Bruno Fazzolari Ummagumma is a mess. For some people, it will be cravable mess. If you order cheeseburgers with bacon — and, come to think of it, why not mushrooms and a few slices of avocado, too? — Ummagumma might be your Holy Grail.
Ummagumma (pronounced “oo-ma-goo-ma”) is the name of a Pink Floyd album. It came from a roadie’s slang word for sex.1 Ummagumma’s notes include saffron, carnation, chocolate, tobacco, leather, labdanum, sandalwood, cedar, frankincense, tonka bean and vanilla. Can’t decide between a gourmand or an incense fragrance or a tough leather? With Ummagumma, you get them all.
First dabbed from the sample tube, Ummagumma smells like soft, sweet chocolate. When I was a kid, as a treat we’d get sundaes topped with thick chocolate sauce from a jar that was meant to be warmed in the microwave (not the darker, runnier sauce from a can). This is the kind of chocolate I smell.
Within a few minutes, incense edges in and eventually dominates the chocolate. A veil of skank briefly descends over the fragrance until incense’s cold turpentine sets it straight. At this point, Ummagumma is still getting comfortable. After a quarter of an hour, the fragrance relaxes into a soft woody incense with a gentle tonka-vanilla note.
Although it’s loaded with character, Ummagumma isn’t a sillage hog. (Note: I haven’t sprayed it on my skin, which might make a difference.) Just a few drops last from breakfast to mid-afternoon. Toward the end, the chocolate is long gone and incense gives way to a musky tonka and cedar, and, eventually, to a bare musk-vanilla wisp.
Ummagumma reminds me of Arquiste Nanban, another rich, basenote-heavy kitchen sink of a fragrance. It’s opaque and comforting, and wearing it is something like I’d imagine it would be to hang out in a warm coffee shop on a rainy morning when the Hells Angels dropped in for mochas after church.
The members of Pink Floyd might just love Ummagumma, and the owner of Fumerie, my local perfume shop, says it’s been super popular. I completely understand. That said, for my rock and roll-inspired perfume, I’ll take the equally lush but (to me) more legible Une Nuit Nomade Memory Motel.
Bruno Fazzolari Ummagumma is $125 for 30 ml of Eau de Parfum. For information on where to buy it, see Bruno Fazzolari under Perfume Houses.
1. Per Wikipedia. When they start naming perfumes after Blossom Dearie songs, I’ll be able to report firsthand.