Back when I was a naïf before discovering Basenotes, this was my signature fragrance. I absolutely loved it and wore it nearly every day for a few years. As I discovered frags for real, I came to see this as an embarrassment and abandoned it. Recently, however, I suffered a twinge of nostalgia and picked up an inexpensive copy on eBay. After testing for a couple of weeks, I've come to a new view about this fragrance.
Med opens with lots of orange, rich, sweet, juicy oranges that are done really convincingly. There are floral notes in the background and they quickly overwhelm the orange with aldehydes. The notes just speed through with this fragrance, in moments, even the floral notes are gone, replaced by woodsy notes and very nice geranium.
This fragrance is sweet, not in the sense of a gourmand, but sweet nonetheless, there are no dry or bitter notes to speak of. Even the woods are done sweetly. Despite this, I don't find it cloying. It's not an overwhelming sweetness, but, the notes are not balanced by anything to counter the sweetness. In a way, this is not a very challenging fragrance, perhaps this was what attracted me as a beginner.
The sweetness starts to dial down with the addition of rose and ferns, but the vanilla base appears at about the same time, somewhat blunting what could have been a neat transition. As it continues into the base notes, sandalwood appears and it looks like it's going to end up as a typical comfort fragrance, a warm, sweet mixture of vanilla, sandalwood, amber, and patchouli. It's heading straight for thumbs middle territory.
Then something happens to change all that. The frag suddenly starts turning green and much dirtier. Styrax and benzoin make their appearance along with what smells to me like a dirty musk, though the note is not listed. The sweetness is not gone, and the two sides move back and forth in terms of prominence as the scent continues to dry down. The animalic qualities of the frag make it far sexier than its early notes would suggest. Suddenly, the scent goes from merely comfortable too interesting, and a bit daring and dangerous. The dry down offers a delicate balance between sweet and dirty that I find really charming and compelling.
While I remembered the oranges and the sweetness of the opening, I didn't remember this surprise ending from my earlier wearings, perhaps reflecting my general cluelessness at the time. Old me bought it for the sweetness, present me will continue to wear it from time to time, not out of nostalgia, but for the nifty dry down. Thumbs up.
Smells like a light version of Le Male mixed with some bright citrus when you first spray it on. After about 15 minutes, pleasant spices start to develop. This has good projection. I smell the spices from a distance, light Le Male when I put put my nose close. Lasted about 3 hours on me before it faded down. I can see myself wearing this from time to time.
The amount of follow-the-leader played by the designer fragrance market is disconcerting. At the time, Mediterraneum seemed like a Minotaure ripoff with its featured note of sweet orange. A decade-and-a-half later and this looks like more of an individual compared to the current landscape.
I'm not especially fond of the opening of Med, nor of the orange-heavy center section. Where Mediterraneum shines is in the drydown. Like a well-crafted story that seems a bit scattered until the final sentence ties it all together - the drydown presages, by three years, the drydown of Opium Pour Homme.
I could go with a neutral thumb, but for the cheap price and the solid longevity and nice drydown, I'll give this the benefit of the not quite reluctant thumbs-up.
I wanted to say that Mediterraneum isn't a good name for this fragrance, but then I remembered that I've never left the US and perhaps it is a good name. It's great stuff, regardless of whether or not the name is appropriate. Every description here is accurate. This is a big, sweet, spicy orange. There is also some patchouli and light woods underneath, and although the patchouli doesn't seem that noticeable, it really is steering the ship. It's what causes this fragrance to stay out of the "light," so to speak.
So as fantastic as this is, there really is another question at stake here. Due to the fact that this is discontinued, is it worth seeking out and becoming attached? Is it worth the risk of getting a watered down bottle from a scammer on an auction site?
I don't know yet, but I have a listing in my favorites.
Good thing I never saw any advertising for Mediterraneum to provide me an unfair bias. And even if some of the reviewers mentioned it can be bought cheaply online or everywhere else, it's certainly not a fixture here where I'm from, in fact I found this on the bottom shelf of an obscure frag shop. Cheap notions aside, this is a great fragrance from Versace, a great take on citrus. It's not a bright, sparkly concoction, as many citrus frags out there have been doing now...it's a dark, heavy citrus that isn't cloying, like an orange that has been left out in the sun -- its opening hook is just right to bring you in, revealing a deep middle that continues to entice. On the description, it was made for / or modeled by Fabio, and interestingly enough, it might as well be. A big masculine citrus scent that doesn't take any prisoners, but isn't too brash to turn off people. I only have a 50ml bottle; it might as well be the only 50ml bottle I have that I want backup bottles of immediately.