Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano ~ fragrance review


Carnations have been woefully ignored around here. I've said before that I love rose fragrances but don't reach for them very often, and carnations fall into the same trap: if a soliflore rose has a something of an old-fashioned air, a soliflore carnation verges on fusty. Roses, at least, speak of love, and perhaps luxury; carnations speak of funeral wreaths and ugly prom corsages. It is simply not a hip flower.

It is a shame, because carnations smell nice. Today's fragrance, Garofano, is not strictly speaking a carnation soliflore, but carnation is certainly the dominant note. It is part of Lorenzo Villoresi's Classic Collection, and features lavender, floral notes, green leaves, carnation, jasmin, rose, cinnamon, cyclamen, ylang ylang, geranium, pepper, heliotrope, vanilla, musk and cedarwood.

Garofano starts with peppered florals and citrus over pale, slightly bitter green undertones. I would not have guessed lavender, but a surge of sharp herbal notes in the opening should have made its presence obvious. The dry down is, like Villoresi's Donna, unabashedly feminine, with hints of rose and jasmine and a spicy, cinnamon-clove edge that recalls the flower of its name. Traces of green linger on well past the top notes, and there is a slightly animalic tinge to the woods in the base.

Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano perfume

It is not quite heavy, but it is (again, like Donna) very lush and full, with the merest dusting of powder in the base. Its lushness alone would give it a somewhat old-fashioned feel: lush, feminine florals are no longer in style, having long since been replaced by fresh notes and sweet fruits. But it wears beautifully, and feels simultaneously refined and lady-like on the one hand, sexy on the other — that is, if you can bring yourself to find a carnation sexy. I'll admit that I can't always manage it. If you can pull it off, it is the perfect fragrance for a cool spring night. It would undoubtedly be a bit much for hotter summer weather.

Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano is available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette, and the lasting power is excellent. For buying information, see the listing for Lorenzo Villoresi under Perfume Houses.

Tomorrow: more carnation

Note: top image is Carnation Romance [cropped] by seeks2dream at flickr; some rights reserved.

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Parfums Raffy


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I found most of the Villoresi scents I've tried have a soapiness to them. Especially Donna. Would you say that Garofano has this soapy quality, too?

    For the best carnation scent I've ever tried, I'd say Creed Tubereuse Indiana. I never did smell tuberose in that, just lush spicy carnation.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Soapy is one of those designations (like powdery, actually) that seems to mean different things to different people — so no, don't find Garofano soapy, but don't find Donna soapy either so it doesn't help you :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    LOL! Thanks, Robin!

    I agree. Sometimes scents that are powdery to me are never described as powdery by anyone else. And vice versa.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Definitely gorgeous and quite old-fashioned, in a good way (it's almost always “good way” with old-fashioned :-)). But, like with so many LV scents, we just don't “click”. :-(

  5. Anonymous says:

    LV's style doesn't always suit me either, M, but I do think this one and Donna are just beautifully done.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This has got to be a cultural thing. I didn't come to the US till university and have never been to a funeral w/ carnations, nor have I ever encountered a carnation corsage. Knocking on multiple types of wood right now. I'm always shocked when I see carnations associated w/ these things. To me they're all about bright, sunny gardens full of cutting flowers or Middle Eastern bazaars. I smell a carnation scent and I'm instantly more cheerful. To me Garofano is sexy, spicy, delicious. Diamond Waters is my gold standard carnation, but this is a close runner up – damn good thing, since I still am having to live off of small decants of DW. :-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love carnation! I've tried Donna but not Garofano. If you have tried Caron Bellodgia (a favorite of mine) how would you say they compare?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would guess you're right, my associations are probably very much culture bound. I love the smell, but can't think of carnations as sexy.

    I remember one of the JARs was a gorgeous carnation, but thought it was something else, not Diamond Waters (?) — will have to go look through my notes.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Going to do Bellodgia later in the week. Garofano is brighter and cooler, and not quite so dense or creamy-rich, and while I called it somewhat old-fashioned above, it has a considerably more modern feel than Bellodgia. If you wore them both, you'd have no trouble at all guessing which was a 1995 LV and which was a 1927 Caron.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You're thinking of Golconda. I love it, but it's not worth the money for me – to my nose, CdG's Carnation is close enough to it to be an acceptable substitute. DW has honey and osmanthus along w/ the carnation and those two notes just put it over the top for me.

  11. Anonymous says:

    That's right, Golconda. None of the JARs are worth the money to me, but I'm cheap :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Garofano is, I think, the only LV I fell head over heels with. They mostly seem too … murky on me? But Garofano is simply lovely. I also think Floris Malmaison is wonderful too. In fact, I might go spray on these two right now for comparison … my recollection is that Malmaison is spicier?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I know what you mean about murky — they are dense, and feel like there is a lot going on. This one, Dilmun & Donna are my favorites, but a few of them are too much for me — notably, Alamut, but also Teint de Neige & Spezie, which on paper looks like something I'd love.

    Malmaison is a great scent, but I haven't got any on hand — going on memory, it is creamier and more powdery, and I think, a bit more old-fashioned in feeling (?)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Okay, left arm vs. right arm! Garofano is definitely the lusher scent; it smells more “true” thanks to the added floral notes, and it's much greener. Your memory is excellent — Malmaison is (very slightly) powdery, a little spicier, creamier and much quieter. If Garofano is spring, Malmaison is winter. They are quite nice layered, by the way!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for checking, M, my memory is rarely reliable, LOL. I need to get my hands on a decant, I do think it is the best thing Floris ever did. Wish they'd put it in a nicer bottle.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Bottle is plug-ugly. I'll drop it in the mail in the next 2 days if I can, before I leave on my trip. Looking around for my Oillet, but I think I gave it away! I'll send you some Novaya Zarya Carnation too…

  17. Anonymous says:

    M, you are so kind, but you must be *very* busy so wait until you get back! And have the Norvaya Zarya, M kindly sent me a bunch of Russian scents. But hey, if you're feeling REALLY kind, do drop by Ormonde Jayne in London and buy me a vat of Frangipani, LOL…

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