Hello 2019! Since a new year has begun I’m going to kick it off with my traditional review of a Prada fragrance. The idea of boutique exclusive perfume collections launched by big fashion houses like Chanel or Dior is nothing new these days. Of course not all fashion labels have joined this bandwagon (think Versace). Prada was one of the latecomers to this game, introducing Olfactories collection in 2015. But… it wasn’t their first attempt as between 2004 and 2012 they released a bunch of boutique-only fragrances but those came without much echo in the fragrance universum.
Marienbad starts as a luminous amber perfume but that’s just how it looks (smells?) on the outside. Its take off is full of brightness, feels exhilarating, kind of fresh even… but there’s way more complexity hiding underneath this external layer. It doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes until the perfume starts to put on weight and develop greater density. Amber becomes more resinous, having a slight fudgy sweetness in the background. The perfume still has a bright nature at this point.
However some shadows start to sneak in as well. Those shadows smell of black leather. This accord is introduced to Prada Marienbad in a seamless manner, as if it emerged straight from the sea of amber. Leather feels very elegant and sophisticated in this perfume. Stylish. Its glossy, shiny finish combined with the way it smells suggests a very expensive pair of shoes or a luxurious hand bag. Of course both would have to come from Prada boutique. This leather doesn’t feel offensive at all.
Next up in the fragrance development we have insense. Its smokiness – immaterial, clear but present only adds to the overall elegant feeling that Marienbad evokes. It’s contrasting with radiance of amber and merges with leather that itself has a darker side – some sort of chiaroscuro effect is created with these notes. Adding more to the noir of this Prada composition there’s oud. This wood-derived resin creates more depth and enriches the impressions with a bit of dramatism.
Agar in Prada Marienbad feels oily, balmy and rich. It also gets a tiny bit animalic because of some civet. But those are countered with boozy oriental vanilla note so that the fragrance has a good balance between dark and light elements. Tolu balm makes everything feels very smooth & seamless while the signature Prada iris brings some powdery tones to this perfume, giving it a nice finishing touch. I think of this Olfactories release as a fudgy, cuddly amber – ideal for winter.
Among original (read: first) boutique collection of Prada Olfactories, Marienbad stands there as one of the more complex ones to be honest with you. Great part of the other ones focus on 2-3 ingredients and those have a tendency to get more linear. In case of Prada Marienbad you can experience more interaction between the ingredients, there are different layers that entwine and overlap with one another. Perfumer Daniela Andrier did a great job. The entire collection is available in eau de parfum concentration in 100 ml heavy glass bottles, each perfume comes with a pouch.