Etro Rajasthan : Perfume Review

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Shimmering silk saris, henna curlicues, rose scented Indian sweets… I was ready to experience it all as I sprayed Etro Rajasthan on my wrist. Inspired by a state in the western part of India, this perfume from the Italian fashion house, promised to take me away from my routine to someplace faraway and exciting.

rajasthan

It takes me a few moments to realize that Rajasthan doesn’t transport me further than the local beauty counter. It smells uncannily like a rose and violet scented lipstick, but admittedly, it’s a pleasant scent. Its rich composition is based on rose and amber with a jammy accent of violets and gardenia. The rose is creamy and warm, while the marshmallow sweetness of orange blossom gives it a gourmand finish. As the perfume unfolds on your skin, it becomes soft and powdery, with fluffy vanilla rounding out all edges. It has a big presence, noticeable sillage, and a retro chic character.

If you enjoy perfumes that smell of vintage lipstick and face powder, Rajasthan will win you over. But before you splurge on it, I recommend looking for Rochas Tocade. The two fragrances share many similar nuances and effects in common. If you’re not familiar with Tocade, it’s one of the underrated great perfumes, and for this reason alone, it’s worth discovering. The rose and vanilla combination may feel too soft to be dramatic, but in Tocade it’s given a sultry twist of amber and orange blossom and then amplified to the maximum. If you like lush, uber-feminine fragrances, Tocade has few rivals.

Rajasthan doesn’t improve on it, but it certainly smells very good. Still, I can’t justify its high price when we still have the marvelous Tocade available for far less. (Or another great rose-vanilla like Lancôme Trésor.) The only thing in Rajasthan’s favor over Tocade is a stylish enameled flacon decorated with the signature Etro paisley pattern. But we don’t wear the bottle, do we?

etro-rajasthan2

Etro Rajasthan includes notes of lemon blossom, damascus rose, pink pepper, labdanum, amber, and white musk. Etro fragrances  are available at Aedes, Luckyscent. 100 ml Eau de Parfum/£112.

Image: Rajasthani dolls by Poi Photography, via flickr, some rights reserved.

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38 Comments

  • Jane: Ahh dear. Not what I would have expected either. Rose-scented Indian sweets sounded so promising! March 4, 2013 at 7:12am Reply

    • Victoria: I do like it, all things considered, but it’s not at all what I expected. It also reminded of L’Artisan Traversee du Bosphore and other powdery sweet roses. March 4, 2013 at 7:33am Reply

  • Austenfan: That bottle is stunning!

    By the way you have a typo in your post: In your penultimate paragraph second line “wwo” in stead of two. Feel free to delete this. I don’t want to sound like some schoolmaster, but your posts are so meticulous that I thought that I would hazard pointing it out.

    On another note; I have a few Etro’s my favourite is their lovely Anice, with Vetiver a close second. I think I will pass on this one. I already own Tocade, wouldn’t mind having my Tocade served from this bottle though. March 4, 2013 at 7:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I forgot to delete the cache once I uploaded the edited version this morning. I appreciate any corrections, so thank you.

      I love Etro’s Vetiver, which is rarely mentioned, but in my opinion, is one of the nicest vetiver renditions. There is a delicious milky note that makes me think of green hazelnuts. Anice is now on my list to revisit. I haven’t smelled it in years. March 4, 2013 at 7:31am Reply

      • Austenfan: It is delicious!.
        Do try Anice, it is the sunniest rendering of Aniseed that I know. I prefer it to Anisia Bella, which is somewhat drier and more bitter. March 4, 2013 at 7:32am Reply

        • Victoria: I like Anisia Bella on paper, but I don’t enjoy wearing it. Somehow it remains cold and dry, too much so.

          After years of hating anise because it reminded me of cold medicine, I fell in love with it after an Italian friend introduced me to Sambuca. Its cool, spicy perfume completely replaced the old negative association. March 4, 2013 at 7:36am Reply

          • Austenfan: I adore anise in perfume ( and in food). It has been one of my best perfume discoveries. ( that and lavender). In Holland little cubes of anise flavoured sugar are sold that can be added to milk. Sort of like hot chocolate but with anise instead of the chocolate. It’s one of my favourite night time beverages. So the fragrance associations I have with it has always been a positive one!

            http://www.deruijter.nl/producten/anijsblokjes.aspx March 4, 2013 at 8:07am Reply

            • Victoria: This sounds so good! Is it something you buy from the sugar section at a regular supermarket or is it something more specialized? I travel to Amsterdam for work time to time, so I will have to look for it.

              Actually, in the Flemish region the variety of sugar at the supermarket is astounding. Both my husband and I found it quite unusual to see so many types, forms and shapes of sugar. March 4, 2013 at 8:24am Reply

              • Austenfan: You should be able to find it at any supermarket in the Netherlands. Try an Albert Heijn,they tend to be well stocked, and there are plenty of those to be found in Amsterdam! March 4, 2013 at 8:40am Reply

                • Victoria: Thank you very much! I love these kind of quests. 🙂 March 4, 2013 at 2:51pm Reply

            • Rachel: I remember another treat my Dutch grandma made. It was a piece of buttered toast with chocolate sprinkles. Yum! March 4, 2013 at 8:58am Reply

              • Marieke: Nice to see so many fellow Dutch here! 🙂 Hagelslag on bread was my favourite snack when I was little. March 4, 2013 at 12:23pm Reply

          • Annikky: Victoria, simply out of curiosity – what about Apres l’Ondee? I know you love it, but it does have a noticeable anise note. So was this the only exeption to the rule? Or didn’t it really count as anise? March 4, 2013 at 9:02am Reply

            • Victoria: I mostly had a negative associations with the taste of anise. The scent has never bothered me much, for some reason. I have many favorites that include anise–Caron Aimez Moir, Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, etc.

              But now I love anything anise flavored in food, from Italian biscotti to fennel. March 4, 2013 at 10:13am Reply

  • Elizabeth: I agree, Tocade is very underrated. It’s a little too sweet for me on most days, but it works well in winter. The perfumes that best evoke India for me are Neela Vermeire’s. I love all three of them, but I can’t decide if Trayee or Mohur is my favorite. March 4, 2013 at 8:48am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, Tocade is a perfect cold weather perfume.

      I also have a difficult time picking between Trayee and Mohur, my favorites out of the trio. Trayee feels more introspective and I wear it to relax, while Mohur is a big statement perfume. March 4, 2013 at 10:27am Reply

  • Rachel: I was hoping for something more exotic. How powdery is it? I don’t like anything baby powder like. March 4, 2013 at 8:59am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s not like baby powder at all. The powdery notes are much more subtle than that. This is not Ombre Rose or Love’s Baby Soft, in other words. March 4, 2013 at 10:30am Reply

  • Absolute Scentualist: Even if it isn’t what I originally expected, lipstick and powder fragrances are among some of my favorites so I’d still like to try it. Victoria, would you say it resembles Lipstick Rose at all? March 4, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

    • Victoria: I put them side by side to compare, and they are quite different. Lipstick Rose is more natural, richer on rose notes and heavier. Rajasthan is more of a floral blur, with rose and violet dominating in the end. It’s fresher, fruitier, with a lemony fizz too. It’s a fairly straightforward fragrance, nothing particularly niche or original about it, but it’s pleasant. March 4, 2013 at 10:37am Reply

  • Zazie: It souds like the rose I’ve always been looking for: rose+violet+powder+vanilla.
    For what concerns tocade… It is not an easy to find fragrance!
    I’d love to try it, just for reference and because many kind blog commenters have suggested I might like it… Yet, impossible to find, and, knowing myself, it is probably not worth going through too much trouble to get a sample: when it comes to rose perfumes, bold and strong are scary tags for me. Rose perfumes usually make me feel very very uncomfortable. They are “very not me”. They do not blend into my skin (as opposed to my beloved white flowers), never.
    But I see rose working for with powder and vanilla. And I love violets. And cosmetics! 😉 March 4, 2013 at 10:28am Reply

    • Victoria: I see it here at the perfumeries like Planet Parfum, but in the US, the only place to look for it is the discounters. It’s an interesting perfume. but a challenging one, so I definitely do not recommend a blind purchase. March 4, 2013 at 10:40am Reply

  • OperaFan: I agree with Elizabeth that Tocade is too sweet for me, but I love it for one of the most whimsical bottle designs, EVER! I was lucky enough to pick up a mini bottle of the perfume (well, it came with a hang tag that says “Parfum”), and even if I hardly ever wear it I enjoy taking it out once in a while just to look at it.

    Too bad about Rajasthan, I was hopeful for it as the bottle IS stunning. March 4, 2013 at 10:39am Reply

    • Victoria: Etro’s bottle is really nicely done. The enamel looks very smooth, and the colors are vivid. I don’t mind the fragrance, but even if I had a full bottle, I don’t see myself reaching for it often. It just doesn’t stand out. March 4, 2013 at 10:48am Reply

  • iodine: While reading your description I figured something like La Traversée, as you say further in the comments… My feelings toward Etro house are very mixed. It took a long time for me to approach their fragrances, I had to win the posh fashion house deterrent effect, but then I found two, possibly three, great loves: Heliotrope, so blissfully comforting, Gomma, with its roasted rubber vibe and Patchouly- 80% of what I ask from a patchouli scent. Some scents are truly daring and original, but others just smell “already smelt”- Paisley, Dianthus, Musk..- not worth the price at all! March 4, 2013 at 11:46am Reply

    • Victoria: You really make me want to smell of these perfumes again! Messe de Minuit is my other favorite Etro. It’s so atmospheric. March 4, 2013 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Marieke: I join everyone in admiring the bottle. Either way perfume doesn’t sound like something I would like. The only Etro perfume I like is Vicolo Fiori. March 4, 2013 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: I remember liking Vicolo Fiori too, but it was reformulated and I haven’t tried it since then. March 4, 2013 at 2:54pm Reply

  • Daisy: Another disappointing and expensive launch is so depressing! I was so hopeful looking at the notes. Combined with the name and the bottle, I was looking forward to this. Sigh. I agree with you: I wish we could wear the bottle too. March 4, 2013 at 2:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love Etro’s fabrics, and although they are all out of my reach, whenever I would walk by Etro’s boutique on Madison Avenue, I stopped by to look at the scarves and dresses. It was a pleasure just to enjoy their bright colors. March 4, 2013 at 2:53pm Reply

  • Ann-Sofie: Uhmmm…I am the odd one out, I think. I love paisley (adore, actually, when well done), but…eh….is this perfume bottle not a bit över the top, as in an exotic blingy blingy Bollywood lapdance show to please the Western tastes? Well, perhaps the bottle should be considered as an artistic “au contraire” in analagy with the Etro magic formula: always a bit under the top. March 5, 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ann-Sofie, paisley is simply Etro’s signature pattern that they’ve used for some decades. But yes, it sure is over the top in this presentation! 🙂 March 5, 2013 at 5:46pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: It sounds attractive, but at Etro’s price point and position in the fashion world, I would expect more. India seems so inspirational- I have never been there, but everyone I know who has made the journey has described it as “transformational” and of those people, the artists among them, clothing designer Hanna Hartnell and jeweler Hutton Wilkinson came back hugely inspired and creatively on fire, fueled by the colors, the history, gorgeous people, the contrasts, spirituality, etc. Despite my attraction to Eastern philosophy, I am not sure I could handle India: Buddha taught that you should not avert your eyes from suffeing, and there is so much suffering there, I am not sure I would be able to stop crying. Still, it is one of the spiritual centres of the earth, and as such a lot of beauty flows from it. I walked past an Indian restaurant today and the wafting scents of safron, curry and tumeric were so compelling I am actually surprised that perfume is not a greater part of the Indian culture and economy. Weren’t they one of the main sources of incese and unguents in the Biblical world through the Middle Ages? I know there has been a masive revival of an ncient industry in India: jewelry making. It is helping to fuel the growing Indian economy (but it’s not growing nearly as fast as the population) and I wonder if perfumery is far behind.

    For a wonderful time and a sweetly goofy tribute to the power of perfume, everyone should read Tom Robbins’ novel, “Jitterbug Perfume.”

    I love (but cannot afford) Etro’s clothes and leather goods, and their perfume “Messe Minuit” (Midnigt Mass) is , forgive the pun, divine. March 5, 2013 at 6:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: I find many Etro perfumes to be too tame for their prices. But Messe de Minuit is a great exception. March 6, 2013 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Joe: I’m still planning to buy this for the bottle, but the scent doesn’t sound particularly overwhelming.

    Also, unfortunately neither Aedes nor Luckyscent seem to have carried Etro for awhile now. April 4, 2013 at 1:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thanks for the heads up, Joe! Did you check if Aedes carries it in their store? They have a few brands that they don’t list online, and I recall seeing Etro on their shelves not long ago. April 4, 2013 at 1:34pm Reply

      • Joe: I haven’t been in the store in ages — that’s certainly possible. I am trying to figure out who might be carrying Rajasthan in the US. Barneys may get it eventually. Right now I’m looking at First-in-Fragrance in Germany as a source. April 4, 2013 at 2:02pm Reply

  • lillyrose001: Tocade van Rochas heb ik zeer veel gedragen omdat ik ontdek had dat het zo lange levensduur had… Ik lees zeer veel over parfums en ben zelf ook een parfumjunk geworden.
    Vroeger had ik veel guerlains, hermés etca..
    Maar nu ga ik steeds meer naar serge lutens
    ook juliette has a gun en persoonlijk vind ik Rochas toch wel heel goed. May 19, 2015 at 7:10am Reply

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