I am hopelessly drawn to fragrances with a rubber/tar/petroleum note. The spellbinding Bulgari Black, the captivating Eau du Fier, the thrilling Nostalgia, fascinating Tar leave me in their thrall. Of course, what’s missing from that list is Gomma by Italian design house Etro.
‘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 - warm, 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. It smells great on a man and on a woman.
Notes: lemon, sagebrush, jasmine, leather and amber.