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.
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alone would give it a somewhat old-fashioned feel: lush, feminine florals are no longer in style, having long since been replaced by fresh notes and sweet fruits.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