Carnations from Caron: Bellodgia fragrance review

Bellodgia perfume by Caron

Bellodgia, which according to Caron has long been "a particular favorite of American customers", was inspired by the Italian town of Bellagio on Lake Como and is intended to evoke "fields of carnations smothered in sunlight". It was created by perfumer Ernest Daltroff and introduced in 1927; additional notes include rose, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.

Bellodgia in Parfum opens heady and sweet, and calms to a rich, dense fragrance, peppery-spicy and warm, with the floral notes layered over the traditional dark Caron base. The carnation itself is the star of the show, but it is soft and stylised: it does not scream of fresh carnations — or not for more than a few minutes, anway — and it is far too sophisticated to elicit any association with funerals or prom corsages. There are hints of rose and the whole has a creamy-powdered finish over mossy woods.

Earlier in the week, I said that Lorenzo Villoresi's Garofano had a somewhat old-fashioned feel, but if you were to wear them together, you'd know immediately which was the 1927 scent and which the 1995. Bellodgia has all the dusky opulence you'd expect from a 1920s perfume; Garofano, while dense enough in its own right, smells considerably brighter and fresher (fresh in the sense that it smells like newly cut flowers). If you don't appreciate the signature Caron style, the mossy and animalic notes in Bellodgia may strike you as comparatively musty and dated.

Caron Bellodgia is available in Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Parfum (extrait). The Eau de Parfum is a new formula introduced in the late 1990s to appeal to more modern tastes, but there is modern and then there is modern: the newer version is brighter and milder, but even so, it is not likely to strike a young consumer of today as au courant and it retains the feel of a classic Caron. I have not tried the Eau de Toilette.

Caron Bellodgia is not an urn perfume so even the extrait is readily available online, and can be found at discount. I did not do an exhaustive price comparison, but Parfum1 has the extrait for $63 for 15 ml.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ahhh, Bellodgia! How I do love it! But then, I love dark, old things, especiallly dark,old Caron things! I have both the parfum and the eau de toilette. The EdT smells like fresh carnations longer into the drydown and has a greater sillage.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can't say I always love dark old things, even dark old Caron things — but this is a lovely scent. My favorite of the old Carons is still the lightweight Alpona though!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bellodogia parfum is absolutely beautiful. That is all.:)

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'll vote for that!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Lilybp (hello J!). Bellodgia is just pure beauty. It was my grandmother's favorite perfume, and now it's my favorite too.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How nice, I wish I knew what my grandmother wore! I don't remember her using scent, actually — will have to ask around in the family.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Woman, I have been meaning to wrap myself around my Bellodgia EdP and lotion for several days, but somehow I have not managed to do it.

    Tomorrow is the day!

    I love the early 20th century Gibson girl feel of this lustrous fragrance. It is ultra-feminine in the best sense of the word, with a delicious vintage feel to it.

    Bellodgia is also a comforting scent, because some of my grandmother's best friends wore it. It's that memorable scent of childhood that immediately calms me and gives me a sense of belonging and serenity.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh, “20th century Gibson girl feel” is perfect, R! And how nice to see another association with grandmothers. Hugs to you!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I'm really enjoying this series of carnation fragrance reviews! I love the smell of carnations and cloves, but I have yet to find a carnation/clove fragrance that I like. I haven't tried all that many, but I was sorely disappointed in CdG Carnation… had high hopes for that one. I think I want a very sharp, peppery and spicy carnation, and the CdG was a lot sweeter and more powdery than I wanted it to be. I have to order samples of the LV Garofano, and Bellodgia – doesn't Coup de Fouet/Poivre have clove and/or carnation, too? Any other recommendations for spicy carnation scents?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I haven't tried Malmaison – Floris, isn't it? – but I'll try to get hold of that one, too. I like dry and spicy fragrances in general, and they wear well on me, so I'm thinking that Coup de Fouet might be the closest thing out there, after all.

    Speaking of dry and spicy, I'm a happy fragrance shopper today – one of the very few stores that carry niche fragrances here in Stockholm is closing down and they're selling off all their stock. That's very sad, but on the other hand me and the boyfriend scored two CdG's at 30% off; Ouarzazate for me, Tea for him. Not bad, eh? :)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Floris. And as I said, it isn't really what you're looking for — it is creamy & powdery. But a great carnation scent, otherwise.

    And great score — Ouarzazate is one of my faves, and actually the only full bottle I own of the incense series.

  12. Anonymous says:

    In skimming these comments on my fave Bellodgia, I could not resist responding to the remarks about “early 20th century Gibson girls” and grandmothers. The “Gibson Girl” was the feminine ideal ca. 1900, and would have been considered hopelessly outdated by 1927, when Bellodgia debuted. As for our grandmothers, they may conjure up images of plump, powdery comfort to us now, but when they were choosing their fragrances in their youth, they were jazz babies and flappers, with bobbed hair and rolled stockings, and Bellodgia was very much an au courant fragrance to them!

  13. Anonymous says:

    about the spicy carnations…there are Golconda and Diamond Water from JAR. tiny decants are available (and a drop goes miles), as 800 an ounce is kind of a calfskin-gloved whack in the face. these two are carnation centric–diamond water esp. golconda is more tailored and high drama, diamond water more edible. the top note for diamond water is a fresh knockout–a walk-in freezer full of fresh carnations, but after an hour they're both warm and sweet. diamond water is maybe a spicier clove on the drydown. (JAR's Shadow is super sweet heavy cloves–smells like a retired LA hair rocker. not that that's bad.)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Both great scents, although of the 2 I prefer the Golconda. BUT — nothing on earth would make me pay for them :-)

  15. Chanel says:

    I love Bellodgia! Its one of my favourite Caron fragrances. I once hugged my mother when wearing this and she said she didn’t like those Asian perfumes I wear ( I regularly wear attars and perfume oils) lol I just laughed and said I was wearing Caron, not attar – I do find Bellodgia do be a kind of spicy carnation but I like spicy and wear anything I like regardless of others opinions.

  16. dolcesarah says:

    I’m going to get this right away. I have NO Caron Frags is this a good one to start with? I want to love Caron like everybody else does. Cheers

    • Robin says:

      Most carnation fragrances have now been reformulated, and I have not smelled Bellodgia lately but I doubt it is the same.

      I’d pick Tabac Blond or Narcisse Noir, although can’t swear they’ve fared better.

  17. jkbeardsley says:

    If you afford it, try the real parfum. It totally rocks. Spicey and mysterious, yet totally feminine.

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