Tocca Isabel (2015) {Perfume Review & Musings}


The latest fragrance from Tocca is named Isabel. This is the 12th "girl" perfume in the stables of the brand. Sometimes inspired by a historical feminine figure such as Cleopatra or Brigitte (Bardot), this time Isabel is a floating archetype...

A chic city girl from Barcelona, Isabel is an unconventional yet remarkable beauty. Like her hometown, she is eclectic, unpredictable, and captivating. Whether hiking the seaside mountains, exploring the Raval, or documenting the city's street art, Isabel's natural magnetism draws you in.

Isabel edp opens on a green, bud-like rose revealing warmer accents underneath yet remaining crisp. The more animalic effluvia come from the jasmine note which has kept a carnal aspect. Vanilla too contributes to counterbalancing the greenness of the rose. The more oriental accents of guaiacwood and amber follow suit.


The composition is a demure and fresh rose scent which diverges off the expected straight and narrow path of white Claudine-collar virtue thanks to a leather accord and a taste for Sangria spiked with syrupy pear slices.

The result is a fruity rose perfume with a fattier feel than average, a density of notes with a borderline sickening sensation of feeling too much, too "red" in a sense like when you watch a blood red color which is too violent. Not that the perfume feels that red. Or if it is red, it is the color of dried blood. The effect is that of a room with little to no light.

From this struggle with opacity and perhaps a culture of death - did the Givaudan perfumers (no names are named) have in mind the Spanish art of bullfighting? - emerges after a while, anew, a lighter rose. Then there is a bit more subtlety. You get a softer sueded rose. The light shines again and the rose offers younger, tarter nuances.

This fragrance is for someone who likes a bit of a Goth world thrown into a rose perfume. If the fragrance were called Death and Decay on a Bed of Dried Rose Petals, I would call it the first stage of that scenario. It reminds me of Body Fantasies Vampire. Isabel is pretty on the outside but is prone to dark thoughts on the inside. Do not be lured only by that inkwell bottle, the ink might smell of blood and punishment. To put it otherwise, if you are a rose lover, your rendez-vous is in the top and longer drydown where the anticipated loveliness of the Spanish rose is best showcased. Prepare to get whipped in the middle notes with a leather martinet and to get overwhelmed by an undisclosed taste for sweet blood. After all, "sangria" does come from the word which means "blood." But it is not "sangre" in Spanish but "sang-gris"* in French which marks that origin which in all cases is an allusion to the red-blood color of wine and its Christian symbolism. Somehow, Isabel is one of those private-joke perfumes by perfumers who like to insert some double-entendres and work with several layers of meaning. This is why the perfume ends up feeling a bit like some coagulant was added, just for fun.

Fragrance notes: Bergamot, Mediterranean Orange, Pear, Sangria Accord / Spanish Rose, Leather Accord, Vetiver, Turkish Rose Petals / Guiacwood, Amber, Vanilla.

* Sang-gris: Sang-gris according to the French dictionary Littré was a beverage made of red wine, spices, lemon and fruits made in the French Caraibes, or it could also be a drink made of red wine in which tea was left to infuse, popular on Northern ships.

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