Not an easy one to get, but not to that difficult to understand.
The opening is bitter, I wonder it is due to the prevalence of absynthe, I can't detect the bergamoth - I would expect citric notes, which are absent. As to the lavender, there is hint of mint in it, maybe what is left of it.
As to the rest of the notes, yes, there are woody accords among which sandalwood plays a central role, a very restrained sweetness and a floral yet indolic note -it is not jazmine, we can blame it in the camomille.
The drydown comes very fast, vanilla being the central theme in it. Some describe it as powdery, I can't detect any of it.
Yes, it is a fleeting EdT - this does not mean it is light, all the contrary.
I assume the right descriptor would be "masculine"; Foetidus calls it "rustic", however rustic, I can sense a formal character in it; bitter, animalic or civet-like, lacking sweetness, serious.
I can take that Smalto is a "honest scent", it is true to its pyramid, which is an asset when compared to blends that, although described through it, one comes to realize that notes described do not pay any kind of reference to the blend: I call these "faux scents", it synthetic character is expressed in the fact that notes relate to non-existant smells, however it is being described.
I would not consider this a bad scent, it is quite original if we take the date it was launched. I don't wear it that often, but it would suit certain occasions when seriousness commands.
Ah, Smalto! So much "almost". 'Tis a pity you are allegedly the replacement for my beloved Francesco Smalto PH. For this task you are indeed ill-suited. As a fragrance, however, you are not terrible. Not amazing, but not terrible.
The dry herbal opening and heart are very nice to me. The initial blast settles down to very little projection or sillage very quickly. It is a nice smell -- rustic, as noted. It doesn't seem that sweet to me at all.
Then comes the confusing drydown. It seems that odysseusm is right on point with the bottom of this one. I can't get my mind around it and it doesn't fall into sync with the heart and opening. Sometimes I am OK with it and other times I find it repulsive. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.
It's cheap enough to buy blind, so make your own decision. Also, although a bit masculine, this could easily be considered genderless.
Impotent spicy and sweet. Disgusting, too. Dry cedarwoods make up for an overall terrible, cheap scent.
Smalto is heavy, sweet, and leathery with an oppressively powdery dry-down. Absinthe can lend an interesting herbal note in some fragrances, but here it just is odd and sharp. The chamomile gives an unpleasant hay field note; I’ve never cared for that particular fragrance. Honey, vanilla and tonka bean are a combination that is too rich for me, and they out-muscle the faint wood notes. Don’t like it.
A rustic fragrance. The opening has a substantially dry edge to it dominated by clary sage and absinthe. Along with the dryness is an aromatic aspect with a lavender tinge… I like this opening; it is quietly bleak and masculine. The wood middle is somewhat reminiscent of Safari for Men because of the definite cedar / herbal accord in both fragrances, but, unlike Safari, the dryness gradually lessens with the shadowy addition of the honey / balsam notes: The sweetness never does grow very strong – my skin swallows it as so often happens with sweet notes in wood fragrances. The cedar heart of Smalto is quite soft and weak. There are supposedly floral elements in the mid accord, but I don’t really get any… I suppose the florals are also swallowed up by the black hole of my skin. The drydown moves toward another wood interpretation – this time with a moderately sweet, slightly mossy hay note – it’s quite nice in a rustic sort of way. The base retains the aromatic background that has been with Smalto from the start, but it tends to get rather loose and indistinct at its end.
Smalto is certainly not a strong scent, nor does it hold to a good longevity, but I think it is an interestingly unique scent that accomplishes its purpose . I enjoy Smalto’s dryness and its naturalness, but I would like it better if it had a little less lavender in it. My initial dislike of this fragrance has changed, and I often find myself choosing Smalto when I want a short-lived, arid, soft masculine fragrance. This is definitely a test-before-you-buy fragrance, but anyone who likes a stark, unsweet, masculine wear should give this a try. (Edit of 17 September 2006 review. Changed from a thumb’s down.)
17th September, 2006 (last edited: 24th July, 2009)
A nice casual chypre, very similar to Polo. I would say it's Polo with a drier edge. I see it all over the place at cut rate prices around the holidays.