left and the calm, dry Rovo Nero which is like the sound of sarcophagus lid (marble, no darn wooden coffin) falling into place and keeps the animalistic note in Onda in place... not the absolutely right thing but almost so.

Museo Bandini is one of those little hidden gems and I don't say it because I like local museums. Neat and interesting collection of works from the 13th through 15th centuries, pretty pink panels, clean floors.... Moreover, I was in a company of decent people who led intelligent and stimulating discussions which made me want to study and become a better person, not to jump out of the window. I needed such therapy indeed. If only someone wrote my papers for me... then it would be a perfect day today.

Back to work.

(1) Pun intended. Twice.
(2) Nope. Thrice.
(3) Ahem, Italy? Remember the FSSA website?
(4) No, I'm not hopping zealously and I don't giggle. It takes effort, though.
(5) There are sagas on the internetz about certain fecal, animalistic etc. notes. The right word for stinky is indolic, please. Means the same but it gives me the idea of jasmine (aka 'indolic nature of white flowers' - the same chemical, different concentrations), not dung heap. Please.


  1. Hi! I really like your blog. Took a break from studying and here I am, glued to my screen reading still :) Anyway, just commenting to say that personally, I agree that indolic is fine and indeed more proper for the... "poopy" notes, but "animalic" has its own merrits and deserves its place in the perfume vocab because it does not describe indoles, but animal musks. There are many clean soapy musks out there, but there are also the viciously - well, animalic ones. Dirty musk can also come in handy, but again (for personal preference that is) I like that better as a descriptive for the ones that are less round and darker.

    Lastly, what do we do with the "pissy" notes? ;)
    Keep writin'

  2. You're right, I got the indolic and animalistic somehow messed up. Or got wrong information somewhere out in the wild.
    Pissy notes - my skin plus citruses plus white flowers sometimes create an explosive blend very close to... well, litterbox.