Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
My fingertips smell of peppery flowers and vanilla. The sample vial of Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Love has spilled in my handbag, and I have been trailing the spicy carnation with me for the past couple of weeks. Every time I reach into my purse to fish out my wallet or a pen, my fingers catch some of the fragrance as well. Soon, I started applying Velvet Love out of choice to indulge in its smoky sweetness.
When I first read about the Velvet Collection, I dismissed it as another prestige brand attempt at playing niche and exclusive. Velvet Vetiver, Velvet Wood, Velvet Patchouli, Velvet Sublime, Velvet Desire and Velvet Love sounded interesting enough, but I was still behind on smelling some of last year’s big launches to add six more perfumes to my list. Still, when I passed by the D&G counter, the display caught my attention, and I dutifully smelled through the collection. I left with a sample of Velvet Love, which ended up at the bottom of my purse until it finally announced its presence by spilling onto my checkbook.
If you love carnation as much as I do and regret that it is considered old-fashioned, any new carnation perfume is something to be savored. Velvet Love is a modern carnation, with the peppery warmth hiding under the translucent petals. The rose and ylang-ylang are lush and tender, and the crisp lily of the valley gives Velvet Love a pleasant freshness.
In contrast to Caron Bellodgia or Cartier L’Heure Convoitée, Velvet Love speaks in the woody and spicy notes, rather than the floral ones. When I smell it on my skin, it suggests not the crimson carnation, but rather the specks of clove and allspice in my gingerbread cookies. The dark vanilla wraps the petals and spices of Velvet Love in its sweet embrace, with musk tempering the smoky richness.
As much as I enjoy the oriental melody of Velvet Love, there is one aspect of it that bothers me sufficiently to dock a star. It does not have a particularly strong presence. As elegant and polished as it is, I crave more drama and I wish that I could turn up the volume. What I smell in Velvet Love is so appealing that I find myself dreaming of an extrait version in which all the dark and luscious facets of this perfume would be more pronounced. For the time being, I will enjoy my sample of Velvet Love for its elegance and wear Caron Poivre whenever I crave more carnation fireworks.
Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Collection is available at Saks Fifth Avenue in the US and major retailers in Europe. $195/50ml
Image: Flower Still Life, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder Dutch, 1614.
Sample: my own acquisition