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Alessandro is the spicy oriental entry in the Mazzolari line, and because it leans heavily on opopanax in its heart and drydown, it bears a general resemblance to such scents as Diptyque’s Eau Lente, Etro’s Shaal Nur, Ormonde Jayne’s Tolu, and Nicolaï’s Maharadjah/Maharanih pair. Looming behind all of these is Guerlain’s Shalimar, whose continued presence means that any newcomer in the genre needs to offer something special in terms of quality and/or composition to legitimize its arrival.
So what has Alessandro got that the others don’t? Well, it’s softer and less aggressively spicy than Eau Lente or Maharadjah, yet less obviously floral in its heart than Shaal Nur or Maharanih. It is also bolder in its presentation of resins and spices than the comparatively bland, and frankly rather dull Tolu. On the other hand Alessandro is noticeably less smoky, less sweet, less animalic, and less inclined toward citrus than Shalimar, especially in the old Guerlain’s EdP and parfum concentrations. Alessandro thus stands as a “centrist” composition. It will appeal to you if you find Eau Lente and Maharadjah too incisive, Shaal Nur and Maharanih too flowery or indolic, or Shalimar too sweet, smoky, or suggestive. At the same time, Alessandro (and unusually for a Mazzolari fragrance,) Alessandro ends up a little bit lacking in character: not quite drab, but not particularly stimulating, either. It does avoid the soap and powder avalanche that leaves its frumpy oriental sibling Ambra smelling like grandma’s dressing table, but it lacks the punch I’ve come to expect from the house that gave us Mazzolari Lui, Mazzolari Vetiver, and Mazzolari Patchouli.
13 June, 2014