A beach book doesn't have to be silly. A beach perfume isn't always a scent with the emotional complexity of Coppertone. The Blu Mediterraneo collection from Acqua di Parma has always been a proof of that. They are light and airy perfumes for a Mediterranean summer vacation (or for daydreaming of one), and while I hesitate to use that dreaded f-word, fresh, they really are. Each of these Acqua di Parma perfumes is composed with the equivalent of bold brush strokes that illustrate longed-for beaches with their clear blue water and aromatic treas and shrubs that grow above them. My favorite of the Blu Mediterraneo series has always been Fico di Amalfi (I'm nothing if not consistent); Ginepro di Sardegna,which was launched this year, isn't that far behind.
Salt or marine notes do not appear on the official list, but the first few times I've worn Ginepro di Sardegna the husband commented that the opening was quite ozonic. It was even more pronounced on his skin: a swoosh of air carrying the scent of seawater and almost splashing at one's feet, leaving a lick of sand and salt. Subsequent wearings helped me focus on the spices and herbs that actually make the core of this Acqua di Parma. You really need to love pepper and juniper berries to enjoy Ginepro di Sardegna (ginepro=juniper) because it'll make you smell as though you've been rolling in them, crushing the peppercorn and aromatics with your body, pressing them into your skin. It's a surprisingly sensual feeling for such a "fresh" scent, but I can see why some people might find it too much of a spice-rub for the human body.
I like Ginepro di Sardegna because it's simple but not dumbed-down. Fresh air, spices and a bouquet of herbs, tree roots burrowing into the rocks of the beautiful beach, driftwood, and the warmth of a towel you wrap around yourself after a swim. The dry-down is all cedar, a natural sequel to all the pepper that preceded it. There's something softer and almost sweet in the way my skin smell after a couple of hours, the way some wood notes can sometimes morph. It might not be very original or challenging, but my Mediterranean fantasies rarely are. I just want the sea, sun, and sound of the waves to wash it all away, and Ginepro di Sardegna does just that.
Notes: bergamot, allspice, nutmeg, juniper berry, black pepper, jamaican pepper, sage, cypress, Virginia cedarwood.
Acqua di Parma- Blu Mediterraneo Ginepro di Sardegna ($98, 2.5 oz Eau de Toilette) is available from Sephora and select department stores. The product for this review was sent by the company's PR.
Photo: a juniper tree on Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, by Giacomo Altamira, 2010.