Isabel is the latest in Tocca's collection of feminine-named fragrances, and its scent-personality is described this way: "A chic city girl from Barcelona, Isabel is an unconventional yet remarkable beauty. Like her hometown, she is eclectic, unpredictable and captivating." Isabel includes top notes of bergamot, Mediterranean orange, pear and sangria accord; middle notes of Spanish rose, leather, vetiver and Turkish rose petals; and base notes of guaiacwood, amber and vanilla.
I've tried a fair number of Tocca's perfumes, and they tend to fall into two categories for me: ones that I like and then can't remember much about later, and ones that are complete scrubbers for me (ahem, Florence). Isabel will be an easy one for me to recall — as my friend D. said when she sniffed it on a paper blotter, "It's basically tea rose, isn't it?" Well, yes. Sniffed directly from the vial, it reminded me of Stella by Stella McCartney. But once applied, it's a lot of dewy tea rose, without the powdery aspect of some older tea rose perfumes, and it has a surprisingly amount of sillage for something so pastel and transparent. The promised Mediterranean notes of citrus fruits and leather and sangria never make an appearance, which is too bad (especially if you were looking forward to the sangria, as I was). But the rose lasts for hours, gradually allowing minor notes of pear, lily and a very sheer musk to emerge. Isobel is anything but "unconventional" — unless, perhaps, you're too young to remember Stella or any of the "rose" flankers of the past decade.
Three years ago (!), I wrote about the appeal of Tocca's fragrances, "They're generally light, feminine scents with sweet floral and fruit notes, they're packaged in antique-looking bottles, and they have names that refer to romantic locales or famous women in history. Tocca isn't a niche line, but it offers a semi-mainstream alternative to celebrity fragrances, teen-oriented scents and logo-encrusted 'aspirational' products." That sentiment applies to Isabel as well as the brand's earlier scents. Isabel is certainly not "unconventional," "eclectic," or "unpredictable" — however, it's a very pretty tea rose composition and it would make a perfect introductory rose fragrance. I'm putting it on a mental shelf with other fresh, approachable roses like Diptyque Eau Rose and L'Occitane Roses et Reines for future recommendations to rose novices.
Do you have a favorite Tocca scent? Feel free to comment!
Tocca Isabel is available as 50 ml Eau de Parfum ($68). For purchasing information, see the listing for Tocca under Perfume Houses.