Perfumer Francesca Bianchi lives in Amsterdam but her perfumes are produced and bottled in Italy. Over the last months, I've heard lots of positive mentions of her Etruscan Water* fragrance online and found myself some samples. Bianchi describes Etruscan Water like this:
...being born and raised in Tuscany, we could go to the beach in the South of the region, where hundreds of years ago our forefathers, the Etruscans, used to live. In order to access ... the most stunning, well hidden small bays...offering the most transparent water, there was a 30 minute walk through the woods. The smell of typical Mediterranean vegetation is charming and, if you are lucky...you could bump into a wild boar — or even some remains of the Etruscan civilization. The salty, refreshing smell of the sea soothes you from the heat of the sun that is warming up your skin. The second source of inspiration is my personal research on masterpieces of perfumery, as I have recently been intrigued by the classical masculine citrus-y cologne — not the light ones, but those with a strong character.
What can I say? If there's one place I'd like to leave for TODAY, it's Italy, and Bianchi's description is refreshing and apt. Etruscan Water is an old-fashioned (in the best sense) rustic rendition of liquor-y citrus colognes of yore...the ones that didn't disappear in minutes after application, the ones with a touch of perspiration (salty and sexy). When I let my spouse smell it, he said it reminded him of vintage Jean Patou perfumes — a high compliment.
Etruscan Water starts with a burst of petitgrain, syrupy citrus and immortelle (it would make a wonderful summer liqueur; just add sparkling water or prosecco). For all its sweetness, the perfume is bracing and lusty. In mid-development, Etruscan Water presents an interesting, 'jubilant' accord: floral (lots of jasmine), verdant, with a root-y touch (the iris?) Ambergris-musk and oakmoss round out the perfume and usher in a reunion of sorts of all that's gone before (just lighter in character, a bit talc-y). But: Etruscan Water is not a light cologne; this is a fragrance in which all phases of development have weight and excellent projection and lasting power. I'm thinking 30 ml of Etruscan Water would last a long time.
Francesca Bianchi Etruscan Water Extrait de Parfum is €98 for 30 ml. It's available in the US at Indigo Perfumery for $135; Indigo also offers samples for purchase.
*Listed fragrance notes include bergamot, unripe tangerine, grapefruit, petitgrain, basil, caraway, immortelle, jasmine, iris, ambergris, musk, labdanum, vetiver and oakmoss.