Tag Archives: Musk
Notes: aldehydes, bergamot, black pepper, lemon, spice notes; ylang ylang, Bulgarian rose absolute, carnation, jasmine, orris, rosewood, tobacco absolute, coumarin, sable fur accord; ambergris, beeswax, brown oakmoss, castoreum, civet, patchouli, benzoin, labdanum, tolu balsam, leather
There are a number of fabulous American indie perfumes but thanks to the vagaries of the postal system, it’s usually not easy to get your hands on their fragrances outside the States. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is one such perfumer based in Boulder, Colorado. The good news is that her perfumes can now be shipped internationally via the website.
I was fortunate enough to receive a package of samples showcasing the 2017 releases from DSH Perfumes. I will do a post with mini reviews of some of the highlights but I did want to single one out for special mention.
Une Robe de Zibeline was released in September as another instalment of the ‘Retrograde Files’ series. These perfumes were discontinued because of the limited availability of ingredients. However, thanks to renewed interest in Retro-Nouveau/Animalic perfumes, Une Robe de Zibeline has been re-worked as a grand, vintage-style scent.
Dawn describes it as a smouldering fragrance and it is exactly that. The sensuality is on a low burn rather than full blast. It’s relatively quiet on me and lasts about half a day but results from spraying are likely to vary from applying using the roller-ball sample.
Une Robe de Zibeline is French for sable coat and the fur subgenre of fragrances is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. This vintage sable scent satisfies my love of subtle, old-school animalic style fragrances where the musk is close to the skin and under the radar.
The opening is full of aldehydes which are silky soft and give the perfume a milky glow. They immediately put it in the vintage inspired category but also give it some lift. They feel like gossamer and momentarily conceal what is to come with their silvery, glistening web.
For some reason you don’t get a lot of ylang-ylang dominant perfumes which aren’t tropical and indeed Une Robe de Zieline is actually Dawn’s only perfume with this flower at its heart. The ylang-ylang may be prominent but it doesn’t dominate the other accords but gives them a focal point and creates a beautiful contrast with the dry musk base. When the aldehydes melt away you can breathe in these gorgeously soft, creamy yellow blooms
The ylang-ylang flowers are of course, pinned to an antique fur, making this oriental fragrance more multi-faceted and floral than most in this genre. Some fur coat perfumes are all about the musk, which is fine but what I like about Une Robe de Zibeline, is that is so nicely balanced. The beauty of the flowers tames the beast just enough so it’s soft and pretty as well sophisticated and seductive. Here we have a floral animalic perfume with complexity and that’s what clinches it for me.
Do you like retro-inspired fragrances?
Top: Aldehydes, Gardenia, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Bergamot
Heart: Carnation, Iris, Jasmine, Neroli, Lily-of-the-Valley, Rose, Narcissus
Base: Labdanum, Leather, Sandalwood, Amber, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver
I feel foolish because for years old-school Miss Dior never appealed to me enough to try it. It wasn’t just that there have been countless reformulations over the years or the risk of falling for a vintage gem. To be honest, I think it was the word ‘Miss’ in its name and the association with the ultra-feminine full skirts of Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ of 1947 – the year of its release. I assumed Miss Dior wasn’t for me, that it would be too prim and proper.
Now I’ve experienced the wonder that is vintage Miss Dior Parfum (thanks to Miss Portia) I couldn’t have been more wrong. I can see there is a kind of houndstooth smartness to classic Miss Dior but oh, there is so much more to this iconic chypre under its pristine surface.
It’s one of those perfumes that is incredibly cohesive, so tightly woven, that it has a distinct character and persona all its own. This makes it rather tricky to unpick and separate into its constituent parts, but we shall see…
Vintage Miss Dior is glorious from the start. It’s all there; the green-veiled florals with that unmistakable backing of real-deal oakmoss which, along with labdanum and patchouli, give it that addictive chypre tang.
The aldehydes are whisper soft, no doubt because the juice is several decades old. Copious galbanum can make a fragrance come across as steely, but here the austere queen of green is softened by waxy garlands of gardenia flowers.
Perhaps what strikes me most is the fragrance’s texture. The floral heart is set against a backdrop which Neil of The Black Narcissus described perfectly as “tweedy”. The weave and waft of the original Miss Dior has a cross-hatched grain that I see in shades of dark brown, slate grey and forest green, relieved by flecks of white.
It doesn’t take long – about an hour – for a thread of castoreum-style musk to unravel from the whole and make its presence known. There is a hidden filth scene behind the façade of respectability. I covet this kind of contrast because it creates intrigue and true allure. This only deepens through its development.
Down in the base, a leather of the super strict variety is revealed. The provocative mixture of cool oakmoss, animalic musk and hard leather is the last thing you’d expect under that crisp, buttoned-up exterior.
Miss Dior never has to take her gloves off in order to put others in their place: just being around her makes everyone mind their manners and sit up a little straighter. It’s an irresistible combination of seductiveness and no-nonsense.
What may at first look appear to be schoolmarmish frigidity is actually leather-bound suggestiveness masked by a show of propriety.
Miss Dior is fragrant subversion of the most elegant kind.
Do you adore vintage Miss Dior? How does the current Miss Dior Originale compare?
Notes: Tobacco, Hay, Smoke, Orange Leaf, Siam Wood and Dirty Orange.
A project that has been three years in the making has finally come to fruition: the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents is now open in Berkeley, California. Here, artisan perfumer Mandy Aftel shares her personal and unique collection of aromatic materials and antique books.
Visitors can experience over three hundred natural essences and connect with the ingredients that have inspired people over centuries, but which are sadly used much less in perfumery today.
The atmosphere of the Archive was the inspiration behind Curious, the latest release from Aftelier Perfumes. There is even an exhibit that breaks down the fragrance note by note so that visitors can see how the essences weave together to create the finished scent.
The camphor-like, leafy opening of Curious suggests bracing air and pine forests. As it settles, there is the scent of green saplings and creamy white woods over a beguiling mixture of moss and ash. ‘Dirty orange’ is a great descriptor because while the orange leaf is verdant and fresh at the start, it later morphs into a spiral of peel rubbed with earth. I think it’s the orange nuances which lift Curious and give it an extra dimension.
The drydown is a smoky botanical musk; unlike anything I’ve tried before. The smokiness isn’t tarry or rubbery the way it is in leather fragrances – or indeed the fantastic Vanilla Smoke. Imagine instead slender grey plumes twisting skywards from a woodland fire.
Mandy thinks of tobacco absolute as nature’s musk and combined with hay absolute the way it is in Curious, creates an aromatic muskiness without the laundry sheet or skanky facets often present in synthetic musks. It drapes across the skin and melds with your own chemistry.
It’s redolent of the outdoors while possessing the texture of fur and the way it plays with the animal and the vegetal is compelling. As usual, Mandy has made a composition that is as clever as it is rewarding.
Unlike many smoky/musky perfumes, Curious has an enigmatic quality that makes it beautifully mysterious.
When comparing the EdP and the Perfume, I would say the EdP is airier with more swirling smoke, while the Perfume is more potent but sits closer to the skin. Out of the two, the EdP is more my style, but I can see plenty of people soaking up the depth of the Perfume.
In either formulation, it is a fascinating fragrance in the truest sense of the word. Its complexity and presence hold my attention with ease. It absolutely does trigger your curiosity as you try and get a handle on exactly what you’re inhaling.
If Curious is what the Archive smells like then it must be a feast for the senses as well as an enthralling exploration into the history of perfumery.
Do you like the idea of a smoky musk perfume? Would you love to visit the Archive of Curious Scents one day?
I’m a great admirer of Zoologist Perfumes and am extremely happy to hear they are now being stocked in the UK by Bloom. It’s great to see an independent brand that is brim full of originality and making the most of artisan perfumers.
After writing about the first three fragrances (Rhinoceros, Beaver and Panda) I was excited to try samples of some of the subsequent releases.
It’s worth noting that none of these – of any of their Eau de Parfums – contains animal products.
Top Notes: Bergamot, Black Pepper, Lemon, Orange, Spices, Tarragon
Heart Notes: Carnation, Frangipani, Heliotrope, Hyacinth, Linden-blossom, Tuberose, Ylang
Base Notes: Balsams, Civet, Coffee, Incense, Labdanum, Musks, Oakmoss, Resins, Russian Leather, Vanilla, Vetiver, Woods
Perfumer: Shelley Waddington (En Voyage Perfumes)
I thought Civet was bound to be too much for this fragile flower but not so. Shelley Waddington was aiming for the effect of a fur coat over naked skin and that’s exactly what she’s achieved. After a glittering citrus start, the warm vintage fur is draped around your shoulders. It’s a real stunner with facets of cosmetic powder, flower petals and body warmth. I find it sensual and a little heady rather than intimidatingly animalic. I particularly love its glamorously retro aura and the way it makes me feel cocooned.
The use of coffee in Civet is an inspired modern twist. You wouldn’t necessarily know it was there without the notes list but it adds a roasted depth which is subtle and – like the touch of vanilla – is blended nicely into the whole. The spices are also handled with a light touch. It doesn’t hit you over the head with its sex appeal but entices you to close your eyes and nuzzle it like a blissed-out feline.
Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Saffron
Heart Notes: Japanese Plum Blossom, Red Rose, Violet
Base Notes: Oud, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Moss, Frankincense, White Musk, Labdanum, Ambergris
Perfumer: Tomoo Inaba
Nightingale immediately showers you with plum blossom as if caught in a snowstorm of deep pink petals. It’s sweet and powdery, the way a combination of rose and violet often is. This cosmetic-style accord is underlined with a full-bodied opacity that comes from the patchouli and moss. It’s a vivid, striking opening to a perfume that has a unique character. It’s fully embellished but doesn’t take itself too seriously.
A complex yet playful composition, Nightingale mellows out beautifully, developing that recognisable vintage chypre signature so many of us covet. I can imagine it successfully captures the feeling of celebration and optimism that comes with the onset of spring in Japan. The tendrils of musk rising up from under its blush coloured skirts prevent it from coming across too innocent. Nightingale is ideal for lovers of classic chypres and the woman or man who is not afraid to indulge in a swathe of pink when the mood takes them.
Top Notes: Cedar, Green Apple, Red Mandarin
Heart Notes: Frankincense, Galbanum, Honey, Rosewood, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine Tea
Base Notes: Cedarmoss, Green Tea, White Oud, Musk
Perfumer: Sarah McCartney (4160 Tuesdays)
I imagined a perfume named after a monkey would be about base instincts and therefore rather confrontational and even skanky. It’s actually the exact opposite. On spraying, I’m pleasantly surprised to find myself surrounded by clean air, the head-clearing scent of evergreens and a cascading waterfall. The aroma of lush vegetation and mossy undergrowth is cut nicely by tart citrus fruit.
Macaque is more about the mountain habitat than the mammal itself. It represents not only the forested slopes but the temple that overlooks it. There are the slimmest scented strands of frankincense, flower petal offerings and fragrant teas which drift across the canopy. It’s much more spiritual than beastly and extremely atmospheric. Macaque is a refreshing bright green fragrance which creates a sense of place, far away from our material world and its humdrum concerns.
Do any of these fragrant creatures appeal to you? Do you have a favourite from the line?
Bringing sexy back…
If you’re seriously into perfume, chances are you’ve visited Barbara Herman’s treasure trove of a blog, Yesterday’s Perfumes. It contains a wealth of information about vintage fragrances and was a great help to me when I was researching an eventual purchase of vintage Vol de Nuit extrait.
In 2013 Barbara released a book “Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume“. Earlier this year she launched Eris Parfums. Working with perfumer Antonie Lie, the intention was to create luxury fragrances that would “celebrate unconventional beauty and subversive glamour”. The first collection of three EdPs, La Belle Et La Bête (Beauty and the Beast) is a contemporary re-imagining of the striking and seductive floral animalic perfumes of the past.
Neroli, Aldehydes, Nutmeg, Cypriol, Stypras, Jasmin Sambac, Cedarwood, Patchouli and Animalic Accord
As you would expect from a perfume entitled “My Beast”, Ma Bête is an animalic. Although to start with, it’s not that variety of uncomfortably intimate skank. In the opening stage, it consists of a very sexy yet supple musk accented with neroli and a touch of spice. It has the soft texture of a vintage fur stole, wearing close to the body and giving it that second skin feel. There’s nothing invasive or TMI about it for now. It’s sexual in the way an old Hollywood movie star could be sexual, with a certain look accompanied by the arch of an eyebrow.
Ma Bête has one aim and one aim only – to seduce. In the base the beast’s growl turns to a roar and you appreciate the fact that Lie used a 50% overdose of his own animalic cocktail. You could argue that it’s not very complex but I guess when you are in the mood for musk, you want it front and centre (as it were).
Bergamot, Cardamom, Leather, Suede, Indian Tuberose, Birch Tar, Patchouli, Cinnamon, Musk and Tonka
I approached Night Flower with some trepidation because I am not generally a tuberose perfume fan, to put it mildly. However, it actually turned out to be the one I enjoyed the most. The opening is a combination of bergamot, suede, cardamom and incredibly smooth tuberose. Instead of being the man-eater it usually is, here the de-fanged flower adds a layer of pink bubblegum sweetness. There’s nothing overblown or headache inducing about it.
Over time the suede turns to birch tar and Night Flower now resembles a pair of long leather gloves that hold just a trace of Fracas. It’s dark, warm and slightly powdery. I hope Lie and Herman won’t mind me saying this, but there’s an ambery muskiness present in the base that takes me back to the bottle of Obsession I owned and loved in my youth.
Belle de Jour
Orange Flower, Jasmine, Coriander, Pink Peppercorn, Ciste, Jasmine, Pimento Berries, Cedarwood Incense, Musks and Seaweed Absolute.
Compared to her two counterparts, Belle de Jour opens up surprisingly fresh, with orange and jasmine blossom petals twisting in a salty sea breeze. Here the requisite musk is white and buoyant. It stays at this elevated pitch for a couple of hours. Thereafter it smooths out, becoming floral scented, cashmere-like, clean musk. The texture is raw silk on clean skin.
Antoine Lie says “Belle de Jour is a study in contrasts: a very luminous floral that is salty, sexy and dirty.” However, it never becomes dirty, or even naughty, on me which is a shame. I’m sure this is because I’m not picking up the type of musk used in the base, as regularly happens with me.
Do you like this retro style? Have you tried any of these three?
Love and loss…
Top Notes: Butter, Orris, Phenylacetic Acid
Middle Notes: Turkish Rose Absolute, Phenylethyl Alcohol
Base Notes: Beta Ionone, Ambreine, Ambergris, Antique Civet, Patchoulyl Acetate (a patchouli isolate)
Memento mori, “remember that you have to die”, is a Latin expression that dates back to Ancient Rome. We can get so wrapped up in the trivial trials and tribulations of our day to day lives we forget that life is short and most of what we worry about is not worth the torment.
A memento mori is something that reminds us of our mortality, inspiring us to make the most of life. The concept has been translated into many art forms including paintings, music, ceramics and literature.
Since the Middle Ages people have worn memento mori mourning jewellery to remind them of lost loved ones. Rather than being morbid, these were tokens of love which allowed the wearer to hold on to the memory of their dearly departed. In the perfume Memento Mori artisan perfumer Mandy Aftel portrays this idea in the form of fragrance. It’s a thought-provoking concept which has been just as thoughtfully executed.
Memento Mori captures the aroma of the lost lover. Mandy uses musk, butter, the doughy facet of orris and the earthy, mushroom-y facet of woody violets to create the idea of skin. The soft rose adds a pink blush.
She manages to give the scent an unusual lived-in, very human, quality with the warm, ripe smell of an unwashed body. It’s about body heat and someone’s unadorned natural smell rather than anything sexual.
As time ticks on and the pain of grief begins to fade, the fragrance reveals a tender layer of powdery pastel florals. The retro combination of iris/rose seems to reflect the sweet memories the separated lovers shared. While I find the first stage challenging, this is a classic accord I really love.
In the base, warmth radiates through amber and patchouli while the musk gently lingers on and imparts a feeling of comfort. The bereaved is consoled by the realisation that though we must die, our love does not.
The carrier for the fragrance is a blend of fractionated coconut oil and organic alcohol so that it is fittingly clinging. I found it has more lift than many all-natural perfumes and that the lasting power is actually better than most synthetics.
Mandy says that Memento Mori was a deeply personal creation for her and I can understand why. It takes courage for any artist to share something so intimate with the world but I find that when they do it is all the more meaningful for it.
Memento Mori is a meditation on love and loss you need time and space to fully experience and appreciate it. It’s an evolving art-piece as affecting and detailed as any of those other wearable tokens of remembrance and just as emotionally charged.
Do you have a perfume that reminds you of someone important to you?
Zoologist is a Canadian niche house whose creations possesses two commodities that we could do with more of in Perfumeland – novelty and wit. The man behind this concept is Victor Wong who cleverly decided to commission indie perfumers to author each animal inspired scent. However, it should be noted that no animal products were used in any of the fragrances.
I tried the inaugural three perfumes which were launched in 2014. My interest has been piqued enough to want to try the latest additions, being the delightful sounding Hummingbird by Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes and the intriguing – not to say award winning – Bat by Ellen Covey of Olympic Orchids.
The bottles are fantastic with the illustrations being reminiscent of The Wind in the Willows.
Top Notes: Rum, Bergamot, Lavender, Elemi, Sage, Armoise, Conifer Needles. Heart Notes: Pinewood, Tobacco, Immortelle, Geranium, Agarwood, Chinese Cedar Wood. Base Notes: Vetiver, Sandalwood, Amber, Smoke, Leather, Musks
I thought Rhinoceros would be too much of a beast for me to handle but while it’s not my usual style, I really enjoyed testing and wearing it. It’s a strange mix of booze, smoke, oud and pine which swirls across my skin and holds my attention. The subtle pine accord, along with the other aromatics, make an interesting contrast against the more upfront combination of alcohol, tobacco, oud and leather.
The oud is the most pronounced component of Rhinoceros on me and while we are not short of oud frags to choose from, this one is particularly urbane, being nicely refined with sophisticated tobacco and leather.
The aromatics and rum recede in the base, but it remains as arid as the desert plain throughout. It would be attractive to those who like the idea of a “gentlemen’s club” style scent with a twist. In opposition to the tough hide of its inspiration, Rhinoceros is surprisingly smooth with a distinguished air.
Rhinoceros was composed by Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes, as was Beaver.
Top Notes: linden-blossom, Fresh Air, Musk, Light citrus. Heart Notes: (Synthetic) Castoreum, Iris, Vanilla, Smoke*, Undergrowth. Base Notes: (Synthetic) Animal Musks, Ash*, Cedar, Amber
*I have a sample of the original version but the website states that the formula has been modified this year with the removal of the smoke and ash notes, redesigning of the linden blossom and the addition of light leather and more musk. A limited number of bottles of the original formula are still available.
Composed by British perfumer Chris Bartlett of Pell Wall Perfumes, this fragrance was largely inspired by the beaver’s river habitat but also uses a castoreum-style base to represent the mammal’s musk.
First we get sparkling, juicy lime bringing to mind a rushing river in bright sunlight, but this is soon undercut by a light plume of smoke and something vaguely metallic. I don’t get the dirty facet others seem to, so I’m guessing this is yet another case where my nose is failing to pick up a certain type of musk. The muskiness I do pick up in Beaver is of the sheer, woody musk variety and flows nicely with the aquatic citrus accord.
As time wears on the watery aspect fades to a faint backwash overlaid with a cottony musk drydown. I find it subdued – especially compared to Rhinoceros – but no doubt this wouldn’t be the case if I got the intended “beaver musk”.
Top Notes: Buddha’s Hand Citron, Bamboo, Sichuan Pepper, Green Tea, Mandarin, Zisu Leaves. Heart Notes: Osmanthus, Orange Blossom, Lillies, Mimosa, Incense. Base Notes: Sandalwood, Pemou Root, Cedar, Fresh Musk, Bourbon, Haitian Vetiver, Damp Moss
Panda is a full of lush green vegetation filled with sap on the inside and dampened with rain on the outside. It makes me think of misty, verdant mountainsides and clean air. However, I’m thrown by something that verges on the medicinal. I can best liken it to a drop of potent cleaning fluid on wet leaves.
This distracting facet calms down in the drydown when the whole scent becomes a darker shade of green, mimicking dense undergrowth.
I really admire what Victor Wong is doing with this house and all three fragrances exhibit a high level of quality and excellent longevity.
I would be very interested to read your own experience of any of the Zoologist perfumes in the comments.
I’ve read some very positive reports about the fragrances from artisan perfume house Sammarco.
The Switzerland-based perfumer, Giovanni Sammarco, uses a high percentage of natural raw materials in his fragrances which are pure parfum strength. The collection currently numbers four: Alter, Vitrum and Bond-T which were launched in 2012 and Ariel which was released last year.
Notes: Jasmine Sambac, rose, frankincense, mimosa, animal accord, incense and opoponax.
Alter is one of those head-swimming white florals which is heavy on indolic jasmine and overlaid with a gauze of civet-like musk. It’s the kind of perfume that would make a gentlewoman come over all unnecessary with just one sniff.
I have a low tolerance for the type of musk used here but Alter is lush, billowy and seductive. If you love heady white florals with a soupçon of sex, it’s more than likely to make you swoon.
Notes: Vetiver, rose, bergamot, black pepper, incense and oakmoss.
This is a very clever composition, not least because it is a vetiver I can appreciate. To my nose, most have an odour of stagnant swamp water which turns my stomach.
Vitrum is a softly spoken vetiver, reduced down to its smoky soul. Augmenting it with rose is a lovely touch.
For once, this is a vetiver fragrance which embodies both strength and beauty. I’m not surprised when I read it was created as a bespoke fragrance for a female journalist. Vitrum is a refreshing detour from the well trodden vetiver path.
Notes: Cocoa, patchouli, osmanthus, castoreum, tonka and vanilla.
Bond-T was inspired by a visit to a chocolate factory in Pisa, it oozes thick dark chocolate with a high cocoa content; dry and slightly powdery. Patchouli’s chocolate facet makes it a natural partner for cocoa, but I’m very pleased to find the patch here doesn’t overwhelm it.
Bond-T is a chocolate perfume accentuated by patchouli, not a patchouli perfume accentuated by chocolate. The base features a sweet, honeyed amber which takes the decadence to another level.
I find something very chic about dark chocolate fragrances . To be chic, you have to have a little quirkiness thrown in with your elegance and that’s Bond-T to a, er, T.
Notes: Mandarin, ginger, angelica, tuberose, jasmine, osmanthus, violet, rose, sandalwood, tobacco, davana and orris concrete.
You can tell an awful lot of time and thought went into the creation of Ariel. Going by the website, it seems to have been a labour of love for Giovanni: an homage to the flame-haired object of his affection. It’s the most complex and captivating scent in the collection.
Ariel contrasts sweet, cosmetic powdered florals against crisp, bright greens. The overall effect is sophisticated and retro, yet metallic and musky accents in the early stages give it a contemporary twist. The drydown is nothing short of gorgeous.
Ariel is an idealised image of female beauty and feminine attributes. A woman seen through the eyes of love.
Do any of the four Sammarco fragrances call to you?
Welcome to the Masquerade Ball…
It might not have met my high expectations but I did enjoy trying Russian Tea by Italian niche brand, Masque Milano. It had an atmospheric mood and an appealing (if fanciful) backstory. I liked it enough to become intrigued by the other releases from the brand.
Below are my impressions of the four other fragrances currently in the line-up.
Notes of amber, jasmine sambac, Turkish rose, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, tonka bean, benzoin, sandalwood, guaiac wood, cedar and melilotus.
Opening with a liqueur-like red rose, Tango settles into an incredibly smooth and silky amber. It’s not ground-breaking but it’s seamlessly well done and high quality. There’s a nice sprinkling of spice and just the right amount of vanilla.
Tango could be worth investigating if you’re still seeking a wearable, classy amber fragrance.
Notes of clary sage, lemon, green tangerine, myrtle, thyme, curry leaves, everlasting flower, lentisque, juniper, cypress and cedarwood
Terralba was created to invoke the aroma of a Mediterranean shoreline where the scent of coastal shrubbery mixes with sea salt. Unfortunately it reminds me more of the old school fougères which were popular with my father’s generation.
I’m sure I’m doing it a great disservice but I find the association hard to shake. You may have better luck if you are a fan of green, herbal fragrances.
Luci Ed Ombre
Notes of incense, ginger, tuberose, jasmine, moss, cedarwood and patchouli
I really enjoyed testing Luci Ed Ombre because it’s rather novel and the idea behind it is so effectively realised. The wearer is transported to the border of a bright field and a gloomy forest where a sense of foreboding creeps over them.
It’s brought to life using patches of moss, earth, gently indolic flowers and a touch of musty incense (which intensifies in the base).
Luci ed Ombre is the kind of white floral I can get on board with – one shrouded in darkness. My only reservation is that it’s a touch reticent.
Notes of cabreuva, ambrette seeds, rum, tobacco leaves, celery seeds, cistus, benzoin, golden stone, styrax gum, gaiac wood, cedar wood and patchouli
Whoa. An opening of booze and barbecue smoke, that’s got my attention.
Montecristo calms into a distinctive smoky leather with old dry wood and a burnt facet. It’s not as harsh and manly as it sounds. There is some sweet resin in the mix, probably from the styrax, which counterbalances it. Over time, it becomes increasingly sensual.
Interestingly, it features hyraceum (“Golden Stone”) which helps make Papillon Perfumes’ Salome so gloriously carnal. Here it feels more like animal hide than human skin. Montecristo is chic, striking and not a little addictive.
Overall I’ve been impressed by the offerings from Masque Milano. The fragrances tend to have an intimate feel and plenty of character.
I particularly like that the line comes across as very Italian: stylish, sophisticated and sultry, with just a dash of machismo.
Do you own or admire any of the Masque Milano fragrances?