New Italian niche: Gabriella Chieffo

Based in Lecce, in the sunny south of Italy. Sadly not a gram of the beauty of that area ended up in these fragrances, all presented in 2014.


Mere guess: to me, Lye is all about ambroxan (a real “fil rouge” among all the fragrances of this line), at least another smoother and warmer ambroxide aromachemical, Iso E Super or something similar (incense), suede, light woods (like cashmeran, if you are familiar with it) and a faint powdery note of iris and/or violet. Not saying I think these materials are contained, but at least that is what I smell - those, or something similar to them. All quite “thin”, dusty and powdery, with a sheer and metallic texture. A thin, cold, silver and “nordic” contemporary scent which tries to play the minimalist card; but more than a clever work on a minimalist texture, it’s just more about throwing a bunch of aromachemicals as-they-are right out of their cans. Plus, it’s annoyingly salty and synthetic, while heavily reminding me of a couple of more renowned scents (a couple of “bois” more precisely... one of which made by Dior, just saying). It doesn't smell bad at least, but in my opinion Lye is heavily uncreative, clumsy and pretentious, pretty much like the rest of this line.




Camaheu: a powdery and soapy white musks note, dusty and slightly sugary, as much silky as completely “plastic” (ketones and synthetic bath soap, shortly), with a stout base of (again...) amber and most probably ambroxan, unrelated and quite annoying salty-metallic notes hanging around, a spicy accord halfway cumin and nutty, heavy synthetic mossy notes. No patchouli for me, but something musky-earthy on the very base, which can be anything. As if that wasn’t enough, a heart of floral notes halfway soap and gingerbread which oddly reminded me of a couple of the most tragic Mona di Orio scents (Lux and Jabu for instance). Like the other two scents by this line I’ve tested so far, in my opinion this is just... weird and clumsy. And annoying. An uncreative and uninspired scrubber sticking to your skin for hours (it survived a shower), completely identical to itself, where the “itself” is the abovementioned synthetic concoction. The only nice aspects for me – taking them per se – are vanilla, amber, ambroxan, and the jasmine note as long as you can smell it. But it’s just like finding clean clothes or an edible slice of pizza in the back of a rubbish van. Somehow close to the worse masculine aromatic-musky fougères of the ’90, mostly for the mossy notes and the metallic-salty aftertaste. Just my opinion, but a complete “no” for me.




Well, how to start with this... the opening of Ragù (which means “meat sauce” in Italian, for whatever obscure association with the scent) is a completely synthetic and kind of harsh galore which – involuntarily, I guess – reminded me of some of the least interesting “post-industrial/dark-contemporary/synthetic-avantgarde” scents of the recent years, like some CdG/nu_be and that type of fragrances, but with much less consistency, sophistication and ability. Basically I only get a pungent citrus-based head note, a load of eugenol (cheap raw cloves) on a base of dry, musky-woody quinolines (sort of leatherish, but more a roasted-rubbery smell which eventually is needed to build leather accords), something dark and greenish like a sort of shady, sour laurel note, a load of ambroxan like in Hystera by the same brand, and a – again – much dry and synthetic woodish base accord (that type of smoky-dusty-musky and astringent woody notes like tar). That’s it: dark plastic woods, rubber, dusty-musky stuff, for hours: in my opinion, an annoying scrubber rich in indefinite, uncreative greyness. More than a perfume, this seems a sort of clumsy “divertissement” made by someone which received a bunch of aromachemicals from Perfumer’s Apprentice, and just boringly played with them. I am not against “bad-smelling” scents per se, as long as they’re creative or provocative: but this isn’t the case, for me. Creativity aside, I find it however frankly quite unpleasant, mostly because of a persistent feel of annoying “chemical” harshness. I am sorry to “bash” a newborn brand, but this is seriously unworthy any attention for me.




The opening of Hystera is an ambroxan (or other ambroxide aromachemicals) galore with a bitter-roasted undertone, a subtle amber accord, green “dark” aromatic notes (sage, perhaps angelica or artemisia too), on a base comprising – to me – patchouli, woods (and ambroxan). It shows initially quite a similarity with some Tauer’s works, notably his “Tauerade” base accord of ambroxan and spices – same sort of synthetic, dusty, slightly smoked-dusty grayish feel, just perhaps greener and woodier here. After some 50-60 minutes it emerges a central dark earthy yet slightly floral note which kind of reminds me of rhubharb, taking Hystera far from Tauer and closer to works like L’art de la Guerre by Jovoy, and that type of “new fougères”. So, halfway that and L’air du désert marocain drydown. It shall contain iris too, but I don’t really get much of that – just perhaps get a generic, plain and quite dull powdery-sweet feel after a while. Mostly it’s all greenish-woodish ambroxan to me. The drydown is pretty much identical for hours, increasingly sour and rubbery. Bit boring, plain and dull, and quite trendy (also quite late, actually). Another “new Italian niche sensation” we didn’t really need. Meh...


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