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January 24, 2011

Gucci Rush : Perfume Review


Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

Smelling Gucci Rush is like looking into a kaleidoscope: while the colors remain the same, the shapes and effects they produce change depending on the angle. From one perspective, Rush is a fruity chypre, with a nod to the baroque loveliness of Guerlain Mitsouko and Jean Patou Colony. From another, it is a thoroughly modern fragrance with its radiant accord of florals and transparent moss notes. When I finally think that I have it figured out, it presents yet another twist--a patchouli-jasmine note reminiscent of Diorama and Diorella. Yet, Rush is more than the sum of its parts and its distinctive character and strong signature make it one of the best fragrances created over the past decade.

Rush was developed in 1999 by perfumer Michel Almairac, whose impressive body of work includes such famous creations as Dior Fahrenheit and Chopard Casmir and excellent, if underrated, fragrances like L’Artisan Voleur de Roses and Rochas Aquawoman. With Rush, Almairac attempted to modernize chypre, a classical perfumery accord that predates even the birth of modern perfumery in the late 19th century. Chypre has a very distinctive character, where the powdery darkness of moss interplays with dry patchouli, sweet floral notes and effervescent citrus. The mossy-patchouli character of Rush becomes apparent on the first inhale, before one even notices that the sparkle of the composition is set not by the classical citrus, but by the floral notes. The traditional pairing of rose and jasmine is reinterpreted as crisp and abstract, oscillating between magnolia and freesia. The fruity notes are milky, creamy, enveloping, but the effect is more of a dry peach skin, rather than the juicy flesh. A dose of vanilla serves to round out Rush and soften the angular beauty of its mossy woods.

Rush does not explore the dark terrain of chypre; instead, it goes for the luminous facets of this interesting fragrance structure. The main accents to the mossy woody notes of the fragrance are the milky-sweet note of peach and the radiance of the jasmine-lily of the valley note of hedione. While this by itself is not novel--Guerlain Mitsouko is a famous peach chypre, and the patchouli-hedione accord is the backbone of Diorella, among others--Rush achieves a striking degree of complexity through the careful balance of its accords. While one sees the base notes of Rush as soon as it is applied on the skin, the fragrance still undergoes interesting changes before the exquisite combination of moss, patchouli, vetiver and musk takes centerstage. To tie it in with my recent discussion of a fragrance pyramid, it is a great example of a modern laconic style being able to convey a complex idea. I find wearing Rush to be a pleasure, as it has a beautiful sillage and a very memorable aura. It suggests elegance with a hint of mystery.

Gucci Rush (fragrance family: fruity chypre) includes notes of freesia, gardenia, cardamom, jasmine, rose, peach, patchouli, vetiver, musks and vanilla. It is sold at Sephora and is widely available from various online perfume stores. Rush shares many elements with classical chypre like Nina Ricci Deci-Delà, Jean Patou Colony from Ma Collection, Guerlain Mitsouko and Dior Diorella as well as with the modern sheer chypre like Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, Narciso Rodriguez for Her, Gucci Flora and Thierry Mugler Miroir des Secrets (all of these modern chypres were created after Rush.)

Sample: my own acquisition



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