Oh no, another one of those nose-piercing horrors of dry wood/oud notes coupled with an aquatic haze, this is like a sport version of one of Arabian Ouds more mainstream offerings. Fortunately the dry wood aromachemical is used with discretion and doesnt shout all else into silence. A touch of geranium and something that gives the impression of lavender (not listed in the long list of notes) do little to dispel the gloom cast by the enormous fake smile on this ones face.
With wear it did soften, but I still couldnt see the point.
The whole Angela Ciampagna line reminds me of Rania Js line well put together blends for the most part, but a tad dated-smelling and too removed from my own preferences. Ducalis reminds me the most of Rania Js overall aesthetic (a line that is similarly distanced from my style), only this ones quite unpleasant.
What makes it unpleasant is the over reliance on dryness thats the result of a norlimbanol kind of material (lots of it) an aroma chemical so harsh that itll sear your nostrils and knock your nose out of commission for a few hours if you smell too much of it. Although theres no risk involved of that happening here, the effect is just too forceful. It's as though it's being deployed as a featured note rather than a background effect which is not a good move at all. The rest of the scent seems to be a earthy, botanical, almost fungal take on oud, thrown together from a bunch of different notes: rose, pine notes, leather. It somewhat maps onto the style of Ranias Oud, and perhaps even Piguets Oud, but its not a patch on Ranias yet it's several levels above the Piguet (which is a hideous, hideous perfume). If it wasnt for the norlimabol spill, this might be more tolerable, but Im struggling to understand this scents place in the lineup. Its the worst of the line for me by far.
Ducalis opens with a slightly sweetened, dull nutmeg spiced rose before moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the rose gradually dissipates, yielding first to smooth, slightly powdery ylang-ylang and iris infused suede before morphing moments later into a screeching, sharp semi-metallic woody floral accord that takes over as star and never cedes its position through the finish. During the late dry-down the composition remains highly linear as the sharp, piercing semi-metallic woody floral accord remains as star, softening slightly as time passes. Projection is above average and longevity excellent at around 12 hours on skin.
Oh my, this is really bad stuff. The best part of the composition is the opening couple minutes as the spiced dull rose is rather pleasant. Unfortunately once the top notes vacate it isn't long before the composition turns into a hideous mess with its focus resembling the worst part of my early candidate for "worst composition of the year," Noise, by Ephemera with its high-pitched irritating floral metallic accord. Luckily for the wearer, the similar accord in Ducalis is not quite as annoying, nor as intense as the one found in Noise, but anytime you are compared to the worst composition of the year it is not a good sign and indeed Ducalis is a super-scrubber for sure. No reason to write anything more about the development as the composition stays pretty linear through the finish, subjecting the wearer to seemingly unending hours of torture. The bottom line is Ducalis is a failure of a composition on nearly every level, earning an "extremely poor" 1 star out of 5 rating and a seriously strong avoid recommendation to all, except fans of Noise by Ephemera (...and sadists).
Ducalis is the unique Angela Ciampagna's creation which I frankly tend to almost dislike in its nowadays obsessively common interaction of (initially wet-angular-calonic) spices (saffron is heady by soon), dry cedarwood, rose and soapy-leathery synthetic agarwood. Yes I detect the reference to several Montale's (the woodsier Aoud Musk for instance) but overall I detect points of reference to several Join The Club Xerjoff (in a less satisfactory and synthetically cedary way), Trussardi and Dueto Parfums (City Oud for instance). Sharp floral patterns enhance (with a sort of spicy melancholic effect) the pungent cedary vibe while the final effect seems somewhat soapy, rosey and leathery. Lily of the valley, geranium, ylang-ylang and cyclamen (as connected with nutmeg and saffron) are really a "pungent floral/green bomb" in their association with powerfully woody cedarwood (admittedly not my favorite among the notes). Surely the only one among the "Angela Ciampagna Theca Olfactoria"'s components which I'd never find the occasion to wear. Unfortunately the dry down is almost gassy woody on my skin (frankly almost disturbing) and I can't appoint the medium rating I was ready to put down according with my humble personal taste.
Ducalis is the typical iteration of oud westerner style that relies on sharp dry woods and spices. Think about a slightly less aggressive Montale and you're there. Cedarwood, synth-musky-leather, norlimbanol (or any other similar woodyamber) *adorned* by subtle florals such as a rosy pattern and maybe some geranium and with an overall aquatic vibe. If you like Montale's style or certain Nasomattos, you might dig this one but for me, Ducalis is way too late to the party.
Potent, aggressive and extremely long lasting.
Probably my least favorite in this otherwise fantastic range.