Sunday, April 20, 2014

Perfume Shopping In Italy: Aqva Bland and Rheyms

Walking around Naples, the Husband and I noticed that quite a few of the fashion stores had perfume bottles on display, mostly of brands we didn't recognize. There was a lot to see (and smell, and taste), so there was no chance to try everything, but something told us to enter the Traffic boutique on 141 Umberto I. Traffic is a "Concept Store specialized in Avant-Garde and Fashion designer for man and woman. Based in Naples" (from their Facebook page). None of the fashion on display called to me, but there were several perfume brands scattered around the store, and while none of the sales associates spoke English, they let us browse and play. Some of the lines offered at the store smelled generic-- the kind of stuff you'd find at a young fashion store at your local mall. But two brands stood out: Aqva Bland and Rheyms.

As far as I can tell from online research, both Aqva Bland and Rheyms are relatively new Italian brands that were presented at local trade shows. They come in heavy bottles with substantial caps, and have don't seem to be particularly gender-specific. The husband thought that the floral and hay of Adrenalin by Rheyms was the most interesting in the bunch, while I was amused by the dirty resins of Pure Hasch. Looking back, I think the husband was right, as Adrenalin was definitely more fun. But I was already spraying the five Aqva Bland fragrances and having a hard time separating my nose from my wrists, as two of those got my full attention.

My Way  by Aqva Bland made me think of a lighter version of Tauer's L'Air du Desert Marocain. Official notes are bergamot, listea cubeba, ylang-ylang, lilac, geranium, patchouli, cedar, labdanum, vetiver, and vanilla. The overall impression is of a dry incense lifted by a crisp citrus opening and an ambery base. I liked it. A lot. If it wasn't just the beginning of the sniffing day I might have walked out of the store with a bottle (and I'm  kicking myself a little for not doing it). But I was also quite intrigued by Senatour. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly was there that on my skin translated into an animalic honey in the general ballpark of Miel de Bois. Not as thick and with a very questionable longevity, but the honey-musk-cedar seems there, even if the notes according to Aqva Bland's website don't support my initial impression (bergamot, bitter orange, pimento pepper, jasmine, ylang-ylang, cedar, patchouli, vanilla, cashmeran, wood notes).

There are a handful of online retailers that offer both Aqva Bland and Rheyms, though I haven't checked if any of them ships to the US, and none seems to sell samples or a discovery set. I was amused to see that there's a seller on Italian eBay that offers imitations of both brands-- so be careful if you're online shopping as a result of this post: that stuff isn't real.

Have you tried Aqva Bland or Rheyms perfumes? Which ones are your favorites? and if you're in Italy, can you tell us more about them?


  1. Now! You made me curious about these brands. Hope that they will be more widely available and that Rheyms website will be up soon (it's not working yet!)

    Thank you for bringing up these perfume houses, I love Italian perfumery so I will try to seek them out.

  2. Hello Gaia and thanks for this.
    Maybe you could do me another solid?
    Is Adrenaline worth the price tag, or I should buy some more acclaimed/known niche perfumes in the same price range? Does Adrenalin by Rheyms "stand out in the crowd"?

    1. Hi Stefan,
      I'm having a hard time coming up with an answer. I remember liking Adrenaline and thinking that it stood out, but after more than six months I can't remember what it actually smelled like. Obviously, I didn't like it quite enough to buy it on the spot (they wouldn't give samples and I rarely buy perfume without adequate testing).
      My only recommendation is buy what you like. Order samples of things you're interested in trying whenever possible from both big and small brands, and see what calls your name. I wish I could find samples of both Rheyms and Aqva Bland so I can make up my mind about them, but I will definitely not blind buy anything.


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