A bright winter’s morning.  The bathroom of a stately home.


On the wash basin,  lies a pristine bar of soap.


It is the most perfect soap imaginable; a hard, impenetrable, triple-milled yellow soap; the clean, heart-clearing brightness of bergamot: the finest essences of sun-binding neroli all married grassly to a light, fresh note of cool, purified vetiver root planted down, somewhere beneath the surfaces, in its fragrant, pounded, centre.


A vetiver, then, of spanking immaculateness and spruceness; a perfect accoutrement to the face-splashing morning ritual: a scent that very reeks – very nearly,  ALMOST – of trust.


Until you smell Signoricci that is, when the artificial, clammed together, and somewhat hysterical brightness of Creed’s Original Vetiver is suddenly exposed……







Signoricci, one of the few key masculines from a classical house that, in its heyday, produced some of the most delicate and exquisite feminine florals ever created, predates Creed’s scent by three long decades and is of a similar soap-cleansed theme; citrus (lemon, verbena and lime), over delicate, cologne-steeped vetiver, but in this long discontinued perfume the effect is incredibly, incredibly refined.



I first smelled smelled Signoricci at my brand new friend Federico’s apartment in Rome one October afternoon – standing there, alone as it was on his wooden bookshelf in his room – and I remember how immediately blown away I was by its deceptively simple beauty; a beautiful conception of fine-hearted masculinity that is almost impossible to imagine now in today’s world of hard-hitting woods; spices;  and designer-bearded synthetics.



Beginning with perhaps the most piercing, yet simultaneously gentle and perfect citrus top note I know of, the vetiver, cedar and sandalwood heart of this composition is  revealed gently and gradually;  an accord of almost heartbreaking cleanliness: a perfection and purity of soul.




Its perfection notwithstanding, if there can be any criticism of Signoricci (and must there be, really?) it is just that: this perfume, in all honesty, is possibly too perfect; a saintly, flawlessly scrupled man who seems too good, almost, to be possibly true.





Like doubting Thomases,  we stand agape.








Filed under Perfume Reviews, Vetiver

11 responses to “O The Virtues: ORIGINAL VETIVER by CREED (2004) + SIGNORICCI by NINA RICCI (1976)

  1. Lovely review. I am getting an impression of something sharp, almost ascetic, clean and delicately woody – utterly pope-ly? A timely post for the election of a pontiff? Must try this one. Btw – what was that church one you thought was very catholic that you spritzed on me in that white store in Tokyo…?

    • ginzaintherain

      Quite popey I reckon, actually!

      That one I (wrongly) thought would be beautifully Catholic didn’t quite work on that day, but it might on others…it was Avignon by Comme Des Garcons; the papal perfume par excellence..

  2. ginzaintherain

    I would never wear Avignon in a million years, but I have considered buying it as a room spray on several occasions. Can never quite bring myself to hand over the money each time, though.

  3. brie

    fantastic review by the man who has single handedly converted me into loving vetiver! (still working on you with that sandalwood-Ha!ha!)

    • ginzaintherain

      sandalwood is sandalwood; vetiver is vetiver.

    • ginzaintherain

      (but you actually HAVE already got me: if there were a perfume version of that incredible, beautiful mauve smelling hand cream sample you sent me I would wear it without batting an eyelid!)

      And, strangely, I found myself wearing SAMSARA last week would you believe. Crass and grotesque though it may be, I found this old vintage eau de parfum, and a spray here and there and some coconut body cream on top is yielding quite lovely, sandalwoody results!)

  4. Lovely review.
    How sad that the scent has gone to the great fragrance hall in the sky.
    I discovered a rather lovely Haitian vetiver recently and also how well some ‘clean’ vetivers work when layering perfume on myself.
    A revelation, to me at least.

    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • ginzaintherain

      Dandy to me, vetiver is constantly made tedious and locked in granitely well-behaved in the current climate. All those tasteful vetivers like ‘Extraordinaire ‘ and so on bore me to death. I like the sound of your Haitian. I like it a bit more hairy myself.

  5. Stephen

    This was the first ‘aftershave’ I ever bought for my self! Eighteen years old and paid with wages from my part-time job as a petrol attendant. Fantastic smell, and it was available in Boots in Belfast! I bought a bottle recently, about a year ago. It’s still available, but the juice is ‘thinner’ somehow. It has a hint of greatness, but unfortunately fails to deliver, as so many reformulations do. There was confusion as well about Signoricci becoming Signoricci No.2 and vice versa. The one I love is the green mandarin citrussy oak moss. Stunning!

    • ginzaintherain

      The very same one I am describing here. So beautiful. I have a small amount of vintage left but the top notes are going now….

      Such a shame they don’t make them like this anymore, although I am serious when I say it is almost too perfect: I feel upright but wimpy whenever I wear it…

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