My mother asked me for a bottle of perfume when asked what she'd like as a gift. She has worn most recently L'Eau D'Issey (which I find uninspiring) so I decided to find a better, more interesting alternative for her. Cue Florabotanica, I'm going to quote Luca Turin's review of this here as I can't say it better myself:
"Florabotanica manages to turn frumpy and cheap into frivolous and charming by doing to the floral what Philippe Starck did to upholstery when he took a Louis XVI chair, cast it as one piece of Lucite, and called it Ghost: bring forth something not particularly comfortable, but unquestionably witty and stylish."
I received a sample of this from Nordstrom's yesterday and to me there's a sharp, synthetic, countertop cleaner accord that burns my throat and is rapidly giving me a headache. Underneath the shrill and generic fruit and flower,(it's a stretch to try to name a specific fruit and I certainly wouldn't call this "flower" a rose) I'm getting a very slight, limp vetiver, cleansed of all its dirt and glory. And there is a minty-birchwood thing that is popular these days (though no wood is listed among the official notes). The overall effect for me is the way I have felt trying Narciso Rodriguez: grumpy, disappointed, and vowing not to bother with commercial fragrance counters ever again. Probably good for the office if you like fruity-florals of the popular variety.
An unenthusiastic thumbs up. Florabotanica kicks off with a fruity red cassis paired with green mint as a counterpoint. The fruity quality fades fairly quickly, making room for a mix of green herbs and unconvincing synthetic rose that turns out to be the long-term focus of the scent.
Aside from the silly fruit on top, Florabotanica smells to me like a study in the contrasts between masculine herbs and feminine fruity rose. It's not bad at all, but even after repeated wears, I'm just not finding it very compelling despite some interesting pappery flower sillage. In the world of high end designer perfumes that seem to have been obsessed with smelling like strawberry shampoo for the last couple of years, Florabotanica smells considerably more thoughtful and smart than its sisters, but there are other scents that combine flowers and herbs more compellingly. Thumbs up, but without much excitement.
I haven't worn a rose-based scent since Tea Rose at age 15, but lately I've found myself lingering in that section of the olfactionary garden. My last two purchases were Eau de Cartier Goutte de Rose and Balenciaga Flora Botanica. I outgrew Tea Rose's soliflore about the time my wisdom teeth came in, but this duo refreshes the demure old theme with a hot clove-carnation spice (Cartier) and a juicy, faintly minty rose cordial (Balenciaga). I don't detect the vetiver in Flora Botanica at all -- odd because I am wild for vetiver -- and the 'powdery' note reported by others sounds more like the desiccated rose petals of the potpourri jar rather than this rich, dew-spangled beauty. The Cartier is my choice for the depths of winter, when the memory of fragrant gardens is wan and tenuous and its peppery rose reminds one of baking summer days. The Balenciaga is more like personal air conditioning, to be worn on baking summer days.
First a burst of melon, then pepper, then more pepper - and that's all I get. No flowers at all -and the pepper is harsh and chemical-laden.
The classic Perles de Lalique combined pepper with rose in 2005 and came up with a great new chypre scent. Here no one even attempts to balance these elements.
Another modern disaster from the bought name of Balenciaga.
20th November, 2013 (last edited: 08th January, 2014)