Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Narciso Rodriguez Narciso For Her: fragrance review

There are brands conceived to claim something very potent, to break with the mold of their times, and to establish themselves in the market, spawning a thousand variations on their theme in their wake. Narciso Rodriguez Narciso For Her is not only a sort of a pioneer (albeit indirectly), coming out in the market as a "nouveau chypre"—a modern take on the mossy "chypre" family of perfumes—but also one of its most radiant representatives: it's hard not to notice a wearer of Narciso For Her, even though the scent itself isn't particularly pungent in any of its broken-apart constituents; not too harsh, too sweet nor too bitter, it's however very noticeable and radiates for miles.


Technically Narciso For Her is a floral woody musk, not a proper "chypre" perfume (chypres are a classic fragrance family of very perfume-y scents with a floral heart sandwiched between fresh bergamot on top and the tension of trickle-like, leather-smelling labdanum resin and mossy, inky oakmoss, from a parasite growing on oaks, in the less volatile stages of the fragrance's development) Narciso For Her instead constructs the scent on vetiver (a Far East grass with a fresh and earthy feel) and fractalized patchouli, meaning a "cleaned up" patchouli essence, manipulated in the lab to divest it of its more hippie-like facets for which the natural extract, with its dirty chocolate overtones, is famous.
The floral component in Narciso is all a fantasy of abstraction: the orange blossom and osmanthus notes are registering as an intense sweetness, but you cannot bring yourself to proclaim "this is X flower, that is Y." Fans often say it doesn't smell like perfume per se and this is its major draw.

The aromachemical Amberlyn (a variation on woody amber notes, another name for Ambrox) plus a cluster of musks supports the floralcy, but most importantly gives tremendous diffusion and lasting power, without gazing everyone in close proximity, the pitfall of many a potent fragrance. The ingenious quality of Ambrox is its ability to come into and out of focus at intervals without being perceived as anything concrete; the person wearing the scent or someone sitting close by that person isn't constantly aware of the potent aromachemical. This allows for the necessary breathing space, alongside the clean egyptian musk at the core of the Narciso For Her scent, but also the necessary time chasm that gives us license to re-appreciate a beautiful thing we have come in contact with. "Look. Turn away. Now look again." If that is the definition of a beautiful human being's impression on those who pass him/her by on the street, Narciso For Her is its analogy in scent terms; smell, now forget about it, then smell again and be charmed anew.

For a breakdown of the concentrations (eau de toilette, eau de parfum, musk oil etc) & flankers of Narciso Rodriguez Narciso For Her fragrance, refer to THIS GUIDE.

More Narciso Rodriguez fragrance reviews and news HERE.
Musk fragrances guide and reviews HERE.


  1. This was a helpful breakdown of a perfume I find hard to describe! Do you know of any fragrances that are similar to NFH, without the massive sillage/longevity? I love that musky smell, even at the base of another perfume, but prefer a more subtle scent.

    1. Glad it was of use.
      There's always Lovely by SJP, a very similar but softer interpretation of that lovely musky scent. I own both.
      Then there's Idylle by Guerlain, slightly different but in the same ballpark.

    2. Thank you so much - after reading your comment I returned to my rollerball of Lovely, which I'd initially dismissed as being too sharp and peppery. It's just perfect.

  2. I have the men’s. Now you’ve made me go and order the women’s. Great review.

  3. I am a big fan of Narciso Rodriguez fragrances. Thanks for this review. Very insightful.


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