A dreamy, summery composition to take us to a Venetian garden as the sun rises.
Calycanthus/chimonanthus, bergamot, pink pepper, mahonial (a green muguet note), narcissus, orange blossom, peony, cedarwood, sylkolide, patchouli, and musks.
The Rubeus scents are Italian sophistication embodied in fragrance; they feel rather effortlessly chic and have that unrumpled feeling that you get wandering round the streets of Rome or Milan. Whilst us lesser mortals sweat and crumple, Italians only seem to get more chic in the heat.
Calicanto opens with quite a traditional waxy, white floral sort of bouquet. The bergamot adds a touch of lift along with a wet juiciness and it makes us think that there might have just been a very fleeting rain shower in the Venetian garden. There’s a touch of bitterness under the waxy greenery and already the lurking florals feel poised to burst forth in abundance.
The initial burst of Calicanto appears wetter and more tartly green than the rest of the composition then leads us on to, but it’s a nice way of starting the scent, anchoring it in the undergrowth and less sun-kissed parts of the garden. It gives that impression of the garden at dawn, held in that moment between darkness and light when the scorching rays of the Italian sun at the height of summer have not quite get realised their full power.
The main part of a wear of Calicanto is an abundance of white florals, tumbling and spilling over themselves in their excitement to rise from the skin. There’s a slightly acidic feel about the scent, like the petals are resting on a bed of citruses and tartness, but over the top of that, and more abundantly, is this creamy ebullience of white blooms.
Close to the skin, the fragrance shows you touches of peony which feel fresher, slightly watery, and fleshy. Further away from the skin, into the sillage, the scent feels like a riot of orange blossoms. There’s nothing harsh or scratchy here, just a melange of petally, soft, silky flowers.
It’s possible to detect something addictive and rather intoxicating in the midst of all these petals, which I would describe as a honeysuckle accord. Whilst honeysuckle isn’t listed, the scent transports me to childhood days smelling the honeysuckle which used to cover the end of my Dad’s garage. I often find honeysuckle accords can be overplayed, too sickly, but this presumably accidental conjuring of honeysuckle has enough lingering greenery to temper it, to make it realistic and rather delicious. It’s fleeting, difficult to capture in Calicanto for sure, but that elusiveness just makes you want to sniff the scent more in hopes you are able to spot it.
The petals of Calicanto’s middle flutter down into a bed of clean musks towards the end of the scent. The fragrance retains a bright sunniness throughout and towards the end of a wear this becomes more like sun-kissed skin in the base. There’s both a lingering, creamy facet and the feather-light lift of the orange blossom petals which remain to cocoon and surround the wearer. Indeed, there is something quite radiant about Calicanto which feels like it shines from the skin with gentle grace.
Here at The Sniff we very much enjoyed Calicanto. It isn’t the most unusual fragrance ever, it’s not the most out there or wildly inventive, but it’s a really good scent of it’s type. It does white florals strongly, it makes them dreamy and wearable as well as satisfying. In many ways it’s an elegant workhorse of a fragrance, taking you from day to evening, office to party, very easily indeed. For the price point you are going to want to wear it for all occasions, and Calicanto really manages to pull that versatility of wear off.
The other stuff
The perfumer for Calicanto was Yann Vasnier.
We’ve previously reviewed Evonimo from the same line of the brand.
The longevity to this fragrance is good, around the six to eight hour mark, however, I did wear it to a rather sweaty gym class during testing and through which it performed beautifully. I could still smell it once I left – quite a feat!
Many people may consider that this fragrance leans towards the more feminine side of the spectrum, but more daring and fragrantly liberated gents will also be able to pull this off, certainly. Of course you should always wear what calls to you, regardless of perceived marketing of the scent.
Calicanto has a noticeable projection and trail. It goes to about handshake distance or so even when it is not newly applied. It’s a wonderful scent for summer, one of those fragrances which keeps you feeling crisp and powdered, even when the weather is very hot. Hot weather really seems to help the scent lift too which is another nice feature the scent has – and something which Italian brands do seem to do really very well.
The presentation of Calicanto is really robust. A beautiful ombre glass bottle is surrounded by a very chunky metal shoulder and cap – it certainly feels like the presentation of an expensive scent as it is heavy and luxurious but without being blingy.
Rubeus Milano are predominantly a fashion brand, specialising in bags, clothing and jewellery. Like many good fashion houses they have recently augmented this line up with perfumery as well. The Venetian Garden line is their latest set of fragrances to be released.
Like the brand they represent, the fragrances are towards the more luxury end of the scented spectrum, with heavy glass and metal bottles and a similarly weighty price tag. Definitely one for those with deep pockets and serious collectors.
Despite all that there is a sense of modernity and fun about the range, which feels upbeat and relevant in today’s marketplace.
Calicanto is available from the Rubeus Milano web boutique where it is priced at €320 for 50ml of EdP.
We were very kindly gifted a no strings attached bottle of this fragrance by the brand, our thanks to them.