Sophia Vintage Perfume Spray (Sophia Loren for Coty)

When I was growing up, my parents used to rhapsodize endlessly about the miracle of Sophia Loren's irregular face. Taken individually, every one of her features (big nose, receding chin, huge overbite, slightly esotropic gaze) is imperfect; all of them arranged together in a visage called "almost satanic" by Sir Richard Burton-- well, you'd think disaster would ensue. It doesn't, of course; some celestial trick brings all of these flaws into the perfect alignment known by some as fate, by others as beauty. This, my parents sighed, was what made Sophia Loren a goddess. Then they looked at twelve-year-old me (long face, enormous nose, mannishly cleft chin, thin lips) and told me, You're not ugly, honey. You're just sort of homely.

Thus it was that when I received this perfume sample from JoanElaine and read the label lovingly inscribed in her graceful hand, my brain immediately blocked out the one person who was most obviously its focus. What's this? A scented tribute to... Sophia, Electress of Hanover! Sophia of Prussia, Queen of the Hellenes! Sofia Coppola! Σοφíα, goddess of wisdom! Of course!

So what does Sophia smell like? Well, it smells like... like a bunch of irregular notes that come together and make magic, dammit... just like la diva Loren. And jaundiced though my attitude might be towards her... I love me some of her perfume.

A rich high-handed Turkish rose, a down-and-dirty Grasse jasmine, a menthol-tobacco accord (ciao, Jasmin et Cigarette! Tu vuò fà l'americano?) and some very plush emerald oakmoss all intersect in paradise, or Rome, or Monte Carlo, or someplace where Coty Inc. clearly hasn't lived (or even vacationed!) for thirty years. In other words, Sophia smells well-constructed and luxe-- not cheaply thrown together. It smells like a Fragrance Foundation award winner (which in 1981 it most certainly was). It smells the way no Coty perfume has smelled in absolute ages: like something a goddess would wear.

Time may find me still attempting to deny that this fragrance has anything to do with Sophia Loren. But don't let my fancy-dancing sway you: I recommend Sophia to you whole-heartedly.

Scent Elements: Jasmine, rose, oakmoss, amber