When I tried the new Valentino fragrance, Valentino Uomo,1 in Nordstrom, I thought: "Uh-oh...I can't smell a thing...asnomic to an ingredient, I guess." But when I got outside Nordstrom into the fresh air, I could smell Valentino Uomo. Quickly, I realized why I was unable to detect it at the men's fragrance counter — Valentino Uomo smells like the inside of Nordstrom, with its combined aromas of the makeup/skincare section, new clothes and shoes, a zillion fragrances, and Ebar. What I'm reminded of when wearing Valentino Uomo is not "Italy" but "American Department Store."
At first application, Valentino Uomo smells like lukewarm milk with a shot or two of citrus juice in it: a tad sour. Almost immediately, Valentino Uomo presents the aromas of coffee/chocolate, "cream" and loads of sugar: weak coffee, mild chocolate, Coffee-mate®, and, let me repeat: loads of sugar. Valentino Uomo d(r)ies down to reveal a drop of sweet musk, maybe a smidgen of denatured patchouli, but not much leather or cedar, just hazy approximations of those notes.
How to describe Valentino Uomo's overall scent? When I read Valentino's own description of the cologne I went 'Sì!' — "a touch of vagueness that upsets the balance" (or stomach, in my case) and "sophisticated contamination" (though "sophisticated" is not apt). Valentino Uomo smells bland, but off-kilter, too.2
I love Italy. I love chocolate. I love coffee. I love myrtle. I love bergamot. I love leather and cedar in fragrance. When I'm not satisfied with a perfume that claims the presence of all those notes, I'm mystified, or used to be. Now, I find it best to ignore fragrance company PR. If you desire a coffee and chocolate scent that's lively and beautiful (and more Italian in spirit than Valentino Uomo), try La Via del Profumo Milano Caffè.
Valentino Uomo Eau de Toilette is more feminine than masculine to my nose; it lasts a long while on skin but does not have powerful sillage. It's available in 50 ml ($75) and 100 ml ($95).
I'm not as thrilled with the garish Valentino Uomo bottle as most are...maybe because it reminds me of a heavy-as-lead ashtray (won at a summer carnival) from my childhood home that my evil little sister often tossed at my feet when she was in fury mode.
Do comment if you love Valentino Uomo; it makes things interesting!
1. Valentino Uomo was developed by perfumer Olivier Polge; notes include bergamot, myrtle, roasted coffee, gianduja cream, white leather and cedar.
2. "Valentino Uomo is classic and brilliant, with accords that change on the person over time: it is a profoundly Italian blend made of precisely chosen ingredients. A classic fragrance with soft smoky and woody accords and a touch of vagueness that upsets the balance, it is an expression of unmistakable style. Vibrant classicism and subtle rebellion effortlessly unite in a design of sophisticated contamination. Everything about Valentino Uomo is restrained, yet enticing." Via store.valentino.
Addendum: After so many readers and online reviewers believed Valentino Uomo was almost identical to Dior Homme, I went to Sephora and got a brand-new Dior Homme sample. Dior Homme and Valentino Uomo share a perfume style: both are sheer, sweet, and gourmand. Dior Homme even has the same "sour" note I detected in Valentino Uomo — and there's chocolate. Dior Homme goes on watery...top notes are nearly non-existent. As Dior Homme develops on skin, it resembles Valentino Uomo more, until Dior Homme's "iris" appears. And what an iris! Dior Homme's iris is artificial and shrieks — even presenting a weird "chive"/vegetal aroma before it turns powdery. Dior Homme's base is sweet, nutty musk and "wood" (and this phase of the perfume lasts a long time on skin). I'm not a fan of either Dior Homme or Valentino Uomo. If you adore Dior Homme, do give Valentino Uomo a try; these fragrances have a lot in common without being duplicates. If I were forced by the Perfume Police to wear one or the other of these colognes, I'd pick Dior Homme since it has more variety in its development.