Monday, January 5, 2009

Armani Onde (Mystere, Vertige, Extase) by Giorgio Armani : Perfume Reviews

Happy New Year, lovely Fragrance Bouquet readers! I am back from Greece -with a rather heavy heart I might add, but the sun is shining here today and a trio of samples that has been in my bag since I left is now finally ready for review. (There’s much to be said for good intentions, since I was actually planning to review those while in Greece, but blame my family and friends for completely distracting me with fabulous plans each and every day) The aforementioned trio is Armani’s Onde, and if you’ve been seduced by pictures of the lovely flacons I’ll just have to reinforce your infatuation by affirming that the presentations are even lovelier in real life. Heavy, expressively textured glass in beautiful colors, simple but luxurious stoppers and decadent tassles pack a extra-generous dose of old-world charm I can’t help but find irresistible. The scents themselves are meant to take us on journeys to the east, with Mystère representing Middle East, Vertige India and Extase Japan. All this might lead one to deduce that the fragrances will be rich, opulent orientals, but Armani seems to be reinterpreting not only these very special places, but a whole genre itself. These are new, modern Orientals, feather light and transparent. Being a great fan of rich, spicy elixirs myself, I did find myself slightly ambivalent about my feelings on this at first. However, after some thought and several testing sessions with the three neo-orientals, I find myself rather taken by them, as well as their daring defiance against preconceived notions.

Mystère: Opening with a soft veil of transparent woods (the lightest of light vetiver hints bathing in gossamer sandalwood) Mystère quickly turns into a fluffy, frothy as a spring cloud interpretation of turkish delight. Rosewater infused soft candy, with a sprinkling of sugar and almonds, this is the softest, most innocent interpretation of the by now quite popular theme. Those of you that find Lutens’ and By Kilian’s (just to name a few) versions too heavy, cloying or sweet, but still wish you could indulge in the treat, will probably fall for this charming perfume. Its sweetness is very much subdued, and hints of powder make this boudoir-ish. However, it is still a very innocent perfume. The ad-copy might speak of harem girls, but in reality it is more about satin baby-dolls and fluffy maraboo slippers than eyeliner and veils. In one word, I’d describe it as angelic. It’s very, very easy to fall in love with, and its soft kiss does definitely stirr the heart and soul. However, those looking for a potent sillage had better look elsewhere: Staying close to the skin, this will only be detected by yourself and those lucky enough to find themselves in your embrace. The drydown is soft, delicious, slightly sweet and resinous vetiver.

Vertige: The opening is green and slightly resinous, with the characteristic, nectareous, slightly citrucy honeyed scent of pittosporum. Stronger than Mystère, Vertige has a delectable, sophisticated 80s vibe, smelling exquisitely italian and exuberant, reeking power and style through flowers. After a wave of bright, shining jasmine, Vertige exposes us to a glorious frangipani scent that is fruity, exotic and colorful. Lovers of the note are likely to (like me) find themselves repeatedly sniffing their perfumed skin to get another hit of the beautiful fragrance. Despite being ultra-feminine for most of its development, Vertige hides a stretch of dark velvet in its woody drydown which is rather addictive and mysterious, but also rather strange and surprising, due to a sharp, masculine touch that flows in and out of consciousness and manages to catch me unaware each and every time.

Extase: Even if you don’t normally like sweet fragrances, Extase is most definitely worth a sniff, because you just might fall in love with this one: Its lovely sweetness is childlike, exquisite and endearing. Even though it is not strictly linear, it changes very slightly with the passing of time, retaining its main characteristics intact. The heaviest of the trio, after the initial burst of smile-inducing, playful sweetness, Extase grows heavier, imbuing the wearer with the scent of rich florals, most prominently narcissus and mimosa. I normally shy away from fragrances heavy on mimosa as they can come across quite cloying (even headache inducing) to me, but this one somehow manages to get the balance right. Even though mimosa is instantly recognizable in all its old-fashioned, rather powdery, grande-damme glory, it somehow manages to refrain from stealing all the limelight. Instead, it allows the other nuances of the fragrance to show through: a candied violet note, a very original, nutty, roasted sesame note, a good dose of cedar, musk. Having said all that, this is probably my least favorite fragrance of the trio, not least due to its apparent lack of elegance.


Jenavira13 said...

Well you have certainly piqued my interest in these Divina. I've heard a lot of negative about these but no actual description of the scents themselves.

Linda said...

Dear Divina!
So good to read you again - welcome back! Well, at first I thought these flacons looked like salt and pepper pots, but close up, they are GORGEOUS. Of course, it would be lovely to own the whole set, but I think I would go for Mystere first, and as soon as I can, I'll hunt them down...
Thank you for this very interesting post,

Ines said...

Hey Divina

nice to have you back (although that means you're no longer in Greece).
These three sound lovely (esspecially first two)- where are they going to be or are available?

Divina said...

Hey Jen dear :) Did you get your new kitten? What is he/she like? :)

Hmm, well these are surprising in a few ways, so I am not surprised they might have garnered negative attention. If it doesn't end up being too light and subdued for you, I think you will really like Mystere actually.

Divina said...

Linda! *hug hug* Thank you for the welcome dearest. Yeah, Mystere is my favorite too! The three would be great to have as a collection cause they fit so well together (and they would look great!), but I doubt I would wear Extase very much... I *love* the happy opening (one of the best sweet smells I've come across) and I enjoy they slightly dirty drydown, but the looooong stretch of loud florals in the middle ruins it for me.

Divina said...

Dearest Ines, hello! These launched in October and they are already available here in the Netherlands but not in Greece. (or at least I didn't see them there) From what I gather from Linda's message they are also available in the UK. I don't understand why EU countries don't all get things at the same time :/ Annoying... :(

Isa said...

All Armani Onde are available in Spain since November :)

I really hoped to love them, but I was quite disappointed. I think the three are too "fresh" and light. This can be seen as an originality of them (a differentiating element), but I also think you can get this kind of scents for much less money.
In fact one of them, maybe Vertige, reminded me of Light Blue!

Anyway, my favourite is Mystère and I would love to wear it because of that soft incense note.


Maria said...

o good to read you again - welcome back! Well, at first I thought these flacons looked like salt and pepper pots, but close up, they are GORGEOUS. Of course, it would be lovely to own the whole set, but I think I would go for Mystere first