I've had an enjoyable time getting to know China White. At first, I found it confounding, but it eventually fell into place.
At its core, it's got all the trappings of a classic powdery amber - vanilla combining with incense and sandalwood, sweet but more perfumey than edible. Top that with an unexpected cinnamon apple combo and an abstract chemical undertone along the lines of nail polish remover mixed with absinth, and you have a decent idea of how China White smells.
As gross as this could have turned out, it deftly remains sweet but not edible, rooted in history but ultimately modern, and artsy but still approachable. It's strong and, being composed heavily of concentrated basenotes (it's an extrait), it lasts pretty much forever.
Finally a decent Nasomatto under my nose. This is nice, even good. A minimalist, clean, yet not dull super-synthetic concept à la Helmut Lang, Costume National and Geza Schoen, with just a touch of nature, a really shaped and restrained incense note, a rarefied, narcotic and somehow sensual blend of green/herbal notes with a fruity heart (osmanthus?), a nice tobacco/tar base, dusty but velvety, with a bitter shadiness which is almost leathery, ambroxan perhaps, cedar woods and cashmeran – in short, the "pencil sharpener" effect. To be honest this heavily reminds me of another scent which I do not recall, perhaps one by LesNez or Coze 02, or Chamarré by Mona di Orio, however I have this "dejà-vu" feel. Anyway the scent is simple, delicate, subtle and ultra thin, undoubtably "easy" from the point of view of the composition (I mean the easiness of achieving this synthetically), but in its own way it's utterly sophisticated, elegant, somehow distinctive and fascinating, most of all because of an interesting green-dusty tobacco axe and an overall tasty "dustiness" which is not soapy, not "concrete-like", not earthy, slightly medicinal and herbal, just quite unique – in short, this time Gualtieri quite nailed it if the reference was cocaine (something he did not with that pathetic Afgano thing). A totally contemporary feel, a palpable, clean, neon-like and aerial transparency, elusive and delicate but "there". A bit too much delicate perhaps, and with a ridiculously short persistence (what's the point of selling an "extait" of this?). A nice, a bit trendy rendition of a trendy drug. At half of its price it may be worth a purchase.
Nasomatto China White: Each time she visits this brownstone off Central Park, it is both worn
and exquisite: a red carpet on a severely warped staircase... A
square shaped Chinese grandmother insists that she eat a warm,
skinless pear covered in herbal medicine. The girl promises to eat it,
then hides the bowl under the sink in the bathroom. They are both
sure of themselves. They go for a walk to the park at sunset so the
girl can jump over and over onto her own shadow.
Radiant, dusty, irony and post modern. One of the strangest fragrances out there, a new modern, quite chemical and "new age" powdery cloud of aldehydes (may be), white musk, synthetic pharmaceutical talc, powdery sandalwood, sharp florals, herbs, spices (pepper?), detergent kind resins and incense. I catch the cold touch of the violets (the fragrance at least smells like that) and the woods. The chemical tone is probably produced by the combination of grassy and aromatic resins, spices, synthetic powder, incense, musk, may be some anise or angelica and metallic violets. I think some rooty vetiver, together with spices (ambergris?), produce out there a really masculine temperament. Turning on and narcotic. Unique beast.
I smell vetiver + rose at the beginning. For being such a extremely sweet fragrance, China White doesn't feel too heavy or sticky at all. The supposed narcotic feign works 100% here. Intriguing, indeed.