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.