Friday, May 2, 2014

Dolce Eau de Parfum by Dolce & Gabbana: fragrance review

One could be excused for getting all dreamy eyed and nostalgic à la Nuovo Cinema Paradiso upon watching the latest commercial by Dolce & Gabbana for their feminine fragrance launch, Dolce eau de parfum. They could be excused for erupting in twirly pirouettes filled with longing at the sight of the super pretty bottle, its flower cap, its grosgrain bow, its retro typeface. But what one can't possibly excuse is getting worked up over the fragrance of Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana itself, because, frankly, it's so programmatically "not"-so-many-things that it gets very hard to describe it.

It's not really floral, despite the ad copy and the images of orange groves in full bloom. Not indolic-smelling, which comes hand in hand with white flower fragrances. Not woody either. Nor citrusy. Not particularly feminine if your notion of femininity is not terribly challenged by a particular philosophic system of which I am not accountable for. Not anything special in the fresh fragrance slot. Not distinctive, not unique by any stretch of the imagination. Not offensive either, but that's damning it with faint praise.

"Neroli leaves" (come again?), papaya flower, white amaryllis, narcissus, white water lily, sandalwood. Where are all these things?

A clean, lightly aqueous neroli scent with a faint musky underpinning that won't get you noticed even if your life depended on it, Dolce eau de parfum projects "meh-shampoo" in a me-too-pool of similar scents for women afraid to use fragrance with any conviction. It could just be the perfect culmination of a product that looks like a perfume but doesn't perform like one for our crazy times. Even if destined to the very young or the very inexperienced, there is nothing in Dolce eau de parfum of the flush of daring and defiance that a truant teenager might indulge into, swiftly exchanging her smart pants and sweater for a cut off blouse and heels in secret at the ante-room of her house to go out with the hip crowd of her school. It's also so faint for an eau de parfum to make one seriously doubt their nose. If this gets released in eau de toilette there will be someone doing a cartoonish, evil laugh all the way to the bank, because they might as well be selling plain water for all the dilution.

So why am I even bothering to review it, you ask?

Simple. It's the first original release by the Italian brand that is not a flanker or re-issue in what feels like eons. I'm susceptible. I love Italian style.

Additionally, I can be excused for feeling a pang of what Swedes call 'smultronställe' , literally a wild strawberry patch, but figuratively a sentimentally laden spot returned to for solace, an escape from sadness.  Sicily is Dolce & Gabbana's spot. My own smultronställe has been orange groves in full bloom from my childhood like the ones shown in the romantic commercial for Dolce eau de parfum. I might be excused for seeking them into a bottle of fragrance advertised with exactly those images in neorealist style and nostalgic color saturation…

A really wasted chance, if you ask me. Bring back Sicily. 


  1. Maria04:46

    Yep, bring back Sicily!

  2. Laurels07:04

    That commercial got to me, too. Sent me to Sephora for a sample. I have to say, I didn't find Dolce nearly as weak as you did. On me, it is so assertively aquatic that it got on my nerves.

  3. I have not tried the fragrance but love the commercial! Sicily was one of my favorites.

  4. You are so right, Elena. This fragrance is SO disappointing. It's blah, it's meh. It's sad.

  5. spankysparkle19:49

    So right. It did nothing at all for me, so boring. Agree, bring back the wonderful Sicily.

  6. Mary K22:20

    I haven't sampled this yet, but I would love to see Sicily come back!(I do like the ad for their new scent, though.)

  7. Miss Heliotrope03:08

    So many things these days are centered (I nearly typo-ed the pun scentered, but there you go) on appearances. Females (I know not entirely, but cant be bothered fighting that corner) are meant to wear perfume, or at least own some, or have a pretty bottle on a dresser. So here you go. Dont worry about having a scent, or having to deal with putting forward your own taste in such things, have a perfume that isnt & you've covered having perfume without venturing into the deep waters of individuality. We spend a lot of time these days talking about being individual, but not so much time accepting anyone who truly is so.

  8. Maria,

    I wonder if they will! ;-)

  9. Laurels,

    yeah, isn't it totally romantic? (in a good, innocent, dreamy way). I got an aqueous feel but not the Calone treatment, so it wasn't that powerful. Who knows, I might even appreciate Calone if it was assertive enough to make a bleep to me but…nada. So non descript it hurts!

  10. Phyllis,

    it's a bit of a rip off, since they hook us with the commercial and then yank so hard….
    I hope they bring back Sicily as well. I didn't love it back then, because my aldehydics were more of the No.5 style, but would like it now that the style is so out of pace with the trends. ;-) :-P

  11. C,

    disappointing is exactly what it is. I'm not a bottle person, but it was quite charming to look at and then….bham, boredom to the point of tears.

  12. Spanky,

    I wonder if we're such a minority. It's odd. Light Blue can be light and not hardcore perfumista stuff, but I can see its appeal. This? I cannot by any stretch.

  13. Mary,

    you're losing anything, you know. Everything you can savor is savored with the eyes. :-P

    Sicily has a small cult following I see. Hope someone is reading.

  14. MH,

    I think you hit the nail on the head and quite forcefully too. Truer words have never been said.
    This is exactly it. Perfume for the sake of validating the "need" for having a perfume around, but something that can't be enjoyed as such by anyone.

    It's indeed very sad that we talk about individuality so much but are so politically correct that we negate that in our actions.
    Bring on the quirky things!!

  15. I really like your reviews and read them whenever I get a chance, though this is the first time that I am commenting on any of your posts.

    I haven't gotten around to trying out Dolce as yet.

    My favourite by Dolce & Gabbana is 'The One'.

    Infact, I have even posted a detailed review on it, titled:
    "THE ONE FOR ME...!
    On my blog,

    Please do check it out when you have time, thanks...!


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