Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Heliotrope by Etro

Total Reviews: 23
Heliotrope might as well be a fictional plant for all I know. I don’t know what it looks like and I’ve never smelled it but I’m drawn to scents known for prominent heliotrope notes. I may not know the scent of the plant but I know the infamous notes: marzipan, cherry pie, spiced vanilla meringue, coconut-almond custard. The same specific set of descriptors are repeated so consistently that I imagine the plant’s scent must be very specific.

I can spot the descriptors. In monster perfumes like Loulou and Datura Noir but also in more delicate compositions like Ellena's l'Eau d'Hiver for Frédéric Malle and Kiss Me Tender. I totally dig Jour de Fete and l'Heure Bleue makes me weep. Also, I'm American, so I suppose both cherry pie and a tendency to self-deception are part of my psyche. All this to say, over the years, in my head I’ve come to believe that I know what heliotrope smells like when in fact, I don’t. It’s a false memory.

Actually, it’s not heliotrope that I have in my mind’s nose so much as heliotropin, the material used to create those gorgeous vintage orientals like Coty l'Origan and Guerlain Vol de Nuit  and classic carnations like Caron Bellodgia. The first time I tried Etro Heliotrope it felt familiar, but just out of reach, like a misfiled memory. The recognition was instantaneous but understanding lagged with a drawn out, tip-of-my-tongue dissatisfaction. It was only when I re-spritzed a couple of hours later that I made the association between the perfume under my nose and the fantasy in my head. Is this the Proustian madeleine for this particular point in the 21st century? No transcendent moment, just a simple, satisfying connection? An itch scratched?

I suppose it’s a bit small for Proust and it’s not so much memory as a recognition of things imagined. Still it was informative to be confronted with the realization of what amounts to an olfactory hallucination. A little glimpse into how I make sense, or fiction, out of scent.

As for the perfume, it's all there---the pie, the meringue, the marzipan. But it has an unexpected confluence of textures and tones. It’s expansive and heady at the same time that it seems a little remote, like the scent is coming from further away than my wrist. The spiciness creates a bubbly quality as if the scent were carbonated but at the same time, there is a hint of play-doh and paste that creates a matte finish and an introverted impression.

I don’t think of Etro as a line that veers too far into experiments in abstraction but Heliotrope is actually sort of wild. It’s built from a bizarre combination of scents. It balances the high-pitched insecticide sting of cyanide almonds and the scent of stones in dried clay soil. Like eating marzipan pastries in a musty basement or root cellar.

Avant garde, vanguard, avant courier? Ground-breaking, rule-bending? Listen up, groovy indie brands. This dandy fashion house has stolen your lunch with simple creativity.

02nd March, 2018
Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue has maintained its originality almost without competition since its inception in the early years of the 20th century. I have only encountered two attempts to give it a run for its money: the now sadly discontinued Caron's Farnesiana; and Etro's Heliotrope.

The impression for me of all three is that of a pastry shop in high gear with the scents of almond and vanilla creams and honeyed glazes, a mix of almond, heliotrope, vanilla, mimosa and honey itself. This is what you get with Etro's Heliotrope. It's delicious. It may not be as expertly blended as LHB, but it is a wonderful gourmand in and of itself, making use of high quality materials, and beautifully bottled and packaged.

A winner in my book from Etro, whose concentrations of oils more closely resemble those of an edp than the labels of edc and edt they advertise. In other words, a little goes a long way.
13th December, 2016
Imagine Caron Farnesiana or Guerlain Aprés L'Ondèe after having undergone a serious slimming regime...
A lean, soft, elegant backbone of almond, heliotrope, vanilla and tonka bean, with just a powdery hint of fluffy flowers and that wonderful "doll skin" effect!
Heliotrope is a simple, yet very poetic fragrance, perfect, I guess, whenever one is seeking comfort and sweetness.
07th October, 2012
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This opens up with a high dose of aromatic almond extract. Like one of those alomnd oil extracts you use for baking. Then it smoothes down to a powdery, almondy, slight floral vibe. It smells like the aroma of when you are baking almond cookies. This smells delicious. My only concern is that it doesn't project very much. It would have been nice to wear this during winter. However, it will just die down from the cold weather. Perhaps in the less colder days of autumn and spring. Highly recommend.
07th February, 2011
Reminds me a lot of Givenchy Pi, but less synthetic and a bit more floral. Just lovely gourmand scent!
01st February, 2011
Delicate and nostalgic this ethereal fragrance is a dive in to memories of far Christmas holidays left back in your childhood. It's a gourmand scent very evocative, sweet, tasty and nutty in which i detect mainly heliotrope, dust of almond, sort of rice cream flavour, white flowers, vanilla and musk. This scent reminds me the taste of some italian Pandoro, marzipan or other sweet cakes. The first blast is hesperidic, slightly spicy and yet almost secretly incensey and decadent. Going on it becomes very soft and powdery/ambery like a sort of outwordly heavenly juice. As well as already said, perfect scent for a romantic summer night under the moonlight.
13th July, 2010 (last edited: 04th January, 2014)
Powdery gourmand floral with facets of spices niched in between notes of woods. Nice EdC strength makes it perfect for work even in the winter. Good stuff.
29th January, 2010
No wonder that the majority of the reviewers associate Heliotrope with sweets, creams, frosted cakes, marzipans etc. Absolutely gourmand as Foetidus already said, manages to incorporate notes of edible components without being tedious. I find it cheerful, luminous and live, with a bittersweet but not dark character that works great both on males and females. Once you come across the admittedly sharp opening, you will be rewarded with a delicious creamy vanilla and bitter almond heart (light florals are almost unnoticed) and a soft vanilla and musk base. Bellissimo! Notes from Etro : Top notes : Petit Grain, Amande, Middle notes : Ylang Ylang, Rose, Jasmin, Iris Basenotes : Héliotrope, Vanille, Baumes, Musc
30th October, 2009
do you have a sweet tooth? here is sugar in a bottle! the sweetest, creamy, vanilla and rice pudding scent with a smidge of orange blossom.
yuuuuuum! the cologne has surprising longevity as well.
26th September, 2009
bbBD Show all reviews
United States
Heliotrope is one of my favorite floral notes, and I've got a little collection of heliotrope soliflores beginning to grow on my shelf, Etro being the most recent. Unlike the heliotrope soliflores by Crown Perfumery and Santa Maria Novella, Etro's version adds a little of vanilla. Heliotrope itself has a naturally vanillic-almond powderiness, but it also has a green/floral aroma as well. With the addition of vanilla, and perhaps a little extra musk as well, the Etro version loses the green/floral aspect of heliotrope and becomes more of a gourmand instead of floral (though there is a floral underpinning evident). Even with the vanilla added it never becomes sugary sweet - the sweetness is restrained and balanced.

Of course this doesn't detract from what a nice fragrance this is - just a description. The scent is essentially linear, and it lasts plenty long. The sillage is appropriate for this type of fragrance - specifically, it's average. Too much and Heliotrope would become pretty obnoxious, but Etro gets the volume level pretty much dead on.

A really nice fragrance.
15th August, 2009
If you think about it, this one holds inside of its smell twice as much rubber and vanilla powder than Bvlgari Black. It’s true.

Apart from this obviously unintentional vanilla powder / warm rubber accord I smell loads of marzipan-ish almonds, plastic-like flowers, and lots and LOTS of sweet fiery balsams.

Heliotrope gives an impression of being simple yet rich, slightly twisted gourmand. I think it’s very feminine and suitable basically only for the ladies but feel free to disagree with this opinion….
30th July, 2009
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
This version is almost exactly the same as Heliotrope Blanc by Piver. which precedes it by 140 years, so no stars for originality. Etro's version is slightly more deep and the sillage and longevity are better which enhances the richness. Both scents are lovely for the winter, but is the Etro worth over double the money than the Piver --- maybe.
20th October, 2008
Heliotrope reminds me of being in junior high and making white cake from scratch when I was home from school because of snow days or teachers' convention or the like. It also reminds me of Play-Doh (seriously, it smells like a fresh can of Play-Doh). I wouldn't wear this on a date night unless I wanted the evening to turn out chastely watching a Disney movie, but for those moments when I want to be 13 again, it's perfect and yummy.

It does having good staying power, so if you don't like white cake nor Play-Doh, think twice before applying...
28th January, 2007
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Almond and vanilla--is this marzipan? I feared that this would become too dessert-like. Then an interesting development began to take place on my skin. This fragrance began to melt into my skin and turn COOL and smooth. It took on a sweet, chilly fragrance that was neither floral nor gourmand, merely cool and pure and unbelievably smooth.
05th December, 2006
Heliotrope is a captivating gourmand. This is another one of those scents that reaches into my brain and pulls out all kinds of childhood memories: Heliotrope smells the way my aunt’s kitchen used to smell back in the ‘50s — almonds, vanilla, cherries, and lots of sugar — if there was a little cinnamon thrown in, it would be a perfect match for the delectable odors of her gourmet pastry domicile. The main notes that I get from the fragrance are almond, vanilla, heliotrope, and some rose and cherry. It begins sweet and nutty; it continues sweet and floral with an occasional powder spasm; and it ends sweet, floral, and vanilla-y. It is sweet and floral and unisex. It has excellent projection and decent longevity. I find it totally delightful, and it’s an excellent fragrance for the younger person.
29th October, 2006 (last edited: 08th April, 2008)
Well, I'm on my third bottle of this, very unusual for me. No description can do this justice, but here goes: General effect: Almonds blended with white flowers (orange blossom? white lilac?), undercut with a very dry, grown-up vanilla, and perhaps a hint of expensive leather and cherry tobacco. It becomes softer and more powdery as it dries down. If I say this is 'sexy' you'll think musk, but there's no musk in this. so I'll call it erotic - a hot summer night in a scented garden.
20th May, 2006
My favorite Etro - ylang, heliotrope, white musk, vanilla and almond. The effect is startling, like a peice of freshly baked pastry covered in toasted almond and vanilla cream. The best interpretation of heliotrope I've yet to come across.
15th January, 2006
So soft, subtle and simple, yet amazingly beautiful. Warm and comforting and suprisingly light. I think MonkeyManMatt's description was right on.
03rd January, 2006
Very nice subtle cologne from the Italian masters of paisley. Etro's Heliotrope is the aroma of bitter-sweet almonds on a bed of white flowers sprayed with caramel-milk. Quite weak, but this is not an issue here as I suspect a strength-increase would just make it overtly sweet and cloying. Also I'm surprised that this was released in 89, comes across as much more contemporary and soft compared to what stuff generally smelled like then.
26th September, 2005
Heliotrope is a wonderful gourmand fragrance. It smells a lot like marzipan. It’s very sweet and thick, and can get cloying pretty easily, but on cold winter days, it’s beyond comforting. I recommend this to any heliotrope or almond fan.
19th September, 2005
A very lovely fragrance with edible notes, albeit cool ones. I don't find this to be a warm comfort scent; the unifying almond thread in it has a cold, even chilly edge that I believe comes from its pairing with the powdery tonka bean heartnote. I like that it's on the cooler side, though; this saves it from being sticky or just plain annoying, a la the uber-sweet almond scent Lea. Etro Heliotrope is more along the lines of Castelbajac to me, particularly in the drydown when the almond comes down a bit and a clean-like-fluffy-laundry stage emerges. The only strike against Heliotrope for me is its relative simplicity; I don't find it hugely nuanced or interesting and I get bored with it quickly and inevitably end up layering it with something a little more "challenging." Strange though it sounds, I enjoy combining it with incense-based fragrances.
14th September, 2005
Sweet, precious and delicious. A muted floral with vanilla marzipan, dry down is warm and bready. Subtle, distinctive and just plain lovely.
08th June, 2005
Very elegant and original! Bittersweet!!
Similar accord to Hypnotic poison an all time favourite for me...Recommended if u want to smell different...
28th December, 2003