Francesca Bianchi Extrait de Parfum has a more herbaceous, somewhat medicinal, opening that is heavy on black pepper and warm cumin before a salty breeze, soft leather, and aromatic, resinous woods temper the spices and lavender. A floral veil seemed visible but out of reach at times, while the middle stage was marked by a honeyed, creamy sandalwood with little leather and lots of powdery musk. The drydown was soft, lightly sweet, and musky.
It is described as a Bianchi’s “interpretation of the animalic theme” that is “softened by precious iris butter.” The notes are listed as: grapefruit, lavender, black pepper, spices, Bulgarian rose, carnation, iris butter, musk, castoreum, ambergris, leather accord, costus, tonka bean, tolu balsam, Peru balsam, sandal mysore, vanilla, treemoss.
The opening was aromatic with black pepper and cumin against grapefruit and lavender; it was herbaceous, almost medicinal, and more heavily spiced–tickling black pepper with warm cumin. There was a powdery, leathery softness that married with the aromatics about 10 minutes in, joined five minutes later by a salty breeze and the beginnings of balsam and the seep of resins.
I could sense a soft, whispery floral bouquet that felt airy and sweet but was hard to define for me that drifted in and out, sometimes more than a whisper but never loud. Underneath all the notes was a muskiness that grew over time and was less noticeable from a few inches over my skin rather than close-up.
Under My Skin became more honeyed, almost buttery at times, creamy and smooth with sandalwood almost two hours into wear, and most of the spices, particularly the cumin, which was more noticeable, dissipated almost entirely. The leather bowed out around the fourth hour, which was when the sandalwood became noticeable, while most of the balsams were not, so it lost some of the more aromatic woodiness it had earlier but felt creamier. The muskiness remained just below the surface (“under my skin,” eh).
It has a powdery rose that dominated near the drydown (about six hours in) and seemed to mask some of the muskiness, but the musk returned with light sweetness in the drydown (about 10 hours in).
For testing, I used 1/3 of a 0.7ml sample vial dabbed to the underside and topside of my wrist area on my left arm. I used an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as this is also my swatching arm (aka, incredibly parched at any given moment) as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise.
I purchased my sample in January 2022; fragrances are known to be reformulated over their lifetime , so be mindful of when a review was made, e.g. a review from 2010 may not reflect what the same-named perfume smells like in 2022.
It lasted for eight hours until it was a skin-scent and about 12 hours before it was quite difficult to detect on my skin. The sillage and projection were on the lighter side for the entirety of the wear.
I have learned that powder and musk is not my favorite dynamic duo, and I am particular about them and how they wear on my skin, so I did not find myself feeling strongly towards this fragrance, though it certainly seemed beautifully done and certainly a journey.!
- 30ml for $145
- 0.7ml sample for $7