Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tommi Sooni Tarantella: fragrance review

Australian niche perfume house Tommi Sooni can be proud of one thing among many others: They don't charge premium prices for second-rate garbage. Tarantella, their first entry into the game of niche perfumery back in 2008, is a robust, confident and sparkling old-school aldehydic chypre fragrance which delights both the senses and the intellect with its grace and delicately soapy radiance. The wisdom (but also the faith!) lies in positioning their scent correctly; Tarantella, like all their fragrances, is aimed at the 25+ age group. And lo and behold, my dear readers, what makes a fragrance company insightful!

Yes, obviously this is no scent for contemporary teenagers who are totally alienated from the smell of proper perfume (proper soap too, come to think of it, everything is so tutti-fruity in this My Little Cupcake culture!), but they have the guts to offer it to the young woman who is not over the hill; the young woman who longs to find something elegant, something polished,as  unique and as smart as herself; or perhaps the mature woman who wants a new fragrance that represents quality, but who doesn't want to get stuck in a rut, buying the same old, same old over and over again (especially since retro fragrances have for the most part being reformulated catastrophically).
Tarantella does not disappoint in any of those aspects and you will find yourself nodding your head with appreciation upon discovering this gem.

First and foremost I was entirely taken by the wonderful radiance of Tarantella, like bright early afternoon sunlight filtered through the coloured-glasspanes of a picturesque church in the South of Europe, which -much like the homonymous Sicilian dance- is ekphrastic and generous in spirit. The inspiration for the fragrance first came to the creators in a fragrant garden, filled with plants from Southern Italy indeed, in the atmospheric town of Avignon, France. "Encircled by a ring of bay laurel trees and brimming with exotic flora native to the Island of Sicily, this beautiful walled garden held the key to Tarantella eau de parfum."
Perfumer Brett Schlitter combined the bracing bitterish galbanum resin in the opening ~felt rising from the bottom of the formula, it being a tenacious grass resin ~ with shiny, soapy  aldehydes with citrusy facets; this combination instantly gives that retro elegance which we associate with such wonderful specimens of graceful femininity as Cache, Ivoire, Private Collection and Diorella.
The floral elements, rich and indefinable, truly blended into one delightful, subtly erotic chord, are ladylike with a hidden desire beneath the soapy veneer. The flower notes do not becom distinguishable, all the essences sing in unison like a choir; the perfume doesn't "break apart" as perfumers say on the blotter or skin, it has solid structure. The overall bittersweet character of the fragrance is luxurious and sensual, like bedroom eyes that close just for you, not everyone in the general vicinity. Inside the depths of the Tommi Sooni perfume, herbal (bay, patchouli) and subtly leathery elements smoothen the proceedings, flowing like a piano cadenza from agile hands, a sophisticated halo of sultry but intelligent chords, like Charlotte Rampling herself, the icon that inspired the perfumer of this modern delight. The lasting power and sillage are satisfactory, more than average.
In a sea of "me too" fragrances, Tommi Sooni's Tarantella is a beacon that says not all is lost and the future holds exciting discoveries to unearth as well.

Steven Broadhurst, creative director of Tommi Sooni, minces no words when he comments on the meh factor of so many recent releases:
"Mass marketing has proved to be less thoughtful about art in perfume but then again our expectations are generally lower when we visit a perfume counter in a department store or perfume discounter. This is not to say art in perfume cannot be found in a department store, it can but you need a strong spirit and determination to find it.
Today we find wonderful perfumes being created in unexpected corners of the world. This simply wasn't happening not too long ago. Noses in many cultures are reflecting their surroundings and expressing unique life experiences through perfume creation. This can only be a good thing as the perfume world expands into an ever shrinking global community."
[quote from]

The logo on the Tommi Sooni bottle, a nude Etruscan- looking woman carrying a faceted diamond, was inspired by a vintage perfume box etching hailing from the 1920's and was reworked by Steven Broadhurst himself into the design which characterises his whole line. It's lovely!

Notes for Tommi Sooni Tarantella:
Aldehydes, galbanum, orange blossom, French marigold, Sicilian mandarin, Frangipani, muguet, jasmine, orris, Anatolian rose, bay laurel, clove, Patchouli, amber, leather, moss, sandalwood, intense musk

Available in 50ml/1.7oz Eau de Parfum concentration for 180$.

Still from the Woody Allen film Stardust Memories, with Charlotte Rampling.
In the interests of disclosure, I was sent a sample vial by the company.


  1. Anonymous23:24

    You have a way of making everything sound incredible, how's that, you have me drooling over this never heard of before fragrance, now, where can one test it?


  2. A,

    it's at Luckyscent. I suppose there are stockists mentioned in the official Tommi Sooni site too.


Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu, below text box (Anonymous is fine too!) and hit Publish.
And you're set!

This Month's Popular Posts on Perfume Shrine