**2014 Edit: Neroli Portofino was reformulated some time between 2013 and 2014. The review below is for the original version. I can't say that I'm as impressed with the new juice**
The last couple of days here were on the gray, dreary, freezy, slushy side. The lawn in my back yard is covered with a thin layer of icy snow and every venture outside requires layers and a winter coat. Some would opt for those cozy, cashmere-like scents. Sometimes I do, too, but not today. Instead, I decided to indulge in sunshine and memories of faraway places.
Neroli Portofino from Tom Ford Private Blend feels nostalgic. It has many of the characteristics of a classic cologne- the sharp bite of citrus, the white blooms of an orange tree, the almost-but not quite sweetness. You've smelled it before in many versions, but probably not in this intensity, because Neroli Portofino succeeds in bringing forth a vivid image of sunny, happy places in the Italian Riviera.
I've been to Portofino years ago on my honeymoon. I don't remember orange trees, but I do remember pines almost touching the water, the clean smell of the sea, the less clean smell of frito misto (deep fried seafood) from every tratoria and the color of the Italian sky in mid-September.
There's something very much alive in Ford's Portofino. It's not a complex scent and doesn't have layers of deep meaning or anything lurking in its folds. What you smell is what you get, and it's full of joy and much stronger than just about any other neroli-citrus cologne in this genre- it lasts on my skin for at least six hours and lingers on my clothes and the cats' hair (my Lizzy who constantly snuggles with me lately has been smelling divine the last couple of days).
There's no musk or powder in the drydown (and absolutely no similarity to Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier). Instead, there's a touch of ambery sweetness which I smell more strongly on Lizzy than on myself, balances and solidifies the perfume and keeps it from evaporating into the nothingness of too many light colognes.
This is not my favorite neroli- that title belongs to the discontinued original Neroli from L'Occitane, of all places, which is sweet, intense and attention-grabbing. I also don't feel the urge to get a $180 worth of juice in a full bottle, but I have no doubt that had a bottle of Neroli Portofino appeared in my possessions, it would have been used happily. It's fun, easy to wear and free of gender restrictions. It just is, like the trees, the boats and the water.
No cats were harmed in testing and writing this review.
Photo from some Italian tourism site. I forgot to save the source.