One Thousand Scents

Thursday, May 03, 2007

You're Soaking In It: Sicily by Dolce and Gabbana


As I've said before, I find Dolce and Gabbana's bottles just lethally boring, and the bottle for Sicily is no exception. (Their newest scent, The One, breaks the mold, finally; it's really gorgeous, even if it's been done before.) A thin block of clear glass, a tall black cap: it's not even minimalist, it's just perfectly functional and nothing more.

The scent inside, though: that's really something.

The top is a chilly bluster of aldehydes and bergamot. The first time I tried the scent on my skin, I was shocked: it's called Sicily, so how can it be this cold? It's reminiscent of the fresh coldness of Apres L'Ondee (though it smells nothing like it, of course).

The cold is soon muscled aside by a barrage of flowers: the official notes are honeysuckle, jasmine, black pearl rose*, hibiscus, and heliotrope. I think there's a dose of carnation in there, too, or perhaps just some unnamed spices that give that clovey effect. What binds the whole mass of flowers together, gives it cohesion, is an almost shockingly strong soap note. Sicily doesn't even smell as if you'd just taken a shower--it doesn't have that clean fresh smell. Instead, it smells as if you'd just unwrapped a bar of really nice soap and held it in your hands. (I think this is where I get the carnation from: it's enormously suggestive of a brand-new bar of Roger & Gallet's Oeillet Mignardise, which is to say Carnation, soap.) It isn't a soft, potentially cloying floral; it's got a bit of an edge to it--nothing sharp or pointy, not a bite, exactly, but a few angles.

What remains after a couple of hours is a vague petally aura atop a creamy, musky sandalwood base. If you don't like soapy scents, or florals, then Sicily isn't for you. (It isn't the sort of thing I'd wear, though I like to smell it from time to time.) But it's not your average floral scent (and not at all, thank god, one of the thousands of fruity florals that you can no longer escape). Dolce and Gabbana, however tedious their bottles, don't do ordinary scents; I may not love everything they release, but I always find that they're worth a try.

*Wouldn't you think a black pearl rose would be black, or at least deep violet? It isn't. It's just bright red, with a slight violet cast to the underside of the petals. And how it differs in smells from other roses I couldn't tell you. I think--no, I'm pretty sure--that manufacturers make a point of telling us such things only to set their scent apart from others. "Those other perfumes just have plain old roses: we've got Black Pearl Roses!"

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