Paestum Rose is the second fragrance release from Eau d'Italie. Described as a "contemporary take on the legendary origins of Italian perfume making", it takes as its inspiration the roses of Paestum (for background, see here).
Like Eau d'Italie's eponymous fragrance release of last year, Paestum Rose was created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and is designated as a unisex scent. The notes include davana, cinnamon, black pepper, pink pepper, coriander, black currant buds, Turkish rose, peony, incense, osmanthus, elemi, tea, papyrus, benzoin, myrrh, opoponax, vetiver, patchouli, cedar, wenge wood, amber and white musk.
Paestum Rose starts with a rush of peppery spices, but it quickly settles into a softer blend, with the black currant adding a touch of sweetness. The florals come on slowly, and like the spices, they are soft: the rose is the main player, but it is used here with a light touch, and the peony and osmanthus are but mere whispers. From the list of notes, one might expect a dark, heavy oriental base, but the reality is something quite different: a subtle mix of incense, resins and woods, more cloudy than dark, and not in the least heavy.
It reminds me vaguely of another Bertrand Duchaufour fragrance with similar base notes, L'Artisan Timbuktu, but Paestum Rose is a brighter, more wearable scent, with less of the "sweaty earth" notes that make Timbuktu, as much as I love it, rather difficult to wear on a hot day. Like Timbuktu, it is more dry than sweet, but unlike Timbuktu, which to my nose tips the scales towards masculine, Paestum Rose smells like a true unisex. Highly recommended.
For buying information, see the listing for Eau d'Italie under Perfume Houses.