Who doesn’t fancy a little trip to Italy as the nights draw in and the days get cooler? Gallivant bring us some fragrant travel in the latest scent from their globe-trotting line up.
Ginger, pink pepper, bergamot, incense resinoid, fumencens (another incense material, which reinforces the light-dark contrast of this fragrance), cardamom, nutmeg, labdanum, guaiac wood, ‘green molecule’ clearwood (in combination with natural patchouli), birch, vetiver and amber.
NB notes on the included notes are from the brand’s website.
Italy is one of those countries which often brings a wistful smile to the faces of those of us who live in cooler, less sunny climes. It’s hard – when we are neck deep in drizzle, with the central heating whacked up – to not get a pang of melancholy about the fact that we aren’t sipping an aperitif in late afternoon sunshine, wearing flip flops and contemplating a third dip in the pool. If you are seeking that holiday thrill, then Naples may well be just the fragrance you need right now.
Naples opens with a woody, warm and citrusy lift. It is perhaps a cliche to say it, but the fragrance has a sunny disposition. It feels light and spirited. The ginger brings a gentle zestiness and this sits alongside a juicier, tarter note from the bergamot. If the fragrance is smelled up close and carefully observed, you can tell this is bergamot and ginger. A casual sniff and catching a passing whiff of it during the day makes it feel more lemony but with a very rounded finish. Any rough, abrasive, citrus edges have been polished away and the remaining scent has the smoothness of a pebble polished by the waves.
It’s perhaps a strange thing to say, but spraying Naples makes you feel as if you have opened a doorway to Italy on a cold and dreary day and the sunlight, warmth and sense of calm relaxation are just filtering through the open door, contrasting with the grey in which you have been existing – it has that feeling of having opened a glimpse up of another place about it. The scent is transportive, in the way in which many good fragrances are, but gauzy and diffuse as well, a little like it has been imagined into existence with its little rays of sunshine. At this point in the composition, the majority of the space is given over to warmth, sunlight and the brighter, lighter aspects of the fragrance, but wait a while and this will change.
The next wave of the fragrance doesn’t last as long as either the top or the base notes do, but it is an important phase nevertheless. A salty – really salty – thrill sweeps across the scent, tangy and mineral. It isn’t exactly like the fragrance has been doused in seawater, somehow it feels more crystalline than that, but that is approximately the effect.
This salty facet is almost tasteable and the crunchy texture that it brings adds a nice counterpoint and contrast to the smoothness of the start – at times it even feels almost seaweedy as there is a sense of intensity about it. The whole fragrance becomes cooler in tone – as if that cheery sunshine at the start has started to dip towards the horizon or popped behind a cloud for a moment. And a creeping stillness moves through the scent as it journeys towards the final notes.
In the final section of the fragrance, curls and tendrils of incense creep across the picture. The sun has most definitely dipped beyond the horizon now, and the tone of the scent has cooled further. The journey is as if we started on a boat in warm sunshine at midday, floated towards the shore for the evening and are now, as night falls, we are wandering towards a building deep in shadow from which wafts of incense float. That calm stillness pervades the scent now and it is quite relaxing to wear but not totally so, as there is a little thrill of excitement hiding in the shadows.
Like many Gallivant compositions there is a nice sense of space in Naples which allows the individual pieces to really exist fully without being cluttered and overshadowed and here, in the base, the real star is the incense. The smoke is white, flat and moreish. There is something quite “keen” about it, as if it is vaguely up to no good, or has some sort of agenda but you haven’t quite worked out what that is yet. It is the beckoning curl of a hand made of smoke, calling you deeper and deeper into the shadows. The smoke is accented by spices, but they’re not very prominent, and along with the vetiver they impart a dry edge to the incense.
The base is my favourite part of the whole composition, it is the sort of base you want to linger in and with, sniffing and re-sniffing, but never being fully able to capture what it is about the composition which is so darn addictive. Naples started out as very wholesome, possibly even a bit “nice” but the delicious base allows a much more dangerous, more intoxicating side to shine and it completes the composition beautifully.
The other stuff
The perfumer for Naples by Gallivant was Luca Maffei.
The longevity of this fragrance was good, lasting six to eight hours following application and sometimes longer. The Gallivant scents as a whole tend towards a gauzy transparency, but this is the punchiest of their line that we have tried. Similarly, the sillage of the fragrance was stronger than we may have come to expect from the brand, going to around handshake distance or so. The fact that this scent in particular is a touch less intimate and personal than their other offerings is certainly no bad thing, and gives a greater range across their line.
Gallivant are a UK-based brand with a founder from London, although they really are a brand of the world – seeking inspiration from all corners of the globe for their range of scents. Gallivant focus on encapsulating charismatic cities in fragrance and their stable of fragrances feel very modern and wearable. Their scents are on the more gentle, more nuanced side of things generally speaking, but they are well crafted and balanced. These are not the sort of scents which will choke people out, and wearing them is often quite a personal affair.
The Gallivant range is available in 100ml and sweet 30ml sizes and their bottles are clean and simple. The whole experience is unfussy and elegant rather than distracting and cluttered.
Gallivant are a vegan and cruelty-free brand, who have given thought to their impact and sustainability. You can find out more on their ethos on their about us webpages.
We’ve previously reviewed the beautiful Bukhara by Gallivant.
Naples is available from the Gallivant web boutique where it is priced at £65 for 30ml EdP or £145 for 100ml.
We were kindly gifted a no-strings attached sample of the fragrance by the brand, our thanks to them for their generosity.
Main photo by Montse Monmo on Unsplash, other photos by The Sniff.
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