International "fast fashion" giants ZARA have a store pretty much in every major city nowadays, bringing affordable and trend-driven fashion and accessories to the mass market. Several times a year, Zara also create inexpensive perfumes to accompany each new seasonal release... its up to the individual to judge whether they're to one's own taste or not, but I, for one, do like to check them out from time to time. Back in 2009 I waxed lyrical about their fresh and chic 'Vetiver' cologne from their Perfumed Water series, suggesting that low pricing does not necessarily equate a compromise in quality. Six years on, and I've found another little nugget: Zara 7.0... a supremely aromatic woody fougere style fragrance that could happily grace any niche perfume lover's shelf.
Packaged in unassuming pale grey-marle coloured boxes, 7.0 is one of three new releases (including 8.0 and 9.0, respectively) which - for me at least - fills a hole where theres something lacking in my fine fragrance wardrobe. Fortunately, the key notes are listed clearly on the bottle and box, so there are no ambiguous interpretations of individual components. 7.0 is a blend of Violet leafs [sic], Mint, Lavender, Geranium, Sandalwood, Musk and Cedar. Straight from the bottle (which looks conspicuously Hugo Boss-inspired), 7.0 takes flight with a jet of sparkling citrus and crisp mint. Moments in, and the sharpness recedes to reveal a lovely marriage between soft lavender and geranium (a slight lemony facet suggests perhaps pelargonium - a plant of the same family but different genus). A rising cedar warmth presses up from below with a slight woody prickle in the nose, but a vein of sandalwood diminishes the sharpness and lends a curious creaminess to the mix. Fascinatingly, there is an unusual sharp green astringency that stays present well until the final molecules evaporate from skin.
The overall feel is one of a delicate dance between botanicals and synthetics. It feels both classic and yet surprisingly contemporary. For those who relish the botanical feel of Bottega Venetta Pour Homme, or who is wowed by the digital green rendering of Costume National's Cyber Garden, then you will find a pleasing commonality here. 7.0 feels fresh and modern, yet not entirely unexpected.
Zara continue to surprise with the occasional fragrance that could easily become a mainstay in any perfumista's collection. If you have the time and the nose for it (certainly there are some cheap shockers amongst them), then a stroll through both mens and womens perfume departments is time well spent.
At $25 AUD (approximately $18 US / €16) for a 100ml bottle, at least no-one will be crying if after a time, it is pushed to one side when new fragrance toys are added to your perfume pool.
Hop to it, then!