Etro’s fragrance line has been unusually consistent in style and quality: honest, well-balanced, and straightforward compositions using first class ingredients in clear and coherent olfactory structures. At their best – as in Shaal Nur, Patchouli, Vetiver, or Palais Jamais - they have a winning directness about them. At their worst – say Sandalo or Anice – they are stolid, plain and just a bit too predictable.
Pegaso, sad to say, falls in with the second lot. It is essentially a traditional eau de Cologne-type composition with an herbal twist, a gambit that’s been played at least a thousand times since Eau Sauvage appeared in the mid 1960s. A new fragrance has do something bold indeed to make this formula fresh. Déclaration did it with aggressively applied cumin, Lubin’s L’Eau Neuve did it with conspicuous moss and an understated animalic accent, and Parfum d’Empire’s Eau de Gloire did it with a luxurious leather. Pegaso’s herbs and labdanum base note are not enough to distinguish it in this company.
Pegaso's most compelling feature is a realistic basil top note, but that doesn’t persist long enough to sustain a unique identity. Once the basil fades Pegaso is just one among many well-crafted but unremarkable citrus blends set on a slightly mossy, woody foundation. Yes, it smells smooth and natural, but at $145 US for 100 ml, I can’t in good conscience recommend it over Eau Sauvage, Cristalle, or any of the Acqua di Parma Colonia variants.
Pegaso begins with a strongly aromatic citrus / basil accord. It’s quite interesting and enjoyable, and lasts longer than I thought it would. The opening eventually loses some of its aromatic drama and the fragrance succumbs to being a basilic eau de cologne… which in this case might be French for “yawn.” I find the loss of the aromatics disappointing because the opening was quite impressive in its original form. Once the potency of the opening has been lost, the fragrance has become quite ordinary. I am anosmic to most pepper notes, so maybe I’m judging the middle accord a little too harshly – a pepper note would definitely improve the ordinariness of the basil, iris, and cedar heart. Its base doesn’t bring much improvement: It’s a soft, slightly sweet wood accord that could stand to be much more interesting as well as having a stronger presence and longer lifespan. The notes and accords of Pegaso are natural, clean, and competent. Its movements are smooth and well designed. I was totally impressed by the opening, but I wish the fragrance had continued on to be longer-lived and more complex… with a more original heart and drydown.
To me, it smellas very much like Gueralin's Vetiver, only more expensive and with a little basil. Very boring for a 2009 fragrance that passes as "niche".