Saturday, August 7, 2010

Eau d'Italie - Au Lac

Watery floral

The PR material from Eau d'Italie tells me that Au Lac was inspired by the early 20th century love affair between Italian Princess Vittoria Colonna and Futurist artist Umberto Boccioni. Part of this affair took place on an island in Lake Maggiore in an Italian garden near the shore. Au Lac is supposed to smell like "A gorgeous Italian garden at the height of summer, the air filled with the scent of flowers and the fresh waters of a lake...", you get the picture.

What does Au Lac smell like? Watery lotus, a hint of palest green, some airy, barely there osmanthus, mineral water and laundry-clean musk.

When I smell Au Lac the country that comes to mind isn't Italy, it's Japan. Specifically, the famous aversion the Japanese have to wearing perfumes that you can actually smell. Chandler Burr has written about this, Display It, don't Spray It,  and a recent article in the Japan Times says the same thing:
The Japanese can tell if someone is wearing perfume from three train cars away, and are quick to wrinkle their noses. It just puts them into a funk. They will likely swear the smell has clung to their nose hairs or taken up residence in their nasal membranes where they will have to inhale the offensive perfume for the rest of the day.
The Japanese cosmetics market is huge, but perfume sales are low - nothing compared to the European and North American markets. So, how does a perfume house make it big in Japan? Make more perfumes that don't smell of very much at all.  Many perfumes bloggers have alluded to this phenomenon, remarking that this or that new sheer, "clean" perfume or "anti-perfume" like L'Eau Serge Lutens, must be for the "japanese market."

I guess there's enough perfume in the world to suit everybody's tastes but, as for me, I'd like a little more "there" there. A little funk for my trunk. Even (horrors) a waft in my wake. I don't want to cause a stampede on the subway but, when I huff my wrist, I want to smell something more than water with petals floating on top.

House: Eau d'Italie
Nose: Alberto Morillas
Notes: Water Lily, Bitter Orange Leaves, Panarea Fig Leaves, Osmanthus, Italic Rose Bud, Sambac Jasmine Petals, Papyrus, Mineral Amber

Photo: Nganguyen


  1. So interesting review! And thank you for the link. I didn't know that the Japanese don't use perfumes. Now I've learned something. :-)

  2. You're welcome. I've never been to Japan myself, but I love all things Japanese. Wouldn't it be fun to visit Japan in a cloud of Fracas and test those reports?

  3. This has been a fragrance that I have wanted to try. But, from your review, it seems like something that I would find dull. The thought of "water lotus" bores me.
    I worked in the fragrance industry and remember all of the "Asian" launches. They reminded me of floral waters used as toners, not only are they light but they quickly evaporate. Usually they last about 10-15 minutes, no joke.
    I'm with you. I want more funk in my trunk. LOL

  4. tu: It smells mostly like "water lotus" but the musks in the base last longer than 15 minutes at least. Thanks for dropping by. I'd love to hear any other industry insights you might have, come back anytime.


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