Fan di Fendi : Fragrance 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.

First, please let me get it off my chest. I am angry at Fendi for discontinuing Theorema, one of the perfect spicy fragrances—it smells like pomanders and smoky roses. I am disappointed that Life Essence, a brilliant perfume of mossy cedarwood, cardamom and geranium was axed. And I still don’t understand why Asja, the spicy jasmine set in amber, had to go as well. So when Fan di Fendi landed on my local Sephora shelf, I tried my best to ignore it.

Even when I finally tried it, I wasn’t convinced by Fan di Fendi–another fruity patchouli, another glitzy gold package a la Paco Rabanne Lady Million  and Gucci Guilty. The top notes are the same electric citrus and berry that I find in most new launches that brand themselves as “modern floral oriental.” They are sheer enough to give a glimpse of the bittersweet patchouli and cotton candy notes. The prelude to Fan di Fendi is as ubiquitous as the Justin Bieber posters in my local mall.

But things get more interesting as Fan di Fendi dries down. The berries vanish, the creamy blur of jasmine and rose softens, and the tender leather note takes over. Piquant cinnamon and vanilla light up the chocolate-like richness of patchouli, and sheer woods add another layer to the base notes. In the Eau de Parfum, there is also a violet note that reminds me of vintage lipstick and bonbons, a pleasant twist on the fruity patchouli.

Fan di Fendi is clearly trying to woo the same consumer that loves Chanel Chance, Christian Dior Miss Dior Cherie and Yves Saint Laurent Belle d’Opium*, but it feels more sophisticated and less sugary than any of those fragrances. There is some flamboyance to the fragrance that fits with my vision of Fendi, even the marketing image of models at what looks to be a rave party seems out of place.

The tenacity of the Eau de Parfum is excellent, and it lasts on my skin from morning to evening. The Eau de Toilette is lighter and fresher, a much less exciting alternative. What Fan di Fendi lacks in originality, it makes up for in being wearable and nicely crafted.  I’m not tempted to buy a bottle, but if I have to recommend a trendy modern fragrance, I wouldn’t hesitate to mention it. Obviously, I’m in the minority in not wanting a bottle of Fan di Fendi—it has been doing well enough to land among the top sellers last year.

Fan di Fendi EDP includes notes of tangerine, pink peppercorns, pear black currant accord, jasmine, rose, tuberose, leather, and patchouli. The EDT includes petitgrain, tangerine, green tea, blackcurrant buds, broom, jasmine, leather and patchouli. Available from Sephora, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and other major retailers.

*And of course, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina… Did I miss any other blockbuster fruity patchouli perfumes?

Sample: my own acquisition

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26 Comments

  • Suzanna: I tried the EdP and found it to be a violet/leather scent, albeit one with the sweet, fruity surface layer you mention in EdT. The tannic leather matured it beyond the girly Chanel and Dior scents and it didn’t seem to have their stickiness. I am sensitive to a leather smell, though, so it might have seemed more prominent than it actually was.

    It’s had a big promotion here, while not striking me as having much of a local market. Although not in the same olfactory category, it seemed aimed at the Rubinstein Wanted crowd; that is, it was merchandised near the “older” scents and not with the Harajuku Lovers bottles. May 2, 2012 at 7:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Suzanna, I missed the launch, and then I suddenly noticed Fan di Fendi all over Sephora.

      I think LVMH is trying to push it as their next blockbuster, but I can’t help wishing that they also bring back the gems like Theorema. However, that doesn’t seem likely. May 2, 2012 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Jenna: Ha! I didn’t try Fan yet (by the way, how is it pronounced, like “fun”?) But Theorema was breathtaking! Why, Fendi, why??? May 2, 2012 at 8:19am Reply

    • Victoria: sigh… I don’t get it either!

      I think it is Fan as in fun, that’s how the SA pronounced it. If you try it, go for the eau de parfum, it’s richer and more interesting. May 2, 2012 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Nancy: I sampled Fendi’s latest creation and cannot remember it at all. More than likely, it hadn’t any impact for me. I guess many times the fragrance houses rely too much on the marketing and demographic appeal of their creations or a “nose” changes within the brand that we lose the memorable fragrances we’re drawn to. Oh, well! May 2, 2012 at 1:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: that’s so true. The perfume itself sometimes feels as an afterthought, as in “oh, we’ve got to fill this bottle with something!” Not that Fan is badly made, and I prefer it to the cloying Miss Dior Cherie, but it’s just so much like everything else out there… May 2, 2012 at 1:46pm Reply

  • Rhiane: Zzzzzzzzz….. I will never understand why they discontinued the original Fendi by Fendi. It was my all time favorite. May 3, 2012 at 7:29am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, that’s another great one! I have no idea, but I think that all of those fragrances just didn’t bring enough business, and LVMH didn’t see the need to keep them. May 3, 2012 at 8:59am Reply

  • Elisa: I too wish Theorema was still available … I find there are lots of similar fragrances but Theorema gets the balance just right. I recently found a bottle of the original Fendi for cheap, and it’s great too. Are you familiar with it? Not a million miles away from Theorema, but with a big leather note and more brightness and florals. May 3, 2012 at 4:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve smelled it, and I agree with you, it’s in the same ballpark as Theorema. Asja is another wonderful perfume that has a similar Italian glamour as Theorema and the original Fendi. Have you tried it? May 3, 2012 at 5:02pm Reply

      • Elisa: I haven’t, but it sounds lovely. Have they already discontinued Palazzo too?? May 3, 2012 at 5:09pm Reply

  • Patty: I’m still quite torched about Theorema too. while I can still find it for a cheerily inflating price in its discontinuance, I know a day will come that I will be hoarding my precious bits of orange loveliness that is like nothing else.

    Fendi, what were they thinking? Fan is okay, but it’s not one I’ll long remember. May 4, 2012 at 12:28am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m with you, Fan just can’t be compared to it, in my mind. Theorema smells like spices, but also has such a beautiful sandalwood note… It feels like velvet to me. May 4, 2012 at 9:21am Reply

  • Noona: I also deeply miss Life Essence….. May 4, 2012 at 2:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: Me too! Such a beautiful, unique perfume. May 5, 2012 at 12:39am Reply

  • eminere: I wonder what they’ll do for the men’s version. May 5, 2012 at 7:02am Reply

    • Victoria: Something that smells like Chanel Bleu? 🙂 May 5, 2012 at 1:02pm Reply

      • eminere: I hope not! Really wanted to like Bleu but alas am not a fan. May 6, 2012 at 6:51am Reply

        • Victoria: Bleu smells very expensive and very predictable. Knowing Chanel, I guess that they would use the best of the best in it. But I’m disappointed that they chose to go for such an expected fragrance idea. But hey, maybe it boosts their profit margins and they can continue making their incredible No 19 and other interesting fragrances. May 6, 2012 at 9:47am Reply

  • Belinda d: Hello , I am searching the Internet for any information on how or where to buy the old fendi – I was just at a friends place today and put some on and it just makes me miss it more .

    Elisa , can you please tell me where you were able to find it , I really want to get some before it is totally gone. Why can’t fendi bring it back – I bought the one you are talking about and it is nothing compared to the real fendi ,

    Thanks ,
    Belinda May 25, 2012 at 7:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Belinda, try a google search to find an online discounter or Ebay. That’s how I found mine. There are many different online stores that carry old Fendis, and while I don’t know all of them personally, you can compare prices and see the available stock. May 25, 2012 at 9:41am Reply

  • jessica: i miss Asja…i buy it online…search for it…
    there seems to be very little of it available…
    what ever possessed Fendi to stop making
    it…??? when i first tried it, after buying
    the original Fendi for a few years, i did not like Asja…but once it dried, i fell in love…

    only thing i can compare fragrance to is
    Noir Epices by Fredric Malle…just for spicy
    quality….
    honestly, does Fendi no longer care about
    making money from their perfume…??? October 4, 2012 at 7:49pm Reply

  • Amanda: I have been wearing the Original Fendi for years and just love it, very hard to find today.
    However after a long search I found the Edp sprays at thefragrancefactory.
    they have alot of vintage fragrances. Happy again. December 12, 2013 at 3:23pm Reply

  • Mar: I actually find the EDT to be quite good. I got it as a gift and everybody compliments me whenever I wear it. I have to admit that my wish was to get the EDP and my friend didn’t know that, but I was pleasantly surprised. I usually go for Dior Addict, Desire, Lolita Lempicka, Valentina Oud Assoluto (my fave) and all scents that are sweet and last for long, but Fan di Fendi EDT lasts long for a fresh scent. It’s perfect for the office, and I live in Mexico where the weather is always pretty hot, so I highly recommend it 🙂 February 20, 2015 at 11:55am Reply

    • Victoria: It diffuses nicely, I agree, and the trail is pleasant. If you like perfumes with warm, sweet notes, it’s a good choice. February 21, 2015 at 9:05am Reply

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