The new Vivara by Emilio Pucci officially signed by perfumer François Demachy but in reality co-created by perfumers Natalie Gracia-Cetto and Marie-Aude Bluche of Givaudan is a perfume that manages to surprise you, enchant you, and mesmerize you all along the way. It actually blew my mind. At first you think that it is a very interesting fragrance, then it becomes frankly beautiful, then you think no, it is more than interesting, it is original and a bit strange, yet endlessly beautiful. You then wonder: how did they manage to create a perfume that is both so obviously quirky yet classically and superlatively enchanting?
Vivara will keep you guessing for ever. It is a breathtaking beauty that is extremely sophisticated in its structure and will make your more traditional perfumes look like they were made in the kitchen sink.
Remember the Edmond Roudnitska dictum that says never to compare two perfumes, it is unfair? In this case one would be tempted to add, unlike in fairy tales, hide the other beauty pretenders, here comes the one and it would be just unfair to compare her to others (can you tell I am excited by this new scent?).......
You may have noticed yourself that some modern perfumes are so up-to-date and contemporary in their feel that it makes older perfumes look dated; this is one of them. Vivara is full of surprises, new sensations, new juxtapositions, unconventional contrasts and subtle twists. The packaging with its signature crazy Pucci pattern and seemingly Alice-in-Wonderland psychotropic mushroom vision arising after you have eaten some of it and the caterpillar has vanished into thin air expresses very well part of the personality of the scent. It is as strange and beautiful as the universe imagined by Lewis Caroll and as beguiling. This is a perfume that a grown-up-Alice-turned-perfumer could have created to recall the impressions of an afternoon in Wonderland running after the rabbit and constantly passing from one plane of reality to another, from one size to another. As she says,
`I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, `for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'
`It isn't,' said the Caterpillar.
The perfume starts on a pronounced jasmine tea note that is incongruously and beautifully melded with Amaretto. It could feel like you just sat down in front of the Mad Hatter, but no. This unconventional marriage is surrounded by green grassy and leafy notes with fruity overtones and slight nuances of...... all sorts of things. It is a kaleidoscopic perfume. The Amaretto note is subtle and refined with just the suavest hints of almond and biscotto/meringue, not food-y at all, and behind it one visualizes a very crisp lush green floral bouquet with narcissus and jasmine. We note that there is a little bit of the green and fresh coconut-y jam-y nuance found in Saks For Her by Bond No. 9. All this is lifted in the air by little aldehydic angels that make the scent feel aerial too. Not content with these effects, the perfumer has added an aquatic/ozonic veil impression to the fragrance that interplays with the warmer notes. The scent in the end reveals this truth: it is really too complex and shifting to be described fully; it needs to be experienced.
There is a little metallic amber note that for a moment one is afraid is going to make the perfume smell more banal, but mercifully it is made to intertwine with other notes in a complex fashion.
The iris-butter note is very perceptible and is treated in a very interesting contextual way making one think of bridges that constantly cross each others. It is just époustouflant, mind-blowing! The trademark Pucci patterns have, it seems been reproduced in the structure of the fragrance. Designed by a man, the Marchese Emilio Pucci, who probably eschewed boredom, dullness, and paleness like the plague and sought originality, creativity, and constant mental stimulation, the Pucci aesthetic values are found intact and literally translated in the new jus. And now, orange blossom makes the most intriguing entrance.
Dear readers, it is hopeless, we renounce offering a faithful picture of this scent, it is just too alive. The stages of development seem infinite and forever shifting. On one of my hands the dry-down has reached a certain stage and it is a gorgeous woodsy iris, until it moves again in a further direction.The vetiver and patchouli are also felt, but not one note gains meaning on its own, they all interact constantly lending their facets to the overall polychromic effect as the MET would say regarding a Pucci print. Since perfumes have movement in them it is more like a kaleidoscope, a medieval stained glass for profane hearts.
Notes according to the official description are the following: "its top notes include galbanum, Italian bergamot and an amaretto accord, combined with middle notes of jasmine, orange flower and narcissus flower, rounded out with base notes of Florentine iris, vetiver and Indonesian patchouli."
You can read our review of the original Pucci Vivara (1965)