Molto Smalto (Francesco Smalto)

Although it was the mighty Green Irish Tweed which set the stage for the chaos that ensued in the world of masculine fragrance, Drakkar Noir launched the fashion campaign for GIT. Its bitter, lavender-fueled aromatics presaged the dihydromyrcenol-mosses of Creed and Davidoff. In its day, Drakkar was considered a leathery fougère, but I always suspected people had it pigeonholed wrong; there is a distinctly calone-like, men's-aftershavey freshness edging it, which makes sense, given its classification.

The interesting thing about this timeline is how the dense, chewy aromatics of fougères like Drakkar and Lomani Pour Homme gave way to the airier compositions of GIT and Cool Water, only to be followed by markedly denser fragrances like Eternity for Men, Horizon, and Molto Smalto. Despite the template for a New World Order being set, good chemists stubbornly held onto nose-stinging pyramids, until the last yuppie gave up and joined the '90s. Francesco Smalto's 1993 release was one of the holdouts.

Sniffing Molto Smalto is an exercise in nostalgia, one likely to conjure memories of high school for today's dad. Its opaque bottle is made of clunky black glass, and only hints at the complexity of its contents. Softer in nature than either Drakkar or Horizon, Molto follows their lead with a transparent burst of lavender, dry citrus, coriander, sage, and geranium. It's a civet-less Kouros, with re-calibrated lavender. Rapidly the citrus burns off, the lavender becomes dry and gummy in a "fresh" way, and a familiar bouquet of clipped florals, pungent herbs, and precious woods makes an appearance. Underpinning everything is a massive woody amber and musk.

These '80s-styled aromatic wetshaver fougères are never a bad choice for men, and always impart that hairy-chested manliness so many yearn to embody, but I think it's high time the ladies gave them a go. I'd advise against them wearing Drakkar Noir or Lomani, but it would be refreshing to smell GIT, the original Smalto, Cool Water, Eternity for Men, Horizon, and Molto Smalto on a thirty-something female in 2012. There's nothing wrong with a gal in dried flowers and herbs - if it wasn't intended to make men celibate, dihydromyrcenol was meant to be the great equalizer in postmodern perfumery.


  1. Green Irish Tweed does smell good on a woman. My wife introduced me to GIT about 17 years ago, because SHE wore it! I used to love it when she wore GIT.

    1. The violet in GIT is perfect for women. You're a lucky man.


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