The past and present both run through Ariel, a very feminine floral fragrance from Sammarco that consistently evoked thoughts of the two great bastions of classical perfumery, Guerlain and Chanel. Ariel’s structural core echoes legends from the past, like Chanel’s clean green florals or Shalimar, but it’s fleshed out by equally strong echoes of the present, whether it’s fragrances like Angelique Noire or Misia, or modern elements like herbal sweetness. The result is a fragrance that exudes modern chic and a cool polished elegance before taking on elements of a soft, fluid, purely floral femininity that called to mind Pre-Raphaelite romanticism then ending in a grand finish of golden lushness. Luca Turin recently described Ariel in his admiring review as “neoclassical perfumery, played out on original instruments,” and I agree.
But it’s also not quite as simple as that. Ariel is a complicated fragrance, in my opinion, and one that is not easy to characterize. For one thing, it doesn’t fall into any one single genre but covers a range of different fragrance families. For another, I was startled to see that not one single account of Ariel was the same. Not one. Five different reviews give five different descriptions of the scent, and they have little in common beyond the most simplistic summation of “citrusy, spiced floral.” My review basically amounts to a sixth version, which should tell you just how difficult it is to confine Ariel to a single box and why you should try it for yourself if any of the descriptions intrigue you.
Ariel is a pure parfum that Sammarco describes as a “green floral poudré.” I should note that, unlike some of the other fragrance in the line, Ariel is not an all-natural fragrance. Vitrum is, and Bond-T turns out to be mostly natural (as mentioned in an update to my review), but Giovanni Sammarco told me that Ariel is not and that it has a low degree of synthetics.
Ariel seems to have been inspired by a mystery woman, a red-head judging by the pictures on the Sammarco website, but Signor Sammarco is not elaborating. All he says is:
Behind Ariel there is one of the better inspiration I ever had.
Can I say who is the source of inspiration? No, has to remain unveiled.
Ariel is the olfactive view of my physical and spiritual idea of woman.
It could be called a green floral poudré.
The key of Ariel is the angelica-tuberose heart, enriched with luxury flowers as jasmine, osmanthus, violette and rose, a creamy base of sandalwood, a top of mandarine and ginger, a little bit of tobacco and davana and an hint of orris concrete.
The succinct note list is:
Angelica-tuberose, jasmine, osmanthus, violet, rose, sandalwood, mandarin, ginger, tobacco, davana, orris concrete.
Ariel is the most complex of the Sammarco fragrances, in my opinion, and a rather complicated one, both in terms of its many layers and my own feelings about it all. It’s actually taken me a while to sort out my responses, and that doesn’t happen often. I usually know where I stand after one test, and merely do a second one to confirm it. That was not the case for Ariel. Two tests left me fully muddled in my feelings except for my clear dislike of the first two hours. A third test didn’t help, either. It took four tries in total merely for me to reach some clarity. Namely, I don’t think this is a fragrance that works well on my skin or suits my particular tastes. Despite that fact, parts of Ariel really appeal to me; I admire its reach across various genres, its quality, and its mix of effortless elegance and romanticism; and I was intrigued by the dichotomy at its heart during one phase. Plus, all of it feels so wonderfully classic, even if some of its classical genres are far outside my personal comfort zone.
Ariel’s opening on my skin is dominated almost completely by angelica in all its facets. It smells immensely rooty with dried, wet, bitter, bracing, and papery aromas, but, at the same time, it’s both extremely herbal and extremely sweet. It’s as though the bitter, rooty, herbaceous greenness has been encased in a powdery and very cloying saccharine sweetness, thereby turning it into candied angelica. Actually, to be precise, it’s a lot like the vanilla cupcake frosting angelica that Guerlain used in its Angelica Noire, and I dislike it here as much as I did there. This sugar-frosted cupcake is decorated at the corners with a leafier, brighter, and wholly fresh sort of greenness, but there is so much rooty and sugared angelica in the first 15-20 minutes that this other element is basically flattened into irrelevancy.
As a general rule, it seems to take a while for Ariel to change in any dramatic way because everything happens in the incremental steps. Roughly 15 minutes in, the fresher greenness seems to morph into something that smells exactly like violet leaf on my skin: slightly leafy, citrusy, crisp, cool skewing, incredibly sharp, and as bright as an emerald. The odd thing is that Ariel does not actually contain the material; I can’t explain the strong resemblance, but all four times that I’ve tested the fragrance, my unequivocal impression is of sharp, lemony “violet leaf” greenness on my skin. My guess is that it’s a case of indirect side-effects, and that parts of different materials have combined to create that illusion. For example, the various green elements mixed with a mandarin that is so unsweetened and brisk that it reads as “lemon” or “citrus” instead.
Whatever the actual source or reason for this, the growing strength of the illusory “violet leaf” has an impact on the scent. First, it counterbalances the angelica’s froth of herbal, powdery, and candied sweetness, or at least it tries, even if it doesn’t actually succeed. Second, and more importantly, it reacts with the angelica’s bitter rooty side to produce an unexpected result on my skin: strains of a mineralized mossiness and a bitter greenness that almost feel as though drops of oily galbanum and oakmoss had been included in the composition as well. Giovanni Sammarco told me that he used quite a bit of angelica root oil, which I think can smell quite pungent, bitter, and biting, so that probably accounts for the similarity to galbanum. As for the “moss,” as you’ll see in a moment, it’s clearly a by-product or indirect effect of the tuberose. Regardless, over the next 20 minutes, that strange impression of an almost biting, bitter, leafy, rooty, and mossy greenness grows stronger, rendering Ariel cooler, crisper, and more chypre-ish as well.
Roughly 35-40 minutes in, the “moss” coalesces into a strong, clear streak that wraps around the “violet leaf” and the more candied, herbal aspects of the angelica. Just as in Bogue‘s Maai, the moss is an olfactory illusion created by a particular treatment of the tuberose and results in a chypre greenness, albeit one that bears a grey, cool, mineralized, lichen sort of smell here instead of the plush, springy, bright, emerald “moss” that so dominated Maai. Unlike Maai, though, this tuberose does smell slightly floral on my skin as well, but it’s a moving shimmer of something nebulously floral and white that lies at the core of the scent, essentially buried deep under the various green, powdery, herbal, sweet, rooty, and mossy aromas. So, while Ariel is, indeed, a “green floral poudré” scent as the description promised, it’s also one with extremely cool, fresh, crisp, candied and chyprish aromas wafting about at the same time.
What interests me is how the crisp and chypre-style tonalities continue to grow as Ariel develops, cutting further into the saccharine candy with every passing moment and even some of the angelica’s herbaceousness. Inch by inch, moment by moment, the various green accords begin to transform Ariel into a completely different fragrance than it was at its debut. Roughly 90 minutes in, its driving force is no longer a candied, vanilla frosted, herbal angelica cupcake, but a profoundly crisp, cool, sea of floral greenness that feels very Chanel-ish, except this one has Guerlain-style vanilla and powder in lieu of aldehydes.
Something about the bouquet reminds me of Chanel No. 19, though I must emphasize that the two fragrances have very little in common in terms of their actual notes. I repeat, they do not smell the same. Yet, for me, the general feel and vibe of that sea of floral greenness is strong enough for Chanel No. 19 to be the best metaphor I can come up with. The way Ariel’s notes interact together on my skin have a similar olfactory aesthetic: the almost galbanum-like side effect of the oily angelica root (and the “violet leaf” accord); the cool, mineralized mossiness of the tuberose; and the sense of a very clean, crisp, white floralcy weaving imperceptibly through all three.
Three other factors add to the impression as well. First, there is a growing citrusy quality that adds to the sense of crispness and briskness, even if it never actually translates to “mandarin” on my skin and smells more like lemon (from violet leaves). Second, and much more importantly, the rose peeks out its head for the first time. Pale, clean, soft, pink, but almost as green as a slowly unfurling bud, it shimmers in the background, smelling of a fresh, floral cleanness in a way that reminds me of Chanel’s signature, the gauzy, clean, aldehydic-floral bouquet. The difference here is that there are no aldehydes here, nothing soapy, but a Guerlain-style powdered sweetness instead. Third, tiny specks of darkness appear in the background, occasionally suggesting tobacco, leatheriness, or smokiness. They’re minor, nebulous, and extremely short-lived, but they cast just enough shadows on the citrusy, fresh, floral greenness to keep No. 19 on my mind. But the cumulative effect of all these elements makes me think above all else: “classic Chanel meets classic Guerlain.”
That aesthetic feel was impacted by the amount of fragrance that I applied from one test to the next. On one occasion, when I applied a smaller quantity of scent, the degree of greenness was so strong that the Chanel No. 19 metaphor was impossible to shake. There was such a citrusy, crisp, clean, bitter, floral greenness that No. 19 was the only thing that filled my thoughts because it’s is the haughtiest, sharpest, and greenest floral I know. I’m not a fan of it. At all. And that makes my impression of a similar olfactory aesthetic here a problem for me, even if I put aside how much I despise the venal, amoral, Nazi-agent and cockroach of loathsomeness that was Coco Chanel herself (whose favourite personal fragrance was, in fact, No. 19 by all accounts).
Even if I ignore all those negative associations, I’m still stuck with an olfactory aesthetic or genre that I find difficult, one which becomes even more of a struggle because of the candied herbal sweetness. As I mentioned here at the start and in my comments at the end of the review for Sammarco’s superb Bond-T, I simply can’t move past Ariel’s first two hours, no matter how pretty or appealing parts of it become later. I’ve tried, I really have. I’ve even experimented with quantity variations in the hope that perhaps the No. 19 mental association and the degree of greenness were aberrations. Unfortunately for me, applying a larger amount merely exacerbated the cloying, sickly sweetness and, in addition, it took much longer to weaken it.
Still, in all my tests, and regardless of quantity, Ariel always ends the second hour as a solidly classical, powdery, clean, green floral bouquet that I think others may enjoy quite a bit. It feels like a mash-up of Chanel, an orris-y, powdered vintage Guerlain, and perhaps Carven‘s original Ma Griffe (a very green, clean, crisp, floral chypre released back in 1946) or possibly one of the old Balmains. (Not Jolie Madame, though, as that is a green leather on my skin, at least in its vintage form.)
What interests me though is the dichotomy that begins to emerge about 1.75 hours into Ariel’s development. The fragrance has all the cool hauteur and crispness of a 20th-century Coco Chanel juxtaposed next to a growing feminine romanticism that harkens back to an older time. I’m simultaneously reminded of a sleek, formal, crisp and minimalist Chanel suit and of a Pre-Raphaelite woman in flowing robes surrounded by delicate flowers in the greenness of a Spring meadow. It’s as though Ariel is two different women from two different times, and the fragrance increasingly smells like both of them.
That polarity is most noticeable about 2.5 hours into Ariel’s evolution when the fragrance alters course and, if I may say so, does so for the better in my opinion. The greenness is no longer the driving force, and the fragrance turns significantly whiter in hue and more overtly floral as the tuberose actually begins to waft something other than mossiness. The sweetness finally retreats to the sidelines, and the rose takes its place on center stage.
Perhaps more importantly, the violet flower and the orris both emerge as big players. Both of them are wonderful additions that really help to transform the scent, but I think the orris is particularly significant in accentuating Ariel’s new but old-school romantic femininity. In the old days, orris was used as a fixative in make-up, resulting in a sort of “lipstick” violet-ish aroma. Here, the makeup vibe isn’t hardcore, but there is a definite tinge of “lipstick violet” wafting underneath.
There are other changes happening at the same time. The angelica sheds the final traces of its herbal aroma, and is now merely a green powderiness. It’s joined by the tonka which finally emerges in its own right and, together, they form a soft cloud around the floral bouquet of violets, roses, and tuberose. What I’m happiest about is that the advent of the new notes has ended the reign of greenness, turning it into merely a soft accent that surrounds the flowers, rather than being a centerpiece. It’s also silenced the crisp, citrusy, “violet leaf” sharpness, and diluted the sugariness to balanced levels.
At the start of the third hour, the changes take full effect and essentially amount to Ariel’s third stage. The rose is now in full bloom, its velvety pink petals combining with the violets and orris to change the colour palette completely. The small green leaves at its corners feel soft, fresh, and sometimes mossy, while the cloud of angelica-tonka that wafts over them all is the loveliest finishing touch, one that adds to the Guerlain vibe. What I appreciate is that the notes finally feel balanced on my skin, less extreme, and the various parts complement each other harmoniously, resulting in a smoother, more seamless bouquet that I enjoy smelling.
What I also appreciate is how the various parts of the bouquet — green, white, pink, violet, lightly powdered, and lightly sweetened all at once — create the sense of femininity in full bloom and of romanticism with a modern, polished elegance. The result still feels like “Chanel meets Guerlain,” but the Chanel fragrance in question has now changed. Instead of a metaphoric angelica-tuberose-“violet leaf” cousin to Chanel No. 19, Ariel has become the greener, angelica-dusted cousin to Misia.
Ariel remains the same from the start of the 3rd hour until the beginning of the 6th one when it changes once again. The jasmine arrives to join the other flowers on center stage, imparting a richer, sweeter, and heavier floralcy to the bouquet. It’s not indolic, blackened, or skanky, merely sweet and lush. At the same time, the last vestiges of greenness finally die away; the tuberose turns into wisps of purely floral whiteness; the rose grows stronger; and either the violet or the orris smells quite a bit like lipstick. A sweet Guerlainade accord continues to float above them all, but rays of spicy ginger and a creamy, spiced sandalwood now shine through as well. Everything about the scent is warmer now; I’d even call it golden at times were it not for the strength of the violets and rose. Even so, the mental image that comes to mind is Hans Zatzka’s 19th-century painting, “Sleeping Beauty”:
Ariel’s new focus is lovely, but it doesn’t last. The jasmine gradually turns sweeter, at times smelling almost as though it had been coated in honey. It’s undoubtedly the result of the davana, but that flower never shows up in any distinct, clear fashion on my skin. Instead, the jasmine’s main companion is the vanilla which also begins to change around the same time: its candied aspect returns, followed by the first signs of creamy custard. The combined effect of the vanilla and jasmine (plus davana) syrup leaves me feeling torn. So many parts of Ariel are wonderfully lush, appealing, even occasionally a little voluptuous at times, but the rising level of sweetness is far too cloying for my personal tastes.
Oddly, on two occasions when I tested the fragrance, there wasn’t a huge amount of candied sugar at this point. I can’t fathom what made things so different on the other occasions, but I don’t think quantity applications played a role in this regard. My first and third test of Ariel used several smears roughly equal to 1 good spray from a bottle, and resulted in two different levels of sweetness. In my second and fourth tests, I used the equivalent of 2 sprays, and also had different levels at this analogous point. All I can say is that I think Ariel is one of those fragrances where the order, prominence, and even the nuances of the notes vary from one test to the next. So, if you try it, I’d suggest testing it more than once before you make up your mind.
Ariel’s drydown begins roughly at the start of the 8th hour. In a nutshell, it loses any and all Chanel similarities, and turning into something strongly resembling vintage Shalimar parfum. The floral bouquet is now primarily syrupy, honeyed jasmine infused with rich roses and strong spiciness, then speckled by tiny bits of violet. A torrent of vanilla custard is poured on top, then dusted with sweetened Guerlainade tonka, before the whole thing is placed atop a dark base that is leathery, slightly smoky, filled with sandalwood, and also hugely resinous. I suppose the osmanthus is responsible for the leather, aided indirectly by the tobacco, but my strongest impression is of treacly, balsamic resins (particularly Tolu balsam) just like there is in my bottle of ’70s Shalimar parfum. In all four of my tests, the drydown was always this jasmine-vanilla-rose Shalimar bouquet, but the prominence or strength of the rose varied. Unfortunately for me, the sweetness did as well. In two tests, the degree of sweetness was such that Ariel felt as gourmand as it did oriental. It was far too much and too sugary for my tastes, but I think someone who is a lover of both Shalimar and gourmand floral orientals would love it.
Ariel doesn’t change after this point in any dramatic fashion. Its notes simply overlap, then fuse together. By the middle of the 10th hour, it’s merely a blur of spicy, syrupy flowers infused with vanilla, rolled in sugar, then dusted with a light veil of powderiness. Just as all roads lead to Rome, all roads to Ariel’s finishing hours end up in sweetness. At the end of the 12th hour, all that remained in two tests was spicy and vanillic floralcy that eventually just turned into candied, vaguely ginger-ish spice. In my other two tests, the outcome was sugary vanilla that lasted several hours longer.
Ariel has excellent longevity, good sillage, but generally low projection. Using several smears equal to 1 spray from a bottle, the fragrance typically opened with about 2 to 2.5 inches of projection, and roughly 5 inches of sillage. Things typically dropped at the start of the 3rd hour, the same time as Ariel’s loses its immense greenness and turns prettier. The projection was about 1.5 inches, and the sillage about 3. Ariel generally grows softer and quieter 5 hours in, but it doesn’t turn into a skin scent until roughly the middle of the 6th hour. It was easy to detect up close without much effort until the start of the 9th hour. In total, when using 1 spray, Ariel typically lasted between 11 and 12.5 hours.
Things were different when I used a larger amount equal to 2 good sprays. The opening projection was about 3-4 inches, but the sillage rose to 7-8 inches. They dropped at the start of the 3rd hour here as well: the projection went down to about 2 inches, while the sillage shrank to about 4. With 2 sprays, Ariel typically turned into a skin scent after 8 hours, remained easy to detect up close without much effort until the start of the 13th hour, and lasted 17 or 18 hours in total, depending on test. As you can see, the larger amount impacted the longevity rather dramatically, but I should mention that I haven’t seen anyone else experience such high numbers when they wore the scent.
Reviews for Ariel are mixed, but what fascinates me is that no two are alike. I mean that. Not one description matches another! Look at the nutshell descriptions for the reviews that I’ll quote in more detail in a moment:
- green florals in the style of Chamade that presents an “unmistakable rush of effortless beauty;”
- “metallic jasmines ginger orange tuberose;”
- juicy citrusy-fruity thing with sweet tobacco note that turns into smooth white florals with rose and a soft powderiness before ending up as “sweet-n-dry” sandalwood;
- a leafy, herbal, citrusy green opening (like mine!) that turns into citrusy floral with a touch of smokiness before ending up as nutty sandalwood with tobacco; and
- a “spiced, oily floral” bouquet with violets (that are more original than Misia‘s lipstick ones) which eventually turns into a nicer version of the current Samsara.
These days, for the sake of brevity, I usually attempt to summarize the gist of other people’s experiences and offer a few quoted phases, leaving you to free to read the full reviews later if you’re interested. This time, to demonstrate the full extent of the different accounts, I’ll quote large portions of five reviews from various sites in the order that they were summarized up. I feel badly about the length that this will add to the review, so forgive me, and please feel free to skip them if you’ve gotten the essence from the list above.
The first review comes from Luca Turin who found Ariel to be his favourite from the line. On his blog, Perfumes I Love, he wrote:
Ariel, at once the most ambitious and in my opinion the most successful of the lot. [¶] It seems some niche perfumers are revisiting and, as it were, fixing up and restoring old mansions that had fallen into disuse or been commandeered as accountants’ barracks by the big brands. This particular Palladian villa used to be inhabited by green florals in the style of Chamade (Guerlain, 1969). Ariel opens the french windows, shoos the chickens away, restores the frescoes, sands the floors down to the wood, puts back the gold leaf on the mouldings, and cleans the facade to reveal an unmistakable rush of effortless beauty one had forgotten existed. All the listed materials, for a change, are present and correct: angelica root, tuberose, violets, iris, sandalwood. Also for a change, this is as low-concept as it gets: Giovanni Sammarco composed it for someone he loves, about whom all we know is she has red hair. Concepts, as is often the case in the visual arts, can be an excuse for banality and shortage of skill. Sammarco is instead embarking on a new thing altogether, something one might call neoclassical perfumery, played on original instruments.
On Fragrantica, there are only two reviews for Ariel at this time, and they’re mixed. “Q80” writes:
Ariel is more of a metallic jasmines ginger orange tuberose mix. it’s like an aquatic metallic type of fragrance, you can’t hate it and you can’t love it but dislike it maybe for a certain time then get attached to it once you use it more often.
It metallic and since i dislike metallic i can’t dislike this one, it’s new to my nose and very acceptable to me, but i consider the price, cause it’s like “if it worth less i’d go for it, else no”. It is a price tag kind of a fragrance.
For “Alfarom,” though, Ariel turned out to be a surprise. He’d expected to like it the least out of the four, but it turned out to be his favourite, “composition-wise,” perhaps because he found it the most complex. He writes, in part:
The opining is a juicy citrusy-fruity thing pervaded by a sweet tobacco note. It quickly moves into a magnificent floral middle phase in which smooth white florals are paired to rose. There’s also a soft powderiness going on, probably provided by the orris / violet combo, but nothing to worry about for me. Again, the overall quality is honestly undeniable and while I’m generally not drawn to these kind of fragrances, there’s something so nailed about Ariel that makes of it something noteworthy. It’s a familiar, classic accord that, at the same time, doesn’t rely on nostalgia or old-fashioned themes. The white florals are plush and devoided of any angular facets but they still feel rough and visceral as opposed to overly polished and prettified.
The base breaks in pretty soon unveiling a sweet-n-dry sandalwood that I find completely intoxicating. Ariel strikes as an ageless fragrance, something that doesn’t follow any trend or style, something that goes beyond genres while maintaining a relevant perfumey allure throughout. In this context, it’s quintessentially perfumey and kind of a textbook-type woody-floral. My only complain about Ariel is that it gets pretty calm a bit too soon. Projection is really moderate after the initial phase even if longevity is decent, especially considering it’s apparently an all-natural composition.
On Basenotes, “Hotscchi” also gave the fragrance a positive review, though his praise is tempered by the comment that Ariel could be “cloying” and he didn’t experience great longevity. He found it to be a shyer, softer scent than its rougher, rawer siblings, making it one of the more approachable Sammarco fragrances for people to try. He also said a man could wear Ariel in spring or summer, probably because he experienced it mostly as a citrusy, spiced floral with quiet tobacco smokiness that finished off as a nutty, sweet sandalwood with soft tobacco. His long review reads, in small part, as follows:
When “Ariel” hits the skin you are greeted with a strong, leafy green and citrusy fresh accord with a sharp Tuberose, but this accord fades away after a few minutes and the scent turns into a soft and creamy mix of Sandalwood, Orris, Citrus (Ginger, Mandarine) and herbal undertones (although I’m not sure where the notes are coming from as there are no typical herbs listed). There are floral notes as well, but they are more in the background and tie everything together, the only flower that sticks out more is the Tuberose together with Davana. There is also a very faint Tobacco-note providing a slightly smoky background right from the beginning. This stage lasts quite some time and leads to a dry down that consists mostly of sweet and nutty Sandalwood and the soft Tobacco-note. […][¶]
The quality of the (natural) ingredients is very good, but this time they don’t show their raw power and stay more on the polite side. Like mentioned in the beginning this could be a good thing for people who didn’t like the earlier creations and dismissed them as too hardcore. Personally I like the rougher compositions more. Some criticism: “Ariel” can be a bit cloying (Davana?), especially when the dry-down kicks in. Before that the sweetness is nicely counterpointed by the citrus/floral notes and the herbal notes. Longevity is not good (on my skin) which is normal for a natural perfume. Projection is moderate. [snip]
“Claire V.”, however, seems to have had mixed feelings about Ariel. Her review on Take One Thing Off states:
A serious blast of violets opens this perfume, but if you’re thinking powdery girly perfume, you’d be wrong – Ariel ties the violets into a weirdly oily spice note at the start (probably the ginger-mandarin combination), rendering the opening effect unsettling and anti-classical. It feels like a new way of treating violets to me, and about a hundred times more interesting than the tired lipstick trope seen in countless violet perfumes from Misia onwards. The spiced, oily floral effect extends into the heart, but Ariel eventually loses the violet and dovetails into a sweet, creamy sandalwood base that recalls Samsara but without the synthetic sonic boom that accompanies it. It ends up being a little too sweet for my taste, but I have to say I like this version of Samsara much better than the current version out there at the moment. [Emphasis to names added by me.]
As you can see, there is no consensus beyond the most reductionist point of a citrusy, spiced floral. Even in my own tests, there wasn’t consistency, although the variations generally pertained to the prominence or strength of various notes instead of something altogether different.
The bottom line is that Ariel is a fragrance that you must test for yourself if any of these accounts or versions interest you. Furthermore, I’d advise being patient, and giving it more than one test because the second time around may reveal completely different facets. Ariel is a complex composition, and I really don’t think it can be assessed in one short or single wearing. I can’t really advise you on anything else, not even the gender issue. As you can see from the reviews quoted above, one chap loved Ariel, another liked it and thought it was wearable by a man even if he personally preferred “rougher” compositions; while another man and one woman seemed ambivalent from start to finish. Everything is going to depend on which version of Ariel shows up on your skin, and on your personal note preferences or tastes. The only thing which I can pretty much guarantee is that you’ll find Ariel to be very classical in style with good quality materials and a multi-dimensional character.
Disclosure: My sample was one of several given out by Sammarco at the 2016 Esxence trade show. As always, where I obtained my sample has no influence on my reviews. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.
Cost & Availability: Ariel is a pure parfum that only comes in a 30 ml bottle. It costs $145, €130, £115, and CHF140. In North America: [UPDATE 7/20/17: Sammarco is now in the US, and all the fragrances are carried exclusively by Luckyscent, including Ariel. Luckyscent sells samples and ships worldwide.] Indiescents is the exclusive retailer for Canada. They sell samples as well. Sammarco: you can order directly from Sammarco. A sort of FAQ/Info page states that he ships to most places in the world except for Italy. He now ships bottles to the U.K. as well. There is a sample set of all 4 fragrances for €27 or CHF30. Shipping for that is free. European retailers: You can also buy Ariel at London’s Roullier-White, and at Italian retailers like Neos1911, Sacro Cuore (for higher than retail at €160), Profumo Milano, Rome’s Cherry, and Profumeria Essence. I think the NL’s ParfuMaria will start to carry the line later in May. Samples: several of those sites sell samples. None of the American decanting sites carry Ariel at this time.
Wow, this one sounds very complicated! Almost like a mix of genres in one fragrance. I’m thinking this would not smell good on me at all but the structure is fascinating. I do really like Guerlain’s Angelique Noire and I own a bottle. But the SAmmarco sounds very different from the Guerlain. Miles apart I would guess.
Miles apart from Angelique Noire in terms of its core essence and character, yes, but not from other Guerlains at various stages. My guess is that you’d enjoy the very crisp (or clean) floralcy of the early part (the part that Luca Turin thought resembled the very spring-like Chamade), as well as the subsequent richer stages, but it’s difficult for me to know for certain because there are so many ways the fragrance could go. It’s definitely worth a try for someone with your tastes, though, Ricky.
I am even more curious to try this dear K. Thank you for reviewing it so carefully. I will report back!
I look forward to hearing your thoughts, my dear.
I have a sample of Bond T that I got a while ago. My first reaction was – not for me – but it keeps drawing me towards it. I’ve been liking it more and more and that rarely happens. Ariel intrigues me. I must try a perfume that everyone describes differently! All descriptions are interesting and make me wonder what I will perceive.
PS Thanks for the explanation of “lipstick” aroma. I was never quite sure what it meant. My mother never wore any makeup except red and only red lipstick. I remember the smell well. 🙂
How very cool that Bond-T has grown on you! It did the same for another commentator as well, Suzanne, and she ended up buying a bottle after a year. As for Ariel, given your love of florals, I think it’s definitely one that you should try. Let me know how it turns out on you, my dear.
Now I must get this AND Bond-T.
I think you’d enjoy them both. 🙂
Honestly enjoyed both. Bond-T was totally not as described on me. Go figure. NO gourmand anything, a lovely earthy-green like patchouli. Enjoyable. I decided to try Ariel just for the learning of it and have been super super surprised by how much I like it. Really like it. I find florals hard. I enjoy my moon bloom on rare occasions and have to be in the mood. Took me forever to find an orange blossom or two I can live with. Now I’m on a bit of a magnolia frenzy – who knows what will come of it. Essentially, other than 2-3 beautiful roses, and Sultan Pasha’s gardenia, I’m not a floral. And yet Ariel – mermaid hair and all – is really FB wonderful. My experience seems to be that of Luca Turin (the classical feel is just great) and Alfarom’s description that you cite. the sandalwood base might be doing the trick for me… considering this….considering… thanks also for Indiescents! Didn’t know of them before ordering Sammarco samples: fastest delivery ever.
Glad you found a new fragrance to enjoy, and a new retail source of samples that works speedily for you. As for Bond-T, how much did you apply? Did you experience no black chocolate at all?
Two spritzes. The dark chocolate appeared far into the dry down and is really quite nice. The sandalwood in Ariel in the dry down is also lovely. Couldn’t get my hands on Vitrum but alter is next to try
Given your feelings about florals, and indolic ones in particular, I can’t see Alter as being your thing. If you ever order from Indiescents, they’re selling Vitrum samples again, and I think that would suit you more.
I totally agree with you… But wanted to try Alter for my mom. Already picked up 1ml of Via Dolorosa for her and she’s thrilled. As for Vitrum. I am very much a vetiver. Vetiver Orientale with that cocoa by Oncle Serge is a go to for days I need to channel my male ancestors. Vetiver doesn’t do the mint thing on me anywhere near as much as some varieties seem to on you. Now that Vitrum is back in stock I’ll certainly be grabbing it.
Also. I understand you weren’t well? Moo. Hope the worst is over.
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Thank you for your in-depth review. I have a sample and it smelled very green chloroseptic throat spray in its opening , and had a hard time with the particular type of greeness that lasted through the whole development. I even like the tougher greens out there like bandit, ma griffe vintage. I can appreciate the concept and quality, but too much unique green for me personally. I wish all of his selections has better sillage.
I am far too late with a comment here. Never mind!
All reviews pulled the triggers that need pulling: Green as green can be; oak moss; Guerlinade; Chanel N° 19; Chamade; Palladian villa; I could go on.
As I blind buy a lot, I immediately ordered a bottle online from the exquisitely polite Giovanni Sammarco in Switzerland.
True to what you wrote, that all persons experienced this perfume differently and that there verdicts do not somehow line up together, I too have had a very different experience. I am unfortunately rather disappointed as the scent—after the first five crisp and green and even smokey moments—rapidly developed into an absolutely monolinear scent of a fuzzy, muffled haze: unremittingly sweet and quite honestly bland. It feels like chewing a piece of gum for hours on end and not being able to throw it away (in Singapore perhaps 😉
For me there is not a single second of any flower or floral something. It is a stifling cashmere thing like a shawl made out of candy floss. I have no idea what to do with the bottle—probably go on eBay. Yet I feel so awful, the idea of the polite Mr Sammarco seeing his perfume on eBay keeps me from doing so!
Oh dear, none of that sounds very good at all. Sell the bottle! Forget about how polite and exquisitely well-mannered Mr. Sammarco is. Sell the bottle, and don’t feel awful about it. Your sugary, bubble gum and candy floss experience is unexpected, but I think he’d understand why you’d want to sell the bottle as a result. I’m sure he wouldn’t enjoy that either. (I certainly wouldn’t.) Skin reactions are just one of those things.