Sole 149 ( Emilio Pucci )

This is my favorite of the colorful Pucci trio, which was released in 2009, and although I am not especially fond of it on its own, I think it's a successful piece of fine fragrance, done in a commendably inventive way. After Joop! broke new ground for tomato leaf with What About Adam, this leafy material began appearing in designer and niche perfumes of varying prestige. Eau de Campagne by Sisley is possibly the truest starting point for the mainstreaming of tomato leaf, but enthusiasts will agree that Joop! attempted to bring it to a younger demographic, with middling success (What About Adam is discontinued, and has been for quite some time). Other notable fragrances featuring this bitter, "stemmy" green note include Halston's Unbound for Men, Adidas Sport Field, and Lorenzo Villoresi's Spezie.

Another interesting note in the heart of Sole 149 is that of the infamous jasmine flower. Fragrances like 149, Anaïs Anaïs, and Tommy Girl showcase jasmine in three different ways, and convey just how surprisingly versatile and unisex it can be. Prior to getting into fragrance, I had always assumed that jasmine was just for girls, but it didn't take long for me to realize how untrue that assumption is. The rich sweetness of this flower lends itself to a wide variety of olfactory variables, in much the same way that white light yields a rainbow through a prism. They range from the warm-ambery, to an almost citric freshness, and 149's composition definitely leans toward the citric. It smells fine for a woman, but seems better suited for men, with its snappy galbanum, vetiver, and tomato leaf accentuating in equal measure its fresh, dusky jasmine note.

It's a bit simplistic, but Sole 149 is an example of how unconventional green notes can enhance the same-old, same-olds. Its vetiver is flat, and its galbanum, though well placed, smells the way galbanum tends to when left exposed to the elements: cheap. Nevertheless, with its brilliantly-placed tomato leaf note, its heart accord is concise and pleasant at all times. Despite a slightly unfinished feel, I think it's worth mentioning that this fragrance works because nose Michel Girard has extensive experience with fresh, earthy masculines (see Cerruti Pour Homme, Wolfgang Joop!, and Azzaro Pour Homme Elixir), and Pucci's brief must have been old hat for him. Creating a fragrance that brazenly highlights the beauty of crisp leaves and flowers without falling prey to undue soapiness is no small feat, and Sole 149 manages it nicely.

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