Versace Versense (2009) {Fragrance Review}


Notes: top notes of bergamot, green mandarin, citrus fruit and prickly pear. heart of jasmine, cardamom and sea daffodil, A woody base of sandalwood and cedarwood mixed with olive tree and musk.

The perfume composed by perfumer Alberto Morillas was launched in 2009 as a "light, contemporary bouquet." For me, it all started with a dubitative pout and ended with a feeling of genuine admiration for the qualities of this 2009 release by Versace, one of the designer-fragrance-brands-with-niche-creds, a conceptual category in my vocabulary which, I like to muse, exists to help blur the lines between neat, pre-defined and conventional divides brandished by marketers and snobs alike. Versense is not one of the niche-feeling perfumes by Versace like the 80s Gianni Versace or The Dreamer. It is very much a mainstream product of the house. But it is buttressed by exceptional savviness.

If it starts out by smelling stale from the point of view of the imagination, in the end it sways you with its pure-perfumery qualities of impossible crispness-allied-with-warmth, ample diffusion and winning sillage. In other words, Versense can be considered a technical beast which smells oh-so-good in its very best moments of self-expression....


It opens on extremely crisp, slightly hebaceous, zingy but also fruity notes which are soon mellowed down by a light and creamy vanilla note. The fragrance is visibly a revisit of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue created by perfumer Olivier Cresp. Like in the latter, the woods are present, even fibrous and splinty-dusty a bit, but without ever being obvious. It's woods done in the manner of the proverbial steel hand slipped into a glove of velvet: the hard, character-actor supporting materials suggesting solidity have become pliable and soft and sellable too. It's woods done for women who will not know they are benefitting from a bit of gender-bending acumen. The cedar wood is here as an almost ethereal version of itself...

If initially, one might have turned away, as I did, from Versense thinking it is too stereotypical a fragrance, the drydown phase which characterizes nearly the whole feeling of the perfume seeming to take all of its threads and then make them blend together in a subtler and softer version of themselves, starts making you think otherwise. The olive wood note is beautiful.

While the composition becomes velvetier it never loses its mouthwatering, zesty and juicy Mediterranean lemon-orchard aspect, nor its aerial lightness. This quality only improves overtime, emitting a wondeful sillage full of salt, musk, ambergris and sea air, with a warmth which is restrained, and a delicate, creamy and petal-y floral character with a touch of lychee character added to it too. The green notes of the fragrance are transparent and Celadon-colored. The sweetness is very tempered.

Versense offers the enduring freshness of an Eau de Cologne with the added suggestive carnality of a creamy white flower evocative of magnolia. It is also at this point that it becomes evident to the nose that Versense makes reference not only to Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, but also to a previous, seminal work by perfumer Alberto Morillas, Thierry Mugler Eau de Cologne, a modern version of the 18th century Aqua Mirabilis. More intellectually speaking, the opening with the green mandarin note owes a debt of gratitude to Orange Verte by Hermès created by Françoise Caron.

Versense offers a pitch-perfect contrast of warmth and freshness, but also of flowers and woods, aromates and fruits, making the perfume feel quite irresistible to the sensualist. It is just a delightful and feminine scent with great technical qualities of diffusion and blending. In it you find also a good portion of the history of perfumery which is worth revisiting. If you like the hybrid feel of a fleshier Eau de Cologne which never loses its refreshing quality, this is an apt choice.

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3 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Thank you for a beautifully written review!
    I agree completely with your interpretation of Versense - it's feminine, but it could also be worn by a man because of the elegant wood notes along with the cologny aspects of it.

    And it's exactly, in my view, the interpretation of wood in Versense that makes it more than just another spring-y scent. And which makes it perfectably wearable in colder weather as well.

    Last year I got a very good deal on the body lotion - just in order to try it out. Today I found a good deal on the 30 ml bottle and I look forward to redisocvering Versense.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful review! Versace Versense is not understood by the masses and it's unfortunately a very underrated perfume. It's just so classy and ethereal. My all time favourite for summer.

    • Here's hoping for more focus on Versense! I agree, it really deserves it.

      Chant Wagner

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