Francesca Bianchi Fragrances
Niche Perfumery

A Complete Buyers Guide To Francesca Bianchi

This past week, I was lucky enough to experience the entire Francesca Bianchi Discovery set. Her fragrances demanded and deserved peak interest day-to-day. This caused the testing process to be slower than usual, but well worth it. 

What you will find in her discovery set will vary from person to person. Some may find a few gems, whilst others may not like a single one. That’s the beauty of discovery sets. 

Personally, and as you’re about to read, I found a boatload of terrific fragrances that challenged me and made me think of past memories.

Under my Skin by Francesca Bianchi
Under my Skin by Francesca Bianchi

Under My Skin

Notes: Grapefruit, Lavender, Black Pepper, Spices, Bulgarian Rose, Carnation, Iris Butter, Musk, Castoreum, Ambergris, Leather Accord, Costus, Tonka Bean, Tolu Balsam, Peru Balsam, Sandal Mysore, Vanilla, Treemoss

Under My Skin is an intoxicating, animalic fragrance with heavy doses of Woods and Leather. The fragrance’s name is well-suited for the way in which it seeps into the body. When you wear other fragrances, you may feel connected to the scent profile or memories that come along with it. But with Under My Skin, the feeling is just different.

I felt as if the fragrance was never sprayed onto my skin. Rather, I was finally experiencing what so many people have described to me as pheromones. We have all experienced this at one point in our lives. We tell someone that they smell nice just for them to respond with a puzzled face. “I’m not wearing anything but thanks” is usually the response. 

But Under My Skin projects as if it has lived there since I was born. It smells like my body was intending to exude masculinity, with a dormant gentle side. The fragrance is smooth, blended perfectly and effortlessly does its job. 

Off the top, I get a peppery accord that takes me by my coat and pushes me onto a wall. As time progresses, the fragrance becomes more gentle, projecting smooth Woods, Leather and Tonka. Eventually, the gentle nature of this fragrance is capped off with floral notes. Rose, Iris Butter and Vanilla all blend together for a sweet twist to complete this terrific fragrance. 

Sex and The Sea

Notes: Mimosa, Pineapple, Coconut, Immortelle, Rose, Iris, Sandalwood, Myrrh, Labdanum, Benzoin, Ambergris, Civet, Vanilla 

In this fragrance, Bianchi worked to create a smell that was reminiscent of sun-burnt, sweaty, salty skin which took her back to her childhood and teenage years. She would spend hours in the water, eventually becoming addicted to the smell of her skin. 

Sex and The Sea will tell you how it is. In this bottle, whatever size you decide to get, is sex and the sea. There are provocative notes that have no business doing such a thing. Pineapple, Coconut and Mimosa aren’t accords that immediately scream “SEXY” in my head. 

But for some reason, in this fragrance they do. There’s a tangy sweetness that makes you open your mouth without even realizing it. You want to taste what you’re smelling and you wish it was edible. 

Then it mellows out, allowing a tropical aroma to absorb into some dense woods. Occasionally, the Coconut and Pineapple note will pop back in to say hello. What you are left with is a sensual fragrance that redefines the aquatic category. 

The Dark Side

Notes: Honey, Spices, Iris, Violet, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Amber, Styrax, Incense, Patchouli, Vanilla

The Dark Side is a fragrance that takes you on a dark, windy journey through a forest. It’s an oriental, spicy fragrance with notes of Honey and Vanilla. These two notes are crucial as they maintain order and balance. 

The fragrance has the opportunity to go over the edge, becoming too overbearing and robust. But, the heavy woods find themselves relaxed by Iris and Violet which come off powdery. They take this profile in a way that is comparable to Prada fragrances, light and pleasing. 

Later on, Honey will begin to merge with the woodsy accords, most notably Cedarwood with a dollop of Oak. You are then left with a sweet, woody fragrance with a spicy finish. The Dark Side is suitable for first dates where you want to entice your potential partner, days where you want to seem mysterious or everyday use if you’re a badass.

Angel’s Dust

Notes: Black Pepper, Mimosa, Rose, Iris, Musk, Sandalwood, Tolu Balsam, Benjoin, Vanilla

Whilst working on Angel’s Dust, Bianchi studied her way into having “an innocent, light-as-a-feather feminine touch but at the same time seducing, daring and corrupt.” The fragrance embodies this mantra, as it is beautiful in its sweetness, yet daring in complexity. 

At first, the Mimosa note stands strong, projecting a very similar sweetness to Sex and The Sea. Then, you’re met with Rose and Iris which frantically work to get behind and lift the Mimosa note. Although, Black Pepper sneaks through the cracks.

Then, the floral notes fade away, giving Vanilla the chance to shine amidst Sandalwood and Musk. Angel’s dust is a floral, sweet fragrance with a background of robust woods and musks that do exactly what Bianchi intended. 

I picture a woman in power wearing this scent. It exudes femininity in a strong way, almost portraying two personalities at once. On one end there are delicate, sweet notes that derive from the use of florals. On the other end, you’re mystified by robust musks and intriguing woods which when they come together with the florals, wow. It produces an aroma that deserves a double-take. 

The Lovers Tale by Francesca Bianchi
The Lovers Tale by Francesca Bianchi

The Lover’s Tale

Notes: Bergamot, Honey, Mimosa, Egyptian Jasmin, Bulgarian Rose, Peach, Iris Butter, Heliotrope, Leather, Castoreum, Labdanum, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Oakmoss

Off the top, the fragrance has a unique aroma that I can’t compare to other fragrances. At first, there is an onslaught of Leather which resembles high-quality couches. It then pairs very well with a slightly narcotic accord, exactly how Bianchi imagined it. 

As time passes, the fragrance opens up, blooming like flowers in the spring. You begin to pick up on various floral accords and peaches. The ingredients all conglomerate, seemingly pairing off and splitting away from each other. With every whiff, you catch a distinct combination of a few notes.

At first, Rose and Leather dance on the tip of your nose in a dark, sexy way. Then come woods paired with Peach. The accord is delicate but robust enough to overcome the Leather and Rose. 

Finally, the fragrance becomes one, bringing all of the pairings together to create a Leather fragrance that plays with florals and sweet accords. Sometimes the sweetness is fruity, whilst other times it’s floral.

Etruscan Water

Notes: Bergamot, Green Tangerine, Grapefruit, Petit-grain, Basil, Carvi, Immortelle, Jasmin, Iris root, Musk, Ambergris, Labdanum, Vetiver, Oakmoss

Etruscan Water places you in Tuscany, where Bianchi was born and raised. The fragrance plays on her memories of going to the beach in the South of the region, as well as her research on classic, masculine citrus colognes. 

You’re struck off the top with an extremely natural, high-quality note of Basil. It sends you to the middle of a garden where birds chirp and the sun is beating on your neck. You take in the aroma of fresh basil leaves which you picked directly off the plant. 

As it dries down and the Basil note settles, gorgeous citrus accords flood your nose. First Bergamot, then Green Tangerine whilst Grapefruit lingers in the back. You’re able to pick up the usual characteristics of the note. But, Etruscan Water also plays with the dirty, fresh out of the ground aroma that is found in citrus fruits.

In its entirety, the fragrance is a citrus lover’s dream. The longevity is terrific, the aroma is extremely unique and the opening is so great that I would genuinely bring my decant around and spray it every 15 minutes in order to enjoy the Basil accord again and again.

Sex and The Sea (Neroli)

Notes: Bergamot, Petit-Grain, Honey, Neroli, Mimosa, Coconut, Immortelle, Rose, Iris, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Labdanum, Benjoin, Ambergris, Civet, Vanilla

Owning both versions of Sex and The Sea, in my opinion, is not redundant. The Neroli variant focuses more so on the burst of sweetness that citrus can have. As well, there is a deeper Vanilla note throughout. 

The original Sex and The Sea plays a lot more on tropical sweetness and transports you to vacation on a sandy beach. I believe that the original is better, although the Neroli variant has a lot of unique use. 

For starters, I would wear this fragrance on a daily basis to run errands or to work. It is a great scent to wear if you’re going on a date during the day or simply meeting a friend for coffee when it is still light outside. 

Overall, the Neroli variant again focuses less on tropical citrus and sweetness. Instead focusing on sweetness from floral accords. Vanilla stands tall and strong as the woods take on more of the brunt work. The woodsy accords are more apparent in the Neroli variant, letting the Vanilla breath a bit better.

The Black Knight by Francesca Bianchi
The Black Knight by Francesca Bianchi

The Black Knight

Notes: Artemisia, Caraway, Honey, Bulgarian Rose, Narcissus, Iris Butter, Beeswax, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Leather

What I’ve learned from those faithful nights testing whiskey is that everyone has different reference points. For example, the smell of honey can evoke two completely different emotions in a set of people due to their memories. When Bianchi blended her creation, she wanted to maintain a dark, stoic character. When I first smelled The Black Knight, well, I somehow smelled pancakes?

The scent puts me at a time in my life in which my mother had slightly burned pancakes, filling my nose with a tinge of char. Then, there’s this gourmand sweetness that smells like maple. Finally, I get a fluffy, pancake dough aroma from the rest of the notes.

As the fragrance progressed, I began to lose this pancake aroma, although it would linger a tad. The notes of Beeswax and Honey protrude through all of the surrounding notes. I would assume that the charred accord that I receive comes from the Leather and its inherent smokiness. 

To explain the fragrance in Layman’s terms, it is a very gourmand, woody fragrance. Other than the Beeswax and Honey, none of the other notes stand out or overpower each other. They work together to produce a fragrance that I wish I could eat. 

Lost in Heaven

Notes: Grapefruit, Green Tangerine, Orange Flower Absolute, Jasmin, Ylang Extra, Mimosa, Magnolia, Cumin, Cinnamon, Coriander, Ambergris, Musk, Castoreum, Beeswax, Iris Butter, Ciste Absolute, Opoponax, Heliotrope, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Tonka Bean

The extensive note breakdown that is found in Lost in Heaven alludes to the fact that this may be a fragrance with many interesting characteristics. That is indeed the case! I believe that Bianchi’s website best described the fragrance. 

“Fragile, sensual, emotional, though not technically a gourmand, it reminds me of a cake, rich in spices and with an orange blossom aroma: not haute patisserie but the archetypical smell of a cake made by Mommy, with only good things in it.”

You’re surrounded by really enticing spices that work in harmony with citrus’ in order to provide the cake aroma that was described above. Orange Flower and Green Tangerine are the stars in the citrus department. Both of which have a characteristic that is similar to the smell of the rind.

Sticky Fingers

Notes: Coriander, Cinnamon, Iris Butter, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Heliotrope, Musk, Castoreum, Leather, Tobacco, Tonka Bean

Sticky Fingers is an intoxicating fragrance that combines bold Leather accords with utter sweetness. As Bianchi describes, the Patchouli is the star of the show. There is a creamy sweetness that reminds me of the cold foam that you may find on top of your coffee. It is decadent, but not too rich.

This note blends perfectly with the Leather, Tobacco and Tonka Bean. Balance is found in the pairing. The masculine notes do not overpower the sweet Patchouli. Rather they lift each other up, as a team. 

The Iris Butter surely helps with the creamy sweetness, which Bianchi describes as being dirty. This fragrance is not romantic. It is sensual, demanding and erotic. “Don’t get fooled by iris, no romance is going on here: tobacco leaves are rolled, the leather jacket is eventually thrown somewhere, and the delightful and tempting smell of skin finally emerges.” 

Sticky fingers has surely become my go-to date night fragrance. It evokes a certain friskiness and a playful attitude that I have not found in other scents. I believe that it is suitable for both genders, doing the same job for both. It’s evocative and almost mind-controlling in its approach. 

Francesca Bianchi Tyger Tyger
Francesca Bianchi Tyger Tyger

Tyger Tyger

Notes: Narcotic Flowers, Honey, Peach Jam, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Oud, Leather, Heliotropin

Right off the bat, I sense sweetness that is similar to a childhood favourite of mine. Gushers were a small chewy that varied in flavour and were often found in my lunchbox growing up. The appeal of this candy was the fact that when they were bitten, a sweet liquid would gush out, covering your mouth in tasty goodness.

This fragrance resembles those snacks in the sexiest way possible. The Honey and Peach Jam are what instantly coat my nose in a terrific, fruity sweetness. Then, floral notes settle down the fruit which provided me with a calming effect. 

As the fragrance settles, the fruity sweetness transitions into pronounced Peach with Oud and Leather behind it. It is a sexy, sexy, sexy fragrance that deserves to be worn around people you are trying to entice. 

It has similar qualities to Sex and The Sea in terms of its sex appeal and evocative nature. Although, Tyger Tyger is much louder and outgoing. It wants to be heard and it will not stop until it knows it has been heard. The Peach is enticing, the Oud and Leather merely add to the sex appeal and the floral notes help calm everything down. In conclusion, this is a must-buy. 

Luxe Calme Volupte

Notes: Bitter Orange, Green Tangerine, Galbanum, Hyacinth, Tropical Fruits, Ylang Ylang, Iris, Benzoin, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Opoponax

Luxe Calme Volupte takes its name from a recurring verse in Baudelaire’s poem, Invitation au Voyage. “There all is order and beauty, Luxury, Peace and Pleasure.”

This fragrance has the potential to become a summer staple due to how fresh it is and how balanced the sweet aromas are. The citrus projects a clean sweetness that does not attack the nose. It is fresh, almost like a blue fragrance. Then the floral notes provide a similar clean-cut, freshness. 

Although, the florals give off a bit more of a grainy characteristic, whereas the citrus is extremely fruity. When combined together, the fragrance is fresh and green. It is extremely pleasing in all categories and would be a perfect dumb reach all year round. This is essential in all collections.

Final Thoughts on Francesca Bianchi

These fragrances were terrific! If I had the chance to buy three bottles tomorrow, I would reach for Sex and The Sea, Sticky Fingers and Tyger Tyger. It is difficult to leave out Luxe Calme Volupte and I know I said that it was essential in all collections but, I can’t pass up on those three. They all evoked such strong emotion and it was a feeling that I want to continue reliving.

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