Amber, Coumarin, Musk
When you have to create perfume on schedule what comes out is almost always less than perfect. In the case of Prada Luna Rossa Black perfection is more of a distant idea, rather than something within reach. It’s not for the lack of talent - Daniela Andrier has plenty of it. It’s those damn accountants and focus groups again.
If I judge the idea behind the fragrance by its official description, the end result is not that confusing any more. Prada’s site describes Prada Luna Rossa Black as:
“Like a vivacious hub full of possibilities and dangers, sweeter details fizz over woody Amber for a mesmerizing, almost disorienting effect. Energetic upon introduction—topped with Bergamot and Angelic—a Patchouli Coumarine heart gives way to a moody base.”
Vagueness is the name of the game when you don’t know what you want. “Sweeter details” and “woody Amber” can be plucked out to describe virtually any generic masculine from the last 10 years. Hence, if the the aspiration behind this juice is sameness - congratulations Prada team! You’ve made it!
The biggest issue I have with Prada Luna Rossa Black is that it doesn’t smell good. Even when the brief is hazy and the motivation is just to “put something out there”, it is possible to create a competent product. Chanel does it and Tom Ford too. Whatever the case, Prada Luna Rossa Black is not it.
The fragrance opens with the standard citrus (bergamot) and the promised “sweeter details”. Maybe there is Angelica there, as the notes say, but I never pick it out. Instead, an flood of tonka beans (coumarin) drowns out almost everything else.
In these first minutes, Prada Luna Rossa Black strikes me as the standard issue of male cologne: the same sweet tonka-amber duo that D&G does a lot better in The One.
The downfall of Prada Luna Rossa Black starts after the first twenty minutes. I had largely ignored the two sprays on my hand until I caught a sharp synthetic whiff coming from somewhere around me. I blamed it on the stranger next to me but I quickly had to correct myself when I smelled my hand. Prada Luna Rossa Black had turned into a screetchy synthetic woods. I wonder what a radioactive forest near Chernobyl would smell like.
I’ll spare you the pain of walking you through the rest of the journey this fragrance took me on. It’s not something I’d recommend and I seem to be a lonely dissenter in this regard. Most of the reviews online lean positive.
Thomas Dunckley (The Candy Perfume Boy) finds Prada Luna Rossa Black to work “very well as a warm, cashmere-like oriental with a fresh, spicy twist and would be perfect for any handsome gent who wants to wrap themselves in the scented equivalent of a fine Prada fabric.”
It’s not uncommon reviewers to divergent views on a fragrance but they usually tend to agree on the basics. That’s not the case with Prada Luna Rossa Black. I don’t find any redeeming qualities that bring me closer into the cheerleader camp. I don’t find the perfume to be neither refined, nor precious or reminiscent of Bulgari Black as Sebastian Jara suggests.
I’m not going to tell you that I’m right and everyone else is wrong. I’ll just caution you to smell this beast before you buy it. Maybe a proper wear will change my mind but for now Prada Luna Rossa Black doesn’t budge above one star.