Eleganza Luminosa (Linari)

In the realm of perfume, there may only be a finite number of scent combinations. Of these, only a tiny percentage stand alone, each the sole example of a category built for one. All the rest -- the copies, dupes, flankers, and smell-alikes -- cheerfully crowd the retail shelves, differentiated only by bottle shape, color, bling level and price tag.  In this territory, how is quality defined? 

Take the currently-ubiquitous caramel floral. Pushed in the direction of refinement, its buttery character may read as crème brûlée and other high-end delights. In the opposite direction, you're heading toward a pool of that salty, synthetic yellow oil that coats tubs of popcorn at the cinema. Between these two points, all sorts of stops can be identified: hard toffee, hazelnut syrup, Brach's milk caramels, bread pudding.  Few of these modulations are gold-medal worthy, and none are complete failures.  When it comes right down to it, the caramel  floral genre is so easy to embrace that there seems to be no overarching reason for any one fragrance in its ranks to strive for greatness.   Together, they typify the Golden Mean.

Amidst a sizable throng of similar perfumes, Linari's Eleganza Luminosa hardly distinguishes itself.  It lands squarely mid-arc on that great spectrum of  butter-and-spun-sugar aromas, smelling like the steam rising from a plate of competently-made French toast.  (There's also a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ on the side, but you expect that with breakfast.)  All in all, this dish is pleasant, tasty, and filling, but not made to stick in your memory as the most brilliant meal you've ever ordered.

Eat hearty, but remember: bigger, more serious meals await you later in the day.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, lemon, orange, rose, jasmine, freesia, iris, lily-of-the-valley, cedar, sandalwood, white musk, patchouli, ambergris