If you collect perfumes just for their bottles, and you loved the gold-and-pink floral design for Anna Sui Romantica, you're in luck: this month brings a new fragrance from the brand, called Romantica Exotica, and its bottle is a turquoise version of the same design (see below). Romantica Exotica was inspired by Sui's travels to Tahiti, and its composition (developed by Jérôme Epinette) includes notes of lemon, grapefruit, black currant, jasmine, lotus, neroli, sandalwood, gardenia and cottonwood.
Sui's Spring/Summer 2016 fashion collection was also an homage to island holidays, with a palette of aquas and yellows, garments inspired by sarongs and hula skirts, and fabrics patterned in seashells, palm trees and hibiscus blossoms. Romantica Exotica has a similar aesthetic — vivid, light-hearted, verging on kitschy. Its opening is a sweet, tangy citrus that feels more like yuzu than boring old lemons and oranges. I like this phase a lot, although I'm a little disappointed by the composition's heart, a blend of generic white flower petals and aquatic notes (i.e., Calone) that you've probably smelled before. (I'm starting to think of perfumes with this "sea breeze" theme as "grandchildren of L'Eau d'Issey").
Romantica Exotica's dry down wins me back, with a soft, salty note that complements the white florals and makes them a little more complex. It's joined by an extremely sheer woods-musk base. And, like the original Romantica, this one has surprisingly good endurance for something with so many bright and breezy notes.
Even though this fragrance is arriving just in time for fall in my part of the world, I'd personally wear Romantica Exotica more often in summertime, since it seems like a natural pairing with colorful sandals and a fruity cocktail. It could also be a suitable scent for younger women or a thoughtful gift for your friend who loves Bath & Body Works body sprays but is ready to take her "next step" into perfumery. I'm still hoping that Anna Sui's brand will release a richer, more glamorous perfume once in a while, but Romantica Exotica is a good fit for the current line.
Anna Sui Romantica Exotica is available as 30 ml ($46), 50 ml ($65) and 75 ($78) ml Eau de Toilette.