Francesco Smalto was a pleasant surprise: I expected a very dark and smoky fragrance (flerting with extravagance) and I got a casual, although distinctive, green fougere, just a bit dark and slightly smoky, great to be worn in a daily basis as an alternative to more powerful dark green scents as Tsar and Caesars Man. But don't let me be misunderstood: It's formal and follows 80s green fougere trend, which means It can be considered dated/old school nowadays. I don't think It is at all! Another fragrance that resembles its green side is Lacoste original(84).
A plain, testosterone-prominent, aromatic fougere with a bitter / smoky character. It opens with the most typical fougerey accord to then become starker and darker during the middle-phase / dry down. By all means masculine, by all means a fougere. Not much too add…
Smalto pour Homme is a great powerhouse, much more peculiar and original than it may seem (or well, than it seemed to me). Basically it opens with a balsamic-citrus accord on a gloomy base of smoke, bold tan leather, oak moss, woods (vetiver, perhaps sandalwood), with a peculiar sort of "outdoors" herbal-anisic-tea breeze going around (I guess due to fennel and tarragon), together with other unusual and really well-played notes: I get something boozy, licorice, a colorful blend of spices and herbs. Somehow it’s a conventional “dark smoky fougère”, but it does just a step further, showing quite an interesting set of unique features: it does not have all the raw, austere, dry shadiness of many leathers like Knize, it’s not a skanky animalic scent like Ungaro II, not an oak moss beast like Quorum, and not only a herbal-aromatic fougère like Tsar... yet it has something of all of these, reshuffled in a an interesting, pleasant and recognizable way. It has something raw and playful, but at the same time it show a manly dark sophistication, really classy in its own way. It’s a powerhouse fougère, but it’s not similar to any other in particular, except for the names I mentioned above (Smalto basically smells like their hippie homeless cousin). And actually, for as much weird it may sound, it reminds me also of some contemporary niche scents, mostly for the unusual contrasts, the creativity, and the fact that it manages to smell not outdated at all. It’s much bold though, and after a while it may start to smell a bit boring (also because of the load of harsh spices you get on the drydown, similar as Jacomo de Jacomo for instance). As many powerhouses, it projects like a devil and lasts for ages. To rediscover!
Francesco Smalto comes on as a truckload of soapy lavender, eventually underpinned by cedar, anise, and bergamot. The note pyramid claims leather in the base, but it must be deeply buried under the heap of moss, residual lavender, and coumarin that leaves Smalto smelling like a classic, padded shoulders 1980s fougère. The coumarin note expands over time, so that Francesco Smalto sweetens substantially as it ages. (Unlike the reviewer.) The drydown of moss, amber, and woods is notable for not smelling as cheap or aggressively chemical as that of many recent fougère scents.
While it smells convincingly “natural,” Francesco Smalto is a loud scent, and a bit crude as well. I can’t deny that it makes an impact, but I don’t think it smells terribly original in comparison to the many other rugged fougères of its decade. I certainly won’t put myself through contortions to obtain it now that it’s discontinued. If you like this sort of fragrance, I think Azzaro pour Homme and Lauder for Men perform the same act with more flair and finesse, and both have the advantage of being in production and available for relatively little money.
80's powerhouse that is laced with smoke and the feel of great outdoors.
I just received my bottle of Smalto PH by Francesco Smalto and let me tell you, it's pretty incredible! This fragrance has been covered in great detail by a number of formidable BN members, but I'll give you all my take.
Imagine it's 1988, you're sitting in front of a fireplace in your log cabin, the snow is falling and you're nursing a snifter of your favorite scotch. You're wearing your favorite flannel shirt and happen to be wearing Drakkar Noir. You're just about ready to crack open that book that you've been eagerly looking to dive into. The wood is ablaze and the aroma of smoke that is present is gently seeping into the fibers of your clothing an ever so gently finding its way onto your skin. Your Drakkar Noir and the smoke begin to blend, and in time, your scent becomes an amalgamation of both Guy Laroche and the charred wood that is bringing you comfort both through scent and warmth.
I have found that this fragrance is Drakkar Noir that has been surrounded by smoke and drizzled with Montana Red Box. I would never say that this scent is "fresh." In fact, I'd say that this one is the antithesis of fresh! This scent is deep, smokey, woody with that undeniable "green" quality that pokes its head when attempting to come up for air. As others have said, it's undeniably "macho" and suits those who are wearing a tattered leather jacket as opposed to those in a Canali suit. This fragrance represents rough-edged masculinity at its finest and is absolutely intended for use by those who are secure with their masculinity. Those who wear this fragrance are ultimately looking to readily display this confidence via the assistance of olfaction.
What I also find interesting is the way this scent evolves. The smokey quality remains front and center on my skin for a good 1-2 hours and then it begins to soften ever so slightly. At this point, it becomes much more of a leather/patchouli/organic juice that lasts and lasts and lasts... The evolution of this scent is amazing... I can't begin to describe it only because I truly believe this one will wear and evolve so differently on different people...
I am happy to have added this one to my collection and look forward to wearing this winter and fall. I give this fragrance a solid B+ bordering A-. It's not for everyone, but for those who are looking for a rugged, smokey, semi-green, outdoorsy, powerhouse, this one may be your ticket.
Pros: Unique, evolving, masculine and uncommonly smelled on others
Cons: The dry-down is where it's at... It just takes time!"