Lorenzo Villoresi was one of the first niche perfume houses that I ever explored, and Teint de Neige ("the color of snow") was my immediate favorite from its line of fragrances. Six years later, I still wear Teint de Neige regularly, particularly during the winter months. A small decant of this scent accompanied me on my recent holiday travels; appropriately enough, I happened to be wearing it the day after Christmas, during an attempt to return home during a blizzard. On the long, slow ride back to the New York area, I had plenty of time to contemplate Teint de Neige and my reasons for loving it.
According to the Villoresi website, Teint de Neige evokes "the delicate rosy hue of a powdered face. The unmistakable scent of perfumed powders, the fragrance of face powder, the perfume of talc. . . . An aroma delicately permeated by the richness of the natural extracts of precious flowers, recalling the light, images and atmosphere of the belle-époque." The "sweet, powdery and floral notes" of its composition are jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, tonka bean, heliotrope, and musk. Teint de Neige really does smell like powder — not baby powder, but some fragranced dusting powder that might have been found on a woman's dressing table circa 1900. In its texture and its construction, it also feels like a Belle Époque gown: heavy, pale, and soft, but "corseted" into place.
Teint de Neige has a fleeting bergamot top note, but an intense talcum-powder accord emerges quickly as the heart and soul of this fragrance. It's a floral-accented powder, without the metallic musk note of i Profumi di Firenze Talco Delicato or the smoky leather of Molinard Habanita; there's an old-fashioned rose and jasmine blend behind all the dusty sweetness, but it never becomes the central theme of the composition. I can also detect a honeyed heliotrope note, some clean musk that establishes a base for the fragrance, and a lingering dry down that reminds me of the candied almonds given out as favors at Italian weddings. But really, it's all about the powder. I'm repeating myself, because Teint de Neige seems to be a love-it-or-hate it fragrance. I happen to love it, and it fits my personal style: vintage jewelry, floral dresses, and ever-present lipstick and facial powder. You don't necessarily have to wear those particular things to enjoy Teint de Neige, but it's certainly not a fragrance that would ever be described as "fresh," "youthful," or "sexy." I'm not even sure you could call it "seductive"; the best adjective for Teint de Neige might be "self-indulgent."
Teint de Neige has excellent staying power for an Eau de Toilette; it diffuses strongly during its initial hour or so, after which it stays a little closer to the wearer's skin. And if you end up loving Teint de Neige as an Eau de Toilette, you should be aware that Lorenzo Villoresi also offers this fragrance in a perfume concentration, as well as matching body products and a remarkably strong candle that would be perfect for scenting the air of a boudoir.
Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige Eau de Toilette is available for $80 (50 ml). For purchasing information, see the listing for Lorenzo Villoresi under Perfume Houses.
Note: top left image is Giovanni Boldini's Portrait of Princess Marthe-Lucile Bibesco (1911), via Wikimedia Commons.