We take a look at a perfume inspired by a dance, an ancient Mediterranean folkloric dance, no less. Will this scent whirl us off our feet or will it fall flat on its face?
Bergamot, mandarin, blackcurrant, orange flower, jasmine, lily of the valley, white amber, musk, vetiver.
When the marketing around a perfume says that a scent is inspired by something as distantly related to scent as a folkloric dance, it’s easy to wonder if the scent will be able to conjure up the same images that idea evokes. To dance is often an expression of embodied joy and storytelling so it was with a joyfully expectant heart that we approached this scent – one of Carner’s lesser discussed creations.
Bo-Bo opens with a bright citrusy twirl. Both the zesty, sour bergamot, and the sweeter, juicier mandarin are discernible. Behind them both, the blackcurrant adds a tart astringency that makes the citrus pop. There’s a little soapiness there too, which gives a clean tone to the fragrance and very much gives the impression that this is a versatile and easy to wear scent. Immediately, right from the first moments this fragrance feels unisex. It’s the sort of the fragrance that would wear well on a regular basis, such as every day to the office.
Bo-Bo is from Carner’s fresh range of three fragrances and so far so good in terms of the sparkly fresh vibe it imparts.
We haven’t yet been able to find out what the Bo-Bo dance looks like, but if we were to imagine – based on this fragrance – it would start off fast, energetic, lively, all lifts and high kicks. Then, gradually, it would slow, flowing in reels and spirals across the dance floor. That’s what happens with the scent. The lively citruses give way to a more floral aspect and the whole scent seems to slow down as it wears.
The flowery tones of orange flower, jasmine and lily of the valley are restrained by the lingering citrusy notes so the perfume doesn’t become too floral. The two different elements balancing each other nicely. The flowers add a lovely coziness, rather reminiscent of a warm summer’s evening in the Mediterranean, when the earth and stones of buildings radiate back the heat of the day.
The energy of the scent decreases significantly during this phase; what started off as lively becomes much slower now and more controlled. Bo-Bo has a gauzy, transparent vibe throughout, but perhaps most noticeable in the heart. It feels floaty and weightless at times, like a light scarf caught and lifted by a sea breeze. There is even a salty wateriness in the background of the scent which evokes that seaside vibe.
If the top notes of Bo-Bo were the fizzy energy, and the heart a slowing down, then the base of the scent becomes the more sensual and romantic phase. It did seem to take quite a while to get to the final form of the fragrance on skin, but when it arrives there’s the warm sweetness of amber and a clean muskiness. This phase of the fragrance very much called to mind the impression of being so close to a partner that you can smell their hair, fresh from the shower. It is a definite cleanliness, but a human one somehow rather than a manufactured or applied one – like shampoo or aftershave – and it’s one of the most beautiful elements of the scent.
We couldn’t find anything groundbreaking in Bo-Bo. It’s pleasant for sure, and a really nice example of this type of clean fragrance, so if that’s what you are looking for then it will surely satisfy. It fits very nicely into the fresh and clean category of fragrances and will surely find plenty of admirers as a result. This one would be a good one to try if you are looking to take a step into niche from high street scents, but don’t want anything too wacky to start off with.
The other stuff
Bo-Bo retains a warmth and a cleanliness throughout its evolution which makes it easy and versatile to wear. We should suggest that this is an ideal scent to wear during the day, and throughout the year.
Bo-Bo felt to us to be a very unisex fragrance. It’s balanced and there’s enough citrus for it to feel that it has stereotypically masculine elements, whilst there’s enough floral for that to not become overwhelming or excluding to anyone who doesn’t want a standard barbershop type cologne scent. It’s clean and fresh but also soft.
The longevity of the scent is better than you might imagine given some of the notes – it lasts about 7-8 hours from an early morning application. When we first tested this, and the rush of citrus explodes from the bottle, we were worried that it would only last a couple of hours but no, it goes way longer than that which was a very pleasant surprise.
Carner Barcelona are an interesting brand. They produce some absolutely stunning scents, real signature show stoppers, and then they also produce scents which are much quieter, much less assuming, but they do them very well. Bo-Bo fits into the latter category for us. If you are looking for a well composed and quality scent which won’t cost the earth (at least in niche perfume terms, which is relative) then they are an excellent brand to check out.
We have previously reviewed the stunning rose and spices Megalium, the ardent Sweet William, the cheesily-titled Latin Lover, the delicate Besos, milky Tardes, and Palo Santo which is another complete stunner of burnt wood and sweetness.
Bo-Bo by Carner Barcelona is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £100 for 50ml EdP or £140 for 100ml.
You can also purchase Bo-Bo from the Carner Barcelona web boutique.
We were very kindly given a sample of this fragrance when we visited the Carner Barcelona stand at Esxence 2019, thank you to them for their generosity.