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  1. #1

    Default Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    A fellow BN'er very generously sent me some large samples recently of four excellent Spanish fragrances: Agua Brava, Heno de Pravia, Agua Lavanda Puig and Varon Dandy. I love all four of them, and although they are different from one another, they all have a certain note or accord in common, which I have always considered to be unique to scents made in Spain. Quorum and Vetiver de Puig are two other Spanish scents that contain this note or accord. It's this note or accord that to me makes me think, "Oh, this scent was probably made in Spain". Sort of how when I smell pine or orange notes I often associate the scent as being from Italy.

    I love this smell. The problem is that I can't identify it, and it's driving me nuts. The best way I can describe the smell is that it is a somewhat herbal, subtly spicy accord I detect in all of these scents. I can't tell if it's basil, pine, saffron, cumin, moss, or a combination of these notes, or what. Those of you who wear Spanish fragrances probably know what I'm talking about, hopefully.

    Can anyone give me any guidance?
    Last edited by shamu1; 2nd April 2010 at 03:24 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Spanish Fragrances smell like the great Spanish Soups My Grandma and Mom made for us Growing up. Cumin, Basil, Herbs and Spices. HMMM.... Delicious

  3. #3

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    I think, the Puig fragrances at least, have a common thread of cumin.

    And by "Puig", I don't mean every brand the house now produces, but those fragrances labeled as being "by Antonio Puig."
    Last edited by Bossa Nova; 2nd April 2010 at 06:36 AM.
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  4. #4

    Cool Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Quote Originally Posted by seasoldiermarine View Post
    Spanish Fragrances smell like the great Spanish Soups My Grandma and Mom made for us Growing up. Cumin, Basil, Herbs and Spices. HMMM.... Delicious
    Damn it! You would have to bring that up at 11PM my time
    Hungry . . .

    shamu1, it is a very good question y no tengo idea (I haven't the foggiest) but permit me to observe, once again that Spaniards seem capable of making two kinds of fragrances: The very good or the very bad.

    I wonder . . .

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    usually from my experience they are very strong and very mature but not all the time.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    One reason making them so unique might also be the contribution of Loewe with some underrated frags close to flawlessness- at least to my nose- like Esencia Loewe, Loewe para Hombre and Solo

  7. #7

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    I'm wearing Agua Brava this morning (love the splash bottle, you just douse yourself with the stuff). This scent is what epitomizes, for me, what I've always thought of the Spanish style of fragrance. I definitely do smell cumin and pine in this. Maybe a touch of saffron in there as well.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Spanish scents are the nicest surprise around for those who pay attention to scents manufactured in countries that for a majority are closely related to the industry. Take in mind that the development of perfume making had a stronghold in the Middle Eastern countries, remember the Moors in Spain and their role in expanding their knowledge and crafts in Europe and the proximity to France; you will get an idea that Spanish perfume - making is far from being a brand-new industry.

    I think we cannot generalize as per a style of their own, Agua Brava and Quorum have a boldness Agua de Lavanda does not. Heno de Pravia is a very strong eau de cologne blended under a very traditional style that does not smell outdated (get the soaps, they are amazing). Vetiver de Puig is a very gentle vetiver, the exact opposite you will find in Vetiver by Adolfo Dominguez.

    As you said, in general, sharp top notes dominate in most of the ones you got, but this boldness is achieved through different notes: pine and citric notes in Agua Brava, civet in Quorum, vetiver with a clear earthy character in Vetiver by Adolfo Dominguez...

    I like to play with the idea these scents reflect a mediterranean character in terms of people that are not afraid of expressing their emotions. In other words, there is no political correctness in them, this concept taken in terms of its hypocritic potential rather than as synonim for manners intended to prevent hurting someone's feelings. That is why some of these scents are either a hate - love option.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    [QUOTE=Pollux;1796770]
    I like to play with the idea these scents reflect a mediterranean character in terms of people that are not afraid of expressing their emotions. QUOTE]

    Pollux, you nailed exactly why I love these Spanish scents - they are very Mediterranean in overall feel, which to me means that they smell of nature. A "Mediterranean" styled scent, to my mind and nose, is one which has a bright, natural and sunny character to it; I always think of scents with lots of citrus and pine, as well as some herbals, to be very Mediterranean, and I love that (e.g., Signoricci, Acqua di Parma, etc.). These Spanish scents capture that same feel for me. But they do smell different from your average French or Italian Mediterranean-styled scents, and it's driving me nuts trying to figure out what the difference is.

    I agree that the six frags I mentioned are different from one another, but I still smell a similarity with all of them. Maybe it isn't a note or accord then, but rather a unique Mediterranean feel overall. I'm still trying to figure it out.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    [QUOTE=shamu1;1796791]
    Quote Originally Posted by Pollux View Post
    Maybe it isn't a note or accord then, but rather a unique Mediterranean feel overall. I'm still trying to figure it out.
    Yes, harsher or lighter, there is a sort of "boldness" in them, of course the right way. Still, I do agree with you, I cannot find a single note responsible for this.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Quote Originally Posted by seasoldiermarine View Post
    Spanish Fragrances smell like the great Spanish Soups My Grandma and Mom made for us Growing up. Cumin, Basil, Herbs and Spices. HMMM.... Delicious
    You know you're going to have to post your mom's Spanish soup recipes now, Sea. Cough 'em up.
    Last edited by shamu1; 2nd April 2010 at 07:06 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    I would Sham, but then She'd have to kill Me

  13. #13

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Fun & interesting discussion, I'm enjoying it. I like the vibe of "mediterranean" scents. My only experience with Spanish scents is the Gomez Aqua Colonia. It also is bold, with the traditional citrus EdC profile. I'm glad to hear about these other houses.
    Last edited by odysseusm; 3rd April 2010 at 12:50 PM.
    odysseusm

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    You really should try out some of these Ody. The one that impresses me the most is Agua Brava mainly because of its pine and dry wood notes. I find it to smell almost identical to Creed's Epicea. Because Agua Brava is distinctively Spanish, I'm going to believe that Creed mimicked it, regardless of Creed stating that Epicea was created before it. I think you'd really like this scent, Ody (don't worry, it doesn't smell like Krizia Uomo or Acqua di Selva!).

    I'm surprised scents from Spain have not gotten more attention outside of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries or communities. It's a shame because these are quality fragrances - simple, but of good quality (at least the six I've tried are). I've looked for them online and they are also very inexpensive.
    Last edited by shamu1; 3rd April 2010 at 04:46 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Quote Originally Posted by shamu1 View Post

    I'm surprised scents from Spain have not gotten more attention outside of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries or communities. It's a shame because these are quality fragrances - simple, but of good quality (at least the six I've tried are). I've looked for them online and they are also very inexpensive.
    Paco Rabanne scents have certainly gotten a lot of attention outside of Spain.

    Quorum, Agua Brava, Agua Brava Seapower are available everywhere down here in Australia, dirt cheap. Quality as a scent they may have, but their main problem I think is that they don't really smell expensive and aren't particularly compelling after a while.

    One chain here tried selling Lowe scents, but they didn't sell very well, and they quickly disappeared - I can't say I was that taken with them at the time, nor with the newer Lowe ones I tested in Madrid last year.

    I've never been able to get hold of that Lavender one, unfortunately.

    Renato

  16. #16

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    I also like the Armand Basi fragrances. I own Armand Basi homme, Basi homme, and Armand Basi in Blue. Don't forget Jesús del Pozo, his Quasar fragrance is an interesting take on fresh: with it's added banana and newsprint notes!
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Antonio Banderas' Seduction in Black (2009 - Puig) is a beautiful spicy oriental. Subtly screams Mediterranean flair!
    ointments and perfume delight the heart....

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    I am in deep love with the Adolfo Dominguez line..in fact, were it known in several of the southern states I would be arrested.
    Last edited by kbe; 3rd April 2010 at 10:04 PM.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    I would venture to say that Spanish Perfumer's actually wear their fragrances out in the public, or simply wear them before marketing them. May sound a bit silly, but I have yet to run into too many Spanish fragrances that were scrubbers.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Well, the point is the operational definition of the term "Spanish": Paco Rabanne, Carolina Herrera and Comme des Garcons are all made by Antonio Puig, a Spanish multinational company. The also manfacture other global brands of Spanish origin, like Zara and Antonio Banderas, as well as other tradtional lines, like Puig (Agua Brava, Quorum, Agua Lavanda), Gal (Heno de Pravia) and Myrurgia (Maja, Agua de Colonia 1816, Adolfo Dominguez - I am not sure about Jesús del Pozo). Of these, some are well known in Iberoamerica (Spanish-speakig Americas) and Spain, while two of them are - guessing as per comments and reviews here in Base Notes - available in many countries.

    In these terms, I refer to "Spanish" as the ones difficult to be found outside the Spanish speaking countries as well as Puig's global ones, Quorum and Agua Brava.... I guess Shamu was refering to these. As we said before, they have a kind of boldness that might not be of the taste of many, but IMHO they deserve some kind of attention due to their originality: they might be scrubbers for some, but take for granted they are not the usual acquatic boredom, albeit their local popularity, low prices and social connotations ("Yes, I LOVE Heno de Pravia, SO WHAT / SI, me gusta Heno de Pravia, ¿¿¿Y QUÉ???" is a recurrent say of mine when asked about it ).
    Last edited by Pollux; 4th April 2010 at 03:23 AM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Yes Pollux, when I was referring to Spanish scents, I was not talking about Paco Rabanne, Herrera or CdG. I've always considered those "designer" scents, like anything else you see in mainstream perfumery. When I was talking about the quality of Spanish scents, I meant the more traditional styled colognes like Heno de Pravia and Agua Lavanda. There's a big difference b/w Varon Dandy, for example, and something by Carolina Herrera.
    Last edited by shamu1; 4th April 2010 at 04:32 AM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Spanish Fragrances (especially the Eau de Colognes) are worn by people who want to smell strong (Pollux says Bold, good analogy) and are proud that they are not mainstream. They know they are different and don't care, there is a certain Joy behind wearing these scents

  23. #23

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Quote Originally Posted by seasoldiermarine View Post
    Spanish Fragrances (especially the Eau de Colognes) are worn by people who want to smell strong (Pollux says Bold, good analogy) and are proud that they are not mainstream. They know they are different and don't care, there is a certain Joy behind wearing these scents
    Good definition.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Shamu, how would you describe Varon Dandy? I have got Old Brown, by Parera, the same house of Varon Dandy: it is a classic chypre, very similar to Trophee by Lancome.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Seasoldiermarine is probably the better guy to ask, since I know he's been wearing it a lot longer than I have . I would describe it as a powdery fougere, with just a hint of vanilla (or maybe its the tonka) in the base notes. It is very old fashioned, almost like Jicky without the civet. It's somewhat dandified smelling, though not as much as some of the Victorian styled scents I've tried. It is very light too, eau de cologne strength. It is very good.
    Last edited by shamu1; 4th April 2010 at 11:40 PM.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    I agree with seasoldiermarine, Spanish fragrances exude the essence of Spanish people, that is, unafraid and full of self confidence. While living in Barcelona, I would frequently pass people in the streets wearing overpowering scents that at first made me wonder what they were thinking to spray such a heavy volume...but then I would realize that I had loved the scent! Puig makes some great stuff.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Pollux, Shamu is right when He described Varon Dandy as a powdery Fougere, and I think the tonka Bean is What gives it a vanilla note (very interesting and quite nice BTW) but I find it very Floral in a Dandified way. This is a very Masculine scent. Wow Shamu, You mentioned Jicky without the civet and You are right, You nailed it

  28. #28

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Funny, these fragrances I've tried so far smell bold in the sense that they don't follow any current fragrance trends at all; they are pure classic all the way. However, I don't find them bold in the sense that they are strong or aggressive smelling at all; they smell rather subtle to me and don't have the best longevity, probably due to the eau de cologne concentration.

    Of course, Quorum is the one HUGE exception. It's a true monster of a scent. Love it.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Yes, Quorom is the Powerhouse of the bunch. And I think what We mean by "Bold" is "This is Daring to wear"

  30. #30

    Default Re: Spanish fragrances: what makes them so unique?

    Quote Originally Posted by perfaddict View Post
    Antonio Banderas' Seduction in Black (2009 - Puig) is a beautiful spicy oriental. Subtly screams Mediterranean flair!
    I really like this one, too. According to Now Smell This Blog Harbor, Olivier Cresp is the nose behind it , and he created another one of my Spanish design house favorites: Armand Basi homme.

    AB Seduction in Black smells to me like an improved version of Paco Rabanne Black XS, because Seduction in Black, while similar, does not have the cloying praline/strawberry vibe that Black XS has. Black XS is also a Cresp creation, and being a Rabanne fragrance, it is manufactured/distributed by Puig.
    Last edited by Bossa Nova; 5th April 2010 at 05:13 AM.
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