Scents that capture everything green are my obsession. Don’t give me a pale whisper of crushed stems or a hint of young leaf; that’s not enough. I want the dazzling, overwhelming, explosive experience that you feel at the height of springtime when everything smells green and heady–the buds dripping with honey, blades of grass pushing through the asphalt, leaves unfurling from their sticky casings with violent force. Green is life, and I want to feel this verdant rush.
But I’m in the minority. As Coty, Balmain and scores of other houses quickly discovered after launching their violently green perfumes, from Coty Chypre to Balmain Vent Vert, most people don’t want that much force. Green can be exciting, but it can also be raspy, sharp, challenging. Green accents are essential for many compositions, but strong green fragrances are rare. Which is why initially Parfum d’Empire Corsica Furiosa seems like such a welcome divergence.
Marc-Antoine Corticchiato, the perfumer behind the elegant and distinctive Parfum d’Empire line, was inspired by Corsica, a place to which he has many connections. When I mentioned it to a friend who spent three memorable years in Corsica, she laughed, “It’s a fierce place!” The perfume opens in such a way as to make it all seem true. If I didn’t have enough green in perfumes like Balenciaga Paris or Chanel No 19 Poudré, Corsica Furiousa has more than enough. Imagine that you’ve jumped into a haystack full of cut grass, crushed dandelion stems, and sticky maple leaves. Exhilarating seems like an understatement.
The green is laced with peppery and citrusy notes to tame it down into a more acceptable, but vivacious accord. When I wore Corsica Furiousa for the first time, I didn’t notice too much nuance, so taken was I with the green. As I revisit it again and again, I notice the accents that make the perfume more complex, such as a minty bite in the top note or the soft, toasted almond presence tangled up with the green medley. They don’t detract from the bright, sharp character, and if you want a perfume that will wake you up, Corsica Furiosa is it. Perfectly unisex, it will catch the attention of anyone who likes some zest in their scents.
Just like the heady days of spring are all too fleeting, so is the green exuberance of Corsica Furiosa. After one hour at most, the green vanishes from my skin, leaving behind a peppery, tangy trail, and the perfume becomes a classical, well-behaved cologne resting on a mossy base. It is well-crafted and polished, but after the first exciting stage, it feels anti-climatic. Whatever remains clings so close to my skin that I’m not even aware of any scent during the day.
If you like green notes, then I definitely recommend sampling Corsica Furiosa, but if you also find it “all top and no bottom”, then possible alternatives can be Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio, L’Artisan Premier Figuier, or Jacomo Silences. Chanel No 19 doesn’t seem furious upon the first reading, but it exudes such self-confidence and character that it just might be fierce enough.
Parfum d’Empire Corsica Furiosa includes notes of mastic or lentisque, lime, grass, hay, honey, moss, labdanum, mint, tomato leaf and pepper. 100ml/$145. Available at Aedes, Luckyscent, Parfumerie Place Vendome.