One of the perks of exploring a vast selection of fragrance samples is a rich understanding of your own preferences where notes are concerned. The biggest lesson I've learned is that listed notes should never be taken at face value. You may adore pink pepper, but how do you feel about it when paired with amber, with sandalwood? Like personality traits that may lead person A to feel more comfortable around person B, notes can form unexpected but pleasant alliances. More frustrating still to the perfume novice is the fact that there is no right or wrong equation to create a perfume that you will adore, just the happenstance of your own preferences and the incredible creativity of the perfumer.
Such fragrant serendipity led me to discover Bruno Acampora's Nero a magical perfume oil that was first introduced to me as smelling of "stardust and nebula" by a fellow perfume lover on Instagram (of all places). Despite my general distaste for patchouli, how could such a description not capture my fragrant imagination? So many perfumes we adore are compared to earth bound objects: grasses, trees, flowers and even things like peppers and rain. But space? This was a new comparison that I had to investigate for myself.
All I can say with certainty about the magic wrought in this bottle is that the particular combination of notes strung together in Nero create the indescribably sensuous feeling of floating in velveteen blackness (sandalwood, amber) punctuated by bright shafts of light in the form of stars (citrus, saffron). Comparisons between deep space and Bruno Acampora's luxurious perfume oil are not—as far as I'm concerned—inaccurate or far flung.
Nero's listed notes of "citrus, saffron, cedar, patchouli, sandalwood, amber [and] musk" don't begin to scratch the surface of this fragrance, which is why not taking a description of a perfume at face value is paramount. As I mentioned above I tend to steer clear of patchouli, and was uncertain of the citrus notes in conjunction with such otherwise "heavy" bases (for lack of a better term) such as cedar, amber and musk. Nero has taught me a valuable lesson, as this sensual composition melts onto the skin and is so seamlessly paired that no one note stands out inordinately above the rest.
Nero is an oriental/woody perfume that opens (only briefly) with the slightest citrus zest that primes and prepares your senses for a heart redolent of cedar, musk, amber and sandalwood. On me, I don't just mean a little sandalwood I mean lots and LOTS of sandalwood. Interestingly, after the initial dry down the beautiful combination of rich notes creates an almost amaretto sweetness that lasts for an hour or two before diving under the covers (catch my drift?) and becoming substantially more sensual, wearing closer to the skin until it fades away. Nero requires that you make a commitment before you get naughty: as it's a perfume oil you'll be wearing this scent for upwards of a full twenty-four hours.
Let's just put it this way, Lucky Scent puts it beautifully in their description: "Clearly, someone is up to no good. And if you are wearing this fragrance, it is probably you."
There is only one small thing I'm not keen on, and that is Nero's packaging. Though these small vials are traditional vessels for perfume storage, and also offer a convenient way to block light from degrading the quality of the perfume oil within it just doesn't feel practical in 2013. The cork cap seems to absorb more of the oil than I'd like it to, and dabbing such a concentrated fragrance onto my jaw line and wrists with the stopper or my finger applies far more than one needs as this perfume oil is incredibly concentrated.
Bruno Acampora's Nero is the epitome of what this perfume house executes so very well: understated almost hypnotic fragrances that exude luxury and refinement. Although I simply adore Musc (review here) and Volubilis (review here), Nero is such a standout perfume that it is unquestionably my favorite Bruno Acampora masterpiece to date.
Have you tried Bruno Acampora's Nero (or its sister scent, Bianco)?
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Thank you to my incredible family for such a thoughtful and magical birthday gift!