*This is a review of the vintage version of Photo.
Photo (vintage) opens with sparkling aldehydes and bergamot citrus to give the scent a bit of bite early before they dissipate as very aromatic lavender joins bitter-green galbanum, and powerful oakmoss rising from the base. As the scent enters its early heart phase, the dominant oakmoss remains as the aromatic lavender and galbanum move to a supporting role, as rose and carnation florals join a dark slightly dirty musk to give the green overall accord an almost musty floral undertone. During the dry-down the oakmoss and florals lose their bite as sweet honey, sandalwood and amber emerge late to soften the finish. Projection is average and longevity is slightly below average to average at 5-7 hours on skin.
Photo is one of those scents I sniffed in a magazine 20+ years ago, impressing me just enough to remember I sniffed it but not quite enough to seek it out back then. Having now semi-blind bought a bottle of the vintage juice years later I can certainly see the allure it has on its many fans. I am not a lavender lover, but the stuff used in Photo (vintage) is very nicely done with a focus on its aromatic qualities and the gorgeous oakmoss used is so strong it is near impossible not to notice it almost immediately. Where the scent falls down just a hair is in the middle phase where the musty florals can be a bit off-putting. Not to say they detract so much for me to not enjoy and recommend Photo, just be aware that this is not quite the clean scent you may think. The finishing dry-down of Photo (vintage) may be the best part of the scent as its honey note seems to come out of nowhere, really working perfectly to soften its relatively bracing green overall nature. The very good 3.5 star out of 5 rated Photo (vintage) is a great way to get a taste of a time when oakmoss reigned queen and compositions had more bite. I have not sniffed the current version of the scent but I know just from the oakmoss in the vintage juice reviewed here that one should stick to the vintage version as there is no way it can be in the current stuff (in any large way) due to regulations and with the vintage juice still selling for $20-$35 a bottle there is no reason not to go for "the good stuff".