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Gomma – Yours to discover…. - November 17, 2014 New Fragrance Listing

I was chatting with a young woman in a hip downtown coffee shop, when the discussion turned to fragrance. She said she was looking for a new perfume.

“What kind perfumes do you like?” I asked her.

“Oh, I love rose perfumes.” she said. This sounded strangely familiar to me.

I’ve always been interested in fragrance and as a young woman stuck to the classics, fragrances from houses like Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent and Patou  that were bought for me or sentimental fragrances my mother had worn when I was growing up. If you asked me then what kind of fragrances I liked I would have said I liked perfume with roses in them.

In my defense, I don’t know many people who 20 or 25 years ago would have responded like this: I like fragrances with a crisp, bitter citrus opening that bloom into a heart of lush, narcotic, animalic, white florals, tinged with a note green from bruised geranium leaves and that have a curl of incense running through it resting on an oakmoss/musk/ sandalwood base.

So naturally, when I started really exploring fragrances, I started with rose-based scents. I wasn’t surprised to discover that I liked fragrances that feature florals, or incense or amber or herbs, but life starts at the edge of your comfort zone, and I was really surprised when I discovered how hopelessly drawn I am to fragrances with a rubber/tar/petroleum note. The spellbinding Bulgari Black, the captivating Eau du Fier, the thrilling Nostalgia, fascinating Tar all leave me in their thrall. Of course, what’s missing from that list is Gomma by Italian design house Etro. That changes today.

‘Gomma’ is Italian for ‘rubber’ and it opens with a fresh, bright note of lemon along with sagebrush - not sage, not clary sage, but artemisia tridentate, and its chemical make-up includes camphor, terpenoids, and tannins. At the opening, it’s bitter, astringent and camaphourous. This is where the rubber smell comes from. As it heats up, it gets warm from the cinnamon, clove, and ginger aspect of the terpenpoids and leathery from the tanins. The leather here is pungent and gorgeous and pushes Gomma into Knize Ten territory, but Gomma is drier and cleaner than Knize Ten. Jasmine joins sagebrush at the heart, not pronounced enough for me to say it’s there, but just enough to lend a lush, floral sweetness and a greenness that tempers the astringency of the opening. The leather lasts right to the base where sweet, resinous, warm amber makes Gomma smell more like birch tar than dirty, sweaty, kinky leather.

Gomma is a smooth, dry, clean leather fragrance, though it’s classified as a woody chypre.  Created by master perfumer Edouard Fléchier, Gomma it is surprisingly sheer and wearable. It smells great on a man and on a woman.

I will always be drawn to rose-based scents, that’s just the way I was made, but I’ve discovered there are a lot of great frags beyond the rose garden. Sometimes the greatest self-discoveries are made while discovering something new.

Gomma is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $4.00.