Second Sunday Samples: Armani Privé Blues

Lucas: Yoo-hoo! I have a little switcheroo for you! Undina and myself decided to swap blogs for a moment! I’m sure most of you know Undina – her perfume stories are beyond amazing & statistics posts she does are always so precise. Plus her cat Rusty is already quite a star of a perfume blogosphere. So please, make her feel like home as she shares her thoughts at Chemist in the Bottle today. And remember to jump over to Undina’s Looking Glass tomorrow if you want to read my guest post.

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While thinking about this month’s Second Sunday Samples episode, I planned to review some iris perfumes – to stay on the topic of Month of Irises. But when Lucas and I decided to swap our traditional topics, I realized that neither of perfumes I intended to review would work: not only Lucas did detailed reviews for both – Armani Privé Iris Celadon and Atelier Cologne Iris Rebelle, but our opinions on both were much the same.

But I felt that I was onto something… Armani Privé is one of the brands not represented much on this blog, and bottles for two perfumes I chose for this post fit just perfectly the iris theme – in form if not in content (both figuratively and literally speaking).

For the explanation of my rating system, see Sea Star Ratings.

Armani Privé Bleu Turquoise

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Armani Privé Bleu Turquoise by Giorgio Armani, created in 2018 by Aurélien Guichard, is oriental spicy perfume with the listed notes of incense, salt, black pepper, ylang-ylang, cypriol oil, jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood and moss (Fragrantica).

Armani Prive Bleu Turquoise

Lists of notes do not really mean much for any perfume, but even just reading about what went into Bleu Turquoise, I’m not too inspired. But, on the positive side, it perfectly corresponds to how I feel about this perfume: at least I do not have in my head that perpetual question: “where did all those great notes go?!!”

I’ve always liked turquoise as a color – abstractly, since it didn’t suit me really. As to the gemstone, I grew up associating it with older women: jewelry pieces made with it were usually heavier and more massive than would be appealing to a girl or a younger woman. My grandmother had a beautiful pair of golden earrings with large greenish turquoise stone – not polished completely to the artificial proper form but rather still maintaining natural shape.

Since I do not wear earrings, somebody else in the family inherited those. But I would love to buy a beautiful bottle that reminds me of that stone. I would, but I just can’t. Bleu Turquoise is one of those perfumes that make me wonder: why did they even bother? It is not unpleasant – but it’s not even pleasant. Applied (I tried both dabbing and spraying), it just sits on my skin as a blob of scent without any nuances, not projecting or developing much.

So for that perfume’s price I should rather go for a turquoise bracelet or a ring – as a virtual keepsake. At least I would want to wear it from time to time.

Armani Privé Bleu Lazuli

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Armani Privé Bleu Lazuli by Giorgio Armani, created in 2018 by Pascal Gaurin, is oriental spicy* perfume with the listed notes of bergamot, mate, cardamom, plum, jasmine, osmanthus, tobacco, honey, sandalwood and vanilla (Fragrantica).

ArmaniBleuLazuli

If, like me, you were wondering, what that name means: Lapis lazuli is a deep blue semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color.

In addition to being used for jewelry and decorative items, natural ultramarine pigment is made from ground lapis lazuli. According to Wikipedia, it was the most expensive blue pigment during the Renaissance, often reserved for depicting the robes of Angels or the Virgin Mary. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer is painted with the natural ultramarine.

In 2013 Girl with a Pearl Earring was on display in San Francisco De Young museum, and I saw it during the Bouquets to Art exhibition.

GirlWithPearlEaring

But back to perfume. Bleu Lazuli opens with a strong combination of bergamot and cardamom sweetened by, I think, osmanthus. If there is mate in there, it’s completely covered by everything else with no chance to be recognized. Three hours into the development, if you press your nose really close, you can smell tobacco and honey. “Pressing nose” technique is required not because perfume turns to a skin scent at this point – no, it still smells strong – but it’s the only way you can catch those notes: they stay on skin but do not project. At no point I smell anything that reminds me of sandalwood or any other wood. Pleasant, inoffensive vanilla in drydown makes Bleu Lazuli even pleasant, though I’m still not positive that I would want to wear it even if a free bottle would drop on my lap: I think that it’s more like a 2.5 Sea Stars but I felt generous towards Bleu Lazuli after writing about Bleu Turquoise.

ArmaniTwoBLuePerfumes

But what ticked me off the most were not boring (in my opinion) perfumes and not even the “inspiration” behind them (Why India? None of these two stones is mined extensively in that country – both come primarily from different regions, and if “India’s deep spiritual connection to blue” exists, I wasn’t able to find any systematic references to that fact; but even if it is so, brand’s connection of these two perfumes to India is on the level of my “iris” connection – and I do not charge for that). What pissed me off was brand’s petty greed: releasing two $310 perfumes, they just couldn’t splurge on individual “ad copy” for each of them. In two blurbs that they use on their own site and other sites selling these two, 200 words are identical; and only 29 (Bleu Lazuli)/24 (Bleu Turquoise) are different. And after all that, those 200 are not even good words!

Should you try these perfumes? Absolutely! If you come across them at a store, and there is nothing else you’d rather try, do it! After reading this, when you try them, you’ll either agree with me or will really like them.

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Heavenly glow, Francesca Bianchi Angel’s Dust

There’s something glorious and tough in becoming a perfumer. No matter which one of them you’d ask they would tell you it’s a bumpy yet rewarding process. I repeat it over and over again that I love perfume from Italian creators. It’s only my subjective observation but unlike French perfumers, who like to play safe, perfumers from Italy are more eager to create more ‘weird’ scents that push the boundaries. But that’s just my opinion so I don’t know if Francesca Bianchi would approve it. Previously working in publishing she became curious about alchemy and perfumery, so she started to experiment. Nowadays she offers fully handmade fragrances that are done in her very own way.

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Angel’s Dust is very translucent for the first couple of minutes and then the structure of the perfume is slowly starting to take more ‘physical’ shape. That said, iris appears right away and it’s a very powdery one. It’s a very nicely structured accord that combines different nuances. The powderness is quite dry at first, like talcum but it transforms into more silky feeling that then gradually unveils floral tones. There’s also a vegetal aspect to it – that is when iris ‘abandons’ its powdery form to become more buttery with hints of roots and a little bit of damp earth.

This pale face of iris obtains a little bit of a rosy blush on its cheeks as soon as rose joins the composition. The latter one is quite saturated but definitely not overdone. It almost feels as if you could take a handful of bright red petals, squeeze them in your palm & a few drops of rose oil would drip off your hand – it’s that rich to my nose. Angel’s Dust is a real floral feast as there’s also mimosa note appearing later. Its yellow pom-pom like flowers spread a cheerful scent of a pollen puffs. Every time I smell these flowers beautifully entwine with one another, I want to smile wide.

angel-dust

1,5 – 2 hours later heart notes of Angel’s Dust start to play around. If this perfume was turned into a piece of music, they would play completely new sounds. You could say that there’s some sort of cut-off. Floral elements are left behind and I start to experience more balsamic notes now. A diffusion of benzoin spreads around the wearer a delicate cloud of balmy, slightly smoky goodness with a hint of caramel flavor. Addition of vanilla enhances the feeling of deliciousness while tolu balsam makes it feel deeper and with more substance but still with brightness that would guide you through the night.

When Angel’s Dust reaches its drydown I can smell a lot of sandalwood, it’s creamy and smooth but with occassional splinters at times. There’s also a whole bunch of musk. The latter one is a combination of dust, some animalic traces and something more clean and fluffy. I very much like this perfume until its drydown, it has something in the base that annoys me. Luckily it then disappears. But I don’t want it to be the reason why you wouldn’t try it, it’s highly possible that you wouldn’t detect that thing at all. Available format is a 30 ml bottle of extrait. On me it lasts around 7 hours.

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