Blog post by Gwen

Garofano – opulent and rich and a slow seduction

Carnation, Photo: perfumeniche©

For me, 2014 was the year of the carnation. Sure, there may have been other ‘it’ notes in the fragrance world, but sometimes my nose gets stuck on a note and I have to follow it down a rabbit hole of discovery until my nose, my curiosity and my obsession are satisfied.

Carnations get a hard rap in the world of flowers. Considered out of fashion, they are often associated with old ladies or death. But that's just wrong-thinking because they also symbolize admiration, pure love and good luck. Carnations have a floral, spicy scent with a pepper/clove-like aspect that gives them a piquancy that touches me in a place that I cannot name, so the introduction of Œillet Bengale by Aedes de Venustas and the re-issue of Œillet Sauvage by L'Artisan Parfumeur last year were highlights for me. But carnation has been lurking in the fragrance background for a long time – Bellodgia by Caron, Red Series 2 Carnation by Comme des Garçons,  Vitriol d’œillet by Serge Lutens, Garofano by Santa Maria Novella and Garofano by Lorenzo Villoresi. I find each of these full bottle worthy in their own way, but it was Garofano by Lorenzo Villoresi that launched me on my adventure down the carnation-lined rabbit hole.

Garofano, in case you didn’t know, is Italian for ‘carnation’ and Villoresi’s opens with a bracing note of sharp, herbal lavender that becomes part of a gorgeous bouquet of peppery, citrusy florals and green leaves. And this is just the beginning! Skin heat makes the carnation come forward. It’s opulent, full, deep and spicy - the reasons I love carnation. There are other flowers here too – narcotic jasmine, rich rose, banana-faceted ylang ylang and earthy geranium – and I smell them all from time to time as they move around the carnation highlighting different aspects of it. Cinnamon and pepper heighten the spicy facet of the carnation while cyclamen makes it smell clean and a little soapy, which plays off the spiciness perfectly. As it moves to the base, heliotrope and vanilla send pulses of rich sweetness through the fragrance, while musk and cedarwood make it animalic and woody. 

The drydown is rich, mellow and powdery, so that it has a retro vibe, but that lavender at the top and the green that runs through it, makes it perfectly unisex. And here’s the thing: this fragrance takes time to reveal all its complex beauty. It’s a slow seduction, but then, that’s the thing about being down a rabbit hole – you can take your time to indulge your discoveries.

Check out Garofano in our Shop.