Sunday, 16 October 2011

Bottega Veneta EDP Review: Cashmere Mist Goes To Finishing School

Not long after "sudden onset perfume mania" struck in early 2008, I progressed from printing out sheaves of fragrance pyramids of individual scents from Osmoz to setting about acquiring samples to try. The very first of these was a twin pack of DKNY Delicious Night and Cashmere Mist. The steel wool and Ribena disaster that is the former nearly put me off my nascent hobby for ever, while the latter appealed to me primarily on account of the name. Back then, I wouldn't have been able to tell benzoin from a bento box or Benny Hill.

I wore the spray vial of Cashmere Mist on the first day of a long work trip, to meetings with shoe factories on the Dutch/German border. It was a grey, damp, mizzly kind of day that makes you feel cold to your bones, and the perfume acted as a cosy scarf. I shan't say cashmere, because it was a bit rougher than that - let's go with mohair for now, but that is really a bit too far along the scratchy spectrum.

Notes: bergamot, jasmine, lily of the valley, suede, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, musk and cashmere

And before long I discovered the swap scene, and thanks to lovethescents Cashmere Mist became my first full bottle of perfume (if you discount the seven year old bottle of EL Intuition, which had gone quietly rancid on my bedroom windowsill at some point between 2001 and 2008).

Fast forward three and a half years to the launch of Bottega Veneta EDP. I have now looked this house up and clocked that it is a luxury Italian brand of leather goods. I rather like the look of the ones with a basket weave effect. The name is a bit of a mouthful, mind. The word "Bottega" made me think of "bodega", which in turn makes me think of Spanish wine bars and that place in Northern California where they shot The Birds.

With mounting interest, I read Denyse of Grain de Musc's account of her visit to Paris to meet the perfumer, Michel Almairac, at the launch event - also attended by Katie Puckrik - and each subsequent review I have come across has served to fuel my anticipation further.

Katie sums up this scent in a tweet as: "a secret leather accord femmed up with jasmine". I realise that I am drawn to perfumes with a secret accord of any kind - it is becoming clear to me that I like a hint of mystery in a fragrance... It was Katie indeed who pointed out the secret leather accord in another recent love of mine, L'Agent by Agent Provocateur, and I am pleased to report that I have finally detected it! I'd say that Ormonde Jayne's Ta'if smells mysterious too, though I couldn't put my finger on why exactly. Secret date accord? Accord for a secret date, more like. : - )

Anyway, back to Bottega Veneta and its link to Cashmere Mist. Here is the leatherless note list:

Notes: "bergamot, pink pepper, jasmine, plum, patchouli, benzoin and oakmoss"

The overall vibe of Bottega Veneta is very soft and tender. It's quite rich and fruity initially - possibly the pepper and plum, or maybe even the patchouli? peeking through - but this fades fast. The benzoin gives it that vanillic, fuzzy aspect, but it is less fuzzy and more refined than in Cashmere Mist, which has a slightly synthetic feel if I am honest. Yes, this is Cashmere Mist that has gone to finishing school. The leather note in Bottega Veneta is suede-y rather than leathery, as Olfactoria also found, dubbing it "graceful suede". Cashmere Mist has suede too, but it is quite muted and I get more benzoin than leather of any kind.

Bottega Veneta is also reminiscent of Daim Blond, another fuzzy scent that was sadly raspy on me - in my review I described it as "suede-scented white noise". And then there is a peachy/apricoty note in Bottega Veneta which isn't in Cashmere Mist and which - dare I say it - makes me think of YSL Belle d'Opium. And that also ties back to Daim Blond, which is fuzzy, suede-y AND apricot-y, though not in a good way. And of course apricots have a slightly furry texture, and that is about the level of "nap" we are speaking of in Bottega Veneta.

Notes: "Leather, Iris, Apricot Kernel, Musk, Hawthorn, Jasmine, Cardamom, Heliotrope"

Crucially, there is no apricot or peach listed in Bottega Veneta, and I am struggling to spot the jasmine: it's plum, apricot, patchouli, suede and benzoin for me, but way smoother than those notes connote!

So anyway, between those three fragrances, I think I have covered off the other scents Bottega Veneta reminds me of...Okay, maybe also a teeny bit of Indult Isvaraya (jasmine, plum patchouli), but that is heavier and darker by comparison. Good winter choice, though, while Bottega Veneta fits this time of year perfectly.

In summary then, Bottega Veneta is a sophisticated Cashmere Mist with added fruit and a more pronounced suede note. So nothing like it then, I hear you cry, but it was an inspirational starting point, so that counts! I guess Bottega Veneta also deserves a more ethereal name, if DKNY's more mainstream offering gets one. Hmm, something like "Suede Mist", say. Yes, that is perfect.

The day I tried Bottega Veneta for the first time, I met up with a friend at pilates, who had stopped wearing perfume - distracted by the needs of her growing family - but is keen to experiment now. I surprised her with one of my carded samples (I bought a few, in lieu of a bottle), and she thanked me. "It's very soft and soothing", I said, "so I thought it might be a good place for you to start."

"Oh great!" she replied. "I've got a big day tomorrow, with loads of people coming to an event that I have organised. So I might just wear your perfume then, as I need to stay calm."

I inquired where this event was taking place, and it turned out to be IN A LEATHER MUSEUM...My friend could have just done with that nice statement bag and she'd have been all set.

As for me, given my well-documented penchant for all things quiet and understated, I feel as though I have "come home" with Bottega Veneta. It's early days of course, and I should factor in my Flittersniffer Flibbertygibbet persona, but Bottega Veneta may have all the credentials to be that alien construct of a signature scent, were I ever so self-denying as to assign myself such a thing. Yes, if any perfume could whip me into scent monogamy submission, this floral leather chypre might just be the one.

Photo of Bottega Veneta from the company's website, photo of Cashmere Mist from, photo of bag from, photo of gloves from, photo of gaiters from the leather museum's website.


Tara said...

Lovely review of a lovely perfume Vanessa. "Suede Mist" is very apt.

I liked Daim Blond a lot before the sweet apricots/helliotrope just got too much for me. I also thought it also resembled 31 RC about one or two hours in. I've only tried BV twice and couldn't find it while out shopping yesterday but it's going on my Christmas list.

BTW I'm not an IT bag/designer shoes kind of gal but I think those basket weave designs are gorgeous too.

Wordbird said...

This is a category of scents that I like very much too. Funny how so many of us are drawn to Cashmere Mist when we start out as fledgling perfumistas. I have a bottle too.
I'd be interested to know how you feel about another 'light leather' - Hermes Kelly Caleche. It's very definitely an Ellena, but I get transparent leather with the gentle roses.

Mmm. Bottega Veneta is right at the top of my must try list now. :)

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

Thanks for that! There is something just not quite right about Daim Blond on me - the notes are discordant somehow and it goes a bit sweaty insole on me as well. CdG Daphne was weird on my skin in a similar indefinable fashion.

Now I am not an IT bag kind of gal either, but I would make an exception for the basket weave style too - possibly even in silver...

; - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Wordbird,

Yes, isn't that funny about Cashmere Mist? Something tells me Mals86 has it too, but my memory of her connection with it is (aptly enough) a bit fuzzy...!

Olfactoria gave me a sample of Kelly Caleche in the summer and I wore it on a warm day and liked it very much. Yes, "muted leather scents" is fast becoming a bit of a favourite subcategory for me. And you of course introduced me to Sonia Rykiel Woman Not For Men!, which I wouldn't describe as muted now, but it is leather all right.

: - )

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I very much like your Flittersniffer Flibbertygibbet persona :D

Great review of this one, I chanced a sample in a care package from a fellow perfumista. It is very subtle and understated, a trait that I normally shy away from, but this does smell lovely!

Anonymous said...

This is a possible love for me as well. I haven't gotten my hand on either sample or bottle yet, but have been haunting Neiman Marcus for weeks spraying it on myself every chance I got. I suppose I should just buy the darn thing.

Vanessa said...

Hi Candy Perfume Boy,

My Flittersniffer Flibbertygibbet Persona has of course recently been exemplified in my curious rapprochement with civet...

: - )

I am thinking you must like Puredistance1 then in terms of your usual genre, if you know it? Bottega Veneta is really apricot-y on me now and it's been on all day, and PD1 also has fruit in it.

Yes, this is really "Apricot Suede Mist", though that is less snappy.

Vanessa said...

Hi anotherperfumeblog,

You could buy it of course, or you could just take up residence in Neiman Marcus, like that chap who lived at Charles de Gaulle airport for 17 years?

Ari said...

I thought this one was REALLY nice. If they advertised it well, it could sell like crazy. Can't imagine anyone being averse to it.

Vanessa said...

Hi Ari,

I agree, and by way of confirmation can tell you that Mrs Bonkers Senior is a fan and asked to keep the sample I gave her to try. "This might even replace the Opium" she remarked, referring to the small decants of Fleur de Shanghai with which I keep her supplied. So that's fighting talk! Could be a mutual Christmas list item, I sense.

Anonymous said...

As I have told everyone who wanted to hear it or not, time and again - this is my favorite fall release so far. I really, really love it. What makes me very sad though, is that my husband hates it, really hates it. That kind of takes the fun out for me. :(
I liked your review a lot! If I didn't already know it, I would seek it out now for sure.
BTW, touching a Bottega Veneta weave bag is rumored to be addictive, so I have abstained from doing so for budgetary reasons...but I really want to.

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfactoria,

Mr Olfactoria doesn't love Bottega Veneta too? Now, up to this point I have held him - and his sundry bits of dental care advice you have kindly relayed to me - in very high regard, but his halo is slipping slightly now. Is it the leather he has a problem with? Or the unlisted but pervasive apricot note? Or does he think that the wearing of this scent may induce unbridled spendthrift tendencies in spouses?

I think he may need therapy - and you are the ideal person for the job!

PS At some point - when he has rejoined the human race - you might just mention to Mr O that according to my dentist, out of all his patients I am "the most occlusally aware". I was very chuffed to learn that there is something I excel at without even trying!

Pat Borow said...

Hi Vanessa - Same taste still - BV is one of the few bottles I've bought since my four-year buying frenzy while blogging (Olfactarama). Should also mention that it lasts and lasts and lasts!

Vanessa said...

Hi Pat,

Lovely to hear from were the first blogger of the 10+ years ago generation to add me to your blog roll, if I am not mistaken. ;)

I think BV is the sort of wearable scent you could buy someone blind...not that I would!