I really was surprised to find how similar Gomma is to the current release of Knize Ten. Close enough that you may wonder which fragrance you just applied. However, Gomma feels more refined, more complex. At least compared to the latest formulation of Knize Ten.
I have no idea if Gomma has been reformulated (if someone knows, please post about it). I have an earlier version of it, which comes in the paisley patterned box. It's a wonderful fragrance, perhaps a bit toned down from its aromatic cousin (Knize Ten). I find it quite enjoyable, though.
Undoubtedly, the opening makes quite clear the close similarity to Knize Ten several other reviewers picked up. That is what I thought too almost instantly. But for me, call me heretic, and speaking as a fan of both Etro and Knize, Gomma (vintage eau de cologne in paisley box) is better. Actually much better. It carries that irresistible charme of several early Etro’s, a nondescript yet totally recognizable feel of smoky, rich, mystic exoticism, here played with a somber, powdery and sumptuously soapy mood perfectly rendered by a fantastic jasmine note, powerful and gloomy, a soapy feel which seems exuding from a baroque macabre still life. All perfectly blended with sour-green notes and this gigantic central leather accord which is much “rubbery” in fact, but not artificial: it’s dry, sour, pungent but also soft, smoky, warm, rounded by a mellow amber accord, and carrying quite a natural feel of organic rubber. One of the nicest leather accords I’ve ever experienced, which reveals its quality on the drydown – a heavenly, sinful, subtle harmony of amber and leather. Gomma is overall austere and quite classic, yet deceptively simple or “conventional”: to me it’s like if it had a sort of fractal structure, with the two main characters – leather and green-floral soapy notes – which can be “dissected” into further nuances and notes – amber, smoke, rubber, earthy notes. Knize is to me quite more “monolithic”, more powerful and in a way, more simple and reassuringly solid: still great, just different. Gomma instead has just something exotic and creepy, that I can’t describe better but it’s something other vintage Etro’s have (take Palais Jamais, for instance) and that is what makes them so special to me. Elegant and shady, a bit light if you want, I’d call it “discreet”.
07th November, 2014 (last edited: 17th April, 2015)
Gomma starts with a dry, pungent, leathery opening with a faint smoky undertone and just a bit of lavender. It mellows quickly into a dry woody-leathery skin scent with an added astringent element that could account for the "rubber" some reviewers have perceived. Gomma is less complex than related fragrances such as Bois d'Ombrie or Etro's own Palais Jamais, but equally free of any prettifying floral or sweeter notes. Gomma should please anyone looking for a simple, unobtrusive, dry leather scent, but I don't find it all that exciting.
Gomma is certainly a rather classical leather fragrance, in the wake of Knize Ten or Bandit, as many other reviewers have pointed out.
But its somewhat weird beauty has precisely revealed to me when I made a close comparison with one of its peers- Bandit. Sure, the green notes of the opening, the tangy, pungent, almost savoury leather notes, the floral core and the ambery drydown are all there, though heavily undertoned in comparison. But it’s the very opening of the fragrance, which I had overlooked before, so stunning and peculiar, that gives Gomma a raison d’etre on its own.
It’s the smell of a long erasing session (Gomma means rubber or eraser in Italian), when the eraser gets warm and gives off toasted and slightly burnt notes, like when you overboil the coffee in the coffee pot. Once detected, you can’t fail noticing that the note runs like a thread through the whole fragrance, binding together leather, a green jasmine and the sweet, rich base.
The overall feel of this fragrance is a tonic and nervous sensuality that slowly recedes in a quieter and almost old fashioned composure.
Longevity and projection are both very good, and I’m enjoying- what I am saying, I’m adoring it!- in every occasion.
Gomma opens to a rather pleasant leather that has just a hint of rubber and florals to compliment it. This opening hangs around for a few minutes, and during this stage I really was thinking it was comparable to leathery scents like vintage Givenchy Gentleman. Things change in a big way in the heart notes, however. Gomma holds onto its leather note throughout, but it intensifies in the heart, and then an animallic tar and rubber accord joins it and dominates the scent from here on out. The tar and rubber combo is quite potent and I can't say I like it at all. The base is a mixture of a now diminished leather mixed with powder. Gomma is not much of a projector, but it does have great tenacity.
I started out liking Gomma, but the tar and rubber accord ruined it for me. It is just too overpowering and makes wearing the scent more than a bit of a challenge. I do see some of the similarities others have mentioned to Knize Ten, but I feel Knize Ten is the better scent and would stick with that if choosing between the two. As for the great leathery top notes, check out some vintage Givenchy Gentleman or even Giorgio VIP for Men to get your fix there. Since I do like the opening despite the difficult heart and finish, I will give Gomma a weak neutral and a rating of 2.5 stars out of 5.
28th April, 2012 (last edited: 19th December, 2012)