Perfume Review: Anima Vinci

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The Candy Perfume Boy has afforded me with a huge number of wonderful opportunities and amazing moments over the years, but to date, none have been more awe inspiring than a trip that happened earlier this year. I was invited to attend the launch of an entirely new brand called Anima Vinci in none other than Grasse: the home of perfumery in the South of France. Who could say no to a morning spent picking rosa centifolia in a small field in the centre of Grasse, followed by a trip to Art et Parfum, the home of legendary perfumery Edmond Roudnitska? Not this blogger, that’s for sure!

Anima Vinci was founded by Nathalie Vinciguerra, a Corsican native who has dedicated her career to perfumery, working at Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur as Creative Fragrance Director. During her time with these brands she developed over 40 fragrances, so Nathalie knows perfumery, that much is evident and her fragrance brand celebrates both passion and energy (two things Nathalie has in abundance) through five fragrances that pay homage to key olfactory families. In Latin, Anima means ‘soul’ and Vinci means ‘to conquer’ and if these five fragrances do anything it’s conquer the senses and energise the soul. Anima Vinci is a brand you’re going to want to know about and in this piece I hope to introduce you to the five wonderful fragrances in the collection.

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Lime Spirit
by Christian Provenzano

Lime Spirit was the very first Anima Vinci fragrance we tried at the launch and I think it really gives one a good sense of what the brand is all about. It’s a revitalising tonic that takes the hesperide elements of the classic cologne and gives it a deep twist of leather, and that’s sort of the style of Anima Vinci – classic, accessible compositions with unique signatures.

Lime Spirit strikes me as a very handsome fragrance. It pairs zesty, aromatic citrus notes with a complex blend of spices, resins, woods, flowers, and much more to create a vivid, three dimensional cologne that feels filled with life. A meaty strip of leather provides contrast and takes the fragrance from being a simple, energetic cologne, to being a dressed-up, jacket and tie fragrance for the type of man that would wear Eau Sauvage. If he does wear the aforementioned Dior then it’s time for an Anima Vinci upgrade!

Jasmine Yang
by Thomas Fontaine

If you’ve read this blog before you will know that I bloody love a white floral, so it’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of Jasmine Yang. The fragrance is inspired by the spiritual use of jasmine and frangipani in Indian processions, and much like the rest of the collection, Jasmine Yang has this overarching calmness to it that feels like the fragrant equivalent of a slow inhale and exhale of breath. It’s measured and restorative, with an addictive quality that keep’s one sniffing.

Jasmine Yang is a tropical white floral to the core. The fresh, menthol facets of jasmine and frangipani are enhanced by mandarin and yuzu, whilst the sweet creaminess (which is a bit sun lotion-esque) is intensified by vanilla and white musk. To my nose it feels like a luxurious floral dessert of white flowers and chantilly cream, created in some fancy Parisian patisserie. It may not be edible, but it most certainly is highly sniffable and I can’t think of anything I’d want to wear more on a hot summer’s day. When Summer 2018 rolls around I’m going to want to yang it up for sure.

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Wood of Life
by Michel Roudnitska

Trust me when I say that you’re going to want to try Wood of Life. It is simply unlike any other fragrance out there and that is purely down to the core material used: piri piri root. This root hails from the Amazon basin and plays a role in both medicinal, and religious purposes. It’s a material that has not been used in perfumery before, and smelling the fragrance is like an entirely new experience: it simply does not smell like anything else.

Wood of Life is an entirely new odour for my nose, but it has a spicy sharpness, a touch of menthol and the richness of wood. One could call it intense, luminous, rich, dark, hot, cold, and fizzy, but that doesn’t do it justice. Instead I will settle one word that perfectly summarises Wood of Life: fascinating. Wood of Life is the standout in the collection – it’s the most innovative and the most unusual, but it’s also the most divisive. If you smell only one fragrance in the collection (which you shouldn’t do, because they’re all great), make sure it’s Wood of Life.

Oud Delight
by Christian Provenzano

Despite the fact that oud is such a pungent and distinct material, it has proved itself to be a remarkably versatile one too. Sure, there is a lot of the same out there oud-wise, but still there are new and intriguing compositions to be found. Anima Vinci’s take on the note, ‘Oud Delight‘, definitely feels like more than just another oud, eschewing the typical rose and smoke combinations for something more colourful and fruity. The name suggests a treat, and Oud Delight certainly delivers something very enjoyable.

The bright opening of bergamot and lemon give Oud Delight a lacquer-like sheen, allowing the matte quality of the material to shimmer. There’s a juicy, berry facet up top that sits atop the richness of the oud and woods, evoking the image of softly smoking purple fruits in an arid desert. The whole presentation is very soft an out of focus – this is not a harsh, spiky oud with a butch leathery quality (as is the norm) – but it does have presence. If you’re in the market for a comfortable, calm oud with an unusual fruitiness, then I think this one may just be whispering your name.

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Rose Prana
by Randa Hamami

Whenever I try a new collection of fragrances I am inevitably drawn to, and fall in love with the rose. Anima Vinci’s offerings are no exception and it would be fair to say that Rose Prana was instant love for me. The fragrance is an ode to the may rose and having picked this beautiful flower on a piping hot day in Grasse, I can understand why it has bewitched the noses of perfumers for so long – it’s a symphonic overture of olfactory hedonism, or in less wanky terms, it smells bloody beautiful.

Rose Prana celebrates the lively nature of rosa centifolia. It has a crisp freshness up top, with a clean, apple-like quality that is dewy and golden, whilst a touch of violet leaf brings a watery sweetness. The rose is cool and fizzy (Nick Gilbert described it as smelling like a “champagne bubble” and I couldn’t say it better than that) with all of the things that make a rose great: a lemon-like sharpness, a jammy richness, and a lychee-like juiciness. In terms of the base, Rose Prana takes a turn down chypre avenue, revealing a mossy patchouli-musk dry down, with shards of vetiver and a woody smoothness. It really is as beautiful as it sounds and it feels meditative – a vibrant, uplifting rose with an inspiring optimism.


The Verdict

A tremendous, understated collection that relies on quality, intriguing and innovative compositions over marketing gimmicks. There’s a lot to love in this collection and within just five fragrances, Anima Vinci covers a lot of olfactory ground. I have Wood of Life already, but I’m definitely going to be adding Rose Prana and Jasmine Yang to my collection, and that’s an impressive hit rate! In short, Anima Vinci is a brand that you’re going to want to explore.


Availability

Each of the Anima Vinci fragrances are available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £150. They’re currently available at animavinci.com.


Disclaimer

Samples, press trip to Grasse, notes and quotes via Anima Vinci. Images are my own.

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