Saturday, February 12, 2011

From Romeo and Juliet to the Taj Mahal: My Xerjoff Verona Review

According to Xerjoff, their Verona fragrance is named for the Italian city renowned for setting the stage for Shakespeare's star-crossed young lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Xerjoff Verona (V010) by the Italian House of Xerjoff is a limited edition fragrance, currently being offered exclusively at Parfums Raffy ( within the USA. The niche line consists of over 20 different fragrances, and I chose Verona as my first to try. The notes on the website are as follows: Calabrian Bergamot, Lavender, Bulgarian Rose, Sambac Jasmin, Cinnamon, Vanilla Bourbon, Licorice flowers, bitter Almonds, Caramel, White Musk and hits of powdery Cashmere. This is definitely an Oriental-Gourmand, although your mileage may vary whether you'll feel it's a "young" or "grown up" interpretation of the genre. To my nose, it's versatile and can be worn by all ages, but you must have a sweet tooth and not mind a bit of musk. Here's the short review: Verona is the lovechild of Solange Azagury-Partridge Stoned / Prada Infusion d'Iris and Laurence Dumont Tendre Madeleine. The detailed story below may give you an idea of how a fragrance named in honor of a timeless love story interweaves with another romantic legend through its actual scent.

Verona 010 reminded me almost immediately of Solange Azagury-Partridge Stoned as well as Prada Infusion d'Iris (which I find similar to Stoned); both of these are reminiscent to me of Guerlain Shalimar, particularly the combination of lemony bergamot with vanillic-spicy-ambery notes, but whereas Shalimar showcases sandalwood, the newer set seems to focus on a nouveau woody-animalic benzoin-labdanum base. Beyond the powdery, sweet and spicy lemon cake aura, I found a hint of raunchy muskiness as comparable to L de Lolita Lempicka, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, and of a little known favorite of mine called Laurence Dumont Tendre Madeleine. It's nowhere near as animalic as Musc Ravageur (another fragrance related to Shalimar), so you can expect a much cleaner version of a similar theme. If Tendre Madeleine was a bit on the sugary rich side, Verona offers similar qualities with the somewhat herbaceous transparency of Infusion d'Iris.

It is lightly powdery but with caramel and cashmere musk, not a retro fragrance - the trendy transparency has an approachable, contemporary feel, but the candied, youthful aspect is particularly heartbreaking when you realize the story of Romeo and Juliet hits home because it is true, based on the lives of two young people. Zerjoff Verona's story is rich with visceral emotion as only an Italian house could tell about its famous city. Through teardrops and candyfloss, the perfume sets a backdrop of classical tone with olfactory echoes of the story of the Taj Mahal, the symbol of love, for which Shalimar had come to life.

(Image: L’ultimo bacio dato a Giulietta da Romeo, by Francesco Hayez, 1823 Wikimedia Commons)

Tchaikovsky - Romeo And Juliet - Fantasy Overture - Finale

Related link: Xerjoff Casamorati 1888: Bouquet Ideale, Elle, Oesel February 15, 2011 Pink Manhattan