How is it possible to make Sballo in this day of oakmoss restrictions? Though it isn't listed as an ingredient, this fragrance has such an immediate dense, dark, rough oakmossy note, it took my breath away. True to the real deal, Sballo turned darker as it aged, lasting a good long while, that glorious ashy dark dry down of oakmoss. It was heaven to smell. All chypreholics still mourning the loss of the great vintage chypres will enjoy sampling Sballo. It may fill a hole for you as it has done for me.
I loved the original Fendi and Sballo has reminiscences of it though I don't have Fendi now for comparison. It brings to mind many other dark classic chypres, though the comparison matters little, except that it compares well to the memory of several I loved. What comes to mind are classic florals - rose, violet, orange blossom, geranium - embedded and glowing from a leathery oakmoss matrix; that feral roughness so different from animalics - oakmoss has a mind and is not driven by its hormones. That to me always made oakmoss in a fragrance more edgy. Oakmoss is never driven, it drives. If you've gone through the long slow chypre withdrawal, years in duration, as I have, this will be a pleasure to wear.
It has a restrained smoulder, the thing which beguiles me about classic chypres - the way these ashy, kind of rough, dark fragrances with submerged florals seem more compellingly sexy than their flirtier floral counterparts, the difference between a cashmere dress and red rayon ruffles. Sballo is refined, luxurious, cerebral, rich in notes, but tactful - a large component of tastefulness. I love the way classic chypres dress up and down so well and Sballo is no exception. Go for a walk on a raw October day in the forest, to a conference, on a date - it will do all of them well. It really is an admirable fragrance, chypre or not, but I especially recommend it for lovers of the classic chypres. I tried the oil - I heard the spray may be a little smoother.
07th February, 2015 (last edited: 21st April, 2015)
this is fantastic. i immediately thought of bernard chant's classic aramis 900. sballo is more complex and deeper than just another rose chypre and as darvant hints, sballo steers towards the oriental with spices and later woods & very dry patchouli. i recently discovered acampora (sballo, jasmin, iranzol) and must say there is an impressive classicism in his work that i really appreciate.
I did not know Sballo was from 1977, so the opening was quite a surprise to me, as I wondered how did they manage to recreate that mood and that "old" quality. Sballo opens in fact with a beautiful, nostalgic, dusty, chypre, deeply Italian accord of oak moss, robust woods, hay, so dry and dirty it almost smells like a tobacco-leather accord, with austere shady green notes and some spices, among which perhaps cloves, cumin and juniper, a subtle geranium note which may be the cause of a medicinal/menthol thin balsamic breeze, a floral side accord, discreet enough to give just the right amount of airy silkiness. The harmony is great, a dense, aromatic, cozy, gloomy texture with a slight salty touch and a base accord tight a slightly animalic/indolic, perhaps due to labdanum. The ambiance is again, as for other Acampora scents, deeply and genuinely Mediterranean, a forgotten room in an old mansion above the sea, stuffed with accessories, scents, memories, in a sleepy afternoon of a windy, slightly cloudy day. What I love the most is an elusive, yet compelling and bold "Italianity", which I can get perhaps because I am Italian myself and therefore I share a common cultural and traditional ground... an aftertaste of souvenirs I also have which tell me stories of a dusty, relaxed, forgotten elegance. The notes are all great and the quality is perfect, all sounds deep, rich, wide, evocative. A velvety, refined, shady chypre/fougère scent, hieratic but cozy and friendly, a severe, distinguished but gentle and thoughtful grandfather. As many "bold" vintage scents, not for everybody (no fancy notes, no glossy roundness, just uncompromising old-school beauty).
Sballo is an exquisite indolic mossy/floral combination with an inebriating attractiveness and a floral dark (deliberately "gloomy/baroque") intense "old-school spicy-chypre" main accort a la Coco Chanel or YSL Opium. Carnal, refined, commanding, "classist". A first puzzling touch on skin (musky-floral, rosey, rich of floral pollen, rooty, herbal, resinous, licoricey, massively mossy, lymphatic, spicy, vintage, woody, complex etc, etc) and I'm assaulted by a deja vu of my childhood; massive dark floral/animalic holy chypre jumped indeed on mind and several massive aromas of my beloved aunt (some old Versace, Fendi, Ysl, Ungaro, Roccobarocco, Guerlain, Estee Lauder, Van Cleef) kept insinuating their "evening tailored dress" in the olfactory memory. The effect is utterly inebriating and yes..almost "doping". Geranium stands out, earthy/rooty, "mystic", bitter and leafy while violet provides a musky and sophistication sense of classy-earthy darkness. The standout "old alto-borghese woman" vibe is provided by a rich floral/fruity accord (orange blossoms, violet, geranium, rose) a la Etro Magot (or YSL Opium/Estee Lauder Cinnabar) over a classic semi-oriental chypre basement represented by woodsy resins, oakmoss, amber and woods. The utterly classy and almost neo-baroque trail is velvety, extremely decadent, slightly burnt sugar/licorice veined (one of the diverse undertones indeed) and "cerebral". The dry down smells about rich ambery sandalwood, dark oakmoss, aristocratic patchouli, violet, hints of resins, faint animalic patterns (cypriol, cistus, castoreum??) and well modulated ripe fruits. We must just underline anyway that Sballo fits perfectly the current era. Despite its classic approach the aroma is never properly stuffy or dated for real , being on the contrary well balanced and perfectly adeguated to a current concept of cultured, classy and self-confident mature woman (intellectual, in jewellery and fur) from the hight districts relevant communities.
19th April, 2014 (last edited: 01st April, 2016)