Every time I get word of an addition to Signore Armani´s upscale, limited distribution stable of fragrances, my nose perks up. I completely adore Bois d´encens, Ambre Soie and Cuir Améthyste from his Privé collection, so when I discovered the newest Onde scents, my curiosity got the better of me. That and I always find it boldly narcissistic when designers debut multiple scents in one fell swoop. Tom Ford takes the cake in that department; I doubt there is anyone more vainglorious who would chance the introduction of a dozen scents all at once. Luckily for him, his Private Blends (some of them) are pretty impressive.
Ford seems to be traveling the same road as Armani when it comes to his fragrance franchises: there is something for everyone. You can grab a bottle of Black Orchid or White Patchouli at your nearest Sephora, or you can go for the whole hog at Neiman´s or Bergdorf Goodman, and splurge on a $450.00 Private Blend. Purple Patchouli and Tobacco Vanille are my favorites.
Armani´s Code, Acqua di Già², Diamonds, He, She, and their accompanying flankers are department store stalwarts, unless you´re shopping at Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue. There you will find his Privé line and now the trio of Onde scents. They fall into what I´m assuming is a mid-price range at $95.00 for 50 ml. Diamonds, Già², etc., range from about $50.00 for 50 ml, and Privé, $185.00 for 50 ml. I´m rather enamored of this concept right now; it´s akin to going car shopping and having to choose between the compact, fuel efficient tuna can, the dependable family sedan, or the behemoth SUV. There are many factors that contribute to making such a decision; in a perfect world, I´d have one of each.
Dedicated sniffer that I am, I decided to tackle all three Ondes at once:
Mystà¨re (the smoky purple bottle): According to the Giorgio Armani Beauty website, Mystà¨re is inspired by “Mysterious harem women.” Its notes consist of musk, amber, Moroccan rosebuds, incense, vanilla absolute and mesmerizing spice accords. What all this boils down to is ambery spices with a touch of vanilla and a good bit of incense. I got no significant rose or musk from the tester or the sample atomizer. I hate to fall back on “it reminds me of…” but in this case, it does seem that the best of Ambre Soie and Bois d´encens were blended into this scent, so if you like those two Privés, go for Mystà¨re and you won´t be disappointed.
Vertige (the orange bottle): “Inspired by a journey to India.” Here, we´ve got frangipani flowers, jasmine, black liquorice and intense sensual patchouli. This is without a doubt, the strongest floral of the three. Despite being a devout floral-phobe, I did not find the frangipani and jasmine too intense. I should mention that all three are eaux des parfums, so that is somewhat surprising. However, I did wait rather patiently for the black liquorice to emerge, and much to my disappointment, it never did. The patchouli also stood firmly in the background. Vertige would do well if you´re in the market for a new spring scent, especially if you´re a fan of lighter scents or tame interpretations of flowers like jasmine and frangipani, which have a tendency to be intensely overpowering.
Extase (the green bottle): “Inspired by a journey to the Far East.” Notes of mimosa, Egyptian jasmine, narcissus absolute, pink pepper, Sicilian bergamot, cedar, musk and sesame absolute comprise this scent. Again, there is a similarity to something I cannot quite put my finger on – the mimosa has me nostalgic, but for what, I am incapable of articulating right now. Extase is a bit powdery, but in a pleasant way, and that soon gives way to clean cedar and a slightly nutty component, which is probably the sesame absolute. This is the most nuanced of the three and my favorite, by far. I am a bit surprised, given my latest penchant for dark, moody incense and woody scents that are sharp and biting. Maybe now that the calendar has flipped over to March and the clocks are moving ahead this weekend, I am embracing the light and the promise of spring.
The Onde scents are at Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks.com. Their Beauty Event is on right now; a $75 beauty or fragrance purchase gets you a floral fabric shoulder bag and some samples. You can also order them online at giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.
Image courtesy of giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.