Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Salvatore Ferragamo Terra Rossa Perfume And Exploring The Coonawarra


Sometimes it's hard to decide what perfume to take on a trip, but on a recent weekend visit to the Coonawarra region of South Australia, a destination renowned in the wine world for its swath of terra rossa soil, the decision was easy, Salvatore Ferragamo Terra Rossa. Cabernet is king in the Coonawarra as the cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers provide grapes that produce stellar reds. It's winter now, so the perfect time to taste red wines while huddling around a fire, and I was curious how the perfumer, Domitille Bertier, would interpret terra rossa. This fertile red soil sits atop a bed of limestone which provides exceptional drainage to crops and intensifies the flavor of the grapes. Would she look to represent the soil itself with the scent, the wine grown there, or the actual ruddy pigment color?

Ferragamo's Tuscan Creations are, in the brand's own words, "The collection of luxury artistic fragrances to tell the essence of Salvatore Ferragamo and Tuscany, the land that made it great. The all Italian names of each eau de parfum in the collection introduce stories giving off the essence of a land blessed by art and nature." So recognized is the terra rossa soil in Italy, there is an oil paint color named after the brownish red dirt. 

Photo from

The perfumer, Ms. Bertier had several possible inspirations, and to me the experience of the fragrance is a blend of the elements of rich soil, the reddish color, and juicy, jewel-toned wine. The patchouli is the obvious connection to the earth, but the addition of amber and labdanum elevate it to another level. These notes give it a fruity, resinous richness that describe the verdancy of this soil and how it is prized by viticulturists.

The perfume's opening is expansive and I am immediately enveloped in a luxuriant cloud made up of the perfume's heart notes of patchouli, amber, and labdanum. The scent gives a warm and cozy vibe, perfect for snuggling up near a blazing fire and sampling wines the colors of burgundy, garnet, and plum. Citrus is supposed to be in the top notes, and I do get just a hint, a sliver of brightness amongst the warmth and earthiness of the scent. The citrus here is bergamot and bitter orange. As the perfume settles into my skin I get notes of tonka, rose, and cedar. Happily the tonka is light on my skin, as it's not a note I favor. The rose is almost hidden and adds a subtle floral and fruity note, but it is swathed in the patchouli, which is definitely the star here, along with amber. The labdanum gives an opulence and balsamic aspect to the scent. It is spicy and warm, although not so heavy that I would hesitate to wear it in warmer weather.

Salvatore Ferragamo did have two lines in the exclusive Tuscan range, Tuscan Scents and Tuscan Soul. In 2018 the scents were reformulated and brought under one umbrella called Tuscan Creations. Any scents that were EDT formulas were changed to EDP. There are fourteen scents in this premier line and I enjoyed Terra Rossa so much I now want to try others in the collection. Look how beautiful the bottles look, lined up together!

Coonawarra Travel Guide

If all this talk about wine grown in terra rossa soil makes you want to visit this region of Australia, here are a few of my favorite spots. Coonawarra is an Aboriginal word meaning honeysuckle. It is only 15 km by 2 km and all the wineries are either side of a straight as an arrow road. I guess when your soil is so valuable, you don't want to waste real estate paving over it. It is almost equidistant between Adelaide and Melbourne. Because it is remote it doesn't get as many visitors as the wine regions directly surrounding Adelaide, and thus it retains a lot of rural, home-spun charm. 

Our Favorite Meal

Ottelia + Fodder is the restaurant which serves beautiful lunches and features the Ottelia wines. My husband and I enjoyed a meal similar to the one pictured below which was heavenly, and we were able to do a wine tasting at the table. We ended up buying a dazzling shiraz, but were equally impressed by a reisling that had evidently been influenced by the limestone bed it grew on. It tasted like sipping a white wine over mineral limestone chips.

Where To Glamp

There are several motels and cute cottages but for a real adventure go to Bellwether Wines and camp in a bell tent under a splendid sky of stars. Then treat yourself to a tasting in this 1868 old sheep shearing shed which has been repurposed into a quaint tasting environment.


There are over thirty wineries in the Coonawarra. We probably visited close to half and they were all very good. Probably the most recognizable of these is Wynns Coonawarra Estate. It is one of the older and most widely distributed from the area with this familiar label. 

The Wynn cellar door has a small museum highlighting the area, and specifically the terra rossa soil. I took a photo of this slice of earth, illustrating the limestone bed and the shallow red dirt above.

Pick any of these wineries for a warm welcome, and in winter many have fires to help you stay warm while you sample. In better weather, the wineries are so close that it's feasible to walk between a few or bike. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about Terra Rossa and this brief tour of the Coonawarra, built atop terra rossa soil!

Top photo from Other photos My sample of Terra Rossa was from Saks Fifth Avenue.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Olibere Les Insoumines Collection: Le Jardin de Mistinguett

This is the fourth and last perfume from Olibere's Les Insoumines collection that I have reviewed. The collection is Marjorie Olibere's tribute to some famous leading ladies in the cinema, and this last perfume is slightly different in that regard. It is named for the Moulin Rouge performer Mistinguett, who was in the early 1900s one of the highest paid female entertainers in the world, and who became famous for insuring her legs for 500,000 francs in 1919!

As for the perfume, I'm not sure what the connection is to the entertainer other than France is celebrated for its mimosa blooming season, but it is literally spring in a bottle! Here are the notes:
Top: Bergamot, lemon, watermelon
Heart: Lily of the Valley, jasmine, mimosa
Base: Cedar wood, amber, tonka bean, musk

But forget all that. What I get is one hundred percent mimosa. It is soft, fuzzy, and slightly powdery. Mistinguett feels sweet and innocent and will make you want to throw a flowered blanket on a spring meadow of wildflowers and have a picnic in the sun. There are moments in the perfume when I do get a breath of the watermelon, which smells more like cucumber to me, watery and fresh. This scent brings to mind bumble bees, somnambulant from sweet nectar, like this one falling asleep with its pollen-dusted butt peeping out from the cupped flower.

Photo @rabbitholeza

The perfumer for Mintinguett as well as the other three perfumes is Luca Maffei. If you would like to read about the other perfumes in the Les Insoumines collection, go to Le Jardin de Madame Chan here, Le Jardin de Amélie here, and Le Jardin De La Reine here. There are very reasonably priced sample kits at the Olibere website.

Google image on top. I bought the perfume samples from the Olibere website.