eau d’italie: 4 posts

Cult Perfumes

Elisa on what gives perfume a cult status.

What makes a fragrance a “cult fragrance”? It’s not enough for a perfume to simply be popular; bestsellers like Coco Mademoiselle and Light Blue don’t qualify. A cult fragrance needs obsessively devoted fans, while remaining a little mysterious and under the radar. Thus its fans can form a kind of counterculture – they understand something that the general population does not.


So what enables a perfume to develop a small but intensely devoted following? The following criteria certainly help:

  • The perfume is hard to find – it’s a limited edition, discontinued, only available online or in Europe, etc.
  • The perfume has a love-it-or-hate-it quality; there is something weird or off-putting about it on first sniff, which some people end up finding addictive.

Sometimes only one or the other is true, but when both are true, you have the making of a cult fragrance on your hands.

If you read perfume blogs, you’re bound to hear about these cult fragrances over and over. With some of the below perfumes, the descriptions I read gave me desperate lemmings; they haunted me until I found a sample. With others, just the opposite was true – I actively avoided them, fearing their notoriety would make them hard to love or worse, easy to hate. Here they are in the order I managed to try them.

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Love Affair with Perfumed Soap

My first scented purchase—made when I was ten—was not perfume.  Rather, it was soap, in the shape and smell of a peach. The soap cost a dime and I was loathe to use it, since this luxurious object purchased at a church bazaar would be impossible to replace. I recall the weight of the soap in my hand and the globular shape that split in half to reveal a pit.  I adored the smooth texture of the soap and the delightful scent as I put the soap to my nose to smell the sweet, fruity aroma.


The enjoyment of fragrant soap has not changed for me.  Finding a new soap that has rich, creamy lather and sublime fragrance is always a treat.  Often, the fragrance from soap is the only one I want to wear for the day, and this is especially true when I’m suffering from olfactory fatigue.  That’s when I reach for a lightly scented soap, perhaps one with a marine or fruity fragrance. I’ve always been thrilled when a favorite fragrance has a complementary soap (or shower gel) and there are occasions where the soap is the only form of a fragrance that works for me.

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Eau d’Italie Bois d’Ombrie : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

There are seldom fragrances that I try very hard to like, but there are a few. I wanted to like the new Mille et Une Rôse by Lancôme because I wanted desperately to enjoy a glimpse of the original 2000 et Une Rôse. I wanted to enjoy Délices de Cartier because I have a weakness for red tinted bottles, but I could not get past the sugared cherries of the composition. When I first heard about the two newest fragrances from Eau d’Italie, I fell in love with the idea of scents capturing Sienese winters and Umbrian woods, a desire very much influenced by my travels in Italy. Thankfully, it was not difficult to find myself charmed by Sienne L’Hiver and Bois d’Ombrie. While neither strikes me as an exploration of a dramatically novel theme, their wistful character holds nostalgic connotations for me. …

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Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The romantic in me is attracted to the idea that Paestum Rose by Eau d’Italie is inspired by the roses that grew in such profusion around the temples of Paestum, a city south of modern Naples, that Virgil referred to them as “the rose-gardens of twice-bearing Paestum.” These were the same roses that were sacred to Aphrodite on the island of Samos and that were showered upon guests during Nero’s decadent feasts.

Although such a story might lead to expect a composition similar to Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, a rich crimson rose hiding honey and incense ashes in its petals, Paestum Rose is a modern spicy flower, the transparency of its rose notes being more reminiscent of Stella than of ancient unguents. The spicy touches are embroidered upon the sheer floral accord, with the composition foiled in the dryness of woods and the subtle earthiness of patchouli. …

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