Petals and swords. An interesting premise for a fragrance which manages to display and combine both these different facets. An ode to the fragility in all of us.
Bergamot, tea leaves, white peach, aldehydes, jasmine, osmanthus, magnolia, sandalwood, myrrh, amber, fruity musks, vanilla.
To smell the opening of Petali e Spade by Nobile 1942 is to smell a fragrance which feels like a homage to the vintage scents of yesteryear. It’s a huge opening, full of aldehydes which race, screaming, from the bottle. Supremely powdery, but with the lift of citrus and white peach fluttering about in the background, when you smell the start of the scent it is very easy to understand the “swords” part of the fragrance’s name. The aldehydes give that adrenaline feel and you know, right from the start that love it or hate it this isn’t going to be a boring scent.
Metallic and fizzy, acidic, sharp. All words which can usefully be deployed to describe how Petali e Spade opens. There’s something about the fragrance which reminds me of hairdressers visited as a child. The metal is hot, like an over-worked hair dryer, and the peach and aldehydes remind me of hairspray diffusing on warm air on a late afternoon where the hairdresser has been hard at their craft all day and the room is full of heat and scent.
If I had only ever smelled the start of this fragrance, I am not sure I would have liked it, but Petali e Spade is a deceptive scent. Or perhaps rather than deceptive, it is just a fragrance which is blessed with two very different facets, cleverly linked by a skilled perfumer.
The heart of Petali e Spade feels like the phase of the scent which takes up the least amount of space in the overall composition, but which is actually the most vital.
The huge, metallic and aldehydic opening starts to slow a little once the initial phase is spent – and there is a palpable sense of the energy slowly reducing. The hot metal becomes simply warmed. The powderiness remains, but it becomes plumper, fleshier. The remaining hints of aldehydes continue to give a metallic tang, but now they start to insinuate the greenery of stems, just a touch. A little further along and the watery creaminess of the magnolia makes itself felt, giving us the gateway we need into this realm of floral abundance.
The shifts in the way the fragrance moves are subtle, moment to moment – and it takes a languorous route in getting from top to base – but move it does. The start which was hard and verging on the shrill is slowly and carefully transforming itself into something much more sumptuous, much more petal-like and, dare I say it, a lot easier to wear. Imagine a sword dissolving into a burst of flowers and you may get a sense of this scent’s journey from hard-edged, tough, to tender.
We keep hints of the “swords” right through to the base of the scent but it does become much gentler and much less wild. Petali e Spade becomes much more the sort of scent you want to cosy on up with rather than feel like you need to be on your guard around.
The petal aspect of the fragrance is a delicate, sumptuous rain of blossoms on a warm breeze. The petals feel as if they come from predominantly white flowers, but they have a creamy quality and there is much less of the harsh metallic top about them here. A faint, spiced edge gives just a touch of piquancy but links us back to the aldehydes in the top, giving an almost cyclical feel to the composition. Where initially we might have been in a hair salon in the 1980s, now we are somewhere like ancient Rome, sitting under blossom trees and being showered with their delicate blooms.
The base of Petali e Spade is my personal favourite part of the whole composition. Everything this perfume does is wonderfully overdosed and satisfying. When it does aldehydes, it really does them, and now, in the base, where it is showing us petals, it’s a soft blanket of their fragrance. The sweeter aspects of the base, the vanilla and amber, further enhance this tender aspect to the composition and although the scent may well have taken us on a rollercoaster ride, we are left feeling cosetted and comforted by the creamy and delicate fragrance of the final notes.
The other stuff
The perfumer for Petali e Spade was Antonio Alessandria.
The longevity of this fragrance is really strong – it’s one of those that you can get almost 24 hours of wear out of depending on conditions. It will do a full 12 hours without breaking a sweat.
The projection of the fragrance is also very good, so spray with caution. It easily goes to beyond handshake distance and with multiple sprays it could be one of those scents which will fill a room. Whilst it isn’t an offensive scent, you may want to approach that side of it with caution if you are wearing this to work in an office, for example.
Nobile 1942 list Petali e Spade as an evening scent, and for sheer size alone that seems an appropriate designation. Perhaps not just any evening though, an evening wedding reception, perhaps, or something at an exotic location in the summer, or an old Hollywood type soiree. Petali e Spade needs an event and an outfit that will stand up to its size and vivaciousness.
The beauty of Petali e Spade is that although this is a scent with a vintage bent, it feels like a reimagining rather than a facsimile recreation of something which has gone before. The two halves of the fragrance also make it feel abstractly modern and unusual. Certainly it is unlike anything else that has crossed the desk of The Sniff recently, and for that alone it should be applauded.
Nobile 1942 are an Italian fragrance house currently operated by a husband and wife duo, but with roots going back to 1942 and beyond. The brand want to embody the sense of Italian good taste which they do through high quality in-house production of their packaging and fragrances. They discuss their history in more detail on their website.
Petali e Spade is available from ScentCity where it is priced at £195 for 75ml EdP.
We were gifted a sample of Petali e Spade when we visited Nobile 1942 at Esxence 2022. Our thanks to them.