I had a chance to sample Orto Parisi's Boccanera recently, sent free as part of another order I'd placed.
My impression is of a semi-gourmand, peppery fragrance that smells so MUCH like Rive Gauche for Men by YSL! I do detect whiffs of the main ingredients: dark chocolate, ginger, black pepper, chili pepper, sandalwood and musk.
I'm one of the few who appears to like Boccanera! I think my affinity for Rive Gauche has directly inspired my opinion for Boccanera, the first of Orto Parisi's scents I'd experienced.
Boccanera is my first try from the house of Orto Parisi as it's seemingly one of the higher-reputed entries from the line, and certainly the most-discussed that I've seen.
It's a nice dark composition, a mixture of chocolate, pepper, and sandalwood, primarily, with hints of ginger and musk. Fortunately, this in case, ginger does not spoil the fragrance, but its own spicy aspect does distract from the pepper's, not add to it, unfortunately. Still, the overall blend is nice---a bold, cold-weather-leaning beast that performs admirably and combines the sweet and spicy and woody.
In the US it seems to be available only at Luckyscent and Bergdorf Goodman for its standard pricing of $195 for 50ml, slightly cheaper than a Tom Ford Private Blend (though unlike the TFPB, not available in higher volume bottles like flacons). I'd say at this price point, it's roughly in the category of one needing to really love it in order to buy it, and I'm just not quite that sold on it. I like the balance of it, but I'm simply not swooning over it. Still, a nice first impression of the house for me.
Boccanera is a cold weather fragrance and with the cold snap here in Chicago it was the perfect day to return to it. I can say, without hesitation, that I love this cologne. Admittedly it's a bit of a mélange, with no clear notes that stand out. Some might call that a muddle. Don't care. It's my kind of muddle.
It's a warm scent, rich and sexy. The scent tree above (sweet notes and spices) are not accurate to my nose. I get very little spice from it. Is it gourmand? Perhaps partially but not absolutely. On the gourmand side, I detect hints of dark coffee and walnut oil but only modest sweetness. At times, I taste bitter chocolate distantly. The light sweetness is tempered by an almost animalic musk, something dusky. Not smoke but a hint of charred wood.
All these notes weave together to create a rich, comforting scent with good longevity and modest sillage. Just about perfect.
On the face of it, Orto Parisi is not my style of fragrance house--too edgy, too niche and more than a little obstreperous. I was not a real fan of Black Afgano for these very reasons. That said, despite its alarming name, I really responded positively to Stercus (visceral is the only way to describe it). Dark, intensely human and very sexy. This house is no extension to a fashion line, style or ethos. You do not wear these scents and associate them with a well tailored gent walking down Jermyn Street, or Italian luxury goods or a stroll down the Champs Elysees--Orto Parisi is the opposite of all that, something that is primal, bestial, stripped of all civilizing refinements. Boccanera, which means dark mouth in Italian, is another winner for me. Similar to Stercus in its humanity and sexiness, Boccanera has a drier, herbal/vegetal note and a very realistic cocoa note, mingling with a slightly sweaty (clean sweat!), musky base. So, the "dark mouths" the name alludes to are limited on a human body--there are only a small number of holes that can be explored olfactorily and they are generally not associated with good smells. But then, you would have to define what you mean by good. Alessandro Gaultieri makes us rethink our approach to such things and in so doing has given us some really wonderful scents. The sillage is subtle (thank goodness!) but the lasting power--thanks to the high concentration of quality ingredients--is impressive. Occasionally, I like to pair scents like this with a bespoke suit and often wear polished, sophisticated fragrances like Heritage or Bois du Portugal with jeans and a sweater--the contrast is unexpected and all the more interesting because of it. Definitely a try before you buy, but give these a try and do not think of them in terms of Black Afgano--they can stand on their own.
Les Liquides Imaginaires Fortis (spicier) and partially Montale Dark Aoud (starker on the piquant woodiness) more than the far more oriental Gualtieri's Nasomatto Black Afgano jump straight on mind. While I appreciate (for its specific goals) the "infamous" Black Afgano (which I see has shocked many immaculate Chanel Cuir de Russie's hardcore devotes here on Basenotes) for its gothic and misty "intentionally unbalanced" orientalism (deliberately excessive and provocative cause could not be in a different way if you decide to combine hashish, oudh, cocoa, woodsy resins, cipriol oil, Vetiver, coffee and a ton of dark ingredients in order to create an Halloween-type synthetic infuse) I frankly don't crave for Boccanera with its stark black pepper-synthetic leather-sandalwood accord in which the rounding note of cocoa hardly subdues the almost impetuous central chemical-gassy woodiness (while in Black Afgano it tended to be finally absorbed by a cloud of misty resinous density). Anyway, nothing new under the sun, Boccanera smells intensely woody (the sandalwood/black pepper accord determines the 70% of the aroma) and finally smoother, more rounded, fresher, vaguely ambery-spicy, still woodsy resinous, never properly chocolatey, more decidedly musky (the dry down is really close to the Fortis's one while the boisterous initial peppery and starkly woody presence leans over the Dark Aoud's side). The Boccanera's dry down is smoother, lighter, vaguely fluidy-aromatic and far more wearable (with a sort of freshly classic background). Cuirs Carner Barcelona jumps more than vaguely on mind too but if you wanna find a superior solution on this "intensely gloomy" genre stick to the great Bruno Acampora Nero.
P.S: the dry down is really too sweet anyway, my rating is barely medium at moment.