NARCISO was one of my favourite launches of 2014, if not my top pick of the year. The fragrance presented an abstract idea of the gardenia flower, painted in nude tones of white, grey and pink. It smelled fleshy and milky with an unrivalled radiance that made the fragrance feel like an expansive white space, minimal in its contents but gigantic in its size. The whole thing was a technical marvel that celebrated colours and flowers in abstraction, presenting them as something incredibly new and most importantly, entirely ‘Narciso’ in their style.
For 2016, Narciso Rodriguez has launched NARCISO Eau de Parfum Poudrée, a flanker to the Eau de Parfum that sees an injection of powder into NARCISO’s expanse. Now powder in perfume isn’t something new, one can find it in the classic Guerlains, Chanels and even many modern fragrances, such as Valentino’s Donna, but it is an interesting twist nonetheless. Powder gives a fragrance a luxurious feel, providing texture and evoking themes of make up and fur. So with NARCISO Eau de Parfum Poudrée we have something that is less abstract and more decadent than the original. That sounds good to me!
Top: White Jasmine and Bulgarian Rose
Base: White and Black Cedars, and Vetiver
How Does it Smell?
NARCISO Eau de Parfum Poudrée opens peachy and soft with a hedonistic blend of jasmine and rose. The rose plays a dominant role over the white florals, accented by a touch of fruit to bring an element of sweetness. I say ‘fruit’ because in keeping with the original NARCISO, a number of Poudrée’s facets aren’t literal and specific enough to narrow down to a specific ingredient, playing with themes that are much more abstract. The floral and fruity tones feel as if they are a collection of nuances, brought together to create the impression of the sum of their parts. It all works rather nicely because what one gets is a dreamy concoction of fruit and flowers that wear like nude-coloured silk.
Musk plays a huge role here, as it did in the original NARCISO however, its radiance isn’t quite as tremendous. The powdery facet allows for something that wears closer to the skin, dusting it in a blush-coloured dose of face powder that is warm, comforting and just a tiny bit earthy. In time, the more robust underpinnings come through, intensifying the texture with smooth, pliable cedar wood and sharp vetiver strands. The complexity is fascinating because there is simply so much going on, but never once does Poudrée feel demanding to wear, in fact it’s exactly the opposite: a fragrance so easy to wear it feels like a second skin.
NARCISO Eau de Parfum Poudrée very much feels like an extension of the original, extending its abstract floral painted in blush colours and accenting it with the lightest dusting of makeup powder to give it a delicate and soft edge. The key difference isn’t in the olfactory profile of the scent but is more a case of a change of tone. Where NARCISO was a whiteout of imaginary gardenias on a hurricane of musk, Poudrée is much more intimate. It wears close to the skin like a dusting of face powder or silk lingerie, inviting curious noses to come closer, as opposed to grabbing them by the neck from across the room. Poudrée adds just a touch of luxury to the beautifully unusual NARCISO, shifting it into something completely different but just as special.