TOM FORD’s Neroli Portofino is pretty much legend at this point. Arriving as part of the initial crop of Private Blends in 2007, it has since been repackaged (in a glorious azure blue bottle, I must add) and has spawned its very own line of body products and flankers, scents such as; Costa Azzura, Mandarino di Amalfi and Fleur de Portofino. Neroli Portofino’s success is easy to understand – it is one of the best, if not the best neroli cologne on the market and it does what many fragrances of this ilk fail to do: it presents luxurious, globetrotting cologne nuances in a highly present and long lasting format, all with TOM FORD’s inimitable signature. What’s not to love?
This summer, MR FORD is expanding the Neroli Portofino lineup to include two additional fragrances. The first is Neroli Portofino Acqua, a lighter, more affordable and more widely distributed the fragrance that could be considered as the ‘Eau de Toilette’ version of the scent that we shall be putting to the test today. The second is Neroli Portofino Forte, which is the inverse of Acqua, serving as a more intense, exclusive and expensive take on TOM FORD’s standard bearer cologne, but we’ll get to that later in the week. The brand describes Neroli Portofino Acqua as follows:
“Vibrant. Sparkling. Transportive. Neroli Portofino Acqua is an invitation into the seductive atmosphere of the Italian Riviera from a new perspective afloat in the coastline’s idyllic azure waters, with endless skies overhead and steep, verdant hillsides just within view. A fresher expression of Neroli Portofino’s clear and sparkling facets, it is an irresistibly light way to wear the fragrance’s citrus-and-amber signature.”
– TOM FORD
Citrus, Neroli and Amber
How Does it Smell?
Fans of Neroli Portofino will be pleased to know that the Acqua version is immediately recognisable as a descendent of TOM FORD’s legendary Italian-inspired cologne. It opens with a wave of freshness, sending forth a light breeze of citrus that is crisp, like freshly ironed linen. Interestingly, the whole thing is clouded with abstraction right from the get go, with citrus notes that aren’t exactly identifiable as lemons or oranges, instead one just gets a sense of dewy refreshment that is wholly in keeping with Neroli Portofino’s casual vibe.
The star, unsurprisingly, is the neroli, which was put to tremendous and memorable use in Neroli Portofino. In Acqua, the neroli boasts the gorgeous pungency of orange blossom and hay, all that is expected from the note however, it is seen through steam rather than the sparkling clarity of turquoise waters. A hurricane of laundry musks elevate the neroli, diffusing it widely in the air and creating the impression of spotlessly clean white clothing freshly thrown on in the morning. It’s a delightful feeling and it leaves one feeling as if they gleam immaculately under the sun.
Neroli Portofino Acqua strikes me as a gateway fragrance to the Private Blend Collection. Due to its price point and wider distribution it is wholly more accessible, and at the same time it is an easygoing musk-heavy aquatic floral that is difficult to dislike. I guess the big question is whether it is a necessary option with Neroli Portofino already in existence? Well, that all depends on your perspective. The original is fantastic and I would probably reach for that over the Acqua however, there is something effortlessly attractive about its spirit that makes it a comfortable fragrance to wear on those days when one just wants something beautiful but uncomplicated. It’s the fragrance equivalent of a day on the veranda, with nothing but the view of the Amalfi coast for company.
Swing by on Friday for a review of Neroli Portofino Forte, the more intense and upscale new take on TOM FORD’s classic…
Neroli Portofino Acqua is available in 50ml (£95) and 100ml (£140) Eau de Toilette.
Image two and info via Tom Ford. Notes via Basenotes.net. Image one is my own.