Dolce is the latest from Dolce & Gabbana, and right away it settles itself into a distinct niche in the brand's perfume lineup. Instead of the witty, world-weary exchanges between Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey for The One or the steamy, Sophia Loren-ish Laetitia Casta pairing with Noah Mills for Pour Femme and Pour Homme or the watery, ooh la la encounter between David Gandy and Bianca Balti for Light Blue, we have model Kate King, all done up in virginal white, demurely accepting a sprig of orange blossom from a worker in the orange orchard.
Yes, we're in romance territory here, from the bottle cap, meant to look like a marzipan flower from a Sicilian confectioner, to the juice, a white floral blend centered on South African white amaryllis, captured via headspace technology and reportedly used here for the first time.
I liked Dolce right away: the opening is a soft but bright floral mix with a nice shot of orange-y citrus, ever-so-mildly green, fruity ("papaya blossom") but noticeably less fruity (and less sweet) than is the current fashion. But the romance was short-lived. I was expecting the white florals to deepen — I'm no dummy, I wasn't expecting Robert Piguet Fracas or anything, just, you know, some sort of floral activity. Instead, Dolce turns flat, literally within minutes. It smells like the vague remains of some vaguely floral soap you might have used an hour or so ago, mixed with what's left of the melon-y aquatic perfume you were trying to wash off in the first place. And then, not much happens: it just slowly fades to a pale musky finish.
Verdict: Don't misunderstand me, Dolce doesn't smell bad. It's pretty, pleasant and wearable. It has reasonable lasting power and relatively quiet sillage: if you need a new inoffensive, 'light & fresh' office-friendly floral, it could be a contender; if you love Light Blue and want to graduate into something with a more floral (and feminine) focus, it might be perfect. The few reviews on the department store websites so far are overwhelmingly positive.
But perfumistas, even perfumistas looking for an inoffensive, 'light & fresh' office-friendly floral, are not likely to be impressed; it's just too flat and too clean and too bland. If you love it, do comment and tell me how wrong I am!
The quick poll: recommend a perfumista-worthy inoffensive, 'light & fresh' office-friendly floral. My vote goes to Carven Le Parfum.
Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana is available in 30, 50 ($90) and 75 ($112) ml Eau de Parfum. The notes feature papaya blossom, neroli leaves, white amaryllis, daffodil, water lily, cashmeran and musk.