It's May Day, and everyone ought to be wearing lily of the valley (Diorissimo!), but I'm soldiering on with carnation nevertheless. Today's subject: Dianthus, the latest fragrance from the Italian line Etro. It launched last year, and was the first scent from Etro specifically designated for women (although it certainly isn't their first "feminine" fragrance). Dianthus, for you non-gardeners, is the botanical name for the plant genus that includes carnations, and the notes include orange, bourbon geranium, centifolia rose, pink pepper, ginger, carnation, woods, musk, cedar and vanilla.
Like yesterday's Garofano, Dianthus centers on carnation without qualifying as a soliflore. It opens on sheer rose with hints of peppery green notes, and gradually moves into a lightly spiced blended floral with a fair dusting of powder. The carnation predominates, but it is subdued (at times I could swear I am smelling something lighter, perhaps peony) and the woody-musky base is very pale and cool. The vanilla adds a touch of sweetness in the dry down, but it is used here with a light hand.
It is a light, transparent fragrance — very spring-like — and while I generally like light and transparent, Dianthus is too clean and fresh for me, and simply doesn't have enough oomph. Worn next to Garofano (an entirely unfair undertaking, admittedly) it smells positively anemic, and although they are both in Eau de Toilette concentration, Garofano outlasts Dianthus by a mile. I called Garofano unabashedly feminine, even lady-like, and while it doesn't always suit me, the dainty-pretty pastel air of Dianthus suits me even less. Still, of the two scents, Dianthus strikes me as much more likely to appeal to modern tastes, and it is worth a try for anyone looking for a more ethereal, up-to-date version of carnation.
Etro Dianthus is is available in 100 ml bottles of Eau de Toilette. For buying information, see the listing for Etro under Perfume Houses.