Prada Eau de Parfum and Eau de Parfum Intense : Perfume Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Thierry Mugler Angel (1992) demonstrated the unique ability of patchouli to embrace other notes as well as its affinity with gourmand compositions. The dark earthiness of patchouli contains a full bodied luscious element that can be intensified by judicious additions of vanilla and sweet balsamic notes. The next chapter of perfume history would include various fragrances that attempted to exploit the same accord that made Olivier Cresp’s Angel unique. Prada Eau de Parfum was created in 2004 by Carlos Benaïm, Clement Gavarry and Max Gavarry of IFF. Notes include bergamot oil, orange oil, bitter orange oil, mandarin flower, mimosa, rose absolute, schinus molle absolute, Peru balsam, Indonesian patchouli oil, raspberry flower, labdanum, tonka bean absolute, vanilla absolute, musk, sandalwood oil.

The Eau de Parfum opens up with a citrusy bouquet, with the orange note being most prominent. The sheer basenotes are hinted at from the first inhale, as their ambery warmth swirls underneath a sparkling lemon-orange glitter of the top notes. A watery floral cocktail underscored by a pale rose spills into an airy combination of sweet translucent amber and soft patchouli. The base is laced with orange sweetness that runs through like a bright ribbon. Pale gentle patchouli joined by a whisper of vanilla and soft musk creates an impression of blanched Angel’s accord. It is redolent of sweet soap shavings and milk chocolates, both very expensive and very elegant. If one has found Angel to be too brash and overwhelming, gentle and soft Prada might be an option to consider.

Prada Eau de Parfum Intense is not merely stronger than the original Eau de Parfum, it has a rather different character. It is darker, earthier, less pretty than the regular EdP. It has a particularly interesting development, whereas dark earthy patchouli swells rapidly on the skin before exploding in a golden cloud laced with cocoa powder and orange peel. Musty darkness redolent of bitter black chocolate and dark rye bread is shot through with the scintillating sweetness of orange, which lightens the dusky heart of the composition. Hot amber dust softens the earthy element of patchouli, which fades into the background, providing a gilded foil for the vanillic powderiness of coumarin and caramelized undertone of bourbon. Elegant balsamic sweetness resting upon dark sandalwood base conjures visions of heavy brocaded silk, incense ashes and warm skin.

In case you are wondering: Schinus molle is a California pepper tree (or Peruvian pepper tree), a member of sumac family. This evergreen tree originates from South America and is primarily used for its berries, which have a sweet licorice scent.

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11 Comments

  • Anjali: I have long wondered what the difference was between the regular and intense versions of Prada was — thank you for the lovely descriptions! I will have to try the Intense now, as you have made it sound really interesting. I like the regular well enough, though it is almost a dead ringer for GD Jardins Ottomans on my skin. September 1, 2005 at 1:47am Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, lovely review, but I don´t like Prada EdP at all – it´s way too sweet & nothing special – at least on my skin. I haven´t tried the Intense version so far, perhaps I´d like it better 😉 September 1, 2005 at 6:33am Reply

  • annieytown: Hi V,

    I prefer the Prada Intense version. Cavewoman and I discovered the difference at our local Nordstorm. We had the SA open the box for us to sniff. I do not think the SA’s realize they are two different fragrances.
    Thanks for this review V! September 1, 2005 at 8:10am Reply

  • Lost in Jersey: As always, your reviews make me run for my sample box. I must sample Prada again as it has been a while. You are certainly getting us ready for ‘Fall’ when scents like Prada and Chergui are perfect. Thanks for a great post. September 1, 2005 at 8:58am Reply

  • Robin: Great review V. I still need to try the Intense version, but it doesn’t sound to me like either will be FBW for me. September 1, 2005 at 10:40am Reply

  • mreenymo: You are a brave woman, VF! Trying both of these fragrances without gagging and gasping for breath…or did you? 🙂

    I find both of these fragrances overpowering and worthy of a full-blown asthma attack. I have never been able to detect any of the gorgeous notes your described. I love soap shavings and chocolate (both mild and dark!). I love orange oil and bitter orange and bergamot. And there’s nothing like a sultry amber slithering its way through a fragrance during the colder months.

    But, god help me, I could not get past the overpowering stink of the patchouli!

    Given how much I love the artistry of Miucci Prada’s clothes and shoes, these fragrances were a total disappointment.

    Hugs! September 1, 2005 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Laura: I’ll give Prada Intense (soon!)a try but I thought the first one was so-so at best. BTW, do you have JO so that I could try a wee whiff?
    Shameless in Seattle September 1, 2005 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Laura: Oh, I thought JO was discontinued! I’ll check it out in October in Paris! xoxo
    Thanks for the offer of a whiff of PI–I could wait til the trip in September and not deplete yours ;D. September 1, 2005 at 2:31pm Reply

  • Katie: I found Prada wore as quite remote on me. I don’t know how else to better describe that feeling. It didn’t engage with me at all, and consequently, I’m not a fan. I got some patchouli, but it wore on me like a boring bergamot-ish scent actually. So I can’t ever quite wrap my brain around the Prada/Angel comparisons. September 1, 2005 at 3:22pm Reply

  • Campaspe: Dear V., just once I would like to smell what you and Luca Turin smell in Angel. I find it impossible, and the more I smell it the less I like it. Its popularity mystifies me, it is like trying to explain to me why people liked Seinfeld. Clearly I am a minority, but I just. don’t. get. it.

    I don’t remember a thing about Prada other than disliking it and smelling the patchouli. September 2, 2005 at 10:11pm Reply

  • Stephani99: I detect the orange and amber much more than the patchouli when I wear this; it does truly soften it. While I wanted to love Angel, I simply could not wear it and didn’t understand the attraction. Thankfully, Prada works for me and is one of my favorite fall scents. I’m strangely happy so many seem to dislike it; this tells me it won’t be overkill.

    Regardless, I simply adore your reviews and have bookmarked your site to visit often! October 19, 2005 at 11:38pm Reply

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