The first days with the thermometer reaching 30°C are hear. It is officially summer. I don’t enjoy hot weather that much, especially when I have to spend my days in the city, going to work and doing all the things that require a cool breeze to be tolerated. These first hot days make me want to reach for my bottle of Anice. The obvious reason being that Anice smells just like ouzo and what is a summer night without a dash of ouzo? But Anice is an extraordinary scent in its own right.
Those of you not familiar with ouzo might think that it is petty much the same thing as sambuca or pastis. It is quite different actually. While sambuca and pastis are mostly flavored with liquorice and contain a lot of sugar, ouzo gets its flavor mostly from anise and never contains sugar. Essentially it is a variation of arak or raki, drinks of Middle East and Turkey. Anise is the main flavouring ingredient but many other spices and herbs are added, each distiller having their own secret ingredients that often remain almost imperceptible. The only way one can start pinning them down is to take sips of different labels of ouzo, one after the other, and only then cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, mastic, oregano, mint, thyme come through the dominant flavour of anise.
This is exactly what is happening in Etro Anice. Anise hits you right from the opening and stays strong throughout the development. One would be tempted to consider this a very simple perfume but it isn’t. It is extremely textured and although anise is a spice the end result is not a spicy fragrance but a musky floral. Right from the bottle the topnotes are very volatile with a transparent floral element. The floral aspect is very brief and rather hard to pin down. Mostly jasmine but not quite, maybe a touch of lilac, this is a very ethereal and metallic flower, much like the opening of Serge Lutens Un Lys. It only takes moments for anise to take over with a hint of citrus. But Etro’s version of anise does not have the oriental, spicy quality of the seed of anise. It is cool, slightly metallic and velvety. A touch of vanilla adds the kind of sweetness that comes built-in with aniseed or liquorice and in the end a delicate musk creates a compact, sticky base.
The overall experience is just like sipping a a glass of iced ouzo. The aromas are delicate, underlined by the steely touch of alcohol and anise itself. The volatility of ouzo is mirrored in the delicate floral aura of the opening. The discreet sweetness of anise is highlighted by vanilla and musk illustrates the creaminess that blooms when ouzo is watered and becomes milky white. Even though Anice is not a fresh fragrance it offers an alternative to the summer colognes for anyone who wants something a little more adventurous than a clean or citrus perfume. It is unique because you will never find such an overdose of anise in another perfume but also because anise has never been more unexpectedly treated in a composition. Anice is addictive and abstractly gourmand and it is my summer essence.
Notes from Fragrantica: brazilian rosewood, anise, bergamot, caraway, iris, jasmine, garden dill, amber, musk, vanilla.
Notes from my nose: ouzo, jasmine, lilac, bergamot,vanilla, musk