Venezia Uomo (Laura Biagiotti)

Venice is a beautiful city. I was fortunate enough to visit it a few years ago, and enjoyed my time there immensely. It was by far the most exotic Italian town I stopped in. The masks, the gondolas, the outdoor cafes, the north Africans busking and selling things on street corners, the twinkling of Croatia's lights from the beaches of Lido at night, all were wonderful to take in. I don't know what it's like to live there, but I imagine it's something only the very rich can experience in full. The region is, put simply, e-fucking-gads expensive. Don't let that stop you from traveling to Venezia to experience its canal odors and bad singing for yourself. It's totally worth it.

Any perfume that adopts the Venetian moniker should by definition be equally plush and luxurious, full of exotic notes and accords, but Laura Biagiotti's Venezia Uomo is rather surprisingly staid. It is truly an ordinary ambery fougère in an early-nineties style of brusque, sweeping herbal accords. There's a crapload of lavender, bergamot, cedar, patchouli, and tonka. My bottle is by default "vintage" and I believe the top notes have turned a bit, as the citrus and lavender notes are not as perky and well-defined as they should be, but no matter - the patchouli and cedar drydown is rich, smoky, and sweet, lending the experience of wearing Venezia a pleasantness commonly found in these types of fragrances. This isn't a brutish powerhouse or a snarling musk-bomb like Kouros or Lapidus. It's more in line with Davidoff's Relax and the original Brut, with some extra smoothness and sweetness for good measure.

I like Venezia but I don't love it, and its discontinuation doesn't keep me up nights. Still available at brick and mortars for reasonable prices, it is perhaps overshadowed by Biagiotti's very own Roma, but still deserves consideration if you're a fan of nineties ambers. Someone on Fragrantica or basenotes called Venezia "a grown-up Dreamer," and I guess I can see that, as there is a tobacco-esque angle to the patchouli-cedar combo, but I don't find a true tobacco note in here. Nevertheless, if you like the Dreamer and oriental-boozy fougères, Venezia is something to seek out.

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