I always feel a small sense of trepidation when approaching a new masculine fragrance. So often they fail to live up to my expectations, sticking to the tried and tested style of clean and sporty aquatics. That’s not to say that all masculine scents are bad, far from it in fact, it’s just that many mainstream masculines err on the side of caution, attempting to be safe, to be macho, to not offend and to appeal to as many different noses as possible.
But every now and then a masculine fragrance comes along that exceeds expectations. Uomo, the latest release from Italian fashion house Valentino, is one such perfume. Uomo comes as a welcome surprise and shows that the effortless Italian style of the Valentino aesthetic can be translated into something that smells truly chic.
With Uomo, Valentino has set out to create a modern classic that looks back at Italian history and culture. To fit this brief, perfumer Olivier Polge (the man behind Dior Homme and Dolce & Gabbana’s The One for Men) has utilised a suave pallet of ingredients that conjure up a perfume so effortlessly cool and remarkably smart that it really does feel as if it was penned with Valentino’s stylish signature. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement.
Top: Bergamot and Myrtle Liquor
Heart: Crema di Gianduia and White Leather
Base: Coffee and Cedar Wood
How Does it Smell?
Valentino Uomo opens with the soft white glow of bergamot, a note that is famed for its sweet, pastel-like zestiness and appears here in a muted, subtler form. This citrus note is then met by the softest suede, evoking the impression of an expensive pair of designer shoes. The use of suede (or leather) makes Uomo reminiscent of ‘Homme’, Polge’s 2005 creation for Christian Dior. Both fragrances share the supple feel of high-end leather goods, with the Dior ultimately coming across as finely milled face powder and the Valentino taking a more richly textured approach.
What really sets Uomo apart from the Dior however, is an ever-present gourmand undercurrent that provides both warmth and depth. At first this edible facet presents itself as a chewy, nutty quality reminiscent of hazelnut chocolate (the gianduia), but then develops to a more intense coffee-like blend with hints of anise as things progress. It’s important to state that this edible facet is most definitely an undertone and Uomo is not a tasty, delicious or cloying fragrance in the slightest. This gourmand sensibility simply adds a sense of richness that contributes to a wonderful variety of textures across the perfume’s accords.
As Uomo heads into its dry down, one would expect a warm, resinous base of robust woods with a palpable sense of dryness – thus is the trajectory of many a masculine fragrance. But Uomo doesn’t follow this path, instead it softens further to a delicate blend of spicy iris, vanilla and cedar that feels transparently plush on the skin. It’s a fitting end to a fragrance that can be simply summed up as being ‘refined’ in the most elegant of ways and proves that masculine fragrances don’t always have to be about the demonstration of strength; they can master the art of subtlety too.
To summarise, this is seriously good stuff that truly represents effortless Italian style and as an added bonus, it is presented in one of the most handsome perfume bottles this writer has ever seen. Yes it would be fair to say that it also shares a signature with Dior’s fabulous Homme but it’s not an exact replica and it adds an enjoyable layer of depth to an already masterful composition. Uomos’ strength however, lies within its versatility, a quality that means that it feels as comfortable paired with a hoodie and jeans as it does a shirt and tie. Bravo to Valentino on this wonderful creation, now please don’t leave it another 8 years before the next one, OK?
The competition is now closed. Congratulations to Jeffery, Thomas, Jack, Matthew, Aleksandr and Sapient Ooze!
Fancy winning this suave new fragrance? We’re giving away 6 Valentino Uomo 50ml Eau de Toilette sprays! Simply comment on this post and let us know your favourite thing about Italian culture, be it the food, the fashion or the lifestyle. Ends 23rd March 2014. Good luck!
No purchase necessary. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning. Contest begins 12th March 2014 and ends 23rd March 2014. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on or about 24th March 2014. Six prize winners will receive the items stated above. Prizes must be accepted as awarded; not redeemable in cash or credit.