Marni by Marni : Fragrance Review


Marni is a ready-to-wear Italian fashion line that recently launched its namesake fragrance, Marni. Rather than attempting to decipher the label’s appeal and its relation to the new fragrance, I will simply say that some qualms about lasting power aside, Marni is excellent–wearable, chic, and refined. And now I want other people to smell a haze of Marni around me and follow me down the street asking, demanding to know, what this marvelous fragrance is.


Perfumer Daniela Andrier created Marni in collaboration with Consuelo Castiglioni, founder and designer of the fashion house. Andrier is the author of Prada Infusion d’Iris, Maison Martin Margiela Untitled, and Guerlain Angelique Noire, among others. Like many of her creations, Marni is a weightless, ethereal blend, despite the fact that the fragrance is based on rich woods and sweet spices.  At its heart Marni is a rose and incense fragrance, something that became clear to me half an hour after I applied it and began to get small gusts of a dry and woody rose rising from the back of my hand.

The first sensation is sprightly pepper and tangerine-like citrus that immediately jumps into sweet spices and vanilla. The rose notes are so well blended that at first they are nearly hidden. The flowers come almost as a surprise element, wearing a veil of brown incense smoke. Marni at this point has presented itself as two disparate fragrances:  the first is the peppery and sweet opening and the second is the floral. When you reach the drydown, you smell mellow woods and soft spices. It makes me think of Amouage Lyric Woman and Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur if they were made sheer and pastel toned.

My only complaint about Marni is that it’s a shy, soft-spoken fragrance.  Understatement is understandable; in certain circles it is nearly demanded and Marni is not, thank goodness, Versace.  It wears on me as a quiet skin scent.  I adore every single twist of this perfume, but even so, I want to grab it by the wrist of quiet good taste and pull it back from this demureness, shouting, “More! MORE!”

In the later stages, the fragrance no longer rises from my wrist but becomes one I have to search to find, and when I do it is splendid, with one of those modern polished woods that smells both elegant and earthy. If I could amp it up a notch or two, it would be perfect. Still, Marni was so immensely appealing that I went back to the store after sampling it for the first time and bought a bottle with no hesitation.

Marni by Marni Eau de Parfum has notes of bergamot, pepper, ginger, pink peppercorn, cardamon, rose, cinnamon bark, patchouli, incense, vetiver and cedarwood.  At present it is a Saks exclusive and is available in 1 oz, 2.2 oz, $105; and 4 oz, $155 bottles. There is also a cute 10 ml purse spray sold with a doll, $50.



  • theperfumeddandy: Dear Bois

    A gravity defying hidden rose with incense.

    It does sound divine.

    The Dandy is much taken with roses always though particularly at this time of year when the weather is so resolutely awful. Only violets are more cheering.

    Sadly, with my ever hungry skin I fear that what is sotto voce on others would be inaudible on me.

    Oh well. I shall console myself with a larger bloom.

    Thank you as always for keeping us so elegantly in the loop.

    Yours ever

    The Perfumed Dandy March 11, 2013 at 7:14am Reply

    • Suzanna: I noticed that I am getting more wear out of this by means of lavish application, or applying twice. You might want to give it a try!

      And do tell what your “larger bloom” is. I’m looking for one of those, too. March 11, 2013 at 10:10am Reply

  • Amer: the bottle is so well designed and cheerful! It really makes me crack a smile March 11, 2013 at 7:25am Reply

    • Suzanna: It’s a lovely bottle, very striking and fun. March 11, 2013 at 10:11am Reply

  • mysterious_scent: Thanks for another interesting review!
    Again, I love quiet, understated scents, skin-like or not, so I will definitely check it out.
    I am not a fan of Prada Infusion d’Iris or Maison Martin Margiela Untitled, but I quite like Guerlain Angelique Noire. To me the latter has a very distinquish style that the first two. March 11, 2013 at 7:53am Reply

    • Suzanna: I didn’t go for the Prada or the Margiela either. I think you might like the Marni. It does have a lot of style! March 11, 2013 at 10:12am Reply

  • rosarita: This sounds better with each review I read and Suzanna, I have great respect for your opinion because so often we like the same things. Lots of perfume just gets eaten up by my skin, so I’ll have to give Marni a good try; I look forward to trying it, especially since it references Mohur! March 11, 2013 at 8:35am Reply

    • Suzanna: Rosarita, the use of rose is similar–a dry, enveloped red rose with incense. I think you will like it! (I do wish it were a bit more prominent…) March 11, 2013 at 10:14am Reply

  • Cybele: Hi Suzanna,
    I was really waiting for a review on Marni, thank you. How would you say it compares to Donna Karan Chaos (reformulation)? Despite of enjoying my Marni sample, it inspired me to reach for Chaos which I enjoyed even more, maybe because it is more defined (to my nose). Also, I got strong Cardamom among the Marni top notes, was that the pepper? March 11, 2013 at 8:45am Reply

    • Suzanna: I am not familiar with Chaos, and cannot comment on the comparison. Perhaps someone else will weigh in!

      There is a strong pepper note in Marni, followed later by cardamom. What you smell at the outset is pepper. March 11, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

  • ralu: I like your review Suzanna and the way you use words to describe how soft spoken this fragrance is. I tried it in passing at Saks but I will pay more attention to it next time I’m at the store. March 11, 2013 at 9:18am Reply

    • Suzanna: Ralu, it doesn’t grab your attention in passing. You really need to have a liberal application and then let it do its thing. March 11, 2013 at 10:52am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: Suzannna, I have a bottle of Marni and your review describes it perfectly! March 11, 2013 at 9:31am Reply

    • Suzanna: Success! Thanks for saying so! March 11, 2013 at 10:52am Reply

  • Anne: This is to me the most anticipated release in a LONNNNNG Time. I haven’t been exited about a new fragrance like that before. I love Infusion D’iris, and Untitled. I love understated perfume. I love your review, and I love Marni (and for some unknown reason my husband hates it…). So I am looking forward to trialling this. Thank you! March 11, 2013 at 10:00am Reply

    • Suzanna: I wonder why your husband hates it. It’s such a background scent, but then again, if someone likes fragrances with certain key features, then perhaps this wouldn’t work for them. March 11, 2013 at 10:53am Reply

  • OperaFan: Oh Suzanna – You’ve mentioned the 2 magic words, Lyric and Mohur! Now I must seek this out. Even with multiple sprays this is much more cost effective than the other two. March 11, 2013 at 10:28am Reply

    • Suzanna: OperaFan, I haven’t approached Lyric and Mohur and will not; I simply have too many bottles of perfume and the cost is prohibitive. Marni needs a big application to get that rose going, but it is that same type of dry and incense-swirled rose that I love in the other two. I wish in some ways it were more that; although I like the muted vanilla/spice opening I could go right to the rose and skip that.

      The small bottle is more than 50 ml, just for the record! March 11, 2013 at 10:55am Reply

  • Annikky: As with Van Noten, I really wanted this one to be good, so your review makes me happy and even more excited (especially the mention of Mohur…). Thanks! Hope it will reach some airports near me soon, I am very tempted by the purse spray. March 11, 2013 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Suzanna: The purse spray is a bad value, IMO. It’s 10 ML for $50 USD, and yet the 2.2 ounce bottle is just slightly more than double that–while being six times larger. See what you think! March 11, 2013 at 10:00pm Reply

      • Annikky: You are right and I did notice that. But I find myself prefering smaller sizes, even if bigger ones are a (much) better deal. I am still realtively new to this, so my preferences change quickly and I’m therefore very careful with FB purchases. But if it turns out to be instant love, I might go for that big bottle after all 🙂 March 12, 2013 at 6:05am Reply

        • Victoria: The purse spray is more expensive, because it’s sold with a doll. There is also a 1oz spray bottle, which is better in terms of value. I don’t remember the price off the top of my head though. March 12, 2013 at 7:19am Reply

  • dearscentdiary: You’ve described this so well! I’ll now be on the lookout for it. March 11, 2013 at 12:43pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Hope you find it soon! And do let us know what you think! March 11, 2013 at 10:01pm Reply

  • Beth: Thanks for your review! This one sounds like trying, especially since I love incense and rose, I love Lyric, but it feels like it’s sometimes too much to wear to work. I’ll have to try it. Thanks! March 11, 2013 at 12:53pm Reply

    • Suzanna: It’s a much sweeter frag than Lyric, with the vanilla note on top. You will have to look for the rose a bit! March 11, 2013 at 10:01pm Reply

  • Ari: Thank you for the review, Suzanna! I have heard some talk on the MUA frag board comparing Marni to Le Labo Rose 31. Do you find them similar? March 11, 2013 at 1:21pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I don’t know that Le Labo. It’s not possible for me to access that line in Florida! Perhaps someone else can comment! March 11, 2013 at 10:02pm Reply

  • Rina: Suzanna, I see SFA has the complete body line in Marni (lotion, shower gel). Would layering it give it the oomph you desire or at least make it more “there?” March 11, 2013 at 1:39pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Yes, most likely, and the cream is gorgeous, but I refuse to pay nearly a hundred dollars for a cream! March 11, 2013 at 10:02pm Reply

  • Daisy: Wonderful review, Suzanna! I second the comments above: you captured it beautifully. I smelled this recently at Saks as I was cruising past the display. At first I was really hesitant to try it because I feared that it would be another let-down. But the cute bottle won me over and after one sniff, all my fears evaporated. On me, it is a sheer, transparent, elegant incense fragrance above everything else. It dried down to a warm, softly spicy skin scent and now I very much want a bottle.

    I did find that projection was a problem too. But a lot of Daniela Andrier’s fragrances are like that on me. March 11, 2013 at 2:00pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Glad to hear it worked for you, Daisy! March 11, 2013 at 10:03pm Reply

  • Civava: Now I must try this. I’m not a big fan of roses but through reading your wonderful review it seems this could be something worth sampling if not buying. March 11, 2013 at 2:23pm Reply

    • Suzanna: There isn’t enough rose here to make it a true “rose” fragrance. It’s a lot more than that and I don’t think you’d be fearful of too much rose if you tried it. March 11, 2013 at 10:04pm Reply

  • Lucas: You make is sound very appealing!
    I definitely need to sample it as soon as Marni by Marni will be available here. March 11, 2013 at 4:00pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Go for it! I hope it has a wider availability soon! March 11, 2013 at 10:04pm Reply

  • maja: I absolutely must try this. Thank you for the wonderful review. I love roses and incense and might be in a mood for something understated at the moment:) March 11, 2013 at 4:47pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I find I am wearing it quite a bit for work, where I can’t have a perfume interfere or cause comment. It’s just understated enough. March 11, 2013 at 10:04pm Reply

  • HB: I will definitely want to try this! Just this last week I finally dug into my Neela Vermeire samples and was blown away. The only thing that has kept me from wearing Mohur to the office is the sillage. Rose and woods are both very compelling to me. March 11, 2013 at 6:02pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I was blown away by my Neela samples also, and now they are all (long) gone :–(

      There is no true cognate for Neela’s Mohur, and I like that. I mention it simply because it has that same type of rose presentation. March 11, 2013 at 10:05pm Reply

  • nozknoz: A polite version of Lyric and Mohur is really a public service! I love them both, but they are larger than life, aren’t they? March 11, 2013 at 10:33pm Reply

    • Suzanna: They’re magnificent personalities! March 12, 2013 at 9:18am Reply

  • annemariec: I’ll try this if it gets to Australia (or even if it doesn’t). I’m a quiet and understated person myself. Beige (or shades of) is my signature colour. It really is! But I do often team it with more vibrant colours or a statement piece of jewellery, and I like my perfumes to have a bit of sillage. Perfume must be my way of marking a presence. So I’m not sure how I will feel about Marni. Ah well … March 12, 2013 at 4:33am Reply

    • Suzanna: I think Marni would be great with beige, which, incidentally, is a color I favor for myself (with black). I love beige sandals in Florida, and beige shirts! March 12, 2013 at 9:19am Reply

  • mridula: I’m so sad this isn’t stronger on me. The first peppery bite and citrus punch is the perfect lead up to the roses and woods, except there is nothing to smell after half hour. I do have dry dry skin, so what is light on you is even lighter on me. I’d buy a fb if it weren’t for the nearly zro longevity. March 20, 2013 at 2:40pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Oh, I hear that! It’s very soft on me. I apply it twice in a half hour span and enjoy that beginning. If the body cream were less expensive, I’d go for it, but it’s quite costly. March 20, 2013 at 5:49pm Reply

  • Cams: This is perfection in my view. I adore it. Everyday I find myself reaching for it. This is Spring in a bottle. A must try! March 23, 2013 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Jelena: I tried this today and liked it very much, and then realized why: it smells exactly like the first Kate Moss fragrance, which I owned and enjoyed a few years ago. June 1, 2013 at 5:49pm Reply

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