After the Alessandro disappointment, my expectations from Mazzolari went way down. Which was when I tried the other two samples of Lui and Lei. The result was the two full bottles that are now sitting on my dresser.
Did I spoil the end? But it's all about the journey. Right?
Lui is supposedly a masculine fragrance. The notes are sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, ambergris, vetiver and spices. It's strong and heavy on the patchouli. Not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. The impression from the very first note to the drydown is of a dark and earthy scent. The woods aren't dry. The sweetness is kept in check by the spices (cinnamon? clove? It depends. Nothing too obvious).
The earthiness has reminded my husband of JAR's very dank and oakmossy Shadow. I'm not sure if the two are comparable, but I sort of know what he's talking about. The darkness of the wood and the spicy depth of Lui do have something in common with Shadow, but it's sweeter which makes it more wearable for women. Or, at least, for me. I loved it on my husband as well as on myself. It has a lot of presence and gives an aura of confidence. The patchouli here is sexy, not a head shop scent. It's strong and would probably not appeal to those who only go for subtle.
The lasting power is as impressive as the strength, since it's an EdT. I wonder what would happen if they'd ever come up with a parfum version.
On the other side of the spectrum, there's the very feminine and cuddly Lei. It still got the patchouli which keeps it from becoming the scent equivalent of a teddy bear. The opening notes of cocoa and labandum captured my heart from very first moment. It's comforting and cozy, but in a very pretty way, not like a pair of flannel jammies.
Then comes the patchouli, more subtle than in Lui, followed by woods and vanilla. It becomes soft and powdery, without losing a certain amount of elegance. It's a gourmand scent, and the drydown is decidedly vanilla, but I don't think that I end up smelling like pudding. The lasting power is almost as good as Lui's.
The Mazzolari line comes in black velvety boxes that are shaped and open like books. Very cute and appealing to the book nerd (that would be me).