Thursday, June 23, 2011
Voodoo: A Review
I like to think it was put out by a company called Parfums de Picolo. Don't ask me why. Picolo put out about five fragrances. Voodoo was the standout, but it never really took off, and the company discontinued it after about three years. An Italian company, Picolo eventually turned to soaps and other little novelty items. Giovanni Finnochio, the founder, several years later, got into film production - cheapo Italian flicks that never made it over to the states. Sophia Loren lookalikes. Starring roles for late stage Gina Lollabrigida. One of these films, roughly translated as "You Hurt Me Today, I Kill You Tomorrow", is now a collector's item, mainly for a scene involving Lollobrigida and a cat in an arguably non-consensual scenario. After the film, Lollabrigida was said to be estranged from old friend and animal lover Brigitte Bardot, and blamed the entire incident on Finnochio, claiming a body double was used for her scenes without her knowledge.
Voodoo was one of only three fragrances created by perfumer Mario Pistina. In the only existing interview with the man, he said that he wanted to construct the scent of sex, animals, public intoxication, children laughing, and cigarettes wafting over the top of a stucco wall at dusk. He got the sex part right, at least. And the animals. Voodoo came in a beautiful leopard patterned glass bottle with gold and black trim and a black pedestal. A smaller bottle, 1.7 ounces, was a bit less ornate. At one time, a purse spray was made available, for those moments out in the world when the spell had worn off. But the smell was strong and rarely wore off, and a dab appeared to last all day and into the night, at which point it took on subtle suggestions of the wearer's own body odors.
It wasn't as expensive as Joy by Jean Patou, nor anything by Guerlain, but was considered pricey nevertheless for the Italian housewives who were generally its targeted audience. It sat nicely on the dresser or vanity, holding its own amongst better known fragrances and potions. The rich formula contained patchouli, civet, amber, vanilla, peru balsam and vetiver in the base. The floral heart consisted of ylang ylang, cinnamon, rose, jasmine, and carnation. The top notes were peach, bergamot, clove, and aldehydes. Voodoo's closest kin would probably be Youth Dew and Tabu, though it was far more animalic than either of those.
The ad featured a woman's face with the shadow of what seemed to be a man's hand cast over her features. The model's eyes were closed as if in a trance, suggesting some kind of languid ecstasy. Behind her could be seen a leopard printed, somewhat transparent screen. Through the screen, the vague impression of jungle foliage.