Friday, December 07, 2007

Caron Farnesiana

Caron Farnesiana transports me back to my Italian wedding gigs for which I used to sing with a top New York City band called Nuova Era, of Viennese tables and Mediterranean desserts, perhaps biscotti, pignoli or baklava which I love in all its intensely sweet, syrupy-nutty-flakiness, and of liqueurs like Frangelico. I couldn't wear Farnesiana all the time but it's well-mannered yet festive enough for opulent parties on cold winter nights.

During WWII when Ernest Daltroff fled Paris for the United States, he left his business in the hands of partner and creative director Félicie Wanpouille. She appointed his assistant, Michel Morsetti, to carry on the Caron torch. He composed Farnesiana (1947), a darkly delectable melange of unassuming powderiness and exotic Oriental charm. It's a wonderful, somewhat bizarre scent I'd describe as spicy-sharp, hypersweet, voluptuous, syrupy, innocent yet curiously dark and complex. It reminds me of other sharp-spicy powdery scents such as Kenzo Flower, Lea St. Barth and People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo but denser, more rounded like an olive. It opens with a sharp, coarse floral note (similar to Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie) which gives way to sumptuous base notes that rule the composition. The warm, pungent sandalwood peeks through, serene and meditative like incense. The overall effect is musky, spicy and powdery.

Even though it's heavier and spicier than I usually like my perfumes, the beauty of this hedonistic blend is the sum of its parts. Being a New Look launch, I think it was supposed to smell "new" in its time but traditional (neo-classical, yes?), sort of all-out extravagant yet controlled/subdued. Caron calls Farnesiana a soliflore-powdery but as per their description of it being gustative, I think of it as a classical Oriental-Gourmand. I find the blend more endearing than suggestive or passionate, even with its spicy, stimulating effect. On final dry down, I smell the sweet, intense, bright yellow tropical floral note which must be the mimosa or acasia farnesiana (cassie flower) that is the perfume's motif, the same note that started off so sharply (incidentally, the perfume was named for the Roman Farnese Palace according to the Caron website). It's actually too flowery for me at this stage and I yearn for more gourmand.

The EDP (eau de parfum) version is thinner but pretty true to the scent.

Notes on Perfume Shrine blog: Cassie, Mimosa, Bergamot, Jasmine, Violet, Lily of the Valley, Lilac, Opoponax, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Hay, Musk.

Visit Perfume-Smellin' Things blog by Columbina (Marina) to read her review of Farnesiana and more Caron perfumes by linking here.

See my other review of Caron Farnesiana at this link.