Signoricci Vintage Eau de Toilette (Nina Ricci)

What a world: my first Nina Ricci fragrance ever, and it's pour homme! How could I have never worn L'Air du Temps? I've smelled it on other people, of course, and I own a gorgeous-but-empty Lalique dove flacon... but the juice that rocked a thousand worlds has never once touched my skin! What kind of female am I?

Answer: the kind who wears Signoricci.

Signoricci is a dry masculine citrus with a pronounced green bent and a long, confusing history. So far as I can piece together from various dialogues, here is how it goes: the original launched in 1965 and was known simply as "Signoricci". In 1976 it was joined by "Signoricci 2" (the same aromatic citrus made smokier with vetiver and sage) and was rechristened "Signoricci 1". When "Signoricci 1" was discontinued in the 1980's, "Signoricci 2" dropped the now-superfluous digit and received a makeover that left it brighter and sweeter than either of its predecessors. Bottle and packaging redesigns occurred all along the way, confusing the hell out of the faithful.

Box, bottle, and all, the secondhand-but-never-used miniature I recently acquired exactly matches those depicted in Signoricci advertisements of the mid-1960s. Ergo, mine must be the original Signoricci, dated 1965-1976. Whew!

My first impression of Signoricci: it's Estée Lauder Private Collection for dudes! All right, scratch that-- Estée's fragrance came seven years after Nina's, which means that Private Collection is actually Signoricci for signoras. Where they intersect is a very precise point on the map... and it is colored deep, deep green.

While Private Collection's galbanum is a richly saturated scent like that of a pine forest in humid weather, Signoricci's galbanum is sere and austere, laced with aromatic, slightly saline herbs and grasses (identified in part by Perfume Intelligence as "Provençal hay", "Alpine lavender", and of course, vetiver). Too sweet a citrus would have buried this accord; Signoricci's citrus is asciutto-- brusque and exhilaratingly dry, the perfect counterpoint to this gust of sun-warmed Mediterranean wind. Again Perfume Intelligence chimes in, specifying lemon seed as Signoricci's prime acidulant. Unmoderated, it could be corrosive enough to turn you into seviche-- but a warm coumarin-amber base restores the pH to neutral.

On its own, Signoricci is one smoothly persuasive fragrance. Still, I can't help it-- the idea of introducing the signore to la bella femmina Private Collection is irresistible. Something tells me they'd get along like gangbusters.

What do you say? My wrist, 'round eight-thirty?

Scent Elements: Bergamot, lemon, mandarin, carnation, lily-of-the-valley, rose, galbanum, oakmoss, vetiver, cedarwood, civet, tonka bean, labdanum