Fernand Leger, “Acrobats at the Circus” 1918
Dzing!, judging from the lady in the red bikini riding the bucking tiger on the box, is supposed to smell like a circus. And it does. It’s circus notes from top to bottom, with a hay top note holding it together from beginning to end. There’s musk and leather: soft work leather like a saddle. Perfume Smellin’ Things expounds beautifully on the leather note. There’s a cotton candy note that folds seamlessly into the rest of the fragrance. The genius of this concept is that none of these notes match at all from a tradtional standpoint, but from a thematic one they’re perfect.
Olivia Giacobetti’s creation lasts forever and doesn’t evolve much. I’d wear it anywhere. It’s the most wearable perfume I’ve ever smelled that doesn’t include florals, largely because of a soft vanilla note that holds throughout. And I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, wearable is amazing. On the other, I think Dzing! could have been done on a bit of a larger scale, like Patchouli 24 was. My personal preference is for going big, and I don’t think that’s going to change. To its credit though, Dzing! has way more natural-smelling animalic notes than any modern fragrance I’ve smelled. I have a vintage bottle of Jolie Madame bath oil, and Dzing! is similar in spirit if not in scent.
The fact that Dzing! is a soft rendition of a circus probably threw me off a little. Since it wasn’t in my face when I expected it to be, I started to think of other descriptions that could have been a little more accurate. Luca Turin says it smells like paper, which it does. I guess this is the mix of the vanilla and hay. Katie Puckrik notes how it’s close to a skin scent. Skin scent could actually be the definition of soft animalic. If I stayed on this point longer I could start getting metaphysical, as in “Dzing is everything, and nothing.” But my main point is that Dzing! makes the wearer think. The fact that it’s so abstract places the conceptual value above the representational value, making Dzing! an example of modern art at its finest.
Perfumer: Olivia Giacobetti
Price Range: Expensive
Recommended Occasion: Anywhere
Release Year: 1999
My Rating: 9