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
Must.have.some! I love ouzo (come on, I’m 1/2 Greek!) and have anise growing in my garden.
So you must try this! It is amazing how this perfume manages to transcribe the slight numbing of the tongue from ouzo into olfactory stimulation.
I’m going to The Perfumed Court immediately!!
Λοιπόν δεν θυμάμαι καν αν το έχω μυρίσει…Αραγε το έχει η Cruella? Με τσίγκλισες να το μυρίσω! Το artwork απλά δεν παίζεται! Εύγε to both of you!
Αν σου πω ότι νομίζω ότι είμασταν μαζί όταν το αγόρασα…
You have me intriqued as I am not a huge fan of summer scents. This might just be a great alternative 🙂
I am not sure the summer association is not a totally “me” thing because of ouzo but if you enjoy anise in perfume this will be very interesting. And although it is sweet it remains light and refreshing.
I love anice in fragrances, this sounds like a must try – can’t believe I haven’t explored the Etro line yet. I love the bottles, they’re so European and dated in the best way possible!
Unfortunately the bottles were modernized. The one you see here is the modern look. My Vetiver and Messe de Minuit are the older ones. What I really miss is their older boxes covered in colourful Etro style paisley motifs. The new ones are minimalistic black and white paisleys.
I love these posts where I learn something about your home country or culture. Christos, you make this scent sound wonderful and you also make me want to travel to Greece, sit outside at night and have a glass of ouzo with you. Happy summer, my friend!
You will be most welcome Suzane. I would love to show you my side of Greece. Now that you have found the way to Europe it could be quite possible… Next year? 🙂
I don’t like hot weather and I’m not sure if I’d like ouzo but I liked reading about it.
Hot weather is the price I have to pay for having summer… That’s how I see it. Ouzo is an aquired taste, much like olives and octapus. But there are secrets to enjoy it. Contrary to popular habits if you put water or ice in ouzo the alcohol hits harder and if you drink too much you are guaranteed to have an epic hang over. If you drink it neat though it is as smooth as the finest vodka.
Well, since I don’t drink vodka as well, rakia, grappa, schnapps and other drinks of this type, I don’t think I’d appreciate ouzo. But I can do cheese, wine and olives!
You are invited too then! 🙂
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LOVE this frag, not sure whather it’s FB worthy as some reviews claim it smells of pure anise, and I wouldn’t want to smell like I am wearing anise, you know? I have 4 days to decide, but such a lovely review! 🙂
Thank you! I can tell you it does not smell like pure anise! It has a floral and a musky component that create the silky, cold texture of ouzo. Anise as a spice smells a lot hotter and oriental than Anice does. If you had more than 4 days ti decide I could have sent you a sample.
Aww thank you 🙂 I realise I made my post ambiguous – I actually have a sample, love this, but have another anise centred fragrance (1000 Flowers Reglisse Noire) which is warmer – Anice’s fennel combined with the anice make a cool sweetness that I love in my tea (gahhh!). I just am scared to trust my nose; I went for a perfume launch yesterday and kept saying “that’s soft and mild” to the loudest perfumes.
So due to the fact that I have 2 anise frags, and the comments, I’m stumped on whether I should get it or not!
If you click on my gravatar you’ll see a link to my blog, I reviewed RN if you’re interested. It’s much more foody. Have you smelled it (gosh I hope so)?
I haven’t smelled it but to me liquorice (reglisse) smells very different from anise. As you say it is thicker and sweeter. Somehow liquorice reminds me of curry but anise is cool and summery. I will read your RN this afternoon.
Don’t worry about your biased nose. I do the same thing all the time. There are stinkers that I find soft and cuddly, like Sables and Musc Koublaï Khan 🙂
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