L’Arte di Gucci

By March

Unfinished business:  First, I got equal requests for June and July for the next Swapmania, so let’s split the difference and annoy everyone equally – Wednesday, June 22 – that’s the weekend BEFORE the July 4 weekend – I’ll put the post up on Wednesday and let it run through the weekend, okay?  That way everyone should have time to play.

Second, next week I’m going to do a “Regrets, I’ve Had a Few” revisit of stuff in my collection.  Your assignment is to pick one or two scents you own (samples/decants are fine) that you can’t even remember what they smelled like, but you loved them at some point.  Next week you’ll be telling us, how do you feel about them now? Are you glad you rediscovered this neglected gem of yours, or is it just taking up valuable shelf-space?

Okay, perfume review.  It’s fun to be five years into this and still have something “new” to run across  –a fragrance that has a huge perfumista fan-base.  So today I’m nattering about Gucci L’Arte di Gucci.  Here’s a plausible list of notes via Fragrantica: aldehydes, coriander, fruity notes, green notes, bergamot, mimosa, tuberose, orris root, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, rose, geranium, narcissus, leather, amber, patchouli, musk, oakmoss and vetiver.

I smiled when I saw Donna’s extensive review on Perfume-Smellin’ Things last week, because I’d been playing with my sample, and I enjoyed reading about it while smelling it.  (Here’s a link to Angela’s recent review on Now Smell This, and an informative review on Perfume Shrine as well.)

For a fragrance released in 1991 and allegedly discontinued some time ago, L’Arte di Gucci still turns up on the blogs periodically in rhapsodic reviews, as evidenced above.  L’Arte di Gucci is a big ol’ rose chypre, with giant shoulder-pads and long red nails and heavy, Robert Palmer-video-level eyeshadow.  It’s about as subtle as vintage Chloe, and it must have hit right before we went all clean with 1994’s CK One, etc., so maybe that’s why it didn’t fare too well.  In fact it has more in common with the 1980s — say, Paloma Picasso (1984), another spicy-mossy-aldehydic chypre.

It’s bubbly and bergamot-y at the top, and a ribbon of green green green runs all the way through it – the crushed leaves of geranium, cut grass, muguet, with a rich, dark, leathery base (the leather-hay of narcissus and all those funky, mossy notes.)  There’s also a surprising honeyed note (Donna mentions this too) that gives the fragrance a softer, more languorous feel – less shoulder-pads in the boardroom and more silk stockings in the bedroom.

Is it my style?  Well, no, not really – there’s a lot of rose in there, and you wouldn’t want to break a bottle of this in your car.  It is definitely the sort of fragrance that would get dissed by the words “old lady” in reviews on Sephora; also, it’s got a half-life of plutonium on my skin, and a few sprays of this causes my family to frown at me.  But I’m not such a dope that I can’t recognize how incredibly beautiful it is, and, frankly, how much more interesting and full of character it is than much of the new niche stuff I smell.

My review is for the EDP, and good luck finding it; the EDT, which I have not smelled, still seems relatively easy to find online.   Update: hey, look what I found.  I have no idea if it works, since I didn’t try to buy it, but Overstockperfume.com lists the 30ml EDP splash for$55.  Anyone who wants to compare the EDT to EDP, please feel free to do so in comments.

Sample source: private sample, atomizer


  • Kate says:

    I love this one but agree with your conclusion that it has the half-life of plutonium. Surprisingly, I find the EDT more of everything in comparison to the EDP. Also in the EDT the aldehydes are very present. I found a nice deal online for the EDT. A little goes a long way which I have to be careful with since I have a lead-spritzer finger. har har.

    Hope eyes are okay, March.

  • tammy says:

    I am a big ol’ rose ho, and I got ZERO rose outta this beast. Nada. It smelled so awful to me that I sent it off to a lovely lady with the warning that it had probably turned. Someday I shall revisit it.

    Some decade from now, maybe.

    I’ll be out of civilization during the swap dates, too, but may still try and figure out how to play. I won the big 100 ml bottle of Archives 69 EL`O on NST, and it is Not For Me.

    • mals86 says:

      And it was fine. It was just overwhelming you… (waves, send thanks!)

      • tammy says:

        Waves right back at ya!

        You know I love me some big, overwhelming perfume….Opium, Diva, Poison, Tabu, Mitsy, Mackie, Bandit. Heck, I actually kinda like that nail-varnish note one gets when perfumes HAVE gone off! I think my nose/skin messed up the notes somehow.

        I got a big, huge, chemical, industrial sort of YUCK.

  • Ninara Poll says:

    I *adore* Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum, and this sounds right up my alley… thank you for the birth of a lemming ;).

  • karin says:

    Ohhhhhh…darn. I’ll be on vacation week of the swap! Too bad. I’m guessing it won’t be the last swap, though, so I’ll just have to hold on til the next one. :-) Have loads of fun y’all!!!! Thanks for sponsoring these, March. The last one was a blast!

    • March says:

      So sorry! People were all over the place in terms of what worked and didn’t work, so I had to pick something. I promise we’ll pick a time that works for you next time. :)>-

  • sara says:

    I love this one and got a bottle of the EDP for very little $$ on ebay a couple of years ago. One spritz is plenty!

  • Tamara*J says:

    This is one kick ass broad!

    I adore her but I learned the hard way after over-applying one fateful night *YIKES* and now I do dab this ;).
    I have the edp and I really like the edt but they are so similar that I don’t feel the need to have both.

    I loved the last Swapmania and hopefully it goes swimmingly like last time for me. :D


    • mals86 says:

      What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, babe.

      • Tamara*J says:

        Mals! I about keeled over and I like em’ that way for cryin’ out loud. But I was swooning at first and then panicking at my overzealous spraying! I think I did it about 4 good sprays, by the ear, chee-chees,other ear, behind neck-you know my normal? ;)

        I’m so glad I didn’t scrub and jinx it.
        Rode that bad girl all the night long…….but never again will we play like that. LOL

        • March says:

          Heh, I just figured out I did three sprays the day it almost killed me, including the “walk through.” I wish I could consistently get more of the honey/leather, which I love, and less rose.

        • Musette says:

          Sounds like that bad girl rode YOU! =))

          Glad you survived, darlin’

          xo >-)

      • March says:


        send the undertaker.

    • March says:

      See, I did the two sprays…. oh my god, IT WAS THREE SPRAYS. I forgot, I did the walk-through as well.

      No wonder the family was whining.

  • Olfacta says:

    They are similar, but the EDT opens up right away — with aldehydes — and is greener; the EDP goes on rich and stays closer to the skin. It’s fruits and flowers and spices mask the resin/oriental base longer, whereas, with the EDT, I got a whiff of landanum in a surprisingly short time. The EDP smells like a “dirty” perfume and the EDT smells like it’s EDP strength. The EDP is more animalic on drydown and the EDT a little sweeter. I’ve only had the EDP for a couple of days, but I think I’d wear it as a perfume with specific intent, whereas the EDP can be worn, well, not just anywhere, but almost — as long as it’s applied with a light hand. When alone, I’ve been known to drench myself in it and walk around in a rosy haze.

    The first time the DH smelled L’Arte he said “oh, now I know what you mean by civet.” I absolutely adore this, especially for impressing the opposite sex — haven’t found anything better for that.

    I guess the closest fragrance I have in my collection would be Diva (perfume strength) although Diva has more of the “pinch” quality — from oakmoss, I think — then this one does.

    • OperaFan says:

      I also find L’Arte to be a close cousin to Diva. Diva to me is bolder, with more woods and spices while L’Arte’s fruity notes gives it that smooth, honeyed quality. Both are beautiful.

      • mals86 says:

        I think you’re right, Diva’s very close. I would have said Diva’s florals were more broadly mixed, and there’s a bit more leather, while L’Arte is still that big coloratura hot pink rose.

    • March says:

      ooookay, I think I will go with ONE spray. But I’m going to put some on right now, why the heck not?


      And go out in the thermonuclear heat, it’s like an oven.

      Diva I have not tried. Thanks for your very detailed description. I think L’Arte is probably a bit more to my taste, I really love its honeyed bits and skank.

      • Olfacta says:

        I just got back from Memphis, where…OMG. It’s 95 here and it was around 100 there. I know Washington’s no picnic either! I’m getting to where I’m afraid to send or order perfume, I know the heat can’t be good for it, boiling in some cargo hold or mailbox somewhere.

        BTW the EDP lasted longer. A lot longer.

  • mals86 says:

    Funny how L’Arte has popped back up to the blog-surface lately – I think Angela reviewed it on NST recently as well.

    Prompted by Marina’s old review on PST (Six Dark Roses, or something like that), I bought a mini of the edp on ebay a couple of years ago, and I loved it so much that although it is not very “me,” I had to have it. Now I have a stockpile.

    I’m not surprised your family is frowning at two sprays. I couldn’t do two sprays; this one I decant into a rollerball for precision.

    Oh, and looking forward to the swap! I have been wanting to pare down the collection to stuff I actually love.

    • Musette says:

      An EXTREMELY generous and charming perfume-friend sent me the edp I’m currently wearing. It’s 90F here. I put two sprays on because I am stupid. I walked to the vet (about 2 blocks from here). Then I walked to the PO, half a block away. Did I mention it’s 90F? Did I mention I walked? 😮

      Uh…this is not AT ALL the thing to wear in those conditions. I take full responsibility for this disaster.

      Did I mention I am stupid? 😉

      xo an ‘off to shower’ >-)

      • Ann says:

        Hi, M!! All I can say is “ouch”!!
        But inquiring minds want to know, heat aside, did you like it, at least in principle? Or at least not hate it enough to try it again when it’s cooler?

      • mals86 says:

        Two sprays… walking in 90F heat… yeppers, disaster.

        Poor baby! If only I could have warned you in time! (I think TamaraJ overdosed on it one evening, but she has recovered now. And this is good. I never recovered from an overdose of Ta’if, and the decant had to find a new home.)

        • Musette says:

          I showered. I scrubbed. This @};- is TENACIOUS!!!

          But I kinda lurrrrve it, now that it’s down to half-spray strength! I lurved it when I first tried it, back in cooler weather – it’s a big ol’ jammy rose, definitely a fabbo relict of its time! (thanks,m) and I thought my Tribute-wearin’ self would have the stones to pull it off in this heat.

          HOIST on my own perfume petard!

          xo >-)

      • March says:

        har har har. I kinda sorta want to put it on to go walk the dog now, with the heat index it’s over 100. The twins are supposed to have soccer practice at 5:50 (fun!! nice hot field!!) but I can’t face it.

    • March says:

      Thanks, I added Angela’s link — and Marina’s original review is the first time I remember ever hearing about it. I’m glad some folks are planning to turn out for the swap.

      • Musette says:

        yah. ‘some folks’ 8-|


        we nearly crashed the system last time. remember?


        ‘some folks’


        xo >-)

  • Rappleyea says:

    Angela over at NST also did a review of L’Arte de Gucci:


    I’m a chypre girl through and through, and I did love this until about half way through when I was blasted by the musk. I’m barely a rose wearer anyway (only Nahema, more about the peach and spice on me and Voleur de Roses, a mostly patch scent) and the heavy rose and musk sent me scrubbing.

    • March says:

      Thanks, I thought she did a review and then I couldn’t find it, dangit. And NST’s search engine is really good… I added the link in the review. Sorry this worked out as a scrubber! Plenty of other fish in the sea.

  • Ann says:

    Hi March! Hope you’re staying cool today. I’m glad you’re writing about this terrific fragrance. Thanks to a generous perfume pal (waves to S!), I have a sample of the EDP, and I love it. Have to be in the right mood to wear it (and not in this heat), but it is so rich and gorgeous that even a rose-hater like me has to bow down to its charms. Would like to try the EDT someday as well.

    • March says:

      I’m home now … wow, is it hot out there. A little on the warm side for me, even, as well as for this fragrance. 🙂 Sometimes it’s perfect, and sometimes it is just tooooo rosey.

  • Marsi says:

    I have been so antsy for this next swap. I am sort of “over” playing around with different fragrances and think that but for hanging onto Chanel Coco and all of my Guerlains (and perhaps a few old sentimental favorites, like Poison, just for old times’ sake), I’m putting EVERYTHING else up for swap. All I want is Coco and Guerlain. I hope I can swap for them.

    Thanks, as always, for organizing this free-for-all, March!

    • March says:

      Let’s see who shows up to play! Settling down into your favorite fragrances is always a good thing, in my opinion.

  • Sherri M. says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the swap, March! I will mark the dates and keep set aside my “regrets” and “mehs”. I need to do some cleaning anyway.

    L’arte de Gucci sounds interesting. Rose perfumes are not my thang, so I won’t seek it out but will definitely sniff it if I run across it at one of the kiosks at the mall.

    Happy summer! :-)

    • March says:

      Happy summer to you too — it’s certainly summer weather here now. I expect we’ll get a smaller turnout on the summer swap, but it should still be fun.

  • SilviaFunkly says:

    I am a big fan of L’Arte, although these days more theoretically as I rarely wear it.
    I have the EDP, in all its fully bosomed, ripe and dirty glory. Stifler’s mom in American Pie couls have worn this.

    • March says:

      lol I love your description. And a great deal of my perfume love is theoretical, as I tend to turn to the same things over and over… certainly our 95+ degree day today might not be perfect weather for it.

      • Musette says:

        Which is persackly why I’m going to give it a test run TODAY! [-(

        I’m on my way to the vet, to check on Carmine’s arm (he busted it – we’re hoping for nothing more than soft tissue damage [-o< - they often look at me all funny and everything, as I swan in there wearing something that can clear out the entire place - remember, I live in the country, where Large Animal Vets means just that - so clearing out a vet takes some doin's..... will report back anon. xoxo >-)

        • March says:

          lordy it’s hot, also I look like I am completely stoned, I hate having my eyes dilated. :-w

        • March says:

          CARMINE?!? Poor baby, is he okay?

          • Musette says:

            we’re not persackly sure just yet. It looks like a Really Bad Sprain (he has a wonky wrist from a very early injury) – but they took xrays, etc to make sure it wasn’t some weird degenerative disease…..we’ll see…but I’m holding out for RBS (Really Bad Sprain) [-o< xo >-)

            ps. did you know that dogs can do somersaults? Yes, they can. It’s weird looking. But they can do it!

  • Louise says:

    This is definitely a Stilleto perfume for me. I have both EdT and EdP-they are similar, but the EdT, besides being lighter, is also much spicier on my skin. The EdP is gorgeous-but I have to be in the “just right” mood-there is a heaviness, also most greasy quality on some days that just about nauseates me.

    I still hold vintage Dioressence (especially in parfum) as the Goddess of deep rose chypres-and she never goes wrong for me.

    • March says:

      Hey, look, my eyedoctor has a computer we can use! Sorry, folks, that’s why I’m not logged in…. yeah, I can see this working nicely on you, Louise. The EDT sounds like more “me” maybe with spices and a bit lighter. But I wonder if I’d then miss that honey note.

      Dioressence is pretty fabulous.

  • Lavanya says:

    It’s like you read my mind!! I’ve been ‘almost buying’ some L’arte online for a week now. I ordered a sample of the EDT a long while back from TPC after reading Marina’s review and remember thoroughly enjoying it. I was wondering about the differences between the EDT and EDP too.. I didn’t realize how much I loved roses in perfume till I discovered the dirty/spicy/oudy/chypre-y roses and now I can’t get enough (though it is getting too warm for such scents)

    Thanks for the super tempting link, March!

    • Lavanya says:

      Ok- March- I caved and bought it from overstock..now fingers crossed!!!!!

      • March says:

        Huh. Well, if the order went through, that’s a good sign. Hopefully you like it when it gets here! If you like a dirty, spicy rose then you’ll probably love the EDP.

        • Lavanya says:

          sorry about the phrasing (The ‘ok- March’ sounds weird today without the accompanying expressions/inflection of yesterday..:)) I was a little anxious because I’d never ordered from them before which is why the fingers were crossed..:)

          Though I did do a LOT of research on this etailer AFTER I bought it (which is never good) and it turns out that people over at MUA and basenotes hate this seller..so we’ll see- I’ve used paypal to buy so if there is some problem I should be able to ‘dispute’. I can’t wait to smell the EDP though..

          • March says:

            Ruh roh! Although, if it’s any consolation, I’ve bought fragrances from crap sellers and everything worked out fine. :)>-

          • Lavanya says:

            I received the perfume today, March. Very excited and relieved!! The bottle was a splash bottle, and the cap seemed a little old- but it was probably sitting in a warehouse for a while. Tried a bit- It smells like a big,perfumey rose..drydown is slightly dirty/animalic on my skin, smells ‘older’ to me than the EDT (As I remember)- I can’t smell too much rose after a bit- but maybe my nose is tired- so I’ll try again tomorrow. Now i need to buy a bit of the EDT from TPC for a side by side comparison :d

  • Olfacta says:

    Oh do I ever love this va-va-voom perfume. I have the EDT and just got a big decant of the EDP from a (good) friend so will compare them — tomorrow maybe?

    • March says:

      Let me know what you think! It sounds like the EDP is richer, but that the EDT is pretty darn good.