It’s Not the Eurovision, but It’s Close: Roberto & Mario Fragrances review

     The first time I asked my Canadian friends who they were rooting for in the Eurovision, they looked at me kinda funny and asked, “What’s that?” European readers may be surprised (or may not be) to hear that in North America the interest in the annual singing competition equals to about zero. If anything, Americans are probably upset they don’t get to participate. But it’s all in good fun, and listening to music in different languages is always exciting. Remember that time Finland sent a bunch of demons to sing “Hard Rock Hallelujah?” Or when six Russian grandmothers danced to some killer beats? And who can forget Austria’s Conchita Wurst, the bearded lady who won in 2014?

     2015’s winner was Sweden’s own Måns Zelmerlöw, and don’t even ask me how to pronounce that. He stole the crowds with a sickening performance, a smooth voice, and charming looks. As per tradition, that means Stockholm will be hosting 2016’s event come spring, and the world’s eyes will once more be on Europe. And might I add, their noses, too.

     Roberto and Mario Fragrances is a new niche perfumery from Sweden based on the idea of great perfumery and elegant Nordic design. Their bottles are produced by the French Pochet du Courval (makers of Jean Paul Gaultier’s and Fendi’s glass), their juices come from Germany, and they strive – make that guarantee – to provide the highest quality extracts. Seems ambitious for a new startup, but that’s what intrigued me.

© Gil Segev 2016

© Gil Segev 2016

     Sumar Man and Sumar Woman are the brand’s signature scents, which I was sent to provide my thoughts on. Sumar is Old Norse for “summer,” and these scents are specifically designed for the season’s heat (very Rick Riordan’s “Sword of Summer,” don’t you think?). At $143 a bottle they’re not cheap, but as demand grows co-founder Jorge says there are at least 11 more scents in the works. Rosa Nera, for example, is a bold unisex fragrance with loads of rose and tobacco. What an exciting idea!

© Gil Segev 2016

© Gil Segev 2016

     Sumar Man is a great men’s cologne, with vibrant notes of vetiver and orange blossom. It reminds me of the beach, with a hint of tart tangerine and fresh mint in the top. Very modern and completely wearable, but it doesn’t necessarily seem truly unique. As it wears on the skin it becomes progressively spicier and warmer and even a little floral – maybe jasmine or lavender. Sumer Woman is a raspberry, mango, pineapple, and honeydew melody that is completely and entirely tropical fruity. It’s got a great sweet coconut base, too, making it completely delicious, and actually reminds me of Herbal Essences Hello Hydration shampoo. Both of these scents read holiday-appropriate casual.

     Verdict: In my opinion, Roberto & Mario Fragrances have the potential to be a great line. I think it was risky to launch with only two fragrances, but as they expand I would love to revisit and see how they’ve grown. On the other hand, it seems wildly appropriate that they are so careful to source only the best materials, and it will serve them well as they expand and earn a loyal following. If you’re looking for a lightweight niche juice to take with you on the areoplane next time you’re Hawaii-bound, look no further; just don’t forget sunscreen!

*Prices true at time of writing.

You can check out Roberto & Mario Fragrances at their website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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