First off the name of the fragrance as listed here (and on other websites/blogs) is I believe both misleading and incorrect. Neither the packaging on my bottle (number 136/1000) nor the advertising on Armani's own website refers to this as 'La Femme Nacre'. It is simply called 'Armani/Prive Nacre'. Regardless, in the wearing it is my opinion that it is totally a unisex fragrance.
Although only 2 notes are listed here, I detect more than just iris and musk. It is definitely dominated by those 2, but I can sense a woody aspect that adds depth and character. It starts with a dry and surprisingly earthy note which I suspect is orris root. It quickly develops the familiar powdery characteristic that iris is know for and after about 20 minutes the musk gently appears to compliment the iris. The musk used here is not that familiar to me and doesn't bring to mind any particular feelings that I would normally associate with musk, such as either 'laundry' or 'animalistic'. In fact, I tend to feel an almost gourmand quality to the musk used here. Like a musk flavouring that might be used in a dessert.
When the dry down arrives, it is less iris and more musk and wood. I wish I could give a name to the woody note(s) used here, but it's almost as if they were an afterthought. I guess the best way to describe it is as a 'tree' smell rather than leafy, grassy or smoky; like freshly cut wood.
While Nacre is long lasting, it is understated and fairly quiet.
On the downside, this is outrageously expensive (Retail AUS$650.00) but as only 1000 bottles were produced worldwide, I guess you are paying for the exclusivity as much as the beautiful fragrance, bottle and overall presentation. Luckily for me, as Nacre has now finished its exclusive production run and since the release of the 2013 exclusive 'Nuances', I was able to obtain this directly from the Giorgio Armani boutique at a vastly reduced price with my purchase of Nuances.
Overall, this is a unique and one of a kind fragrance that I will cherish until the last drop.
*As an aside, the Giorgio Armani rep's told me that Armani Prive's Ambre d'Orient and Cedre Olympe are both being discontinued. Of course this could just be in Sydney Australia and not worldwide.
Pros: Elegant, refined, long lasting and totally unisex
Cons: Quiet and outrageously expensive"
I had initially written this off as the least interesting of Zegna's Essenze collection and therefore I didn't think it was full bottle worthy. Well after much testing and sitting on the fence, I went ahead and purchased a full bottle of this (and Sicilian Mandarin).
This really is gorgeous and I can detect each and every note listed in the publicity. It comes across as being in the style of a classic Italian cologne, like ADP Colonia, but it definitely has its own character. I also get a sense of a fresh non-sweet eucalyptus type of note, like freshly scrunched eucalyptus leaves, but it remains firmly in the background. This is not a very complex fragrance, but I get the feeling that it isn't meant to be.
For a citrus based fragrance the longevity and sillage are pretty good, although not near Zegna's Indonesian Oud. It's a little expensive, but if you are looking for a beautiful citrus that not everyone is wearing, you could do worse than this. As with all the Essenze collection, the presentation and bottle are stunning.
Pros: Exclusive, fresh, classic, and reasonably long lasting.
Cons: Not very complex (but I don't personally find that to be a con)."
This is actually quite stunning! I bought this blind as I got a pretty good deal on it. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I really didn't think it would be so uplifting.
The opening is a bit typical of many masculine marketed fragrances with the usual citrus making a strong statement; but the violet is what makes this a bit different. In the heart I don't really sense any pepper, but the cascalone is prominent (without turning this into an 'aquatic').
The base is a sort of mash up of amber and wood, with maybe a touch of grassy vetiver at the end. I couldn't get a sense of any specific patchouli or cedar per say, but I did enjoy the drydown stage a lot. It somewhat reminds me of both Armani's ADG Essenza and Dior's Fahrenheit in that it is deep and rich and fresh all at the same time. It leaves me with an impression of something greater than just another run of the mill masculine EDT. Longevity was as good as I expected for an 'intense' EDT lasting about 8 hours maximum. The sillage trail was not massive but still noticeable.
The bottle has a heavy glass base and I love how the frosted dark grey looks together with the quite solid metal plated lid. 4 stars out of 5.
Pros: Long lasting and distinctive
This is a wonderful fragrance. It's a lush and warm oriental that's a bit smokey and quite woody.
The leather aspect here is implied, rather than presented as an actual 'leather' accord. I can clearly detect the presence of the sandalwood, some rose 'like' accord and the various spices. I guess that these combined with the slightly medicinal oud and woody aspects give off a certain representation of leather. It certainly doesn't have the same strong specific leather accord as presented in Armani's other leather Prive' offering Cuir Amethyste.
The drydown is all about vanilla and reminds me slightly of a spicy vanilla egg custard. It's at this stage of the fragrance's development that I've received so many compliments when wearing Cuir Noir.
On my skin I've not experienced any of the longevity problems that others seem to have experienced. While it doesn't have a massive sillage trail, it certainly lasts on me for a good 8 hours or more.
This one is not so bad. Whilst I agree somewhat with diamondflame that Uomo follows a well trodden path, I don't find it to be quite so mediocre or derivative. At least it's not another aquatic!
I get quite a strong representation of both the bergamot and violet leaf during the top and mid stages of this and then it does settle into a gentle woody base. I don't find Uomo in the slightest bit sweet like I do with Bvlgari Man. While there's no honey, vanilla or anything even remotely sweet, it does come across as a bit warm in the drydown. If anything, this reminds me somewaht of a lighter version of Dior's Fahrenheit.
Where Uomo does fall down for me is in the longevity and sillage departments. Like so many modern fragrances it feels like this was created so as not to offend delicate sensabilities. 2 or 3 hours after application, it's all but gone. Personally I prefer my fragrances a little more robust.
I was 'fortunate' enough to attend the launch party for this is the Sydney Zegna store, so I was given a 50ml bottle free. Having now worn it a few times, I don't think I would pay retail price for a bottle.
I'll give this 2 and half stars.
Pros: Pleasant and not another aquatic!
Cons: Not very original. Average longevity & sillage
While I've never been to the island of Java, I imagine that this is what an Indonesian forest floor might smell like; dark, earthy, woody & musky. Zegna's Javanese Patchouli is a very distinctive, slightly sweet and solid representation of the core ingredient of patchouli. At first I detect the patchouli straight up, quickly followed by a sweetness that I'll asume is the pink pepper and tonka. Like Zegna's Indonesian Oud this is a fairly linear scent that doesn't develop too much from first spray to dry down. Right through its whole life (of about 8 - 10 hours) I can clearly detect the patchouli.
Although Zegna's marketing would have you believe that each of the Essenze collection is built on or contains Calabrian bergamot (from Zegna's own plantation would you believe!), I cannot detect any citrus whatsoever in this composition. Not that it detracts from the wonderful smell; it's just my observation. In contrast, all the other Essenze line (which i have now extensively tested) do contain some citrus notes; including Indonesian Oud which does have a very fleeting representation in the top notes.
I don't have a great deal of patchouli heavy fragrances in my collection, but if I was asked to liken this to anything else, it would have to be Luten's and Sheldrake's Borneo 1834. Like 'Borneo' the presence of patchouli is is front and centre, however Borneo has a sort of camphorous quality that I don't detect here. Of course Borneo also has cacao, which Zegna's latest does not.
The only other fragrances I am familiar with by Frank Voelkl are his RSVP & Signature scents for Kenneth Cole. As much as I like those two quite a bit, this is a definite step up as far as quality goes.
Overall, while this is not as perfect a 5 star a fragrance as I find Indonesian Oud to be (mainly due to its lack of versatility), this Javanese Patchouli is a very solid and delightfully earthy addition to Zegna's new Essenze line up. 4 and half stars.
Pros: High quality, relatively long lasting, distinctive
After testing the whole 'Essenze' collection I finally decided that Indonesian Oud was my favourite; followed closely by Javanese Patchouli.
In my opinion, Indonesian Oud begins as it ends, with a wonderful and luxurious combination of rose and oud. It's a quite linear fragrance that in my experience doesn't really appear to behave in the traditional top, then heart, then base note structure. The only exceptions are a slight hint of bergamot citrus at the beginning which appears to fade quite quickly, and a gentle amber/myrh background. For those that are familiar with oud, they will recognise the slightly 'medicinal' traits that oud can sometimes display; but this is in no way a negative observation.
Apart from the beautiful scent itself, the biggest plus is the excellent longevity I get on my skin and clothes. Despite being only an EDT concentration, this lasts on me the whole day and right through until the next morning.
For those that care about such things, the packaging and presentation are also very nice. The simple, but elegant cube style heavy glass bottle is adorned with a glossy black metal base and a similar metal magnetic cap.
Although this is marketed for men, I suspect that this could very easily be worn by women. Considering the overall scent, longevity, performance & packaging, if I had to choose just one word to sum up my feelings it would be 'quality'. Two thumbs up!
Pros: Excellent longevity.
Cons: Quite linear (although it's not really a con).