The inability to access the internet and post a review on Monday and Tuesday allowed more time to wear this fragrance and explore its nuances. How I wish I had taken time to test this at Bergdorf Goodman, the same morning I met its creator Aurelien Guichard, for I would have snatched up a full bottle in a heartbeat. This gourmand/oriental begins smelling like many others on the market and ends with unique beauty and depth.
Mr. Guichard has also created the spicy-sweet Bond No. 9 Chinatown. Chinatown features an interesting peach accord contrasted with spices. Thus, it is very likely he favors the fuzzy fruit and enjoys experimenting with it, for Visa builds upon it as well. The original Visa launched in 1945 and has been described as an aldehydic (sparkling) floral. Although I have not sniffed the original, I am certainly glad Visa has been re-issued as I proudly declared it my #2 favorite scent from 2007.
The opening of this stunning fragrance screams fruity-floral, thus the reason it may be perceived as yet another mass marketed, for the younger less discerning nose fragrance. White vineyard peaches, pear, violet, Italian bergamot and mandarin essences give it pizzaz and piquancy. Not to fear, however. This "just like the umpteen others" stage is very short-lived. The second stage involves that same luscious peach, along with ylang essences, rose, immortelle (everlasting flowers) and orange flower absolutes. Think rich, as in a dessert overflowing with sauce and cream, and detailed as in an intricate pattern, and you will nearly capture how gorgeous it is, but not quite. Rather than the lighthearted and sparkling fruits of the top, this heart is much richer, darker and decadent. The listing of notes, as on a sheet of music, simply gives the wearer an idea. The magic lies in playing them and in this case, the melody inspires and moves the wearer. If you have ever experienced chills down your spine following a perfectly performed number at a concert or musical performance, you will understand the beauty to which I am referring. Amping up those qualities, the leather accord at the lower base, along with sandalwood, Indonesian patchouli, vetiver and vanilla beans saves the best for last. The addition of vanilla and leather catapult the fragrance into the warm and snuggly category; the progression is akin to devouring a delicious dessert and then diving under a soft blanket while being caressed by your beloved.
Visa has some similarities to Thierry Mugler's Angel but I find it much more wearable and likeable. Nonetheless, for those who enjoy Angel, Visa is a must try. For all others, the fragrance promises a more richly composed and sophisticated fruity-floral with a gourmand and oriental base. I picture the person wearing this much like the press release for Visa, a very well-traveled sophisticate who desires to wear a fragrance "reminiscent of all the places she visits and sights she sees." A beautiful concept for certain. In this case, it fits.
Robert Piguet Visa is available at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, Le Bon Marche in Paris and Harvey Nichols in London. The EDP retails for $65-$95 and the parfum is $190 for 1 ounce.
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