Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Love : Perfume Review



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



  • mals86: I too am a fan of carnation fragrances, especially floral ones… looks like I must go find a sample of that Cartier. February 23, 2012 at 8:46am Reply

  • Le Critique de Parfum: Encouraging review. I’m very very curious about this collection… February 23, 2012 at 8:53am Reply

  • Vanessa: I tried this collection the other week and was pleasantly surprised by the whole lot, and made a mental note to re-sample them as it was towards the end of a big sniffing session. So much nicer than the ones with numbers that struck me as a very poor me-too of the Chanel Exclusifs!

    Velvet Love and Desire were my faves from memory, though I am not normally one for carnation and didn’t care for the carnation note in the new Cartier. February 23, 2012 at 8:54am Reply

  • Suzanna: I, too, love carnation and you’ve made me curious enough to start up a “to sniff” list again. To that I will add the Cartier (whisked off the shelves of Saks and sent back to NYC according to my fave SA).

    My gold standard carnation is Metalys (or Metallica) and so far nothing has knocked it out of its position except its unavailability. Same goes for vintage Poivre-what is a carnation-loving gal to do? February 23, 2012 at 9:29am Reply

  • Victoria: I didn’t care for the carnation take done by Cartier or Lutens, but this one is more up my alley. Just wish it were richer. February 23, 2012 at 10:14am Reply

  • Victoria: Overall, for the price, I hoped for more, but there are some nicely done fragrances. I also liked the rich earthiness of patchouli in Velvet Patchouli. February 23, 2012 at 10:15am Reply

  • Victoria: I’m with this; I like this collection more than the previous “numbered” one.

    Velvet Desire was very pretty, an effervescent Fracas type, as the sales lady herself admitted. February 23, 2012 at 10:17am Reply

  • Victoria: Metalys is my gold standard too, along with Bellodgia and Poivre. Unfortunately, the IFRA restrictions on the use of eugenol, an essential note, make it difficult to create the truly spicy carnation accords. Which is why Poivre smells so pale next to the vintage variety.

    Velvet Love is different in that it is woody and smoky, rather than hot-spicy. February 23, 2012 at 10:26am Reply

  • mals86: Metallica, of which I’ve got a small decant, was really great, and of course Malmaison was lovely as well.

    A word to the wise: DSH Oeillets Rouges, y’all. Nudge nudge wink wink saynamore. February 23, 2012 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: I’m mildly indifferent to D&G’s perfumes thus far- Light Blue is pleasant, but trivial- but I got a huge and admittedly immature giggle out of the names of this latest batch- Velvet Love and Velvet Desire sound like pole dancing twins! But, given the overall D&G aesthetic, maybe that was the intention. February 23, 2012 at 4:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: A nudge from you is all that’s needed! What other fragrances besides Oeillets Rouges would you recommend for me to try? February 23, 2012 at 5:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: I liked Sicily, and especially the commercial with gorgeous Monica Bellucci.

    The names… yes, now I will not think of them in any other way. 🙂 February 23, 2012 at 5:05pm Reply

  • skilletlicker: My only carnation scent was the Floris Malmaison which I didn’t love and remember using it up quickly so it would go away – surprisingly, I miss it – or I miss a carnation scent in my collection. Can you suggest a good carnation for the semi-beginner? February 23, 2012 at 6:38pm Reply

  • bulldoggirl: I love carnations and had high hopes for this one, especially after my disappointment with Vitriol d’oeillet, which has a similar lack of “oomph.”

    My fave carnation still remains Caron Tabac Blond, vintage if at all possible. February 23, 2012 at 8:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: Caron Bellodgia is my favorite. Also, Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano and Comme des Garcons Carnation (it might be discontinued). And Estee Lauder Cinnabar, a beautiful dark oriental with a spicy carnation note. It was Lauder’s answer to Opium, which itself was a take on Youth Dew! February 23, 2012 at 8:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: Vitriol d’Oeillet was a major disappointment for me. It smelled medicinal and sharp, almost like a sore muscle ointment.

    Can’t go wrong with Tabac Blond! 🙂 February 23, 2012 at 8:36pm Reply

  • Le Critique de Parfum: Sounds good to me. Thanks Victoria! February 24, 2012 at 1:04pm Reply

  • Susan: I was hoping to be able to dismiss this line… Who knows, I might still. LOL February 24, 2012 at 2:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: You know, I missed 50% of the new launches last year, and I don't feel that I'm lacking something. 🙂 February 24, 2012 at 4:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: On a reflection, no, I bet it's more than 50%! There were more than 1000 perfumes launched last year alone.  February 24, 2012 at 4:29pm Reply

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