A smooth, smoky and spicy floral which feels like the sort of thing someone like James Bond would wear.
Spices, exotic floral notes, carnation, lily of the valley, vanilla, amber and musk. Taken from the Fragrantica website.
Let’s get one thing straight, right from the off: this is a seriously smooth and delectable scent. Classy, nuanced, and sexy, it drips affluence, intelligence, and the warmth of Mediterranean climes. Number 5 by Rosendo Mateu is driving an Aston Martin round the Cote d’Azure as your headscarf flies back in the warm breeze. It’s sipping a negroni as the sun sets, and feeling the heat radiated back at you from the baked rocks. It’s living your best life and feeling as suave, sophisticated and sexy as you possibly can be.
Number 5 opens with the warmth of a hot sun. There is something about the start of this fragrance which feels baked. It has a warm, amber liquidity to it like molten toffee or caramel, but without being too sweet. The whole scent flows in an oozy, molten lava way. It’s very warm and definitely calls to mind the heat of the Mediterranean in summer when the sunlight feels blinding. Number 5 evokes the moment just after the sun has set though, when the anxiety of the hot sun has calmed, and the night brings a few degrees of relief from the relentless day. It’s cool enough now to think, to breathe, to relax and you can feel yourself start to unwind, just like the fragrance does.
There’s a piquancy in the start of the scent, which is balanced by the warm sweetness of vanilla, and a leathery tone which feels rather like some good cigar tobacco left to dry out in the heat of the sun.
Number 5 is sweet and smoky throughout the duration of its wear, and at times – because we come from Yorkshire and not the Med – it has the rather delightful and moreish scent of creosoted fence panels that have been hit by summer sunshine and a couple of dry days. It’s woody, smoky, sweet but a little bit pokey too. The woody notes are affable, smooth, and overlaid by a resinous lacquer tone as if they have been polished before being branded or fire-licked.
Partly the scent makes you feel like James Bond, and partly it makes you feel like a kid playing out on a really hot sunny day when your Dad has just painted the fence between you and next door and you are trying your hardest to not get paint on you, but somehow it feels inevitable. These two images may seem contradictory, but even James Bond had to be a child once, even if it was a long time ago.
As Number 5 wears, something a little animalic, almost urine-like creeps in. This is clever rather than overpowering (don’t worry, it most definitely won’t make you smell like you’ve had a little accident) and it adds a rather pleasant humanity to the fragrance, a little more warmth and an enticing full-bodiedness. It gives it an almost imperceptible hum rather than smelling anything like unpleasant or unwashed.
Although this fragrance doesn’t travel a million miles from where it started off, some rather interesting nuances do creep in as the scent wears. A very delicate, powdery floral peeps around the edges of the scent. This feels very true to life because it is delicately handled – the perfumer hasn’t crow barred it in at all, which shows the skill in evidence here.
Carnation adds a little spicy rubberiness and something every so slightly salty, like ambergris perhaps, seasons the whole mix. The faint saltiness could well be the warm breeze wafting off the sea and over the exotic vegetation, picking up the scent of delicate and short-lived flowers as it goes. It could also be licking your lips after a bout of exertion in a hot climate and getting the traces of salt that have dried on your skin.
The floral aspects are bolstered by a delectable sweet musk, which is borderline raunchy, and adds to the va-va-voom that this fragrance exudes. It’s perhaps an expected move but a good one. This isn’t trashy at all, it’s completely charismatic.
The smokiness of Number 5 lingers, but it mellows and sweetens as the scent goes on. The smoke mingles with the leatheriness which makes a return appearance towards the end of this scent. It now feels like leather that has been set on fire, perhaps the seats of your Aston Martin which have been scorched by the searingly hot sun? Perhaps it’s the cigar we smelled earlier that has now been set alight? Or perhaps its just your loins when you smell someone you find attractive wearing such a sexy and sophisticated scent?
The other stuff
The longevity of Number 5 by Rosendo Mateu is pretty good. It lasts around six hours from initial application. Initially the scent feels quite punchy and volatile, but it really does mellow towards the end of its lifespan.
The projection of this fragrance is also solid, we estimate that it goes to around handshake distance or so.
Whilst the notes of this scent may suggest that it leans towards being the sort of thing you would wear in winter, the exotic florals make it a really great fragrance for summer too. Versatility of wear is definitely a plus point for us. We can really imagine wearing this scent to an evening of drinks and fancy dinner on holiday somewhere hot.
In terms of the gender of this scent, Number 5 is very much the sort of fragrance that people of all genders will be able to wear. It is very sexy, very powerful and alluring. People who wear this will smell confident, because it is not entirely what you would expect an alpha to wear from a stereotypical perspective, but it absolutely does work. It is bold, it’s a statement and it is really very appealing without even a trace of trying too hard. Wear it if you don’t want to compromise on your presentation.
Rosendo Mateu as a brand are a little off the beaten track. They’re classy, sophisticated and a little bit minimalist in their online presence – we couldn’t even find a dedicated website to link you to.
The presentation of the Rosendo Mateu scents is understated and classy using sleek elongated bottles. There is nothing about this brand which is glitzy, insubstantial or try-hard at all. Quite the opposite, in fact, they exude an effortlessly chic and very European vibe which is really alluring.
Rosendo Mateu himself is a master perfumer who has formulated for a variety of well known brands such as Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne. He’s been around for a while, so has clearly amassed enough mileage to put out some really classy and well respected scents.
We were given a no-strings attached sample of Number 5 when we visited the Rosendo Mateu stand at Esxence in 2019. Thank you to them for their generosity.