Gucci Bamboo (2015) {Perfume Review & Musings}


The new Bamboo by Gucci smells at first - you cannot help but think with some amusement - like how a greedy Panda might be perceiving his favorite bamboo shoots: it's sweet, vanillic and citrusy, which translates as a gourmand bamboo creamsicle more than as a representation of a misty bamboo grove in the mountains of China, not far away from an ancient monastery inhabited by Shaolin monks...

The one point on which we can agree at this stage is that there is symbolism in Bamboo. For Gucci,

"Bamboo flourishes in extreme conditions. Able to withstand a hurricane's force, its natural strength compares to steel. Slender and elegant, bamboo soars willowy over other vegetation. The modern Gucci woman shares bamboo's characteristics. She balances strength and confidence with her innate femininity and poise. She is sensual yet powerful and commanding. She bends yet she does not break. Like bamboo, she is full of vitality, she is adaptable, and she faces life's changes with ease. Possessing inimitable feminine power, she is an alluring mix of many sides."


Gal Gadot is the face of the ad campaign shot by Mert & Marcus

To go back to Bamboo eau de parfum, it still smells sweet, vanillic and citrusy with an undercurrent of creamy white woods. In the family of Gucci fragrances, it resembles Première most. This is a perfume meant to be clean, practical-to-wear and office-friendly. Despite the smoldering imagery selling the fragrance as an evening, seductive perfume rich in lilies, it's mostly demure and safely ground in the practical realities of life which dictate that citric (rather than hesperidic) scents are uplifting, clean and neutral when the fruit is none too visible, while a cloud of vanilla is the equivalent of pre-sliced white bread, i.e., non-committal.

If you want to go further you can recall that tragic-comic moment in the movie Golden Door about Sicilian immigrants to America where at one point, the main character bites into a slice of white bread and enthralled, compares it to the sensation of biting into a marshmallowy white cloud. You may get personally excited by the softness and rarity of whiteness in a fragrance - or you may feel like it's too common and cookie-cut.

Bamboo edp does not wish to take a stand. It does not have a palpable opinion except that it's best to be reserved and mainstream - do these two terms really mesh in American culture? It's a fragrance type reworked but not so much that you lose sense of the type. You've seen it in, say, Tommy Hilfiger Dreaming. Its whisper can be heard in countless youngish women's perfumes designed for those who are after a kick of clean and comforting scent of home and soft soap.


While the personality of Bamboo is that of a universal and pleasant soft soap dispenser (it really makes me think of this) with a stronger and flufflier base of Tahitian vanilla - and we are told ambergris, believe it or not - it is never jarring or out of control or unpleasant. It insists on replacing citruses with citric acid and lilies tend to smell like lemony peaches or magnolias, but otherwise, it's not aiming to unsettle you. The ylang is perceptible but it's not very wild. The drydown is bit more nocturnal in tone and musky, but keep in check.

People who will most appreciate it are those who are after clean lemons and vanilla and not too much trouble. There is probably room for that in virtually everyone of us, at one point in the day, or in our lives.

Fragrance notes: Deep Sandalwood, heady Tahitian Vanilla and unique grey Amber accord, soft Casablanca Lily, feminine Orange Blossom and delicate Ylang Ylang.

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