Fendi (1998)


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Theorema by Fendi

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About Theorema by Fendi

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Theorema is a women's perfume launched in 1998 by Fendi

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Theorema by Fendi

There are 33 reviews of Theorema by Fendi.

With its resiny orange and powdered woody floral, Theorema begins like a niche eau de cologne... but it's much more than that.
It bears an exotic and overripe fruity note that makes the heart feel edgy and strange, and then, as time goes on, a gorgeous dark undercurrent sweeps it through a rich, sweet and spicy kind of mango Diorella - and on into pain d'épices.
And finally there's a whip lash of incense that brings you to your senses.

As Spock would say of some alien presence who'd just beaten him at 3D chess - and then materialised as a Vulcan beauty queen ... fascinating.


Full miniature in triangular wedge box

Although mandarine and orange are not listed as notes, the candied orange opening of Fendi Theorema EDP is mouthwatering. A honeyed amber sweetness soon sweeps the scene along with a small handful of all spices, among which the fresh woody nutmeg and sweet spicy cinnamon are the most discernable to my nose.

This combination of notes smells quite gourmand to me and is very suggestive of pain d'épices or gingerbread. However, except for its opening 20 minutes, its overall sheer texture and diffusiveness effectively keeps it from being cloying. Moreover, flickers of fresh woody notes invigorate the composition thanks to their contrast with the resinous warmth.

Theorema is more or less linear once the delectable amber warmth adorned with gentle spices settles in. It just gradually becomes more and more abstract and turns into a honeyed skin scent after about 3 hours. The overall sillage is very intimate, and the longevity is barely 6 hours on my skin.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed during my first few times wearing Theorema. I enjoyed the fragrance, but it was not as striking as I thought it would be, probably because it's easier for me to justify the hype with an opulent, highly contrasted fragrance than a relatively gauzy comforting one like Theorema.

But the more I wear it, the more I start to see that its rather translucent approach to a gourmand oriental is actually its strength. It perfectly showcases Christine Nagel's skill to make a perfume satisfyingly delicious and cozy without being suffocating, which is probably the reason why Theorema has such a wide appeal. This type of sheer gourmand being quite popular these days, I imagine Theorema might work quite well if it was introduced in today's Hermès or another designer brand's exclusive collection.

I would hesitate to recommend it because of its rarity, but if you're looking for a soft cozy ambery fragrance reminiscent of Christmas cakes and gingerbread and can sample it at a reasonable price, I think Theorema will worth a try.

Very nice orange and spice opening, just barely sweet.

I have to concur with the "mulled wine" description; there's something acidic (wine-like) mingling with the spices and dried fruits to give that impression. You know those "mixed fruits" that people put in Christmas fruitcakes, a mixture of glaceed fruits with raisins and currants? This smells like you stirred those together with spices and some fortified wine, a port or sauternes. The texture is surprisingly light for a scent of that description, though.

It's pleasant, but I'm getting only "macerated dried fruit", not the "decayed fruit" I'd hoped for. Despite the overall spiciness, I can't single out any individual spice, except possibly pepper.

I keep sniffing for the osmanthus, as it's a favorite of mine, and I have to strain to detect it. There's jasmine, but quite restrained. I keep thinking I'm sensing something like mint, or menthol, in the background. I had to Google "Thai shamouti" to see if that was culprit, but it turns out shamouti is a seedless sweet orange from Israel. Maybe that provides some of the acidic quality?

About an hour into it, Theorema turned quite creamy on my skin, with incense, soft rosewood (very nice), and vanillic patchouli, and remained like that til the end, four hours later. I kept expecting lots of amber, in keeping with the oriental theme, but that didn't happen. Despite all the exotic elements, the overall feel remained very "soie" and light throughout, which seems like quite a testament to the perfumer's talent.

I hate to keep using such a cliched term as "pleasant", but Theorema just didn't wow me in the way I expected. I can see how it would be a big hit with lovers of spicy orientals, however; it seems like it would be right at home in the Serge Lutens stable of scents. And it would certainly make a perfectly wonderful Christmas fragrance.

This is a borderline thumbs-up from me; although it's not to my taste, there's no denying that it's beautifully structured and blended.


I must add a coda here: I thought Theorema had disappeared after four hours, but to my surprise it made a strong comeback and started projecting like crazy six hours after I applied it, and is still going full force 9 hours after application. It's the Rocky Balboa of perfumes!

"Tesla," he prodded,
"Tell me more about the sun."
Tesla smiled at that.

I swore to myself that I was not gonna get on the Theorema train, damn it--the reviews, the prices, the hype, the discontinued status, and all the wailing and lamentation that comes with discovering a classic that's no longer made--that marvelous but devastating feeling of discovery and loss.

And then, like Pandora with the box, I sometimes poked around online at the minis for resale and wondered. Meh, it's a serious oriental, I figured. It'll be another Shalimar--no doubt something beautiful, but not exactly for me. I decanted my mini into a sprayer, gave it a couple of tries, and figured I was right from the beginning--a big, clanging opening, a tangy and fresh and very novel kind of citrus, caroling huzzahs of spices, and hinting at an even grander second movement with Ozmanthian statues lurching out of the sand, trains of camels and dancing girls, and a last act reclining on a dream of vanilla. If that had happened, I wouldn't be writing about Theorema right now.

Instead, Theorema does something that few perfumes constructed in this (relatively recent era) do: it downshifts into another gear entirely--and then *kicks it*. That richness that could support an upright spoon swirls away, and what's left is a sheer, gauzy, psychedelic golden space fever dream--that lasts and lasts and lasts and lasts and lasts and lasts. And I think that's what everyone moons about. Yes, it's exotic, and it smells like spice, and I vastly prefer it in cooler weather, but it never becomes a costume drama. It's just opaque enough to feel like perfume, while it remains translucent enough that it also somehow melds together with the wearer. This effect holds true in all formulations, and that may be the genie in the bottle--that mutually transformative power between perfume and self that I think that all perfume lovers--even the most jaded of us--never stop searching for.

I could try to describe exactly what it smells like, but the truth is that Theorema is constructed of familiar materials and smells--honestly, we all know what amber smells like; and if you're not familiar with osmanthus, you can find any number of people (present scribe likely included) singing its praises online. That part is all there in the pyramid. What's great about Theorema is the construction, the way that bits and pieces of fade and return and recombine into striking new combinations, and the way it does it all in such a lovely mezzo voce, never demanding, just hanging in there with you. Those key changes, those subtle switches of mood, from almost sweet to almost dry, and the way it hangs in there and dances between them tirelessly (and the way that, hours later, it slowly, slowly, spins to a stop and finally comes creeping down beside you on little cat feet)--that's why I think Theorema is great.

Buy the ticket and take the ride: those little minis are a steal, and they will not be there forever. But don't say you weren't warned.

Theorema opens with a powerful spicy accord, Oriental and sweet, with dusty and exotic notes of cumin, resins (olibanum too?), cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, all supported by woods – I get sandalwood and cedar – and softened by a graceful, light floral breeze with a sprinkle of citrus and neroli, providing an irresistible fruity-warm feel to an otherwise quite pungent blend. A totally modern opening for a scent which could have been released last week; Theorema has a sophisticated, bright sort of “thin” substance and transparency, which is quite typical of many contemporary scents, yet not smelling plain or cheap: all ingredients smell terribly sharp, high-quality and vibrant, it's just that most of them are, say, “high-pitched” notes (spices, citrus) and this creates a sort of light transparency, yet dense and bold. The unsurpassed beauty of this scent lies in the incredible class with which Nagel composed it: the spicy structure is perfectly counter-balanced by the watercolor sweetness of flowers, all darkened with a gentle shade of woods. All is discreet, simple, almost “geometrical”, clean and incredibly sharp, clear and bright. Radiant, refined, a joy to wear and to discover, civilized enough to please also non-lovers of resinous-spicy scents (I'm one of them). Elegant sillage, decent persistence, totally unisex. Far superior to its masculine companion, by the way.


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