In an effort to identify and spotlight excellence in perfumery, WWD’s world-class panel of experts reviews promising new fragrances as they come onto the market. This week Acqua di Parma by Acqua Nobile Rosa is being examined.
This is a blind test: Panelists are given vials of unidentified scent to judge impartially. Each of them gives a score ranging from 1 (forgettable) to 10 (unforgettable) and the numbers are computed into a final grade. The judges, led by chairman Michael Edwards, also make critiques which are unattributed. Just as the identity of the product is kept secret from the judges to guard against bias, the panelists’ personal opinions are not revealed to encourage candor. The most promising scents are picked for judging and WWD buys the products at retail, like any other consumer.
The Verdict: As in past cases, opinions were mixed. A majority of judges gave it good marks for zest and freshness of the floral composition. But a number of them also criticized it for lacking originality and staying power.
“A fruity rose that feels as fizzy and sparkling as a sip of Champagne. Unfortunately, bubbles go flat quickly.”
“Young and innocent, fresh floral, fruity edible.”
“Elegant, smooth, metallic rose. Not hugely original, but beautifully executed.”
“This fragrance is well-balanced and easy to wear. It also has dewy and lovely green notes. This perfume has a nice feeling of quality to it. This fragrance has a happy disposition.”
“A pretty rose.”
“This fragrance opens with crisp, green and zesty notes, and then reveals a complex rose, violet and spicy bouquet, before wearing to a medley of warm, amber notes. Sadly, it doesn’t stay for as long on the skin as I would have liked.”
“The first top notes are quite agreeable, floral and fresh (rose floral) but after, it turns into a more floral, green, fruity. It’s less pleasant, particularly not original and easily commercial.”
“The appeal of this beautifully composed scent is truly cross-generational: the creamy sensuality of the rose will capture the interest of a sophisticated, experienced woman, while the tangy citrus zest adds a playfulness that will intrigue her daughter.”
“A tiny interesting rhubarb note mixed with a tar effect develops at first, but is quickly suffocated by a vanilla/floral/woody déjà vu envelope. The rhubarb, the creamy floralcy and the bitter wood coupled to the fruitiness could have led to a much, much more interesting scent.”
“A common floral-rose, green, fruity fragrance. Not original. Weak. Could be niche or prestige, no signature.”
“At first interesting, spicy and unusual. However, it doesn’t last, so, not memorable at all.
ABOUT THE TEST AND JUDGES: This is a blind test, panelists are given vials of unidentified scent to judge impartially. Each of them gives a score ranging from 1 (forgettable) to 10 (unforgettable) and the numbers are computed into a final grade. The judges, led by chairman Michael Edwards, also make critiques, which are unattributed to encourage candor. The most promising scents are picked for judging in an effort to find and showcase excellence. WWD buys the products at retail, like any other consumer. The esteemed judges are: Michael Edwards, author of “Fragrances of the World” and “Perfume Legends”; Paul Austin, chief executive officer of sensory storytelling agency Austin Advisory Group; Jean-Claude Delville, senior perfumer at Drom; Karen Dubin, founder and ceo of Sniffapalooza; Victoria Frolova, fragrance industry analyst and Bois de Jasmin editor; Christophe Laudamiel, master perfumer at DreamAir; Nathalie Pichard, owner of training and evaluation agency Topnotes; Chantal Roos, cocreator of Roos & Roos Co.; Luca Turin, biophysicist and perfume critic for arabia.style.com, and Kevin Verspoor, founder of PerfumeKev LLC.