Valentino Uomo ~ fragrance review

Valentino Uomo advert

When I tried the new Valentino fragrance, Valentino Uomo,1 in Nordstrom, I thought: "Uh-oh...I can't smell a thing...asnomic to an ingredient, I guess." But when I got outside Nordstrom into the fresh air, I could smell Valentino Uomo. Quickly, I realized why I was unable to detect it at the men's fragrance counter — Valentino Uomo smells like the inside of Nordstrom, with its combined aromas of the makeup/skincare section, new clothes and shoes, a zillion fragrances, and Ebar. What I'm reminded of when wearing Valentino Uomo is not "Italy" but "American Department Store."

At first application, Valentino Uomo smells like lukewarm milk with a shot or two of citrus juice in it: a tad sour. Almost immediately, Valentino Uomo presents the aromas of coffee/chocolate, "cream" and loads of sugar: weak coffee, mild chocolate, Coffee-mate®, and, let me repeat: loads of sugar. Valentino Uomo d(r)ies down to reveal a drop of sweet musk, maybe a smidgen of denatured patchouli, but not much leather or cedar, just hazy approximations of those notes. 

How to describe Valentino Uomo's overall scent? When I read Valentino's own description of the cologne I went 'Sì!' — "a touch of vagueness that upsets the balance" (or stomach, in my case) and "sophisticated contamination" (though "sophisticated" is not apt). Valentino Uomo smells bland, but off-kilter, too.2

I love Italy. I love chocolate. I love coffee. I love myrtle. I love bergamot. I love leather and cedar in fragrance. When I'm not satisfied with a perfume that claims the presence of all those notes, I'm mystified, or used to be. Now, I find it best to ignore fragrance company PR. If you desire a coffee and chocolate scent that's lively and beautiful (and more Italian in spirit than Valentino Uomo), try La Via del Profumo Milano Caffè

Valentino Uomo Eau de Toilette is more feminine than masculine to my nose; it lasts a long while on skin but does not have powerful sillage. It's available in 50 ml ($75) and 100 ml ($95). 

Valentino Uomo packaging

I'm not as thrilled with the garish Valentino Uomo bottle as most are...maybe because it reminds me of a heavy-as-lead ashtray (won at a summer carnival) from my childhood home that my evil little sister often tossed at my feet when she was in fury mode.

Do comment if you love Valentino Uomo; it makes things interesting! 

1. Valentino Uomo was developed by perfumer Olivier Polge; notes include bergamot, myrtle, roasted coffee, gianduja cream, white leather and cedar.

2. "Valentino Uomo is classic and brilliant, with accords that change on the person over time: it is a profoundly Italian blend made of precisely chosen ingredients. A classic fragrance with soft smoky and woody accords and a touch of vagueness that upsets the balance, it is an expression of unmistakable style. Vibrant classicism and subtle rebellion effortlessly unite in a design of sophisticated contamination. Everything about Valentino Uomo is restrained, yet enticing." Via store.valentino.

Addendum: After so many readers and online reviewers believed Valentino Uomo was almost identical to Dior Homme, I went to Sephora and got a brand-new Dior Homme sample. Dior Homme and Valentino Uomo share a perfume style: both are sheer, sweet, and gourmand. Dior Homme even has the same "sour" note I detected in Valentino Uomo — and there's chocolate. Dior Homme goes on watery...top notes are nearly non-existent. As Dior Homme develops on skin, it resembles Valentino Uomo more, until Dior Homme's "iris" appears. And what an iris! Dior Homme's iris is artificial and shrieks — even presenting a weird "chive"/vegetal aroma before it turns powdery. Dior Homme's base is sweet, nutty musk and "wood" (and this phase of the perfume lasts a long time on skin). I'm not a fan of either Dior Homme or Valentino Uomo. If you adore Dior Homme, do give Valentino Uomo a try; these fragrances have a lot in common without being duplicates. If I were forced by the Perfume Police to wear one or the other of these colognes, I'd pick Dior Homme since it has more variety in its development.

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44 Comments

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  1. sayitisntso says:

    I don’t usually expect much in the way of men’s fragrance bottles but wow! this bottle makes me swoon. I [almost] don’t care what the juice smells like…I just want the darned bottle!

    • Robin says:

      Butting in to say I agree…hope they’ll do a Valentino Donna in the same bottle. Or, maybe I’ll try this one since Kevin says it is feminine anyway.

    • CM says:

      I also love the bottle! The juice doesn’t sound like it would be my thing, but the next time I’m at Nordies, I plan to sniff anyway. Great review!

      • Kevin says:

        CM…yep…I sniff everything in sight too.

  2. happy888cat says:

    When I first saw the bottle and list of notes I almost drooled.
    The iconic studs, pinkish juice and dark gold (from the print ad anyway) is like a perfect perfume bottle version of a Valentino handbag! I want.
    And then I saw the word Uomo.. Why!? Why aim a great perfume concept at the area of perfume world where daring only goes so far? I suspected it would just smell rather generic and bland. Looks like I am not far off… :(
    I still have yet to see it around but I am letting go of any expectations I may have left.
    Just hope the bottle is as good as it looks on screen!
    (I am secretly hoping for a “for her” version. At least we will have better chocolate and coffee there.)

    • Kevin says:

      Happy888′ I was surprised the bottle was not heavier given how it looks…I am in the minority…I think it’s awful, ha!

      • Holly says:

        I’m not a fan either, Kevin. Especially not now that you’ve mentioned that the bottle is not heavy. For some reason, that makes it sound even less appealing to me.

        • Merlin says:

          The pattern of the ‘studs’ reminds me of the kind of cheap bracelets sold to wannabe heavy-metal pre-teens. They are usually silver and stuck onto tacky leather. The fact that its light suggests that its some kind of metallized plastic, or at best a cheap aluminum:p

          • Kevin says:

            Merlin, yes…I can see that. Ha!

        • Kevin says:

          Holly…it LOOKS as heavy as a brick!

  3. Dilana says:

    Gosh, I have long noticed that the air at Nordstrom’s at malls, seemed better than the adjoining mall. A friend who worked for a commericial ambiance company explained that fancier stores have their own scents circulated by HVAC systems.
    I wonder what the notes of the Nordstrom ambient scent are.
    Chocolate and coffee actually seem like a pretty good combination for luring and energizing primarily woman shoppers. (Nordstrom’s often has a coffee bar at the entrances to its mall shops and a fancy chocolate stand near the doors).

    • Kevin says:

      Dilana…yes, all those odors swirl about…to add more fragrance to the air would cause toxic shock!

  4. donnie says:

    I wasted a minute looking for the Italian version of “sophisticated contamination,” got nowhere. I can’t guess what the mistranslation is. ( I want to call it “confabulation,” but that’s just kidding. )But I stumbled on a review so savage that it makes clear that yours is merely a courteous “no, thank you,” and I think you’ll get a kick out of it:
    http://blog.libero.it/guerlinade/12625406.html
    My Italian is not completely up to the task- maybe yours will be- but when he refers to “ghost noses” and calls the perfume “cheapposa,” I get it. “Uno spilorcio” is a miser, and as to “tronfia merdaccia,” in reference to Spicebomb, well, work it out the best you can.
    I’m not much for chocolate fragrance but like HdP 1969, which is chocolatey.
    Azzaro pour Homme today: no disappointment there.

    • Robin says:

      The animated gif at that review is hysterical.

      • donnie says:

        The blog does not lack for drama.

    • Kevin says:

      Donnie, haha! Thank you….

    • Labben says:

      Donnie, if the original wording in italian was “…sofisticato contagioso”, then my guess is that the ad copy is implying (I haven´t seen the ad copy) that since the fragrance is SO incredibly sofisticated, the sofistication WILL rub off on the wearer. “Contagious” as in “contagious laughter”, or as in “la sua allegria era contagiosa”. If that makes sense…? My two cents… :-)
      Thanks a lot for the link to the italian review of Valentino Uomo!

      Thanks for the review Kevin!! It made me laugh out load! My co-passengers on the bus gave me funny glances.

      I for one happen to like Spicebomb (although I wish it projected better and had better longevity) and I ADORE Dior Homme (the original one)! I wear it sometimes, but I prefer it on my DH. :-)

      • Kevin says:

        Labben…I must try Dior Homme again…next time at Nordstrom….

  5. irisfreak says:

    Excuse me while I barf. :)

  6. HaraldK says:

    Thank you Kevin, for the review.
    Exactly my thought. This stuff is unfortunately probably raving here in Europe… Way too sweet & feminine. As the current direction of ‘men’s’ fragrances is… :/

    • Kevin says:

      Harald…wonder if it will go viral in Europe…or have a big debut and then fade….

  7. sabbauer says:

    I like the bottle, I like the smell. Not strong, but leatherish, more gray than dark, perfect for a man in a suit.
    When I sprayed it next to Dior Homme EdT, I could hardly detect which was what…(may be the Dior is more dry…?)

    But yes, it´s not bad.

    • Kevin says:

      Sabbauer…thanks for chiming in with a positive take…judging from other reviews it has fans already.

  8. antonpan says:

    My review of Valentino Uomo in two words: Dior Homme.

    • Kevin says:

      Antonpan…I have not sniffed Dior Homme in AGES…maybe since its debut…I remember light and too sweet, but no specifics…will sniff it next time I see a tester.

  9. VanMorrisonFan says:

    Well this is very disappointing…like some people posting today I love love love the bottle…so I assumed that what would be inside it would be timeless…classy…but that is not to be. This fragrance was hyped in Men’s Health, I believe.

    Guess I go back to my old favs…Armani Pour Homme (the original) and Eau Sauvage Christian Dior…

    • Kevin says:

      VMF…you’ll never find a major fragrance launch dissed in a magazine … They luv ‘em all…and the advertising bucks.

  10. nozknoz says:

    Kevin, I’m ROTFL at your “anosmia” to this fragrance. I also have a sample somewhere that smelled to me just like the perfume section of a duty free store in Frankfurt.

    By the way, I reread your Santa Maria Novella perfume reviews today in preparation for a visit to the SNM boutique in Washington, DC. In addition to the colognes, they have everything from terra cotta melogranas to iris flavored toothpaste, and even the organic honeys. I tried a few of the colognes and came away with Melograno cologne. When I said it reminded me of Europe, the SA explained that European churches use the SNM terra cotta melogranas. It seems improbable, but now I wonder if that’s where I smelled it.

    • nozknoz says:

      (BTW, the sample I’m referring to in the first paragraph was something different, not the Valentino.)

    • Kevin says:

      Noz…ha! I find that improbable too…Maybe at Santa Maria Novella church!

  11. hajusuuri says:

    I’ll keep an open mind as to the bottle’s aesthetics…it does look like those foot massage rollers with bumps.

    • hajusuuri says:

      …and I meant to mention that your La Via del Profumo Milano Caffè is spot on for a spicy chocolatey coffee…and I now have to go huff my sample :-)

    • Kevin says:

      Haju…ha! But now I want a foot massage….

  12. nozknoz says:

    Kevin, I’m seeing your Egyptian gravatar again. Initially I did not think it worked well with the new round gravatar space, but now I like I’m liking how it looks, FWIW.

    • Kevin says:

      Noz…thanks…recently I was told my round gravatar looked like a 1. Nipple and 2. Pustule! So I reverted to my sniffing-a-lotus gravatar. Hahaha!

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Oh no! I was afraid my nipple comment may have been the end of your other gravatar! Certainly NOT my intent. Sorry! Pustule is rather horrible. But I rather like nipples–just found it sort of distracting. :)

        • Kevin says:

          MR: ha! Yes, your comment was the death knell of my sea creature gravatar!

      • nozknoz says:

        It reminded me of HAL (2001 Space Odyssey) – which is odd because HAL was all red. Your reviews can be tough, but not evil (although some of these perfumes belong in a vacuum, LOL).

  13. zara says:

    the bottle is almost too adorned for a men’s fragrance! looks like something the gracious ladies of Dynasty would love to have on the shelve :)

  14. Oakland Fresca says:

    Oh goodness I love that ad copy. Life imitating Prix Eau Faux! I realize that something may have been lost in the translation, but the idea of an effortless uniting of vibrant classicism and subtle rebellion is so funny.

    • nozknoz says:

      It’s hard to compete with the pros, LOL!

  15. eminere says:

    I immediately thought of Dior Homme when I first smelt this. Interesting Olivier Polge was the creator of both.

  16. Lars Lapsus says:

    This one is a vanilla bomb!

    People who think this is a Dior Hommes clone don’t seem to know Lanvin’s Arpège pour Homme.

    I just have a paper strip with Valentino U. under my nose and my Arpège bottle beside me and V.U. is somewhere between Lanvin and Dior H, but closer to Arpège I’d say. A.p.H. is more woody, and Dior has that Iris note much more prominent than V.U.

    D.H. I never liked (‘caramellised apple’), although I acknowledge its originality. A.p.H. is powdery and gourmand, one of my favorite male gourmands, and very sweet. But V.U. is even sweeter (at least on paper)! It’s like breathing in powdered sugar… Its most obvious note is vanilla (tonka). For me, it is also less interesting than both the Lanvin and the Dior.

    V.U. makes me think of entering an Italian pastry bakery, the opening even has a hint of that typically Italian amaretto bitter almond note. I keep smelling the strip thinking, Geez, this is sweet… even to the extent of that rice pudding sweetness of … Kenzo Amour!
    That’s it! Valentino smells like the centre of a triangle formed by A.p.H, D.H. and Kenzo Amour! So, basically, superfluous.

    The flakon looks nicer in pics than in real life…

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