The Alchemist’s Garden: The Voice of the Snake by Gucci (2019)

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It’s pretty difficult to say much about a perfume in a review when that perfume has little to say itself. Not even a year after Gucci released Gucci Guilty Oud (2018), they turned around and had Alberto Morillas compose The Voice of the Snake by Gucci (2019) as part of their “The Alchemist’s Garden” line, a line that itself was originally just meant to be a rich person’s blending kit of single perfume oils (in green bottles) over a light fragrance base (one of like 4 white bottles). Already under fire as being a very expensive way for the one-percenters to play with essential oil perfumery, The Alchemist’s Garden became even more irrelevant when they started shuffling out $300-per-bottle standard perfume releases in a fashion similar to Dior or Chanel upper-tier pseudo-niche. In this case, we have what is basically a retread of both Gucci Guilty Oud and Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme (2017), mixed together, diluted, and placed in a much more-expensive bottle. Ho hum.

The rose and saffron Western-oud accord slaps you in the face out of the sprayer, and the usual patchouli and rubbery medicinal oudBy Killai blah blah follows, not altogether unlike Gucci Guilty Oud or even By Killian Musk Oud (2013), which is one of the earlier Morillas takes on the subject. By this point he’s just going through the motions, having done better work, sold for less money at counters, and really just slap-dashed it to collect a check. Considering how many fragrances this man releases in a year, and how he unabashedly embraces AI, he probably just pulls from a “bank” of collected accord combinations and like making Hamburger Helper, just tosses some embellishments on top then sends it out. The leathery bits that will remind some of Tom Ford Tuscan Leather (2007) also show up near the bottom, with a bit of that petrol band-aid vibe from Gucci Guilty Absolute. Performance isn’t terrible, but for the price, isn’t super great either. I guess this is unisex, but I don’t know who would reach for it considering the glut of better-priced options.

The voice of the snake in this case is telling you to avoid buying this bottle, as it offers nothing new, and instead makes some kind of college party punch bowl of multiple Alberto Morillas compositions, cut down with some Sprite to reduce potency, and served with a plastic ladle under the auspices of being something worth the price of admission. I’m sorry, but considering that even Parfums de Marly Akaster (2015) does this genre better for less if found at discount, I really don’t know what to say about The Voice of the Snake that could redeem it in the eyes of even the most-hardcore Gucci fan. There are just so many synthetic Western rose/saffron/patchouli/ouds out there for a better price, I can’t consciously recommend this. If you’re in the US, Darren Alan Perfumes has perhaps the ultimate take on this structure with Vintage Novel by Darren Alan Perfumes (2017), a fragrance that at nearly $200 for half the juice is still a better value in terms of performance and artistic quality. Thumbs down

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