Saturday, December 13, 2008

Review: NASOMATTO China White

I wish I could get all terribly, terribly frothy about the name 'China White' being an allusion to heroin but I can't. And the crackled porcelain cap reminds me of a toilet bowl... which, however, is not totally out of mis-en-scène for heroin. And which in fact is helped by a whiff of something like sharp urinal cake or subway tunnel wind in this green-powdery composition. But I do find the 'strength of fragility' copy Nasomatto gives it more interesting -- though, admittedly, more intriguing in its obscurity than comprehensible. At least, I am not sure what it is meant to mean and Nasomatto does not seem particularly forthcoming about it.

Neither are they about 'notes': no official perfume/scent notes for China White. Inconvenient, but I can't seem to get frothy about that, either. Maybe I am merely determined to be unexcitable. But I do like this. It is a rather thin green floral on cold sniff but on the skin, after the citron-ish citrus and lily-like vague flowery opening, in comes some interest -- a good dose of smoke and vetiver, dry grass, orris, something mildly rosy like centifolia, something leathery, and civet. Most prominent for me are the vetiver and the civet, but the rest of it make for a very pleasant background dry powderiness, light but persistent, against the green-sharp.

I quite like these herbal-powdery contrasts, in general. Unusual and underused, I think. Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate is another that comes to mind, but that is brighter, sweeter, and rather breezy, whereas China White has a slight edge to it, like Piguet Bandit very much emaciated. A little bitter, a hint of dark.

A very sleeper of a hit.

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