Romeo Gigli is a sweet, smoky fragrance that took me a couple wearings to appreciate, although I'm not sure why. Something was throwing me off initially, the woods in the base, perhaps, were coming off as sour. I'm now finding it slightly similar in style to Chanel Allure Homme in the top and Chanel Egoiste in the base, both of which I like, and I appreciate the descriptions below of a plum smell!
This one really is quite the trip. It has already been described at length here so I'll give a strange parallel - If you were to compare wearing a perfume to observing all of the items, decorations, and furniture of a single room you inhabit, then wearing Romeo Gigli is like touring an entire house. Every time I sniff it I seem to be in a different room. I can see the room of Spice and Herbs, the closet full of Cotton Candy and Nail Varnish, and the vestibule made of Civet. Sometimes the room is fruity, sometimes overtly herbal, and as I wander much farther in I get a room of soft woods and sweet powders. It honestly smells a little different minute-to-minute, and at varying distances from the source. Is this good? Perhaps. It it practical? Probably not, as it is hard to gauge reactions when neither the wearer nor the olfactory recipient quite knows what vibe is being given off. But as for myself, I like the quality of materials, that barely 90's plum and green herbs tint, and I like the ride, as mental as it is. So thumbs up for sheer creativity and a fun real estate tour through the nose.
Edit: After many wears of this I have come to realize that nearly all of its ingredients are bit players, supporting and upholding the sandalwood. The honey and the cinnamon and somehow even the herbs are tuned to such a hum of a frequency that the overall melody is 'sandalwood,' and boy is it a lovely tune. This actually in retrospect smells very close to Yardley's version of Sandalwood that they released in the 90's, but it is far more nuanced. I am both amazed and utterly disappointed that this stuff wasn't a household name when it was released.
I know it's bad of me, but whenever I see blue liquid in a fragrance bottle or a sample vial, I cringe reflexively in anticipation of yet another drab, sporty, fresh fougère or unpleasantly chemical aquatic.
Imagine my surprise and delight then, when as I sniff timidly through the olfactory equivalent of a slit between the fingers covering my eyes, Romeo Gigli sheds its conventional bergamot and soapy aromatic top notes and morphs into a full-blown patchouli, tobacco, and spice-seasoned woody oriental structure. Things get even better as I take my hands away and judiciously applied animalic notes slide into place to warm the scent's woody/balsamic foundation. In overall mood and structure, Romeo Gigli lies somewhere between the civilized woody orientals like New York and Héritage, and the big tobacco fougères like Lauder for Men, Jules, and Or Black.
Romeo Gigli is the kind of scent that could easily be loud, crude, or overly assertive, but the sillage and projection in this case are cleverly balanced to yield for controlled strength without brute aggression. Yes, Romeo Gigli is staid, perhaps even old-school in stryle, but it's also complex and sophisticated, and should appeal to those who seek self-possessed dignity in a fragrance.
This fragrance is an ultra-modern gem. I am so happy I received a bottle via a blind-swap (must say I highly respect and have confidence in the opinion of the beloved Basenoter I did the swap with... he said he loves it, I was quite sure I would have too). Romeo Gigli opens with one of the most pleasant, sophisticated, cozy and relaxed modern fougère accords ever. No sweat, no decadence, no hairy chests, no excessive gloominess: not a powerhouse for sure, even if it has the right amount of power and boldness. The initial accords make this scent stand quite on its own, there is lavender, aldehydes, balm, plum, vanilla, oak moss, cedar, citrus notes, resins, cloves, cardamom... an Oriental, aromatic, slightly fruity, floral-mossy-balmy blend. I know words fail a bit, but it is something I never smelled before. To try to give a rough idea, I feel a sort of "talcum" coziness, a dusty-transparent subtle metallic feel, something dusty, slightly powdery, balmy, soapy, mossy, the feeling of being just out of a relaxing bath in a cozy, not "luxury", just more cozy and understated hotel room, with a slightly cloudy weather outside, a garden below the window, but also a modern, artificial vibe, still aromatic, just more contemporary. Slightly shady too, I won't say dark, but melancholic perhaps. That may be the overall smell, that mixing of different suggestions, the realm is definitely contemporary and manly, just less predictable than in other scents. I get a feel of cleanliness, masculinity, silence, comfort, nostalgia. A heavily aromatic, romantic but self-confident scent. One of a kind for sure, it's masculine but in a bit more "feminine" and contemporary way, as it smells more delicate, more clean, more sophisticated than other "bolder" fougères. The drydown evolves then on a darker, bitter, woodier accord, basically only "losing" some floral notes and part of the initial talcum/balmy feel. Personally I am completely sold to this, as it's the perfect kind of scent I just love to wear, especially in the morning I love masculine elegant scents with "something" nostalgic, dreamy, slightly feminine and understated. Darvant's review below quite nailed it giving reference to "solitude" and a general quiet, meditative feel... andit's not the "incense" type of meditation, there's no spiritualism and no mysticism, what I keep thinking of is just a man chilling in the afternoon, rolled-up sleeves, quietly looking out of his hotel room window, in some Italian town say, Rome. Not a Sheraton hotel, more a still elegant, hidden, understated hotel with just a touch of mystery if you've been there, think of the quartiere Coppedé, with its Art Nouveau mansions, the gardens, the general melancholic calm. A complete gem.
Romeo Gigli Uomo opens with a blast of nose tingling aldehydes and lime-like herbal tarragon with hints of bitter orange and plum. As the scent enters the heart phase, the composition becomes very complex, making identification of individual notes difficult. The tarragon remains in a more subtle state joined by slightly earthy patchouli and a handful of very light aromatic herbs, spices and florals. During the late dry-down the composition remains highly complex but relatively dry amber and soft woody notes are detectable in the mix, joining ever so slightly animalic civet from the base, and the remnants of the patchouli as the earlier starring tarragon completely disappears off radar. Projection is very good to excellent and longevity is very good at 11-12 hours on skin.
Describing Romeo Gigli Uomo is quite tough. The aldehydes and lime-like tarragon were extremely easy to identify early as was the gorgeous underlying plum note initially detected, but apart from those the rest of the notes are difficult to pick out. I almost get a kind of slightly floral and herbal ginger beer soda-like vibe with the overall heart accord, but that does not come close to doing the fragrance proper justice as the accord is quite unique (in a very good way)... I am having a devil of a time describing *what* I am smelling, but I have no reservations in saying whatever it is, it is quite pleasant and very much up my alley. I will also respectfully disagree with other reviews that call this an overly sweet scent, as that description does not jive with my experience on skin. Aromatic absolutely, but not really sweet to my nose. The bottom line is the regrettably discontinued Romeo Gigli Uomo is a fabulous quality scent that is one of the most innovative and pleasant smelling I have sniffed to date, earning an "excellent" rating of 4 stars out of 5. Aftermarket bottles are getting scarce, but a few can still be found at relatively affordable prices if you look hard enough. My advice to demanding collectors seeking something that smells great and truly unique is to hunt one of them down before prices rise further.
surprized nobody among the recent reviwers mentiones civet... the great thing about this scent. such pronounced civet i have only encountered in ungaro ii. gigli can not even stand against a healthy bottle of the latter, but the scent is worth attention. surely it is not a piece of art like most malle or lutens, levels below, still a good masculine scent. the juice is green... very much kiwi with civet