Prada Luna Rossa ~ fragrance review and a quick poll

Prada Luna Rossa advert

Luna Rossa is the new woody citrus for men from Prada. It's named for the the brand's America's Cup Challenge team, and is supposed to be an "unconventional marine fragrance" featuring lavender. Marine fragrances, unconventional or otherwise, are rarely my sort of thing — I do still adore Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aqua Motu, and I have a sort of soft spot (theoretical more than practical) for the old classic New West, but that's about it for me on the marine front. On the sporty front, well, the less said the better. There are surely perfumistas who are fans of sporty fragrances, but they're not exactly a majority contingent.

In its favor, Luna Rossa is by perfumer Daniela Andrier for Prada, and as a general rule, I like their style, even if I don't uniformly love all of the fragrances. So I was at least mildly looking forward to Luna Rossa.

Lavender is the star of the show early on, but it's a billowy and mild sort of lavender, with all the spikiness of natural lavender smoothed over — lavender haters probably won't be unduly bothered (other notes: orange essence, clary sage, spearmint, ambrette and ambroxan). Still, with the mint and the clary sage, Luna Rossa has a decidedly herbal-aromatic feel in the top notes, and is pushed firmly into modern masculine sport territory only via a cold metallic finish and plenty of citrus.

As it dries down, all of that fades away, and Luna Rossa softens and turns woodier and muskier. At no point does it really stand out to me as a marine fragrance, but a hint of salt air lingers in the middle for a time before things start to turn soapy. And the longer it is on skin, the soapier Luna Rossa gets — eventually, it's a soft, creamy-soapy woody musk that recalls Prada Amber Pour Homme and/or Prada Infusion d'Homme — it could be the sport flanker of either scent, really.

Verdict: it's well done, and it's considerably more elegant than your average sport fragrance. It would make a great gift for a fan of sports fragrances, and if the reviews at Boots are to be believed, many men have in fact received it as a gift and loved it, and many more have bought it for themselves. As for me, it did not set my world on fire. I wouldn't mind smelling it on someone else, but I wouldn't be so very sorry if I never did, either. I'd much rather wear Amber Pour Homme or Infusion d'Homme.

The quick poll: your all-time favorite sport fragrance?

Prada Luna Rossa, fragrance bottles

Prada Luna Rossa is available in 50, 100 and 150 ml Eau de Toilette and in matching grooming products. I found the lasting power quite good. It does not launch in the US until early next year, but can be pre-ordered now at Macy's.

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75 Comments

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  1. peter says:

    Great review Robin. I like herbal fragrances so I look forward to trying this one. The only “sport” fragrance I own is Habit Rouge Sport.

  2. Veronika says:

    Oh, I’d love to see answers to that question since not only I’ve never managed to like any sport fragrance – I don’t even like any citrus cologne.

    The closest thing to a sport fragrance I truly love – is Un Jardin En Mediterranee.
    I also used to spray some sur le Nil or Pamplemousse Rose when I was doing aerobics, but still
    I much prefer not to use anything before gym – just to smell the basenotes of my regular fragrance (applied hours and hours before) in the middle of the class when my temperature and heartbeat rises to infinity.

    • Robin says:

      You know, I seriously doubt that any large percentage of sports fragrances are sold to people who use them while doing sporty things. Sort of like yoga pants :-)

      • Veronika says:

        well than what’s the point in adding the word “sport”? What does it mean than? Isn’t it some sort of indicator that it will be suitable for doing something sporty at least in theory?

        I’m all confused.

        • Robin says:

          Well, it’s an indication that it will *smell* sporty. And since many men don’t like strong fragrances or find them inappropriate for work, it’s also a useful way of indicating “fresh”.

  3. Rappleyea says:

    I assume you’ve already let Kevin off on his Christmas break? :-D

    • Robin says:

      No, I called dibs on this one because I love Prada & was interested in what they’d do with a sporty fragrance. He hasn’t tried it yet, but I’m going to be surprised if he loves it.

  4. OhLily says:

    I stick to the vintage originals for women – Aliage and Jovan Sport( I prefer the one for women, but the one for men is pretty good too).

  5. Emily says:

    Wasn’t Aliage touted as the first “sports” fragrance? I guess I’d have to go with that one — I appreciate it in theory, but it’s one of the few Lauders that just don’t work on my skin.

    • Robin says:

      Yep, it was! (It wasn’t really, but it was touted as such)

    • OhLily says:

      Ooh, I wonder if we’re evil scent twins – That would be so handy! It’s exactly the opposite for me, there seems to be something in the Lauder base that just doesn’t agree with me with the exception of Aliage.

      Just my personal take on it, but I think in ’72 ‘sporty’ meant it was a swing away from ‘bedroom’ fragrances. Referring to it to being more ‘uni-sex’ back then probably wouldn’t have been a huge plus when it came to a traditional mainstream ‘perfume’, besides, the tennis outfits just looked so darned cute in the ads! :)

      • Emily says:

        OhLily, the old Aliage ads are so fabulous — my favorite is the one with a glamorous-yet-outdoorsy woman in fishing gear. I think you’re right about Lauder’s idea of what a “sports” fragrance meant — also, I recall the line from the Aliage review in The Guide where it’s described as smelling “logically inconsistent with perspiration” or something of the sort. (All the same, I’d love it if someone tried to create a sports fragrance that actually embraced dirt and sweat!)

        And it’d be handy to have an EST. I guess there are actually quite a few Lauders I can’t wear — Azuree, Knowing, and Beautiful are also horrid on me, and I just don’t care for Beyond Paradise or White Linen. But Youth Dew, the original Private Collection, and Bronze Goddess are all-time favorites.

  6. lucasai says:

    Your review exactly describes my own feelings about Luna Rossa. As much as I’m a Pradaholic this scent left me indifferent. I would rather invest in Infusion d’Iris Absolue.

    • Robin says:

      And I keep saying I’ll finally buy some Amber Pour Homme. But I probably never really will :-)

  7. antaeus says:

    I am not so fond of sport fragrances either, altough I really like Chanel´s Allure Homme Sport Cologne for after working out. And I think Eau Sauvage would make a great sport fragrance also. I once had it in a plastic bottle, which was perfect for in my sportsbag! Personally I think all sport fragrances should come in plastic, it is so much more convenient!

  8. A bottle of this ended up on my shelves (as the perfume editor for a French glossy, not as a blogger). I hadn’t bothered to smell it, even, because “Sport” is my kryptonite. But if you think it’s decent, some man in my family is going to find it under the Christmas tree.

    • Robin says:

      I would call it decent, yes, and let’s face it, many men (and women) don’t really want anything much beyond that in fragrance anyway.

  9. platinum14 says:

    SPORT???
    What is “Sport”??
    LOL
    The closer to sport scent that I get is Bergamotto Marino or Eau de Courrèges (my absolute favorite this year)

    • sayitisntso says:

      WOW! I love that you’ve mentioned Ferre’s Bergamotto Marino!! It’s lovely…I don’t know that it’s particularly ‘sporty’ but as far as oceanic/marine fragrances go, it’s head and shoulders above most. Beautifully rendered bergamot, jasmine, blackcurrant and I think the teensiest touch of melon and some musk. A summer staple for sure.

      • Robin says:

        Everyone loves that one. Still haven’t tried it.

  10. sinnerman says:

    ATF sport fragrance is allure sport cologne ! LR is doing the podium thing here in Sydney @ most department stores. I politely dislike the the bottle , the fragrance I may have liked if I didn’t now have a broader taste in fragrance. I wonder what’s next for the brand ?

  11. Fernando says:

    Sports fragrance… nah, they’re all bad. The closest thing is probably Dior Homme Sport, but then you smell the real Dior Homme and you immediately realize the “Sport” is code for uninteresting.

  12. RusticDove says:

    At first I was going to reply: “Favorite Sport fragrance – is this a trick question?” But a couple of folks before me mentioned Aliage – and that is a good one, so I guess there’s one sport fragrance I like!

    • Robin says:

      The commenter below who points out that Aliage is not what we think of as a sport fragrance today is exactly right, so I guess ya’ll are cheating ;-)

  13. Dilana says:

    I am not certain that I even know what a sports fragrance is. On very rare occasions I will spritz myself before going to the gym, but my criteria for doing so, is as light as possible and with as little silage as possible. I am not certain that those criteria match “sportiness.”

    I actually love the smell of salt air near the sea or gulf, and would love a scent which actually captured this. On the other hand, I think the sensation is as much the feel of the air as its scent.

    • Robin says:

      No, it’s a style really. More on the men’s side of the aisle though.

  14. jbordeau says:

    I think Aqua di Gio is a sport fragrance, and I like it still. It’s the only one, though!

    In my childhood, the sport fragrance was what kids sprayed under their arms in the locker room: Brut deodorant! By today’s standards, it’s really not bad at all.

  15. Daisy says:

    Sport fragrance? hmmm think ..think.. think….nope, I got nuthin.

    However, I am a huge fan of yoga pants and happily admit to owning a bazillion pairs even though I don’t do a bit of yoga.
    I feel better for the confession. ;)

    I do like a number of Prada scents and wouldn’t mind sniffing this if I see it somewhere. But words like “marine”, “salt” and “lavender” pretty much ensure that I won’t seek it out purposefully.

    • Robin says:

      I do quite a bit of yoga, but likewise confess that I own far more yoga pants than are necessitated by the practice, which you could presumably do quite successfully without any specialty pants, much less expensive specialty pants, at all.

      • C.H. says:

        If it makes you feel better, I do yoga in a pair of running pants, and I constantly regret that I can’t bring myself to bite the bullet and buy some decent yoga pants. So many pockets and zippers in uncomfortable places on my running pants.

        Also, several men in the classes I attend wear shorts and…I wish they would also consider investing in some yoga pants!

        • Robin says:

          It is true that really good yoga pants are fabulous to do yoga in. All the cheaper pants I started out in from TJ Maxx eventually went off to Goodwill, and many of the medium priced pants sit unworn in my closet…really perfect pants do not move in class, feel good against the skin, and generally have no attributes that make you remember you’re wearing them, which ought to be the point. But it is simply astonishing how much that costs! It’s got to be at least as profitable as perfume. So my advice is not even to start down that road, at least, not if you’re an idiot like me who needs them in a variety of colors & prints once you get started.

          Agree — some running shorts are not meant to do yoga in!

          • Rappleyea says:

            Ahhh, Robin… some serious enabling here. I also do yoga, but in sweat pants or in warm weather (I’m embarrassed to admit this) in shorty pajama bottoms that I never wore as pajamas. :-D

            So… what are the really nice yoga pants??

          • Robin says:

            I see lots of women in yoga in what are clearly pajama bottoms or “lounge wear”. Actually those look pretty comfortable. I’m probably more uptight about my pants moving around in class & not providing “adequate coverage”, and I don’t mind a bit of extra compression either.

            I used to love Lululemon’s Wunder Under crops & tights, and I do still buy them but their quality has gone downhill & believe it or not, I now buy “vintage” on eBay, which is a total crackup even to me.

            I still like Lucy — Lotus or Hatha or Power Core are all good. And Athleta Chaturanga tights or knickers, which I think are the most reasonably priced of what I’ve mentioned, although I don’t like them so well as Lululemon or Lucy.

            Some people swear by the Nordstrom house brand Zella, but they don’t look good on me. They’re also (comparatively) reasonably priced, though, so worth trying on if you have a Nordstrom nearby.

            But you have to get just the right fit. Too large, and you will be hiking them up in class. Too small, and they’ll be obviously be uncomfortable or the gusset will ride up, & they will probably go transparent in some yoga positions (it’s worth doing a down dog or forward bend in the dressing room to be sure).

            Whew, I can go on about yoga pants, can’t I?

          • C.H. says:

            Hahaha, the idea of scouring Ebay for vintage yoga pants is hilarious but also (is this bad?) makes absolutely perfect sense to me. Thanks so much for the brand suggestions. It’s perfect timing, actually; just yesterday a certain family member was lobbying me to pick out some yoga pants as a Christmas present but I couldn’t imagine where to start. Maybe I’ll go see how those fit!

          • Robin says:

            The resale value of some older Lulu items is astonishing. If you buy carefully, your yoga pants (and jackets, and tops) actually increase in value as you wear them. I don’t think it’s true of any other brand though, and it relates to the company’s practice of making what are essentially “limited edition” yoga & running clothes. The Wunder Under pant is always sold, but the color & print you like today may be gone by next week. There appear to be people making a living buying out certain prints and then reselling them at a “sold out!” sort of markup.

      • tulp says:

        Makes two. I also do yoga, but in a normal long legs sport pants.

        • Daisy says:

          my yoga pants are more along the design of medium priced “exercise” type pants….mostly cotton, fairly loose, sooooo comfortable…black. …except for one time I went crazy and bought 2 navy blue pair.
          I saw these very comfy looking ones on a website….CK…$52pr…no way, too much considering they are just really for lounging (and housework) then lo and behold , I saw them at Sam’s club for $20 –I bought a pair, loved them, went back the next day and bought every medium they had. I LOVE them…. of course the CEO was like “you spent $500 on yoga pants?” and I said “yes, yes I did.”
          And that’s my yoga/exercise pants story.

  16. Merlin says:

    This was the first male prada that didn’t elicit any ‘want’ reaction in me. I don’t own any of the masculines but I have certainly wanted the others at various stages. The last one was Ambre Pour Homme Intense, which has Somalian myrrh…
    There are particular frags which I like to wear if I think I am going to be hot. Any of the Jardins work as air-conditioners; but for the moment I am using L’Occitaine’s Vert for when I exercise – nice, simple and refreshing.

    • Robin says:

      Same here, although there are now plenty of feminine Pradas that I didn’t really want. Still like the brand though.

  17. kiki says:

    Ditto to those above who mentioned Aliage…definitely my favorite “sports” fragrance, though we would hardly think of it as being one today, I think. (Another topic entirely, but a fascinating one and one that’s been touched upon on here before: what is considered “clean” and “sporty” to one generation can be interpreted as heavy and “old-fashioned” to another. Most youngsters today would hardly describe Aliage as fresh/sporty, though that’s exactly how it was marketed at the time.) Also, Robin, as you say, “there are surely perfumistas who are fans of sporty fragrances, but they’re not exactly a majority contingent”…. you bring up something that’s always interested me – why, exactly, the disdain for sporty fragrances in general amongst us perfumistas? Of course, I assume it’s because many of them smell so generic and mass-produced, but it seems as if it goes beyond that. As if there’s some inherent dislike of the genre…even if there were a superbly crafted sporty scent, there would be the same dislike. I guess what I’m getting at is – I really *want* to believe that there can be superb examples of all categories of fragrance, just as there good songs in every genre of music. What would be the best-crafted, most exquisite sporty fragrance out there – or is such a thing a contradiction in terms for most of us?

    • Robin says:

      The hallmark of most modern sport fragrances are synthetic fresh notes. To my mind, it’s really difficult to include synthetic fresh notes and not smell generic, in fact, the latest version of Eau Sauvage is teetering just on that edge — it’s still quite good, but it’s a little too fake fresh for my taste. That’s part of the disdain, but the other part, surely, is the massive number of crappy sport flankers that have launched over the past few years.

      Really, presumably any brilliant citrus cologne is the perfect sports scent, they’re just not usually called that.

  18. C.H. says:

    A high school boyfriend wore Polo Sport so I think of that one fondly–but it’ll have to stay in the mind’s eye, or the mind’s nose, in this case. Recently I thought I might like to have some, for the nice memories, but alas it just smells cheesy (not in the frommage sense!) to me now. Can get the fragrance, but not the nose of the 15 year old who first encountered it!

    • Robin says:

      Same here w/ Beene Grey Flannel, although I guess that wasn’t a sport fragrance.

  19. Racine says:

    I discovered Luna Rossa and the end of this summer and bought it on the spot! It was the perfect excuse to remember my time on the beach and keep enjoying the feeling of easy life from my summer holidays. I think I was an easy target since I love lavender and soapy notes..
    Of course I still prefer Amber pour homme or Infusion d ´home but for a sport frag it´s a very decent one. For me a sport frag it´s not something I would necesarily wear to the gym, it´s more something fresh, clean and safe not to interfere with my activity. Also my on the go frag!

  20. hajusuuri says:

    I tried to like Yoga…but…it ended up stressing me out. I KNOW it should have the opposite effect.

    I can’t stand sport fragrances — they all smell “thin”.

    My fantasy sports fragrance is Les Exclusifs de Chanel Eau de Cologne. My nose smells the citrus above all else and to me, citrus is gym/exercise appropriate, applied lightly, of course.

    Your review made me curious about Prada Luna Rossa. I will have to check it out next time I go to Nordies.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, that’s too bad…some weeks, yoga is all that keeps me sane :-)

      Agree about the Chanel. Wish citrusy colognes outsold sport flankers.

    • C.H. says:

      Just in case it’s useful–I used to feel the same way until I found the right practice, which for me has been vinyasa. The slower-paced stuff made me crazy. (I know some yogis will be horrified by that, but, I tell myself that we all have something different to work on in yoga, and mine is to work up to being able to handle the slow stuff!) So, you might see if a different style could provide a better point of entry for you.

      But of course, yoga–or practicing yoga on the mat–doesn’t have to be your thing at all! Do you, etc. For that matter, sometimes I think perfume is not so far from being a kind of yoga. Very much about being in the present, being attentive to your sensory experience, concentration, etc.

    • Emily says:

      Yoga stressed me out, too! I spent the whole class worrying that I was doing the positions incorrectly (which I probably was), and/or that I was about to fart (which I KNOW I was). And then I started worrying about my inability to stop worrying.

      But, as others have mentioned, maybe I should try again with a different style of yoga.

  21. nozknoz says:

    If Eau Sauvage is a sport scent, then I’m in!

    I usually don’t wear fragrance to Pilates or Taiji lessons, but very occasionally I’ll put on a touch of Guerlain Meteorites EdT (barely there violet), Iunx l’Ether (natural and, of course, ethereal) or Chanel 28 la Pausa (light, cool, and beautiful).

    • Veronika says:

      Wearing 28 La Pausa to a pilates class is very elegant!

      Although for a yoga class I’m thinking something with a fig would be more appropriate. Phylosikos maybe?

      • Veronika says:

        (yeah… sport fragrances are the best! :) )

    • Robin says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever worn scent to the gym, but since so many don’t wash off easily, I’m often wearing “residual” fragrance.

  22. antonpan says:

    To me Luna Rossa mostly reminds of last year’s Armani Code Sport, and naturally I find both fragrances the best out of sporty genre. I like how the perfumers used mint in these creations and I hope mint is a future of sporty scents.

    • Robin says:

      I did not try the Armani, will have to give it a sniff.

  23. kaos.geo says:

    I don’t have a sport fragrance favorite that actually carries the name sport on its title. But I do love Bulgari’s Aqua (the original one, NOT the MARINE edition)
    And regarding the Prada, as we previously discussed on facebook… well yes, sadly there’s nohing to write home about.
    I must say that what I REALLY disliked of 2012’s releases is not as much the fragrances themselves, but their wimpy-ness. I mean the Luna Rossa is above average on persistance… but that should give you a clue.. many releases this year were little more than sugar water. Really these kinds of concentrations in perfumery used to be relegatedto the “Deodorant natural spray” category… you know those deodorants that they sell on airport duty free shops that used to cost half the price of the perfume and barely smelled like it. My feeling is that we are being swindled big time by the perfume industry. :-P

    • Robin says:

      Ha, maybe! But apparently people are being willingly swindled then.

  24. farouche says:

    I wore Polo Sport Woman for years (pre-perfumista years), so I dug it out of the backl my cabinet for this poll and sprayed it on some paper….What was I thinking!!?

  25. Rictor07 says:

    The last sport scent i truly liked was Lacoste Style in Play, but Mugler Ice*Men is also quite nice and different.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, Mugler has done a couple good ones.

    • moore says:

      Yeah, Ice Men is great!

    • kaos.geo says:

      I love Style in Play… a different kind of “ozonic” . Thank younfor reminding me of it !

  26. moore says:

    Veeeery late to the poll. My favorite sport fragrance is Dior Homme Sport 2012, wich is not sporty at all. It’s a classy daily fragrance.

  27. eminere says:

    I thought this smelled very ordinary and indistinguishable from the next sports fragrance. And I really don’t like the bottle.

  28. ajmals says:

    I would not recommend Luna Rossa to anyone. It lasts no way near as long as the tester Prada tried on me.

    Total waste of money

  29. cologneluvr says:

    I must admit, as light as Prada Luna Rossa is, it’s a nice Spring/Summer “sport” fragrance but more on the elegant side. It portrays a herbaceous coolness rather than metallic.

    I LOVE this new addition to the men’s fragrance market.

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