Thursday, August 27, 2009

Valentino Eau de Parfum (2009 Edition)

I had a bottle of the original Valentino that I got as a gift and used to wear in the very early 90s. I finished the bottle but never repurchased because it had absolutely no staying power (hence going through it in less than a year). I don't remember much about it, except that it was a sheer aldehydic floral with quite a bit of green, a lovely hyacinth note and a sweet drydown. From digging online, I realize that the 1986 version was a re-launch (and probably a reformulation) of a 1978 chypre, which sounds a lot more interesting with its oakmoss and civet base. As far as I know, both came in the ribbed bottle and the Valentino-red box (I still remember how beautiful and shiny it was).

While the original Valentino perfume tried to keep some sort of connection to the über-fabulous fashion house, the designer and his aesthetics, the 2009 launch of the same name has no such aspirations. The licence holder of Valentino perfumes is no other than Proctor & Gamble (you will have to agree with me that this explains a lot), who chose to go with a very pink juice. From the company's website: Top notes are pomelo, pear blossom and magnolia; middle notes are orange blossom, mimosa and violet leaf; base notes are rice vapour, heliotrope and vanilla-orchid. And if that sounds to you like a royal mess, you'd be right.

Now, I've smelled worse things than Valentino EDP. It isn't vile by any mean, and I can see why some might find it appealing. Basically, it's a very sweet floral, a genre with many fans. The opening is very sweet and quite fruity, but the majority of this scent is a mix of poorly blended orange blossom and mimosa. It gets a bit loud and swallows up anything more subtle that might have been mixed into the juice. I was looking forward to the promised rice vapor (thinking of the lovely rice steam accord by CB I Hate Perfume), but got none. The bad mimosa also killed the promised heliotrope, leaving a generic sticky sweet drydown.

What kills me about the new Valentino (other than the idea that this unconvincing cocktail is supposed to evoke Valentino Garavni), is that this Neiman Marcus exclusive is sold for $80-$100 (depending on size). Under the same roof you can buy Chanel, Goutal, L'Artisan, Aqua di Parma, Jo Malone and others, all are better made. The first bottle of Valentino are already making an appearance at a couple of online discounters, which, frankly, that's where they belong. So while I certainly don't hate this perfume, I resent those who try to convince us this is a high-end luxury fragrance.

Perfume ads: Cranky attitude: my own


  1. I'm probably a superficial generalizing nerd, but honestly, I have a problem if there is P&G behind a perfume... Oh my, where is this world heading ?!

  2. Lady Jane, I have the same prejudice. Besides, P&G have already proved they should have nothing to do with fragrance- see how they killed Patou.


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