Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Linari is a relatively new niche fragrance house founded by a German industrial engineer Rainer Diersche. It promises luxury, it is inspired by Tuscany–who isn’t inspired by it, one begs the question!–and it works with some of the best noses. My first encounter with Linari portfolio, which already includes Notte Bianca, Angelo Di Fiume, Vista Sul Mare and Eleganza Luminosa, has been Acqua Santa. Created by Maurice Roucel, it is described as “clean and innocent like crystal-clear holy water.”
Prefacing my review, I should say that I have a complete admiration for Roucel’s work, not only because he was largely self-taught, but also because he is able to put together accords of dramatic character and fascinating depth. The metallic lily of the valley of Gucci Envy, the ambered orange blossom of Hermes 24 Faubourg, the earthy roots of Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, the leafy apple of DKNY Be Delicious…. He is the author of almost 100 fragrances, many of which are ingenious. In light of this, I almost feel guilty saying that I find Acqua Santa, a woody composition with a strong white floral accent, lackluster.
Of course, the fragrance does have a number of interesting elements—a neon bright fruity accord which greets one upon the first inhale, the candied flower petal heart and the richly caramelized base. The effect is reminiscent of the striped quality found in the original Missoni (2006), where the watery green lily of the valley mischievously alternates with milk chocolate and sweet musk. Yet, in Acqua Santa, the accords, although captivating on their own, somehow do not cohere well together, with the composition lacking the usual smooth development I find in Roucel’s fragrances: the grassy green notes are overly sharp, the base notes verge on cloying.
Acqua Santa includes notes of Sicilian bergamot, cassis, coriander chords, green notes, Javanese patchouli, rose petals, jasmine, ylang-ylang, cyclamen, lily, caramel, musk, tonka and cedarwood. Linari fragrances are available in the USA from MiN New York as well as Germany’s First-in-Fragrance.