Caron Piu Bellodgia : Perfume Review

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After reformulating its 1927 classic Bellodgia to death, Caron added a new version called Più Bellodgia. Più in Italian means more, but Caron fibs when promising more of anything with this take on Bellodgia. It’s a pale floral that I imagine more as a shampoo than a fine fragrance.

piu bellodgia

Now that I’ve told you how I feel about it, I’m tempted just to move onto something else. But I don’t like to write grumpy reviews without offering further details, and it’s far too easy to be cross about Caron these days. Their classical collection has been dramatically reformulated (to be fair, it’s not entirely their fault), and in the search for a new consumer, they keep releasing perfumes that don’t fit their aesthetic. We all need to move with the times, and it’s a tricky compromise to keep the loyal customers happy while attracting a generation of fragrance wearers who recoil at moss and leather.

Più Bellodgia does neither. It’s far too bland to appeal to people who enjoy Narcisse Noir and Nuit de Noël. On the other hand, it’s too nondescript to capture the imagination of someone who loves the exhuberance of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle or the freshness of Ralph Lauren Romance.

The unfortunate English homonym “piu” aside, Più Bellodgia doesn’t smell bad. It’s a creamy blend of white flowers (mostly jasmine) and rose, with a whisper of clove. The mild spice is obvious the moment you spray it on, but unlike in the classical Bellodgia, it fades quickly. Più Bellodgia then becomes sweet and soapy and ends up as a mellow slick of musk and rose.

If you’re looking for a spicy carnation, you can do much better than Più Bellodgia. Etro Dianthus with its peppery twist is a great option as is Comme des Garçons Carnation. For a luxury version, try Prada Oeillet No 2, a sweet carnation accented with toasted almonds and earthy woods. Another gem is Hermès Equipage, a herbal and spicy fragrance that wears a red carnation in its lapel. You have to look for it on the masculine side of a fragrance bar.

Are there other interesting carnations worth mentioning?

Caron Più Bellodgia lists notes of carnation, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, clove, cedarwood, sandalwood, and musk. Available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum at Caron boutiques and department store counters.

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69 Comments

  • Amer: poor Caron. Haven’t read a positive review on them for years May 28, 2013 at 7:26am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s essential for the brand to grow and develop, but it seems like Caron is fumbling at it. Most of their recent launches seem unexciting and the poor quality of the packaging is embarrassing. May 28, 2013 at 8:30am Reply

      • Amer: I was about to comment on that but then decided to spare them. Well, at least some of their mainstream classics seem to survive. Pour un Homme for one (although I must admit I never really liked it on me and its packaging was bad from the start) May 28, 2013 at 12:24pm Reply

        • Victoria: Pour Un Homme is great still, and I also enjoy Le Troiseme Homme, Yatagan, Narcisse Noir (even though the noir part is more subtle) and Nuit de Noel. May 28, 2013 at 3:22pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: MPG Soie Rouge, in my opinion too faint, but it is a carnation and I know some fans. May 28, 2013 at 7:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I used to like it very much, but the last time I’ve tried it was at least 3 years ago. MPG has been flying under my radar for some reason. May 28, 2013 at 8:26am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: MPG was my first ”niche” perfume and I love almost all their smells. I emptied a bottle of Soie Rouge, not without pleasure, but in the end it was too soft, too honeyed. A carnation must have more pepper, more sharpness to my taste. Something like Cinnabar, but I think that one is discontinued.
        Is Bellodgia (not più) really that bad? May 28, 2013 at 12:52pm Reply

        • Victoria: When I tried it at the boutique a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to find it even more pale and fleeting than it used to be (post-reformulation). But since you can’t use clove and clove like notes in an amount needed to create a spicy carnation, it’s hard to keep Bellodgia in its fiery form. May 28, 2013 at 3:28pm Reply

  • BlinkyTheFish: Prada Oeillet is probably the best carnation out there (now). Is it still in production? I scored a bottle of Ebay months ago and it smelled divine – and strong (it’s a parfum only version I think). Have no idea if I had a current version or something reformulated. If that was a reformulation then that’s the carnation to look to for how to create a good one these days. I smelled regular Bellodgia for the first time about a year ago – such a shame, because the EDT was pale and super light – even that wasn’t worth buying cheap. I can only imagine what the parfum must have been like once. May 28, 2013 at 7:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I saw it at the Prada boutiques not long ago, but I don’t know if it’s discontinued now. I hope that it’s still available, because it’s excellent.

      Another good carnation (a modern take on Bellodgia) is Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Love. It’s less spicy, less dramatic, but it’s very nice. May 28, 2013 at 8:25am Reply

  • Austenfan: As you are generally so positive about most fragrances and find nice things to say even about perfumes you don’t really care for, isn’t it ok to be grumpy once in a while?

    On another note; I have found another wonderful teashop in Brussels. They only sell Chinese tea, white, green and black.
    It is called Nong Cha and is on the Rue Antoine Dansaert ( near Monnaie). I think you will love it, plus it smells wonderful in there. May 28, 2013 at 8:16am Reply

    • Victoria: It is ok to be grumpy, even necessary in some cases. I just meant that I wanted to offer some more details–why I didn’t like it and what other good carnations you can find.

      Thank you very much for the recommendation. It sounds fantastic. May 28, 2013 at 8:23am Reply

      • Austenfan: I got the most amazing Jasmin Tea. It’s based on Puerh tea. I haven’t tasted it yet, I am just really happy sniffing the the dry tea. May 28, 2013 at 9:33am Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t tasted many puerh teas, but I can just imagine how amazing the combination of smoky tea and jasmine must be. May 28, 2013 at 3:12pm Reply

          • Austenfan: It’s my first puerh so I will be interested to experience the taste.

            Caron’s male fragrances seemed to have fared far better than their female offerings. Pour un Homme is still wonderful. May 28, 2013 at 4:17pm Reply

            • Victoria: I’ve tried puerh only a couple of times so far, and the musty, earthy flavor seemed strange to me. At the same time, it was one of those intriguing tastes that you remember really well.

              Please let me know how you like your jasmine puerh! May 29, 2013 at 5:58am Reply

  • breathesgelatin: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Oeillets Rouge is a superb carnation soliflore. Also have been enjoying Hové’s Belle Chasse, which is more of a carnation-rose fushion. May 28, 2013 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, I haven’t tried either one of these. I’m very tempted by Oeillets Rouge. May 28, 2013 at 3:13pm Reply

      • breathesgelatin: Oh, do try Oeillets Rouge! It’s so lovely. May 28, 2013 at 3:31pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m in a carnation mood, I suppose, so it’s a must-try. Thank you. 🙂 May 28, 2013 at 4:03pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: It seems they can’t capture the taste of the consumers. I think their previous fragrances are really good and I don’t know what happened to them now. I still prefer other scents like Chanel. Still, hope they can develop a good one. May 28, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, the house has such a splendid heritage, and it’s a shame they are not exploring it more. May 28, 2013 at 3:14pm Reply

  • george: On a positive note, I do like the bottle (though it is a bit hermessencey) That said- it looks like the sort of bottle that is meant to be part of a range: I wonder if there are more to come………. May 28, 2013 at 10:30am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, you’re right, there is another fragrance in the collection. It’s called My Ylang.

      I like the heavy glass bottles like this too, but the only part I didn’t care for was the plastic detailing of the lid. When I lifted the lid, the plastic part came off. May 28, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: JARS original fragrance is a noteworthy carnation. May 28, 2013 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: That was one dramatic carnation, and it lasted for days. May 28, 2013 at 3:20pm Reply

  • behemot: It is hard for me to like someting from Caron’s current offerings. As of carnation, Lorenzo Villoresi “Garofano” is a good classic one. And Santa Maria Novella has one, too, but I don’t remember this one very much. May 28, 2013 at 1:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: I want to resmell Santa Maria Novella perfumes properly one of these days. They have some nice, simple soliflorals. Not sure if anyone likes Zagara, but it used to be one of my favorites. May 28, 2013 at 3:29pm Reply

      • behemot: I liked Zagara 🙂 May 28, 2013 at 4:16pm Reply

        • elizabeth c: I like Zagara too. I also wear Melograno and Violetta. May 28, 2013 at 4:18pm Reply

        • Victoria: Melograno is another SMN favorite, or rather, it used to be. With so many niche launches, I kind of neglected this line. May 29, 2013 at 5:55am Reply

  • Jillie: Yes, my heart aches for the lost beauties of Caron, especially my beloved Infini. Spookily. I yearned for a carnation the other day and found an oldish Bellodgia, which I am enjoying wearing. Sadly the only other carnations I can think of have disappeared – Floris Malmaison (I can’t believe I gave away nearly a full bottle to a friend who said she loved carnation!) and Guerlain’s Terracotta (was that the right name?). May 28, 2013 at 1:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re a very good friend, Jillie! Your friend is very lucky, since Malmaison is another long lost beauty many still mourn.

      Speaking of Terracotta, I just remembered that Guerlain Metalys is a carnation too. Has anyone tried it lately? May 28, 2013 at 3:31pm Reply

  • Monika: L’Artisan’s Safran Troublant smells like a perfect carnation to me – a mix of Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) and proper carnation (D. caryophyllus). May 28, 2013 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’ve inspired me to rush to my perfume cabinet and find a sample of Safran Troublant. I never noticed the carnation before, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I see it. Such a comforting, delicious perfume. May 28, 2013 at 4:02pm Reply

      • elizabeth c: Does it last ok? I get 1 hour from most l’Artisans at most. May 28, 2013 at 4:20pm Reply

        • Victoria: The lasting power is not brilliant, but I get 3 hours out of it. If I apply on my scarf, it lasts much better. May 29, 2013 at 5:59am Reply

      • Monika: It’s so nice that you see it – I’m a suggestible type and usually smell what I’m supposed to smell – and this carnation is my own private discovery 😉 June 6, 2013 at 4:07pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: The only Caron scent I have ever liked is “Nocturnes.” I hope they haven’t desecrated it. Every version of Belladogia I have ever smelled has reminded me of an overflowing cat box. May 28, 2013 at 6:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: I liked Nocturnes very much too. Today it’s thinner, sharper, but it’s still recognizable. May 29, 2013 at 6:02am Reply

  • annemariec: A kind perfume pen-pal sent me sample of Fendi’s Asja, which I had been curious about for some time. I found it overwhelmingly and harshly clove-y. The fruit notes that are apparently in Asja did not make an appearance (for me at least). After that I wondered whether carnation/clove fragrances are really my sort of thing. But with all the comments in this thread, I have a nice list to mull over. I think what I’m after is carnation blended with other notes, not carnation as the main player.

    I must admit my eyebrows shot up when I saw just the one star at the top of your review! Not something you see every day on Bois de Jasmin. 🙂 May 28, 2013 at 8:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 Need to mix things up every now and then! But seriously, it’s hard to motivate myself to seek out mediocre fragrances and then write about them.

      Like you, I prefer carnations blended into the bouquet. On the other hand, carnation is considered old-fashioned today, and it’s interesting to see what modern carnations are like. I wish Prada’s were more easily available, because it’s excellent. May 29, 2013 at 6:16am Reply

  • Jessica: Oh, dear. This just makes me sad (but it’s better to know than not to know!). I miss Bellodgia. My grandmother wore it. I wore it for several years, even on my wedding day. I was caught terribly off guard when I purchased a bottle of EDP that smelled nothing like my previous (used-up) bottle.

    I do own Etro Dianthus (a few years old) and L’Artisan Parfumeur Oeillet Sauvage (discontinued), but I don’t have any recent-release carnations in my collection. sigh! May 28, 2013 at 8:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a beautiful wedding perfume choice! I also love the story of Bellogdia, which was created by Ernest Daltroff after he and Félicie Wanpouille (who was his longtime partner, even though they never married) came back from a vacation in Italy. There is something of a long lost era in all of Caron classics, and this is what I find so moving about them. May 29, 2013 at 6:19am Reply

  • Daisy: A dear friend sent me some vintage Caron and now, I can’t smell the most recent versions. They just make me feel sad.

    As for a carnation fragrance, I used to wear Carthusia Io Capri. It’s a fig fragrance, but I remember carnation being quite strong in it. It’s in all of their fragrances, isn’t it? May 29, 2013 at 1:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Io Capri is such a charming perfume, and I think you’re right, most of Carthusia perfumes have a little carnation flourish. May 29, 2013 at 6:24am Reply

  • Anna: I love Dianthus and Garofano. May 29, 2013 at 4:36am Reply

    • Anna: I should have added that Dianthus is by Etro and Garofano by Lorenzo Villoresi. May 29, 2013 at 4:37am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Anna! Garofano is such a lush, fruity carnation. May 29, 2013 at 6:26am Reply

  • Jillie: It’s me again! I’ve just come back from the supermarket where I was not concentrating on the shopping because I was thinking about your blog on carnation perfumes. I was mulling over various “mixed” bouquets, and suddenly remembered that Eternity has a definite carnation note (although, again, Eternity is not what is was). Also, am I right in thinking that L’Air du Temps is quite carnationy?

    I have a spicy diffuser in the kitchen which I think is clove/nutmeg, and every time I walk in there, I wonder why I can smell carnations until I remember it’s the diffuser! May 29, 2013 at 7:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Eternity has a nice clove note and paired with rose it gives such a sizzling carnation! I completely forgot about it, but you’re right, it should be included. And L’Air du Temps is a classic, even if it has been reformulated even more drastically than Bellodgia. Sigh… May 29, 2013 at 10:33am Reply

    • Victoria: P.S. Your diffuser sounds wonderful! I would love something that smelled of cardamom. 🙂 May 29, 2013 at 10:34am Reply

      • Jillie: It’s from a company called Neom, which specializes in products using essential oils; this was their special limited Christmas edition – and it’s still going strong six months later (although there is only a tiny bit left in the bottom). May 29, 2013 at 11:59am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you, Jillie! I will check it out, since I’ve seen their products before. May 29, 2013 at 2:53pm Reply

          • Jillie: If you get the chance, smell their Complete Bliss Moroccan Blush Rose – this is my favourite in their range, and probably my most favourite all-round diffuser full stop! There is a matching room/fabric spray, which is also fabulous. May 30, 2013 at 2:59am Reply

            • Victoria: I wrote it down, so I will hunt for it. Thank you, Jillie! May 30, 2013 at 10:42am Reply

  • Ra: ‘Grumpy reviews without offering further details’ reminds me of a popular fragrance review website which I stopped visiting. What’s the point? I already know. they hated the new fragrance!
    Lol. I love your blog and style. May 31, 2013 at 10:39am Reply

    • Ra: I want to add this quote from your article ‘We smell with our mind’: It’s no good if you’re tired. You must be intellectually fresh.” Bernard Chant. May 31, 2013 at 10:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Ra. Some people like short and grumpy reviews, I admit that I’ve laughed the most over Turin’s and Sanchez’s grumpy mini reviews. At least, we have a choice of blogs and reviewers. May 31, 2013 at 2:01pm Reply

  • Rain Adkins: Omigoddess, Austenfan, WHERE did you find a jasmine puerh??? Even in my beloved Upton catalog, which is pretty much the tea motherlode and has eight or ten different wonderful jasmines in all price ranges, I haven’t seen that combination. Is it a raw (green) puerh or a “cooked” one?

    Jasmine-tea lovers, my summer EDD is two or three parts Upton’s very nice, startlingly cheap China Sencha (the non-organic one) to one part of their Chung Hao jasmine, which is affordable and pretty near sublime. I have no connection with Upton, I’m just a happy longtime whor….er, customer. June 12, 2013 at 5:15pm Reply

  • theperfumeddandy: Dear Victoria
    I came across this review only after having written on the infinitely better older sister of this thin, sickly, laundry detergent of a scent, the original Bellodgia.
    First thank you for attending as much to a negative review as you do to a positive one. It seems to me that proper criticism involves identifying what one dislikes or perceives to be wrong with a poor perfume as it does praising a good one.
    Having come to the review late, I have the luxury of reading so many other comments and noting, as often is the case in regard to this house, that there is a collective bemoaning of how few Caron perfumes that anyone likes only to see a trickle of different scents mentioned and acknowledged as actually being rather fine!
    True, Caron has suffered more from reformulation than many other houses, partly on account of having such a large number of fragrances still in production, partly through what looks like misplaced in-house policy.
    However, direct comparison sometimes reveals that changes aren’t always as acute as they are said to be and occasionally a new (-ish) fragrance like Aimez Moi or Montaigne, is actually rather good.
    All of which is a round about way of saying that there are at least a dozen Caron scents I feel very well disposed to, and there aren’t many perfume houses I can say that about.
    Perhaps it might be time to take a step back and look at Caron in the round, and in the context of a world where other brands have entirely annihilated their back catalogues.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy August 12, 2013 at 4:45am Reply

    • Victoria: I completely understand what you mean. I also have a few favorites from the house, but overall I like it in its current state far less than you do. For instance, I would wear reformulated Diorissimo and even Miss Dior (and Dior is probably the least successful case when it comes to reformulations), but I don’t bother anymore with Tabac Blond or Fleurs de Rocaille. But the disappointment that you see from my review and the comments stems a lot from the fact that many of us used to be loyal fans of the house. As a result, we might have higher expectations from Caron. August 12, 2013 at 6:36am Reply

  • Daniel: I was able to try this new fragrance from Caron and sure enough I will buy this for my girlfriend.

    It smells fantastic, fresh and the design of the bottle is redesigned as well, I’m impressed by the packaging and design.

    Don’t count out Caron, they have new fragrances coming up you should not miss! September 17, 2013 at 4:22pm Reply

  • Henrique Brito: I doesn’t seem like shampoo for me, but honestly i like it as much as you Victoria. It leaves me cold, it seems old fashioned but not in a good way. It’s a flower fragrance that doesn’t make you feel sexy, comfortable or elegant. Even that i don’t agree that the reformulations are all bad (altough i have never smelled the original ones), i feel what you mention, Caron seems to struggle to be modern while being true to their essence. January 4, 2014 at 8:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, not all reformulations are bad. Some are still well-done. January 5, 2014 at 10:17am Reply

      • Henrique Brito: My impression is that they are still good in the parfum production, but i seldom like other concentrations of their fragrances. One that i’d still wear it is Tabac Blond in parfum. In edp, there is something sharp and out of place that i dislike January 5, 2014 at 2:01pm Reply

  • Olga Talyn: I just went back to this post to see what has been suggested on carnation notes. Do you have Miss De Rauch? It is a difficult to find vintage and said to have a heady note of carnation. I have a tiny bottle of Belle De Rauch and have developed an interest in Madeleine De Rauch’ fragrances. September 1, 2014 at 12:26am Reply

  • Olga Talyn: I was wring. This is seems more like a mimosa note September 1, 2014 at 6:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried it, but I will add it to my list. September 2, 2014 at 11:04am Reply

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