Saturday, January 06, 2018

Bruno Fazzolari- Feu Secret (Perfume Review)

I have an attitude when it comes to new perfume lines. It comes from a lifetime of sniffing and collecting fragrance, but mostly from blogging about it for eleven years and eight months. It's easy to dismiss new brands that keep popping up with their own version of an amber, an oud, a vetiver, a rose... We all know how it goes. Then I remind myself that if we're all very very lucky they might be as good as Bruno Fazzolari.

 Fazzolari had burst onto the scene in 2013 and quickly(ish) claimed a prime spot on the American indie perfume landscape. Here's how much I trust Bruno's blending hand: earlier this year just before Feu Secret launched he sent me a sample. However, the envelope reached my mailbox sealed yet empty. There was only the card with press materials. I checked, triple checked, looked suspiciously at the neighbors and cats, but no. Whoever filled the enveloped simply forgot to actually put a sample in mine.

Being me, I couldn't bring myself to email Mr. Fazzolari and request a do-over. I just don't do that. My plan was to visit Twisted Lily and give Feu Secret a good sniff. Or buy a sample online. I never got around to do either, but knowing that this Bruno Fazzolari perfume was out, and that it was an IRIS of all things haunted me. Especially since a couple of friends who've smelled it already told me I'd need a bottle. Because it's an iris. An iris!

I bought a bottle. Unsniffed. Which is not something I do often. I was already placing an order for Lampblack for my husband , so why not*?

It was a good decision. Putting aside the fact that when the husband tried Feu Secret on his own skin he announced that it needs to live in his cabinet and promptly placed it next to his Lampblack bottle. I don't mind, it's still on a shelf I can reach easily, which I do often. Feu Secret makes it necessary to amend and adjust my old list of favorite iris scents. It's that good and takes on iris (or orris) to the max in every direction this note can go. Perfumers seem to prefer concentrating on a single facet: earthy, carroty, a chilly fog marsh next to a cemetery (I've been thinking about Great Expectation lately. Must reread), or an opulent silk and dried violets, a perfumy boudoir, a buttery pastry, we can go on and on. Iris is all that.  However, Bruno Fazzolari's theme here is alchemy. Combining certain elements, often contrasting ones, and creating a new precious substance.

Orris root, with the lengthy process extracting the actual raw material, its history in the fields of Tuscany, and the iris flower itself has that magical shape and enchanting colors that are perfect for this alchemy theme. It's ice and fire, a dark cavern full of secrets, light flickering from a pile of precious blue and purple gem, and the alchemist's smoky cauldron hanging over a green fire in the ancient alcove. It has all that, yet it's also a very modern perfume in the way the two main aspects, hot and cold, are sketched. Two lashing tongues bursting on a canvas, dueling in their starkness at first before the full power of the fire wins over the cold camphoric blue light and engulfs you with the powdery hug of spices, woods and plenty of orris. The dry-down is like falling down into the most comfortable and luxurious bed, outfitted with crisp sheets and the softest warmest comforters you can pull over your head while taking a deep breath.

Feu Secret has an all-day longevity on my skin, it dries down softer and fluffier with the hours, yet the impression is completely gender neutral and easy to wear for lovers of iris, spice, eucalyptus, and a good dose of quality cedar note.

*I can't claim I've never met an iris I didn't like, because I'm a bit ambivalent about Aedes Iris Nazarena, bored out of my skull with Prada's various Infusion d'Iris versions, and the highly acclaimed Penhaligon's Iris Prima smells like dill on my skin.

**I'm two Fazzolari's behind. Something will be done about this soon.

Bruno Fazzolari- Feu Secret ($125, 30ml) is available from Luckyscent, Twisted Lily (when they're not out of stock), and directly from the perfumer on (ditto).

Image: detail from The Peacock Stage, attributed to Jörg Breu the Elder, (German, ca. 1475–1537). Miniature from the illuminated manuscript Splendor solis oder Sonnenglanz.


  1. You've made this sound glorious. How is it I've never tried anything by Bruno Fazzolari? I will have to remedy that soon, and with this one in particular. Like you, I love iris, and with spice and eucalyptus and cedar as well? Woohoo! Thanks for the review.

  2. Happy New Year!! You have convinced me that I need to try this and buy it...when I am not too frozen to go to Twisted Lily, one subway ride worth taking.

  3. Thanks for bringing up Feu Secret. It was because of your review of Fazzolari's Seyrig that I was hunting down a sample of it (which i got accidentally, they are nowhere to find in Europe) and I fell in love with it. The problem is, it's not available for a long time now. He produces small batches and waits obviously a long time to repeat them. Feu Secret is the first iris that I really like and it's a VERY dry one yet still powdery sweet.


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