Blog post by Gwen
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.
When I was her age, I was looking for a ‘signature’ scent too. I wanted something outside the classics - Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent and Patou – my mother wore and which I love and wear to this day. But I wanted something different, something of my own. If you had asked me then what kind of perfumes I Iiked, I probably would have said I favoured rose-centric fragrances. It took me a while to see that this was just my starting point for exploring perfumes.
The more fragrances I sniffed, tried and wore, the more I began to realize that I liked all kinds of notes in perfumes: floral, fruity, incense, amber, musc, tobacco, herbs and many, many more. But life starts at the edge of your comfort zone, and I was really surprised when I discovered how hopelessly I’m drawn 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 this 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 - smoky and woody - 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.
Over the years, I’ve learned that a signature scent is something I’m not really interested in, that I do love rose-based scents and that there are a lot of great fragrances outside the rose garden too. But the real lesson is that sometimes the greatest self-discoveries are made while discovering something new.
Check out Gomma in our Shop.