Antonio Alessandria, 2014

A new Italian niche heavily supported by... supporting friendly blogs, forums and magazines in Italy (we call them "marchettari"). Meh. The guy is sweet and nice, though. But meh.

Nacre Blanche

Probably the nicest of Alessandria's line in my opinion. A pleasant "white" bouquet (tuberose, ylang) with zesty, refined and aromatic notes of bergamot and tangerine on top, something slightly fruity (blackcurrant? Tea? – oh ok, it's osmanthus, close enough...) on a soft base of vanilla dirtened by a grumpy leather accord, not even this close to any proper leather accord as we vintage lovers are used to with our beloved chypres and fougères; still a decent leather, polished, restrained, trendy and inoffensive (think of Puredistance M and the likes). That's it, but it works: a simple, nice contrast of a few opposing axes – white notes, fruity notes, "black" notes. As the other two scents of this brand, the longevity is quite an issue, but this one is promising enough.


Nuit Rouge

The opening of Nuit Rouge is deceptively sharp and crisp (you'll read why I say "deceptively"): a bold note of rhubarb, with its peculiar sort of "vegetable-rooty-reddish" feel, well blending with the buttery note of iris, green notes, perhaps red pepper or carnation, spices (tonka for sure), resins, patchouli, vetiver, a light thin of polished leather on the base, with Iso E combining woods and incense. It all smells so undoubtedly "niche": it has that contemporary and crisp (and slightly depressing) "polished leather" note you find anywhere in nowadays' "élite" of perfumery, which is nothing more than a galore of safraleine that after a couple of hours always starts to smell like burnt rubber; it has a couple of "almost-unusual" notes (rhubarb, riding the small trend which seemed to arise around this note last year - following Jovoy's L'art de la Guerre, which is to any extent superior to this one); it *looks* creative basing on the composition; it smells "chic"... and it quite lacks in deepness, substance and interest, as most of niche seems to be happy with these days. This said, if you're into niche all of that would probably represent a "plus" to you - contrary to me – so let's talk about the smell itself. Nuit Rouge is (mediocrely) pleasant, elegant, "nocturnal red" as the name suggests, delivering a (mediocrely) refined, carnal blend halfway earthy, rooty, leathery and dark, but also slightly fruity and powdery. All quite in a plain way, as I said, but the smell is nice enough, at least at first... because all of that I ranted about above wasn't even the main problem, actually: the main issue with Nuit Rouge (and with all Alessandria's line) is that basically you can smell most of the scent clearly enough for less than hour. After that, most part of it it's gone. And you remain with a generic, faint drydown with a hint of leather and a pale ghost of all what was there before. And an empty wallet in your pocket. So, shortly, not a disaster, but... "more talk than action".


Noir Obscur

Noir Obscur is in my opinion a "nothing-more-that-cute" ambery-leather scent, good if you're new to niche or with particularly low expectations and pretenses. Contemporary, plainly trendy, fairly similar to a lot of other leathers, softened by vanilla, ambery notes, olibanum, a subtle floral breeze which delivers a sense of radiance and refined whiteness all over, but also on the other side a slight hint of ambiguous, earthy carnality, slightly boozy too - an effect enhanced by the rhum note you clearly smell at the opening. Woods and patchouli. Quite delicate overall, it has a nice inner dynamism, but it's all quite restrained and toned down, too much to appreciate it in my opinion. It would be a good scent honestly, if someone just turned up the volume and the persistence knob. After less than one hour, in fact, all you remain with it's basically a generic, still pleasant but fairly dull synthetic leather-amber-floral scent which can be anything. I admit this one lasts for some decent four or five hours, which is the best I got from this line in terms of persistence, but the deepness and the texture you get for these hours are incredibly thin and delicate, fairly lacking in substance and character. Basically, the drydown other scents have after, say, 8 hours and a shower, you get it here after barely 2 hours. You know what this all feels similar to? Being at a rock concert with earplugs on. You kind of hear something, but...


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